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Richard Ng, Abtar Kaur, Siti Farina Sheikh Mohamed, Latifah Abdol Latif and Ramli Bahroom
Open University Malaysia (OUM), Malaysia's first open and distance learning with over 70.000 students, offers more than 51 programs to-date. More than 90% of its students…
Open University Malaysia (OUM), Malaysia's first open and distance learning with over 70.000 students, offers more than 51 programs to-date. More than 90% of its students are working adults who are unable to leave their jobs or families behind to pursue their dream of getting a degree. The blended learning approach adopted by OUM provides the flexibility for working adult's to obtain the required paper qualification and to upgrade their knowledge. One of the important elements of blended learning is the use of online discussion forum where learning takes place beyond classroom. Mathematics, a traditionally difficult course, forms part of the prerequisite for students to obtain a business degree at OUM. The adult learners at OUM generally have left school for at least five years and most of them have low grades in Mathematics at O' Level. Thus it is a big challenge for these adult learners to undertake a Mathematics course via online with minimum Face-to-Face contact with their tutors. This paper focuses on the implementation of pro-instruction workshop and supplemental instruction to find its impact on student's online participation and exam results of 88 students. The contents of the online forum were also analyzed using a 34-item instrument derived from the Community of Inquiry model. Results obtained showed that there was a strong correlation between workshop participation and final exam score. Independent samples t-test conducted showed that there was a significant difference between the mean score of online discussion ratio and final examination between participants attached to a tutor conducting the workshop and extended coaching compared to participants attached to another tutor using the normal teaching guide. The means COI score obtained for mathematics between the two tutors indicated that there is a difference in the teaching and cognitive presence but almost similar in the social presence.
Latifah Abdol Latif, Ramli Bahroom and Mohamad Afzhan Khan Mohamad Khalil
The purpose of this paper is to identify the “selling points” for Open University Malaysia (OUM) to be used in its marketing activities and the “critical points” that OUM…
The purpose of this paper is to identify the “selling points” for Open University Malaysia (OUM) to be used in its marketing activities and the “critical points” that OUM should focus on for further improvements in providing its services to its students. These selling and critical points are derived from the analysis of the importance and satisfaction data collected from OUM’s postgraduate students.
This study employs a two-dimensional, i.e., Importance-Satisfaction Survey which consists of 47 items, categorized under eight dimensions. Items are phrased as positive statements and students are asked to indicate how important it is to them using a seven-point Likert scale ranging from not at all important (1) to very important (7). They are then asked to rate their level of satisfaction, using the same scale from very dissatisfied (1) to very satisfied (7). A total of 709 postgraduate students responses were used in this study. A multiple regression analysis was conducted to explain the relationship between the dependent variable, overall satisfaction and eight independent variables. The “selling points” and “critical points” are determined by combining the quadrant and gap analyses. The “selling point” items are the high-importance-high-satisfaction (HIHS) items with relatively small gap scores while the “critical points” are those in the high-importance-low-satisfaction and HIHS quadrants with relatively large gap scores.
The overall results of the Importance-Satisfaction Survey showed that the postgraduate students are generally satisfied with OUM’s programmes and services. The multiple regression analysis of all dimensions against overall satisfaction as the dependent variable showed that the five dimensions of facilitator, curriculum, faculty, support services and learning centre account for 75.7 per cent of the variation in overall satisfaction. The selling points include: the learning management system (MyVLE), online registration, course contents, modules and facilitators. The critical points include those related to facilitator interaction and feedback, students’ sense of connectedness with the faculty staff, timely responses to enquiries and complaints and accessibility to digital library and learning centre staff.
Importance-Satisfaction Surveys can be used to help an institution to identify the services and facilities that can be marketed and also those that need to be improved in order to better meet its students’ expectations.
While many similar studies had been conducted elsewhere, this study had identified the “selling points” and “critical points” which are unique to OUM. In addition, most previous studies were focused on conventional institutions, carried out in many different countries with differing learning environments and cultures.