KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) today announced the launch of 60 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by 20 public universities in Malaysia. All the courses are available for free, and are now open for enrolment by students at these universities and members of the public.

The courses encompass a wide selection of topics ranging from Business, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Healthcare, Languages, Technology and many more. All courses are available for free on OpenLearning,com, which is the official MOOC platform for all public institutions of higher education in Malaysia. Courses are delivered primarily in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Arabic, depending on the topic or subject matter.

Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the launch is a major milestone in the Government’s commitment in leveraging technologies like MOOCs and innovations such as blended learning to ensure that students have a transformative learning experience.

” A blended learning approach combines online and in-class activities, moving away from passive lectures to more active learning, which results in better learning outcomes," he said, noting thatShift 9 of the Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint 2015-2025 speaks of ‘Globalised Online Learning’ as a key focus for the Ministry in building and exporting Malaysia’s global education brand.

Malaysia is the first country in the world to implement a nationwide strategy that integrates MOOCs with on-campus university classes. Public universities will develop MOOCs on core modules and students from the 20 public universities will participate in those courses through OpenLearning’s social learning platform. The OpenLearning platform promotes student autonomy and helps to foster a community of students who engage and motivate each other throughout the course.

With today’s announcement, there are now 64 MOOCs available to students in public universities, a significant step forward since the launch of 4 MOOCs in September last year, with more to come. To date, over 75,000 students from all twenty universities have enrolled in MOOCs on OpenLearning.

The Malaysian e-Learning Council for Public Universities (MEIPTA - Majlis Ketua-ketua Penyelaras e-Pembelajaran IPTA) plays a key role in assisting MOHE in ensuring the success of online learning (e-learning) in Malaysia. "MEIPTA plays an important role in the successful deployment of Malaysia MOOCs in terms of the platform being used, e-content development as well as the training provided for their delivery. For the 1st semester 2015 beginning this September, a total of 60 Malaysia MOOCs will be deployed and we expect that the number of enrollment will exceed 200,000 students thus meeting the requirement set forth by the recently launched Malaysia Education Blueprint (Higher Education)." said Professor Dr. Hanafi Atan, Chairman of MEIPTA. All 20 public universities in Malaysia are members of MEIPTA, which coordinates strategic programs and implementation of online learning for public universities.

The government aims to teach 15 per cent of all public university courses online as MOOCs by the end of 2015. This will increase to 30 per cent of all university courses by the year 2020. The continued growth in MOOCs in Malaysia is part of the Ministry of Higher Education’s strategic plan to increase the quality and accessibility of higher education.

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