Increasing Learner Engagement in an ODL Environment: The OUM Experience

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Corporate Author
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // Open University Malaysia (OUM) is an open and distance learning institution which has been in operation for about two decades. OUM traditionally offers its programs in blended mode which puts emphasis on self-managed learning, face-to-face, and online learning. OUM had already begun to offer some of its programmes fully online. However, the emergence of Covid-19 Pandemic pushed OUM to make the move to offer all of its programmes fully online. The movement control order in March of 2020 came when OUM was well into the January semester and approaching the end of the semester. Face-to-face classes scheduled at all OUM’s thirty-five learning centres around the country came to a halt. All higher education institutions were ordered to shut down. Quick actions had to be taken to minimise the disruption in teaching and learning. OUM had only one choice, to continue with classes online and have the final exams online. It has been two years since, and OUM has moved forward with the transition to fully online and continues to offer all its programmes fully online. OUM continues to strive to provide quality education and positive online learning experiences to the learners. This called for several initiatives and enhancements in e-learning which include the use of e-lessons, online interactive activities, online tutorials, online grade book, online group discussions, online exams, along with an enhanced question bank, online grading system and proctoring system. This paper focuses on the implementation, challenges and use of one of the initiatives: the introduction and use of online class participation (OCP) via group discussions, with the intent to increase student engagement with their peers. Improving and increasing learner engagement in all three areas as proposed by the Community of Inquiry Model (Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2000)) may contribute towards providing learners with a rewarding learning experience and may help student retention. Currently at OUM, although there are efforts in place to allow for learner engagement with the content and tutors, there is a lack of peer interaction taking place online in OUM’s learning management system, myInspire. The initial observations and results of a learner survey on OCP show positive response overall to OCP. // Paper ID 0631

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Online Learning,Pedagogy