Welcoming May 2019 intake full-time students

The May 2019 intake saw some 35 new students enrolling in the full-time undergraduate degree programmes offered by WOU.

Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew (front, centre) and Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling pose with a group of new students.

Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew (front, centre) and Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling pose with a group of new students.

Four of the students who attended the orientation held today at the main campus in Penang share their story.

Following in her dad’s footsteps

Nadia Zulaikha Zainol, 21, from George Town, Penang, is taking up the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting programme. She holds a Diploma in Accounting from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Arau, Perlis.

She was looking for a higher learning institution to pursue her degree studies after her diploma. “I searched on the Internet for quite a few universities in Penang. I wanted Penang as I can be nearer to my family and it would be convenient to travel to the campus.”

may2019studentpix1.jpg

She continued, “Following my Internet search, I came for consultation to the Penang Regional Centre with my parents. At that first meeting, I only looked, listened and surveyed but during my second visit, I signed up straight away.” She was drawn to the programme and the syllabus, and after figuring out that WOU offers the most reasonable price, she decided to enrol.

“The counsellor I spoke to was very friendly, and I like the environment, near to the sea and all,” she added.

Nadia has always wanted to become an accountant since her school days. She finds accounting fascinating and it gives her a sense of accomplishment every time she balances the accounts. She aspires to become accountant in the private sector.

Her father has retired as a banker in CIMB, after having worked for 30 years in the banking industry. Her mother is a full-time homemaker. Nadia has three older brothers.

 

Siblings start their higher learning together

Ragu Rameswaran, 22, from Butterworth, and his younger sister Divieayaa, 21, have enrolled respectively in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking & Finance and Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programmes at WOU.

may2019studentpix2.jpg

Their father is an Assistant Engineer in Bayan Lepas while mum is a full-time homemaker. They have a younger brother in Form Four.

Ragu entered with his Foundation in Business qualification from a private university in Petaling Jaya. He has three years work experience in air-conditioning maintenance.

“My girlfriend, who is studying at a private university in Seberang Jaya, recommended that I come and study here. She said WOU is the most affordable and the fees will match my budget. Secondly, I researched about WOU and the programmes, such as whether they are MQA accredited or not. I found everything to be fine. Also, I like the beach, it is so nice.

“I came here with my sister to inquire.  I also checked the syllabus and the short description for each of the courses. I signed up because of the environment, the fees, courses, and the MQA accreditation. I told my sister about WOU as well. I discussed with my parents, and they encouraged us to study, and so we signed up.” Ragu wants to become a financial advisor or work in finance.

may2019studentpix3.jpg

Divieayaa entered WOU with her STPM qualifications from SMK Dato’ Onn, Butterworth. She has work experience as she worked as a cashier, waitress and salesgirl during the school holidays.

 “My former school mate told me that the degree is cheaper than other universities. She is in her second year of her Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree programme here. She invited me to check out the university and my brother also had nice things to say about WOU.”

“I came here to find out; I think it is good to study here. The university looks comfortable, clean and better than other universities.”

may2019studentpix4.jpg

“I chose Management because it’s a good field and it suits my personality. I want to become a manager, like managing clients, teams, and everything. I hope to pick up leadership skills from the courses. I like to be a leader, preferably in the services industry, like hotels or hospitals.

 “I prefer to study somewhere that it is not too near or too far from my home in Butterworth. I plan to look for roommates and rent a place on the island. I want to be independent, so I will try to find a part-time job to pay for my own studies and expenses.”

 

Computer games craze evokes interest in networks

Sim Kian Ming, 21, from Air Itam, enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks programme at WOU. He holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering from the Penang Skills Development Centre.

may2019studentpix5.jpg

“I was looking for a networking programme, and so I came here to inquire. I walked in, and found that WOU is offering this particular programme through full-time study. I visited a lot of universities, but I think WOU is better, that is why I immediately enrolled here. I love the campus and it is not too expensive. My cousin, who studied part-time at WOU and has since graduated, also mentioned to me about WOU’s programmes.

“My ambition is to become a network engineer. In my diploma studies, I had studied about networking but it was not detailed, more of an introduction. But I liked what I learnt,” he elaborated. 

Sim is crazy about computers from small, as he and his brother loved playing computer games. His mother limited their time playing computer games to one hour a day, which left him feeling unsatisfied. “I think the more she limited our time, the more it drove my love for computers.”

