Friday, May 28, 2010

AAOU 2010 International Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam

The AAOU 2010 International Conference will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam from 26th to 28th October 2010. It is hosted by Hanoi Open University under the direction of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)and Vietnam Ministry of Education and Training. The venue of the conference is Melia Hanoi Hotel – 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hanoi, Vietnam and the working language of the conference is English.

The theme of the conference is:


and the sub-themes are:

1. Ideology and Philosophy
- Building people’s awareness of sustainable learning communities
- Creating sustainability and knowledge of the benefits of ODL through government support for distance learning
- Supporting Colleges/universities to serve as models of sustainable learning communities
- Discovering how sustainable learning communities form, develop and are maintained
- Sharing perspectives of building of sustainable learning communities through ODL

2. Partnership and Communication
- College/university partnership – mapping the ways for building sustainable learning communities
- Government/College/University partnership – creating sustainable partnership in enabling ODL providers to access government support as an alternative model to traditional face-to-face learning
- Developing links between community development and ODL.
- Creating open and multiple pathways/channels for communication through ODL to build sustainable learning communities.

3. Methodology and Technology
- Use of advanced technologies of e-learning to increase the effectiveness of building sustainable learning communities
- ODL technologies in enabling and connecting sustainable learning communities
- ODL technologies in education policies that can help building sustainable learning communities
- Use of advanced technologies to enhance student learning outcomes and achievements.
- Mobile technology support for building sustainable learning communities.

4. Sustainability, Access, Equity and Quality
- ODL quality assurance to build sustainable learning communities.
- ODL in places where access to education is limited at various levels.
- Use of ODL to improve access, equity and quality of sustainable learning communities
- Instructional materials access and support for its development to build sustainable learning communities.
- Best practices and conditions associated with effective ODL environment.

5. Opportunities and Challenges
- ODL to balance imbalances in our educational systems to support marginalized populations by traditional educational systems
- Challenges in the implementation of ODL toward building sustainable learning communities
- Future trends in ODL to adapt to new environments of sustainable learning communities.

Important Dates

- 15th June, 2010: Deadline for abstracts
- 1st July, 2010: Notification of acceptance of abstracts
- 31st July , 2010: Submission of full papers for publication
- 31st July, 2010: Early-bird registration deadline
- 15th September, 2010: Deadline for registration


The ASEAN Journal of Open and Distance Learning

The ASEAN Journal of Open and Distance Learning is dedicated to the promotion of the practice of Open and Distance Learning particularly in the ASEAN region. We are housed at Open University Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but our contributors and editorial staff also come from Open Distance Learning institutions in the region including Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University and University of the Philippines Open University.

View the video launch here:

The AJODL is dedicated to the sharing of knowledge, ideas and experience on all matters pertaining to Open and Distance Learning particularly, but not limited to, the ASEAN Region.


- To provide a platform for the exchange and dissemination of scholarly ideas, research findings and insights into the field of Open and Distance Learning in the ASEAN Region.
- To promote scholarly and intellectual exchange in the stated area.
- To provide a platform that will enable ODL practitioners in ASEAN, specifically, to be informed of the work of their peers and be enriched by them

Happy Wesak Day

Wishing all our Buddhist friends a blessed Wesak day.

On Wesak Day, Buddhists all over the world commemorate the Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha. This sacred day is purely a religious festival and all Buddhists are expected to reaffirm their faith in the Buddha Dhamma and to lead a noble religious life. It is a day for meditation and for radiating Loving-Kindness.

On Wesak day, devout Buddhists assemble in various temples before dawn for the ceremonial hoisting of the Buddhist Flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the holy Triple Gems: The Buddha, The Dhamma (His teachings), and The Sangha (His disciples). Devotees bring simple offerings of flowers and candles to lay at the feet of their great teacher. The symbolic offering of flowers is to remind us that just as the beautiful flowers would wither away after a short while, life is subject to decay and destruction in similar manner as the flowers. The symbolic offering of candles is to remind us that just as a candle gives light to chase away darkness and in the process melts away (“sacrifice itself”), we should be mindful in “chasing” away our ignorance and care for the well being of others. Devotees are enjoined to make a special effort to refrain from killing of any kind. They are encouraged to partake of vegetarian food for the day.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Marriage Versus PhD

Referred to by Prof. Dr. Zoraini Wati Abas:

Marriage or PhD?

