Taylor's University Launches New, Interactive Massive Open Online Courses

New Interactive xMOOCs Set to Revolutionise Education

Taylor’s University launched a series of new, interactive Massive Open Online Courses, known as xMOOCs, to allow young learners from both local and international community, access to customised Taylor’s classes at anywhere, anytime, for free. The event was launched at its lakeside campus with the Minister of Education II, YB Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh in attendance.

Taylor’s University, which rolled out the first two MOOCs in Malaysia and Asia in March 2013, is introducing six new MOOCs. These range from entrepreneurship, bio-sciences, business skills, mobile computing to culinary knowledge, with no admissions requirements. All the MOOCs are offered through a platform known as OpenLearning.com.

Speaking at the MOOCs launch, Taylor’s University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan Said explained, “As a university that values excellence in teaching and learning practices, we have embarked on initiatives that make use of the e-learning platforms. MOOCs is a natural extension of our e-learning initiatives. The courses not only make learning interactive, but interesting for today’s generation who appreciates flexible learning.”

Taylor’s MOOCs are categorized as xMOOCs as they promote two-ways communications through discussions and forums between the students and facilitators. In another words, students can obtain immediate feedback on their progress as well as share ideas and experiences with other students.

YB Dato’ Idris Jusoh commended Taylor’s University as a leader in education, for taking the bold move to being the first to launch the MOOC programme back in 2013. “The Ministry of Education is committed to promoting more efficient and equitable education to transform the country into a knowledge-based nation. This includes making full use of modern digital technologies to make learning delivery more effective and accessible. Thus, I am confident that MOOC could take us one significant step forward as we strive for ever greater innovation for the nation, and I wish the Taylor’s team every success in this endeavour and continue to lead the nation in MOOC,” said YB Dato’ Idris further in his speech.

“Taylor’s MOOCs are ‘mini’ courses designed to offer a taste of what students may experience in a university’s programme and they are not recreations of Taylor’s undergraduate courses. What sets Taylor’s MOOCs apart from other courses in Malaysia would be the dynamic and interactive delivery method to support a more meaningful learning experience,” said Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan.

In addition, Taylor’s University sets its MOOCs apart by incorporating authentic Asian and Malaysian content with the aim of building of a learning community locally. The university has also opted to use Asian speakers for its MOOCs and even incorporated the latest crowd funding concept for a real life learning experience in one of its latest MOOC courses.

The newly launched MOOC range from five weeks to 27 weeks, and learners will review the lesson in the form of video, PDF or Powerpoint slides, and participate in the course activities such as forums, discussions, quizzes or practices, in order to receive a certificate of completion. All that’s required of students is an Internet connection, along with time to read, watch instructional videos, work on problems and discuss the material,” added Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan.

The first two pilot MOOCs – “Entrepreneurship” and “Achieve Success With Emotional Intelligence”, led by Taylor’s School of Engineering, were launched in March 2013 and were conducted over a period of 14 weeks. Taylor’s inaugural ‘Entrepreneurship’ MOOC has garnered a strong response with a total of 2,337 sign ups from participants globally, of which 600 of them had successfully completed the module. The completion rate is four times higher than the global average completion rate.

The launch of Taylor’s University’s inaugural MOOCs in March 2013 has led the university to design new and improved courses. The success garnered by its pilot courses has boosted Taylor’s University’s confidence to use technology to strengthen its position as a driver of education excellence.

“Another primary goal in offering MOOCs is to give our faculty the opportunity to explore new delivery methods through the use of technology. It has been exciting to observe how creatively faculty members teaching our first two MOOCs have reached out to both local students and learners around the world,” said Prof Hassan at the launch.

With two MOOCs successfully completed, Taylor’s has launched six more MOOCs, titled “Biosciences – Journey To The Cell”, “Wonderful Style of Food and Beverages Around The World”, “Engineering Future Innovation and The Future of Humankind”, “Mobile Game Development With Game Salad”“A Business Journey With Caffeine Cafe” and “Global Entrepreneurship”.

The introduction of MOOCs is also part of Taylor’s long-term mission to transform the manner in which the University imparts learning and knowledge to its students through blended learning. Through the blended learning approach, Taylor’s students are able to utilise virtual learning material and collaborative learning tools, allowing them the opportunity to expand their learning experience beyond the classroom.

“We are hoping that through these MOOCs, students will be able to learn collaboratively at anytime, anywhere. Also through these courses, we hope to continue to raise the bar for higher education in Malaysia,” said Professor Dato’ Dr. Hassan.

More MOOCs will be rolled out in phases over the next six months. For more information or to enroll in any of the Taylor’s MOOCs, visit www.openlearning.com.