His father works as a lorry mechanic while his mum is a full-time homemaker.  He has two older sisters and a younger brother.

Becoming transformational leaders

[26-28 April, 2019]

Thirty-five participants from 22 countries attended the 2nd Pan-Commonwealth Workshop on “Women’s Leadership in Open Distance Learning (ODL)” held at the WOU main campus from April 26th to 28th to share experiences and learn about transformational leadership.

Participants pose with the speakers.

Participants pose with the speakers.

The women were top academics and senior management staff of various higher learning institutions from the following Pacific and Caribbean countries: Bangladesh, Belize, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Zambia, and Malaysia.

The three-day workshop was jointly organised by WOU and the Canada-headquartered Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The lead facilitator was Prof Dato’ Dr Rashidah Shuib from the School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Prof Rashidah of Universiti Sains Malaysia facilitates the workshop.

Prof Rashidah of Universiti Sains Malaysia facilitates the workshop.

The workshop aimed to recognise women leaders, motivate and equip women to become advocate for change, and champion gender mainstreaming to advance women’s leadership.

The keynote lecture on ‘Women’s Transformational Leadership in the Commonwealth’ was delivered by Prof Asha Kanwar, President and Chief Executive Officer of COL. She listed the four components of transformational leadership as charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualised consideration. Individualised consideration, she added, is “giving support and personal attention to the group members and helping them to develop self confidence”.

Prof Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, delivers her keynote lecture.

Prof Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, delivers her keynote lecture.

She shared the story of two women from different backgrounds who are leaders through what they accomplished. First was Dame Carol Kidu, who became Minister for Community Development in Papua New Guinea, established community learning centres, promoted lifelong learning, helped other women become leaders, and retired from politics to work in an NGO.

Another was Peria Jakkamal, an illiterate farmer from a remote village in India, who transformed herself, started self-help groups in her village, mobilised women in her community in lifelong learning, and promoted effective use of ICT among the illiterate community. 

Learning about the traits of transformational leaders.

Learning about the traits of transformational leaders.

Prof Kanwar said both the women were people-oriented, empathetic and respectful, broke free from traditional norms, effective negotiators, excellent networkers and communicators, and lifelong learners.

USM Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, in her special lecture on ‘Women’s Leadership in the Context of Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0 in Developing Societies’, spoke about the impact of the fourth industrial revolution and Society 5.0 on women in developing societies. She said that emerging technologies will displace 5 million jobs in the future but will also create 2 million new jobs.

Prof Asma, Vice Chancellor of USM.

Prof Asma, Vice Chancellor of USM.

She said females are 5 times less likely to consider a career in technology-based jobs than males, and therefore, as almost one-third of all jobs globally could be automated by 2030, “females are in big danger to be left behind”. She also mentioned the development of smart societies or Society 5.0 in Japan following Industry 4.0, with new services offered through artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things.

Sharing on the impact of disruptive technologies on women.

Sharing on the impact of disruptive technologies on women.

The workshop also featured lectures and discussions on leading, new technologies in ODL, data analytics and interactive learning.   These were presented respectively by LEADERONOMICS country manager for Malaysia Caroline Ong, WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & Educational Technology) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, School of Science & Technology Dean Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong, and Instructional Design for Engaging Experiences Assistant Manager Fauziyah Md Aris.

Prof Zoraini (left) with Prof Kanwar at the closing of the event.

Prof Zoraini (left) with Prof Kanwar at the closing of the event.

Below are a few testimonials from participants:

“I had a great time in your country. Thanks to all the presenters for the great presentations.”
- Florence Kauami, Programme Developer, Namibian College of Open Learning, Namibia

“Wow! The 2nd Pan-Commonwealth Training Programme on Women and Leadership in ODL was timely with beautiful faces and wonderful people.”
Roselyn Nyagie Kema Kappia, Procurement Officer, Freetown Teachers College, Sierra Leone

The participants come from 22 nations.

The participants come from 22 nations.

“Our chief host, thanks for all the hospitality. We enjoyed every minute in Penang, the people, cuisine and each and every participant’s story is unique.”
- Ubaida Faruk Shehu, Senior Education Officer, National Teachers’ Institute, Nigeria

“Thanks for all the cooperation and sharing of experience in this inspiring workshop.”
- Salote Talanoa Selui, Deputy Principal, Ministry for Education and Training, Tonga

The importance of Employee Engagement

[WOU held a public seminar on “Issues and Challenges of Human Resource and Talent Management in the Digital Economy” at the main campus on April 13th. Over 50 people attended the talks under the event organised by the School of Business & Administration (SBA) and funded by the Institute for Research & Innovation (IRI).]