Read here:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mock PhD Viva and Factor Analysis @ OUM

May 23, 2010

About 25 PhD students both junior and senior were present at Open University Malaysia main campus in KL to attend 2 mock PhD viva session by Lum and Tajul Arrifin. The session was chaired by Associate Prof. Dr. Nagarajah Lee from the Faculty of Education of OUM.

Lum presenting his mock viva in front of Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nagarajah Lee (seated front right) and 25 other students

Part of the students who attended the mock viva

First presenter Lum started his presentation at 9.00am. It was about perception of employees on PMS and its impact on their job satisfaction. He gave a 40 minutes presentation followed by another 30 minutes of Q&A session from the floor guided by Dr. Nagarajah. 10 minutes break followed before our next presenter Tajul Ariffin.

Tajul Ariffin's presentation was about the interaction between Real Estate Market with Conventional & Islamic capital market.

The objective of the mock presentation is for the presenters to present their research findings and at the same time to prepare for actual viva. For the audience it was another lesson to guide them towards the lonely journey of achieving their PhDs.

Good questions were asked by the chair and the floor during the mock viva session. Dr. Nagarajah Lee advised all PhD students to look our for the What, Why and How when presenting their viva. He highlighted in particular the Problem Statement which should answer why the problem is critical and important. He also urged students to highlight clearly the dependent variable in the study. Most importantly students must mention why the proposed research is worth doing and what is the value of the research.

He also advised students to be careful with the analysis tool used. Students should not confused ANOVA with Paired Sample Test for example. ANOVA is used to compare the mean score of different populations. It can also be carried to find whether there consistency in the mean score of the various groups.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Global Learn Asia Pacific 2010 Conference

The Global Conference on Learning and Technology was held recently at the Park Royal Hotel & Holiday Inn Resort Penang from May 17 - 20, 2010.

Gary Marks, Executive Director of AACE, delivers his welcome speech

Prof. Zoraini (left) and Tan Sri Dr. Anuwar Ali during the keynote address

The four-day conference has attracted about 500 participants from 48 countries including host Malaysia. It was organized by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) and hosted by Open University Malaysia, University Sains Malaysia and Wawasan Open University. It was officially opened by the Deputy Higher Education Minister YB. Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Prof. Carmel McNaught from The Chinese University of Hong Kong, conducting a workshop on "Writing and Publishing Academic Papers for Conference and Journals".

Several distinguished keynote speakers invited to address this conference include James Taylor from University of Southern Queensland, Australia, Asha Kanwar from Commonwealth of Learning, Canada, Elliot Soloway from University of Michigan & Cathleen Norris from University of North Texas, USA and Prof. Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali from Open University Malaysia.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Questionnaire Design

Questionnaires are an inexpensive way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents. Often they are the only feasible way to reach a number of reviewers large enough to allow statistically analysis of the results. A well-designed questionnaire that is used effectively can gather information on both the overall performance of the test system as well as information on specific components of the system. If the questionnaire includes demographic questions on the participants, they can be used to correlate performance and satisfaction with the test system among different groups of users.

It is important to remember that a questionnaire should be viewed as a multi-stage process beginning with definition of the aspects to be examined and ending with interpretation of the results. Every step needs to be designed carefully because the final results are only as good as the weakest link in the questionnaire process. Although questionnaires may be cheap to administer compared to other data collection methods, they are every bit as expensive in terms of design time and interpretation.

The steps required to design and administer a questionnaire include:

1. Defining the Objectives of the survey
2. Determining the Sampling Group
3. Writing the Questionnaire
4. Administering the Questionnaire
5. Interpretation of the Results

This document will concentrate on how to formulate objectives and write the questionnaire. Before these steps are examined in detail, it is good to consider what questionnaires are good at measuring and when it is appropriate to use questionnaires.

Read more at:

Additional reading at:

PhD Mock Viva at OUM

A mock viva was held at OUM main campus on April 25, 2010. It was part of a series of meeting organized by the CGS department of OUM to assist current PhD students to understand the process of going through the lonely journey before they can really obtain their doctoral degree.

Prof. Ghazali (standing, left) and Richard Ng (standing, right) before the start of the mock viva

Prof. Ghazali was doing the introduction before the start of the mock viva

Richard Ng presenting his slides during the mock viva

The mock viva cum meeting session was chaired by OUM PhD Coordinator, Prof. Ghazali and was attended by Prof. Junaidah as the mock external examiner, Prof. Karl Wagner from Applied Science University, Germany, who is also the supervisor for Richard Ng. About 20 PhD students from all over the country attended the session as well.

