Five Minutes with YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor, By Dr David Lim
Dr David Lim (DL): In August 2019, Open University Malaysia [OUM] launched the Azman Hashim Chair in E-Learning and announced the appointment of Prof Dr Rozhan M. Idrus as the inaugural Chair. What can you tell us about the Chair and the motivations behind its creation?
YBhg Prof Dato’ Dr Mansor Fadzil (DM): Since our founding almost two decades ago, OUM has been a key driver of open and distance education, particularly e-learning, in Malaysia. From the outset, we have leveraged on technology to enable learners to conveniently partake in lifelong learning, and we now want to take this commitment to the next level. The creation of the endowed Chair in E-Learning is for us a momentous step. The Chair is a professorial position created to attract the best scholars to serve as the University's intellectual beacon where e-learning is concerned. It is named after our Pro Chancellor, YBhg Tan Sri Azman Hashim. Renowned for his commitment to education and lifelong learning, Tan Sri Azman has personally and generously endowed RM1 million to support the Chair's activities. There were some very strong applicants for the inaugural Chair. We are pleased, in the end, to welcome Prof Rozhan on board to lead with his distinguished teaching and research experience.
DL:What are the professional expectations of the Chair in E-Learning?
DM: As a senior academic and expert in the field, the Chair is well placed to provide leadership in maintaining oversight of short-range e-learning opportunities and emerging long-range trends. As well, he will lead OUM academics in conducting research on myriad areas related to the advancement of e-learning. Areas of interest include but are not limited to e-learning instruction and competencies, learning design and faculty development, technology infrastructure and adoption, e-learner support and retention, and assessment and evaluation.
“The creation of the endowed Chair in E-Learning is for us a momentous step. The Chair is a professorial position created to attract the best scholars to serve as the University's intellectual beacon where e-learning is concerned.”
DL: The Azman Hashim Chair in E-Learning was simultaneously launched with OUM's Fully Online Programmes in August 2019. How are the two related?
DM: : In phases, existing OUM academic programmes are being introduced in full online mode. A majority of courses under each of these Fully Online Programmes will leverage exclusively on digital tools and online interactions with peers and tutors without the encumbrance of attending face-to-face classes. The Fully Online mode of programme delivery and the Chair in E-Learning are part of OUM's initiative to deepen and widen e-learning practices. For the former to work effectively, it is crucial that our academic staff are given opportunities to gain a firm grasp of the theoretical and practical aspects of e-learning as it unfolds locally and globally today. Here, then, is where the Chair comes in. The Chair will lead OUM academics in learning the intricacies of e-learning, and he will lead them in researching and publishing in the area. These will then feed back into enhancing the University's e-learning practices.
DL: Exciting times are indeed here. Thank you, Dato' for
DM: :Thank you, David.