School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam delivers his opening remarks.

School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam delivers his opening remarks.

Employee engagement is a must in all organisations to enhance employee performance, employee retention and employee commitment towards his/her job.

Speaking on ‘Employee Engagement’, Human Resources Director of MIMOS, Parameswaran Ayahoo said that the advent of new technology and big data affects how people are engaged at the workplace.

Parameswaran shares on Employee Engagement.

Parameswaran shares on Employee Engagement.

He defined employee engagement as a two-way communication at the workplace to connect with an employee emotionally and mentally”. He added, “There needs to be a bond between you and the employee, only then are you connected and engaging with them.”

 “If an employee feels disconnected from the organisation, it will affect his performance. By engaging the employees, we can motivate them so that they can best contribute towards the organisation’s goals, and we get their commitment, trust and loyalty.”

Emphasising why Employee Engagement is important.

Emphasising why Employee Engagement is important.

He highlighted that an engaged employee is high performing, committed, efficient, and there is no discipline or behavioural issue, while a ‘not engaged’ worker is less committed with minimal effort, little passion, little motivation, lack of creativity, and increased absence. “Actively disengaged employees are disruptive, very miserable, bad attitude, often late or absent, wastes time, don’t follow instructions, insubordination, and undermines co-workers.”

Parameswaran shared that employee engagement can be measured by a pulse survey, one-on-one dialogue, stay/exit interview and employee feedback channels.

Employees must feel connected to the organisation, declares Parameswaran.

Employees must feel connected to the organisation, declares Parameswaran.

“We need the employee to contribute to the organisation’s KPI, goals, vision and mission, and so we must determine the employee engagement level at the organisation. Only then can we know what intervention initiatives can be undertaken to overcome disengagement and enhance organisation culture.”  Activities like sports day and family day are examples of employee engagement.

He said that the challenge is to do employee engagement for the four types of workforce generation, that is, baby boomers (1946-1964), Gen X-ers (1965-1979), millennials/Gen Y (1980-1995), and Gen Z-ers (born after 1996). He pointed out the work traits of the different generation in regards to work ethics, optimism, passion, average tenure, digital fluency and such.

The speaker shows how to enhance employee engagement.

The speaker shows how to enhance employee engagement.

He said the biggest workforce groups now are the Gen Y and Gen Z, and so we need to know what their expectations are and how to engage them. He also said that the skills gap of Gen X or baby boomers must be narrowed by upskilling so as to meet the organisational KPI.

He remarked that technology now makes a thin line between work and leisure, since people can work 24/7 from home and during weekends or holidays, and so you can still engage them.  “Millennials and Gen Z are leading this trend, while Gen X hardly respond to WhatsApp messages on weekends.”

Prakash presents a token of appreciation from the University to Parameswaran.

Prakash presents a token of appreciation from the University to Parameswaran.

He cited 5 ways to enhance employee engagement, and they are: transparency and build trust; align employees to organisation’s vision and mission; provide supportive work environment to perform their job; reward and recognise employees; and employee empowerment in decision-making.

He concluded that human interaction in employee engagement can never be fully replaced by technology, with platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, merely a tool to enhance engagement.

From left: Prakash, Parameswaran and moderator of the talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

From left: Prakash, Parameswaran and moderator of the talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

Matching workers’ profile to job is good talent management

Employers should match the individual’s profile to the job for optimum performance and a good work attitude at the workplace.

Speaking on “Talent Management via Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in the digital economy”, Dr Arivalan Ramaiyah, Director & Principal Consultant for Praxis Skills Training & Consultancy Sdn Bhd, said a good talent manager must put aside ego, emotions, and self when dealing with people, and “calibrate to match with the worker’s values and emotions”.

Dr Arivalan had the audience in stitches with his examples and explanations.

Dr Arivalan had the audience in stitches with his examples and explanations.

He stated that if you match with the behaviour of a person, “you can gain their rapport more rapidly and connect with them. Understanding a person’s personality type allows you to give them information in a way they are most receptive to.”