Part of the PhD students who attended the session

Prof. Karl in blue shirt sitting beside the window

It was a very fruitful mock viva session where the presenter, Richard Ng as well as other students have benefited from the session. After the mock viva, Prof. Junaidah gave a presentation on how to prepare the PhD thesis.

Here are some of the feedback from Sumathi, one of the PhD students who have volunteered to take note during the mock viva: (Thanks to you Sue)

Here are the points that I managed to jot down:

1)H5 = reject the null hypotheses, who are not……(incomplete sentence)

2)Introduction: address the gap of knowledge, it should be addressed in the beginning, Must tell the reader, what triggered the study.

3)Research question present first before literature review. How did you derive the hypotheses. Some thing missing in the models, summarise the importance in the models. Certain variables are important and therefore researcher cannot pick and choose. Do justify.

4)You have presented all the models including the previous studies done. To include local and overseas universities.

5)Methodology – Highlight on adapted instruments. How do you derive 140 to 59, which you dropped and took. Reliability test, no factor analysis result.

6)Hypotheses, to be written in research hypotheses. Not null.

7)Instruments used not from educational setting, make some adjustment or else justify to the faculty of study.

8) A lot of hypotheses, quoting only 1 variable to another. Multiple regression, should highlight the r2 and explain what r2 means.

9) Sampling, big sample i.e. 3,500 students. Explain how 3,500 students segregated at each level, how many students you wanted. Is 300 students okay at each level of year. Each level COULD be different number.

10) Compare the construct of the 4 different levels of students. Do a cross tab at each level.

11) Scale used to be highlighted.

12) Page 25, the table has no number (there is a mistake – the dotted line…..if significant is less than 0.05 used)

13) Some whispers between you and Prof. Ghazali I could not hear. This I managed to capture…he said to identify problem statement, the attrition rate.

14) Question impose by Ms. Lim – why case study only at OUM (it is not a problem), why not other college and institutions. What is the benchmarking, why.not go to other universities to find out

15) In the background of study, justify OUM is the ‘study’. Eg. there are no other university in similar.

16) Research objective, only 1 objective and several sub objectives

17) Definition of risk and non risk. How do you categories risk and non-risk and WHY.

18) CGPA – one of the variables.

After the presentation, Prof. Dr. Junaidah explained on technical report writing.

There are 6 characteristics in effective technical writing:

a) clarity

b) accuracy

c) comprehensiveness

d) accessibility

e) conciseness (less wordy, more contents)

f) correctness (eg. grammar, punctuation, format standard)

The two main components for technical report writing process:

i) audience (technical person/ manager/ general readers)

ii) Purpose (what do you want this document to accomplish)...explain, inform, illustrate, to review, investigate

Devise a strategy on how to explain.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Factor Analysis Tutorial Class

Posted by Prof. Ghazali

Dear All,

For the 23rd Mei meeting, I am trying to get someone to show us how to run factor analysis. So I'd like to encourage those of you who are interested to bring your laptop, with the SPSS software installed. There shall be a short presentation by Mr Lum on his thesis.

Prof Ghazali

OUM Phd(BA) Discussion Session (May-Oct 2010)

Posted by Chia Bee Ching

Dear All,

For those who have attended the 25th April Informal discussion session, we all found the session beneficial, relevant and engaging. For many of us, the junior learners, that was the first time we ever listened to a mock viva presentation (by Richard Ng).

The short technical report writing talk (a copy of the the ppf was forwarded to all by member, Sallah Jantan) given by Prof. Junaidah is neat, clear and precise. The message for us is to start writing, rewriting and rewriting.

Following the Q&A in the April's discussion session, the participants' consensus to keep the learning momentum on, we are happy to announce the confirmed dates for next six months informal discussion session are as stated below. Prof Ghazali will be there to monitor and co-ordinate.

May 23-05-10 9am-12.30pm

June 27-06-10 9am-12.30pm

July 25-07-10 9am-12.30pm

August no meeting OUM Colloquium

September 26-09-10 9am-12.30pm

October 24-10-10 9am-12.30pm

Venue: The seminar room (GA-01, beside theatrette) OUM main campus.

RSVP: beeching chia (mobile 0173402968)

Remark: If any member who likes to present a mock QE or to share the research problems, progress and issues, please liaise with Prof Ghazali, our Phd(BA) Coordinator.

Thank you