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'Massive' free online courses launch in Malaysia: Taylor's University

AvantiKumar | May 9, 2014
The new interactive xMOOCs will allow young learners to take a wide range of courses anywhere at anytime for free, said Taylor's University Vice Chancellor and President Professor Dato' Dr Hassan Said.

Taylor's University MOOCS modified 

Photo - (From left) Lim Chee Leong, Head, e-Learning Academy, Taylor's University; Dr Tang Siew Fun, Director-Intellect, Taylor's University; Datuk Professor Dr Rodziah Omar, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Education;  Professor Dato' Dr Hassan Said, Vice Chancellor & President from Taylor's University; Adam Brimo, Founder and CEO of OpenLearning.com; and Professor Dr Mushtak Al-Atabi, Dean, Taylor's School of Engineering witnessing Dato' Seri Idris Jusoh, Minister of Education II launching the Taylor's MOOCs.

 

Taylor's University is to launch a new series of interactive Massive Open Online Courses, known as xMOOCs, which will allow young learners from both local and international community, access to customised Taylor's classes at anywhere, anytime, for free, it said the Malaysia based private education institute.

According to Taylor's University vice chancellor and president Professor Dato' Dr Hassan Said, six new MOOCs will be added to the first two MOOCs rolled out in March 2013 in Malaysia and Asia.

Dr Hassan said these range from entrepreneurship, bio-sciences, business skills, mobile computing to culinary knowledge, with no admissions requirements. All the MOOCs are offered through a platform known as OpenLearning.com.

"As a university that values excellence in teaching and learning practices, we have embarked on initiatives that make use of the e-learning platforms," he said.  "MOOCs is a natural extension of our e-learning initiatives. The courses not only make learning interactive, but interesting for today's generation who appreciates flexible learning."

Dr Hassan said Taylor's MOOCs are categorized as xMOOCs as they promote two-ways communications through discussions and forums between the students and facilitators. "In another words, students can obtain immediate feedback on their progress as well as share ideas and experiences with other students."

"Taylor's MOOCs are 'mini' courses designed to offer a taste of what students may experience in a university's programme; they are not recreations of Taylor's undergraduates programme.," he said.  "What sets Taylor's MOOCs apart from other courses in Malaysia would be the dynamic and interactive delivery method to support a more meaningful learning experience."

 Authentic Malaysian, Asian content

Dr Hassan added that the university's MOOCS also incorporated authentic Asian and Malaysian content with the aim of building of a learning community locally.

The university has also opted to use Asian speakers for its MOOCs and even incorporated the latest crowd funding concept for a real life learning experience in one of its latest MOOC courses, he said.

The newly launched MOOC range from five weeks to 27 weeks, and learners will review the lesson in the form of video, PDF or PowerPoint slides, and participate in the course activities such as forums, class discussions, quizzes or practices, in order to receive a certificate of completion. All that's required of students is an Internet connection, along with time to read, watch instructional videos, work on problems and discuss the material," said Dr Hassan.

He said the first two pilot MOOCs - 'Entrepreneurship' and 'Achieve Success With Emotional Intelligence' led by Taylor's School of Engineering, were launched in March 2013 and were conducted over a period of 14 weeks. Taylor's inaugural 'Entrepreneurship' MOOC has garnered a strong response with a total of 2,337 sign ups from participants globally, of which 600 of them had successfully completed the module. The completion rate is four times higher than the global average completion rate.

The launch of Taylor's University's inaugural MOOCs in March 2013 has led the university to design new and improved courses, Dr Hassan said. "The success garnered by its pilot courses has boosted Taylor's University's confidence to use technology to strengthen its position as a driver of education excellence."

"Another primary goal in offering MOOCs is to give our faculty the opportunity to explore new delivery methods through the use of technology," he said. "It has been exciting to observe how creatively faculty members teaching our first two MOOCs have reached out to both local students and learners around the world."

With two MOOCs successfully completed, Taylor's is launching six more MOOCs over the next six months, titled 'Biosciences - Journey To The Cell', 'Wonderful Style of Food and Beverages Around The World', 'Engineering Future Innovation and The Future of Humankind', 'Mobile Game Development With Game Salad' ,  'A Business Journey With Caffeine Cafe' and 'Global Entrepreneurship'.

"We are hoping that through these MOOCs, students will be able to learn collaboratively at anytime, anywhere. Also through these courses, we hope to continue to raise the bar for higher education in Malaysia," said Dr Hassan.

 

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