He said most conflicts in the workplace are caused by people’s extrinsic and intrinsic values. “Intrinsic values like self-image and self thought are the source of our core motivation and behaviour patterns. It is programmed in our mind, hence called metaprogrammes. The state of mind, or emotions, is trapped at our unconscious level. There is a barrier between our conscious and unconscious mind, and so we do not sometimes know why we respond or act in a certain way,” he remarked.

Understanding the language and behaviour profile of employees.

Understanding the language and behaviour profile of employees.

He highlighted the various Language and Behaviour Profiles (LAB) of individuals and why matching the job to the worker’s profile is important.  “The ‘Towards To’ people are solution providers, anxious to know the problem and diagnose it, while the ‘Away From’ worker gets disturbed when you bring them problems. The ‘Procedural’ people are all about filling forms, while ‘Optional’ people hate procedures.”

Dr Arivalan pointed out that the ‘Proactive’ people blame themselves when something happens, while ‘Reactive’ workers blame everybody else. “Reactives can destroy the culture of an organisation as they play the blaming game.”

The job must match the employee’s profile, says Dr Arivalan.

The job must match the employee’s profile, says Dr Arivalan.

He said ‘Internal’ people hate the meetings culture, and want to be left alone to do a job, and the “External’ characters are very sociable. “A ‘Self’ person is selfish, micro manages, and wants a say in everything; the “Others” person is considerate and concerned about people; the ‘Independent’ is comfortable working solo, produces results and a good taskmaster; and the “Cooperative” is dependent.”

“Most conflicts arise in the company from profile mismatch of the worker to the job. To manage talent, you must go into the psyche of individuals and match the worker’s personality profile to fit the job,” he stressed.

The Q&A session in progress.

The Q&A session in progress.

He advised employers to match jobs to the worker’s profile, and to have interview questions to determine the applicant’s profile. “If the job matches their profile, then he has passion, gives his best and loves his job.”

Dr Arivalan also highlighted the performance and potential matrix to manage talent, where skills are mapped against attitude, ranging from low to high.  He explained that a skilled person may complete his tasks well but if he has attitude problems, he will create enemies in the process. He cited examples of bad attitude as arrogant, anger, humiliate people in front of others, show a bad example, use bad words, and back-stabbing.

From left: Dr Arivalan, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Parameswaran Ayahoo from MIMOS, and moderator of talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

From left: Dr Arivalan, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Parameswaran Ayahoo from MIMOS, and moderator of talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

He suggested employers balance skills of workers with their potential/attitude, clarifying that skills can be taught easily while attitude is difficult.

Emotional intelligence skills for handling stress

Emotional intelligence (EI) skills are helpful in managing emotions when stressed, a psychology counsellor from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) told an audience of over 100 teachers/non-academic staff of St Xavier’s Institution.

The crowd listening to the talk on stress management.

The crowd listening to the talk on stress management.

Speaking on stress management during a workshop held at the main campus today, Dr Yasmin Othman Mydin said that stressful situations can evoke negative emotions like anxiety, depression, fear and anger. “When you have too many things happening in your life, negative emotions pop up to affect your thoughts and behaviour.”

She emphasised that EI skills are needed to manage, cope and solve the emotional issues within one self and with others. She cited the four EI skills sets as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.

“Firstly, recognise, understand, and identify your emotions when stressed. If you are aware, then you can better manage your emotions, rather than react with anger.” She explained that anger, sadness and fear are natural emotions; however it all depends on how you manage them so that they do not become intense or control you, and you are more stable while you wait to find a solution.  

Dr Yasmin lists out the four components of emotional intelligence.

Dr Yasmin lists out the four components of emotional intelligence.

She remarked that self-awareness will help prevent your emotions from over-ruling or disturbing you and you will better understand how you tend to react to a particular situation. “Then, in future, you are more alert and will respond more appropriately.”

As for social awareness, Dr Yasmin stated that it is the ability to understand the emotions of others, to show empathy, concern and care. “When you understand another’s emotions, it will help you deal with that person more rationally.” Social skills, she continued, relate to communication, building a bond, and teamwork.

Breathing relaxation technique…Dr Yasmin requests the audience requested to close eyes and focus on their breathing.

Breathing relaxation technique…Dr Yasmin requests the audience requested to close eyes and focus on their breathing.

