KOTA SAMARAHAN: The launch of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (Unimas) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) should be able to assist students from around the world interested in subjects or studies related to Sarawak.
Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said he was pleased that Unimas was aiming to expand flexible and lifelong learning opportunities to global communities.
“If now the global learners can learn Sarawak Malay dialect via Unimas MOOCs (for example), I don’t see why one day they would not be able to even learn Iban, Bidayuh, Kelabit and other indigenous languages in Sarawak through MOOCs. In addition, more courses can be developed to empower learners who lack access to higher education to upgrade their knowledge and skills.”
“I strongly welcome this initiative as it can open up education to tens of thousands of students – maybe millions – in
the future who would not otherwise have access to the range of courses which will be offered. MOOCs are changing the education landscape all over the world and Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, cannot afford to lag behind,” he added.
He noted that the government has also long been committed to promoting more equitable education across the nation.
“MOOCs are a remarkable development in this context as they are the most concrete example to date of the potential of technology to widen access to quality education.
“They can leverage our effort to promote excellence and equity among citizens, by encouraging innovation and providing broader access to high-quality knowledge,” he said.
In the context of Sarawak, Nanta opined that MOOCs can bring relevant education particularly to the diverse and dispersed communities in the state.
Thus it will not be a surprise for him that one day Unimas will be able to produce MOOCs led by the community based in areas from towns on the banks of the Rajang river such as Kapit or even Bario of the Kelabit Highlands.
The official launch of the Unimas MOOCs was officiated by Nanta at the university’s Centre of Teaching Facilities 3 (CTF3), Faculty of Business and Economy here yesterday.
The event also included a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signing ceremony between Unimas and OpenLearning Global (M) Sdn Bhd, a leading MOOC platform provider.
Unimas vice-chancellor Professor Dato Dr Mohamad Kadim Suaidi signed on Unimas’ behalf while OpenLearning Global (M) Sdn Bhd was represented by its CEO Adam Brimo.
Also present were Unimas Dean of the Centre for Applied Learning and Multimedia Associate Professor Dr Chen Chwen Jen and OpenLearning Global (M) Sdn Bhd Business Development Manager Suzana Mustafa.
Unimas’ MOOC studios are among the first-of-its-kind in the country.