She highlighted the benefits of developing EI skills. “You gain personal resilience to face situations in life. As you build inner strength and keep emotions in check, you become a better leader and relate better with others. People with less resilience are more easily shaken, angry and sad.

Dr Yasmin, who is also a senior lecturer and cognitive behaviour therapist at USM, said that when one experiences stress, the elements involved are emotions, behaviour and physiology (e.g. gastritis).

A teacher speaks about the work stress in the schools.

A teacher speaks about the work stress in the schools.

“Stress is in the eye of the beholder. It largely depends on how one thinks of the event. There is a connection between thoughts, emotion and behaviour. Emotional disturbances are largely due to the process of your thinking. So you listen to your thoughts.

“An event becomes stressful when we think negatively, we feel negatively, and act negatively,” she pointed out, using the analogy of relationship break-ups, which can lead one to think they are useless and so isolate themselves and not want to talk.

Dr Yasmin (centre), flanked on her left by Jasmine Emmanuel of WOU, poses with the participants.

Dr Yasmin (centre), flanked on her left by Jasmine Emmanuel of WOU, poses with the participants.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Penang Regional Centre and the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS). Among those present was SHSS Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

WOU workshop on research skills for Thai PhD students

(8-15 April, 2019)

WOU conducted a workshop for seven doctoral degree students from Silpakorn University (SU) to equip them with practical knowledge and skills in undertaking research and preparing dissertations.

The PhD students from Silpakorn University.

The PhD students from Silpakorn University.

The five-day workshop on "Refining Research Skills" for the second-year PhD students from SU, a national university in Thailand, was held at the main campus from April 8th to 15th. It was organised by the Centre for Professional Development & Continuing Education (PACE) and facilitated by the School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC).

The workshop aimed to assist the students in completing their PhD. The SU students were Prueksa Dokkulard, Napaporn Boonsri, Massaya Rungaroon, Waleerat Puttasri, Chonthicha Manosin, Naraya Sirapanuwat and Praiwan Khantasiri.

Grace Lau talks about the University.

Grace Lau talks about the University.

The workshop kicked off today with an introduction to WOU by Director of Public & Student Relations, Grace Lau, who highlighted that WOU to date has produced 2,726 graduates from the undergraduate programmes and 1,029 graduates from the postgraduate programmes.

Speaking on ‘Pedagogical Transformation’, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas mentioned transforming the teaching and learning at WOU to address the skills needs of students and employers, as well as to improve sustainability, enhance retention, and increase enrolment.

silpakorn2019.pix3.jpg

She declared that of the 23, 120 students enrolled in WOU as at March 2019, 62% are aged 19-32 years, adding that young learners have short attention span, demand quick responses, require just in time knowledge, and value recognition. She said that they would prefer biteable learning content delivered just in time, fast responses via LMS and WhatsApp messages, and badges or mini-certificates for their efforts.

Meanwhile the Dean of SELC, Prof Balakrishnan Muniandy, in his presentation on ‘PhD Journey: Before, during and after’, offered tips on managing life before, during and after their doctoral degree.

silpakorn2019.pix4.jpg

SELC Lecturer Dr Tan Saw Fen shared on the use of the NVivo qualitative data analysis computer software. She said the software helps the researchers to organise, store and retrieve data so that analysis can be done more efficiently and rigorously. “Both textual and visual files, like audio, video, emails, images, spreadsheets, online surveys, social and web content, can be imported into NVivo for analysis. The use of query and visualisation tools in NVivo helps researchers to make sense of their data.”

There were also presentations of other WOU researches, such as developing a scale to measure students’ psychological capital, identifying the challenges to APEL, and studying the impact of student engagement on performance.

Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi (centre), flanked by Dr Tan (4th from left) and Arathai Din Eak (4th from right) of SELC, pose with the students after the workshop.

Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi (centre), flanked by Dr Tan (4th from left) and Arathai Din Eak (4th from right) of SELC, pose with the students after the workshop.

Promoting cultural harmony through photos

The Malaysian culture, cuisine, lifestyle and harmonious spirit were the focus of the exhibits displayed by the full-time students at the Photo Exhibition held in the main campus today.

A total of 21 groups of students pooled their resources together to present their best work at the exhibition titled ‘Ethnic Relations in Malaysia’.

Staff and students admiring the exhibits.

Staff and students admiring the exhibits.

The project was organised by Lecturer Rabikha Hasni from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS) as part and parcel of the students' assignment for the MPU3113/03 Hubungan Etnik course. It was designed to be a team effort of the students from different ethnic backgrounds to produce their final project photo and descriptive write-up.

On hand to present the award certificate to the winners at the Photo Exhibition was Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, the Dean of the School.

Dr Nagarajan (centre) with the winning teams.

Dr Nagarajan (centre) with the winning teams.

The Best Photo award was won by the Cendol Ais Kacang group for their excellent snapshot of a devotee carrying kavadi during the Thaipusam festival. The group members were Chew Chin Chai, Tan Hui Fen, Gangasri Buvaneswaran, Sumiyyah Zainul Abiddin and Lee Ling Hui.

Rabikha (right, foreground) views the Best Photo exihibit.

Rabikha (right, foreground) views the Best Photo exihibit.

The Orkids team who showcased a mixed marriage in pictures won for Best Creativity. Its members were Nur Rashada Abdul Mubarak, Mindy Ooi, Lim Ching Li, Nerroshini Manoraj and Jegatheswary Mani Kumar.

Orkids group photo exhibit on mixed marriages.

Orkids group photo exhibit on mixed marriages.

The Best Theme award went to Nasi Kandar who highlighted Sports Excellence in Malaysia and past football legends like Soh Chin Aun, Mokhtar Dahari and Arumugam. The team comprised of Lew Tze Wei, Yim Zhen Xian, Diwagar Ravi and Dhenaaratchagan Madiyalagan.

Two members of the Nasi Kandar group, which won Best Theme, explain their concept.

Two members of the Nasi Kandar group, which won Best Theme, explain their concept.

Fellow students and staff who visited the exhibition were enlightened about the local happenings through the photos and explanations offered.

University welcomes first batch of DBM students

WOU welcomed SPM school leavers to its newly introduced full-time Diploma in Business Management (DBM) programme during the inaugural March 2019 intake.

The inaugural batch of Diploma in Business Management students

The inaugural batch of Diploma in Business Management students

In his opening remarks at the orientation held at the main campus today, Chief Operating Officer/Registrar Yeong Sik Kheong motivated the students to set their vision higher, using their Diploma as a stepping stone towards obtaining a degree and other achievements.

He advised them to learn from their academic journey and university experience, adding that assignments, exams and interaction with fellow students can potentially serve as valuable lessons for later work life. “University is not just about studies and passing exams but preparing yourself to cope with the adult world.”

Yeong tells the students to value their learning experience at WOU.

Yeong tells the students to value their learning experience at WOU.

He reminded them that though the university environment is different from a school setting, they are expected to always respect the lecturers, administrators and the other staff of WOU. He also requested that they converse in English in the classroom and among themselves, declaring that it is rude to speak in dialects in mixed company.

He advised the new students to freely explore and ask questions, and to hone their soft skills for more effective learning. “You can gather the technical knowledge from the Internet but the interaction, communication, development of soft skills, finding out facts by yourself, doing research, learning how to get along, will make you stand out and prepare you for the future,” stressed Yeong.  

WOU Bursary Award recipients Nur Syaza and Clarissa (2nd and 3rd from right).

WOU Bursary Award recipients Nur Syaza and Clarissa (2nd and 3rd from right).

He later presented the WOU Bursary Award to two freshmen, Clarissa Koh and Nur Syaza Erina Muhammad Rafie, who enrolled with excellent SPM results, and informed all the new students that they can apply for the Merit Scholarship every semester if they do well.

Earlier, Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) marketing & admissions officer Sasikanth Mariappan welcomed the new students while PGRC director Ching Huey Ling introduced her team.

Ching introduces her team. At right is Sasikanth.

Ching introduces her team. At right is Sasikanth.

Freshman Karishma Abdullah, 19, from Convent Light Street, then led the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Among those who attended the orientation were School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, full-time programme coordinator Lilian Yap, and the academics.

Karishma leads in reciting the students’pledge.

Karishma leads in reciting the students’pledge.

 

 New Diploma in Business Management students share their aspirations

*Davinraj Gonaselan, 19
SMK King Edward VII, Taiping

dbm2019.photo1.jpg

“My cousin brother introduced me to WOU. He is pursuing a part-time business degree programme here. He told me about a new diploma programme at WOU since I was looking to study diploma. I came to inquire and straight away registered because I like the programme structure. I just have to take three subjects in the first semester, I can concentrate better.

“I am interested in business management and want to work in companies once I finish my degree after my diploma. I like the university environment and the lecturers are good.”

“I chose WOU as there are not many institutions like it in Taiping. Also, I have an uncle living in Penang.  I am renting an apartment with my cousin brothers in Batu Uban. Another cousin brother has enrolled for a full-time business degree programme at WOU in the May intake.”

His father has retired from working as a production worker and his mother is a school laboratory assistant. He is an only child.

*Clarissa Koh Hui Hsing, 20
SMK Bukit Jambul, Penang.

For achieving 9 As in SPM, she received the WOU Bursary Award of 100% off in total tuition fees.

She often passes by the main campus, and so is quite familiar with WOU. Her parents visited PGRC to inquire when they were in the vicinity and learnt about the new Diploma programme. They recommended her to enrol.

dbm2019.photo2.jpg

“I chose WOU as it is in Penang, so close to home, and affordable. I want a career in investment or business. After my diploma, I will likely continue with a degree here.

 “At WOU, I hope to overcome my stage fright and be able to give presentations smoothly. Being in a small classroom will make it easier for to overcome this fear. I wish to pick up business-oriented skills as I plan to open up my own business in future, depending on what is suitable for the market then. ”

Her father works as a Human Resources Director in Singapore, and her mother is a homemaker. She has an older brother pursuing his degree at UTAR, Kampar.

 

Nur Syaza Erina Muhammad Rafie, 18
SMK (P) St George, Penang

She was rewarded with the WOU Bursary Award of 50% off on tuition fees for her 8 As in SPM.

dbm2019.photo3.jpg

“My aunt mentioned WOU to me. She knows a staff here who said that WOU is offering a new diploma programme. So I came to inquire with my parents, and immediately enrolled.”

“I prefer to do Diploma than STPM as I feel it would be easier for me. I enrolled at WOU, mainly because of the reasonable price and I can afford it. I did compare with a few colleges in Penang and found WOU to be cheaper. I also like the atmosphere here.

“I find business management to be an interesting field. I hope to learn how to manage a business, financial-wise, and the people. The lecturers are all very nice and everything is good.

“For my career, I would like to work in Human Resources. I understand that WOU is offering a full-time HR Management degree, and I want to continue with that.”

Her father works as an Assistant Manager in a freight forwarding company in Penang and her mum is a homemaker. She has three younger brothers in school.

Getting quality sleep with good sleep hygiene

Limiting afternoon naps to 20 minutes, exercising, and avoiding stimulants and certain foods will contribute to a good night sleep, with the best quality sleep derived from 10.00pm to 4.00am when the night is at its darkest.

Dr Irfhan explains why it is important to get enough hours of sleep every day.

Dr Irfhan explains why it is important to get enough hours of sleep every day.

Penang Hospital consultant chest physician Dr Irfhan Ali Hyder Ali was speaking at a public talk on ‘Sleep and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea’ held at the main campus today, organised by WOU’s School of Humanities & Social Sciences and Human Resources Department. He elaborated that the melatonin spike that helps people sleep better occurs between 10.00pm and 4.00am.

He stated that obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and other sleep problems can be detected with an electroencephalogram (EEG) which records brain activity when sleeping.

He shared on the two main types of sleep, the rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep. “REM sleep occurs 90 minutes after sleep, and it is when your eyes start to move a lot and is associated with dreams. People awakened from REM sleep report very vivid and sometimes bizarre dreams, but once they go back to sleep and wake up the next morning, they cannot remember.”

Part of the audience at the talk.

Part of the audience at the talk.

In REM sleep, the brain is very active but all the muscles in the body, except for the heart and lungs, are paralysed to prevent you from ‘acting out’ your dreams, Dr Irfhan added. “You go into very deep sleep, the muscles behind the neck become flaccid and you start snoring. The airways can easily completely collapse and cause sleep apnoea.”

He said people go through 5 stages of sleep, and they are NREM sleep Stages 1 to 4, and REM sleep. “In the first 10 minutes, people can be woken up easily. In the next stage, 10-20 minutes after sleep, you will know when you are awakened, and when the phone rings you become fully alert and can engage in conversation without the other person knowing you were asleep.”

Sharing about the beginning of sleep.

Sharing about the beginning of sleep.

He highlighted that in Stages 3 and 4 (30-45 minutes after sleep), you sleep through noises and movements without any reaction, and if awakened, you will feel groggy for the first few minutes.

Dr Irfhan recommended taking afternoon naps of not more than 20 minutes to feel refreshed and alert, with anything longer making you lazy and lethargic.

He said sleep hygiene must be considered before any diagnosis of OSA. He listed sleep hygiene tips like limiting daytime naps to 20 minutes, avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime, exercising, avoiding heavy meals or rich foods before sleep, and ensuring a pleasant sleep environment.


Describing the five stages of sleep.

Describing the five stages of sleep.

He highlighted that in OSA, gravity and muscle relaxation during sleep allows the tongue to fall back into the throat area and obstruct air flow. “There will be loud snoring and then very quiet when the tongue completely collapses. The person stops breathing followed by sudden gasps.”

He said sleep apnoea occurs when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more and has at least a 4% drop in oxygen in the blood, while the less severe hypopnoea is a decrease in breathing. Factors like male, obese, age, alcohol, race and familial history, can influence the incidence of OSA, he remarked.

Dr Irfhan pointed out that OSA can be diagnosed with a sleep study to measure the apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI), which shows how many times per hour a person stopped breathing. “An AHI of less than 5 is mild, 5-15 is moderate, 15-30 is severe, and more than 30 is very severe.”

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

He said people do not stop breathing and die from OSA but that it can lead to complications like hypertension, declaring that stroke is the leading cause of death in OSA patients, while other effects are increased insulin resistance, snoring, depression, and heart attack.

During Q &A, he responded that most OSA episodes occur when a person sleeps supine as then there is more chance for the airways to be blocked.

Amazing race ala WOU!

Forty students from four institutions of higher learning participated in the inaugural WOUmazing Race held at the main campus today.

AmazingRace2019.pix1.jpg

The institutions were WOU; Stradford International College, Prai; InfoGenius Skills Training Centre, Gelugor; and Institut Wawasan, Kulim. Each institution was represented by two teams with 5 members per team.

The students warmed-up with a zumba workout led by Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) marketing & admissions officer Robin Cheah Kai Yang before teaming up for the games.

Students gather in the field before the start of the event.

Students gather in the field before the start of the event.

The participants sportingly challenged each other in four station games, with 10 minutes allotted per station.  The games needed speed, precision, memory and teamwork as marks were accorded for completion of the different activities and tasks.

Blindfolded student, navigating the maze of cups, guided by her team members.

Blindfolded student, navigating the maze of cups, guided by her team members.

In the Mind Your Mines game, one member, blindfolded, must navigate between overturned paper cups to collect the labelled cups in the maze, guided by his/her team members.  The Tower of Breath game required participants to blow balloons placed inside cups to carry and build a 4-storey tower (10 cups), without using their hands.

Using a blown up balloon to build a tower of paper cups.

Using a blown up balloon to build a tower of paper cups.

As for Find Your Pearls, participants were asked to remember a sequence flashed to them for 5 seconds, and then to arrange cards according to the sequence, and also answer a mathematics question.

A Wet Kangaroo saw participants get into a sack, hop to collect balloons filled with water using their mouths, and bring them back to the starting point. The team must collect as many balloons as possible.

Hop to the table in a gunny sack and pick up water-filled balloons with one’s mouth.

Hop to the table in a gunny sack and pick up water-filled balloons with one’s mouth.

Info Genius Team A emerged as champions and they were presented with 5 entry tickets to The Top Komtar by PGRC director Ching Huey Ling. The all-girl Emcee Stradfordian team came in as runner-up and received 5 entry tickets to Entopia for their effort, and in third place was WOU Team B who won 5 entry tickets to Magic World Phantamania.

Thumbs up to the runners-up from Stradford. At right is PGRC director Ching Huey Ling.

Thumbs up to the runners-up from Stradford. At right is PGRC director Ching Huey Ling.

The event was organised by PGRC together with the Full-time Student Council committee members.

The students had a fun time, after which they munched and quenched their thirst, thanks to the food trucks and stalls selling a variety of Western dishes, Indian foods, laksa, cendol, kuih, ice cream and drinks.

The participants pose in front the majestic campus building with the organsing committee and helpers.

The participants pose in front the majestic campus building with the organsing committee and helpers.