Letters to the Editor



Firstly, on behalf of the tutors, I am happy to hear that there is a channel for our voices to be heard. Congratulations!

I taught a new subject called “English Across Time and Space” last semester. Basically, a teething problem that I noticed is that the learners cannot download modules and questions on this subject. Apart from that, I have some difficulty assessing the TSDAS Digital Library.

I sincerely hope that OUM will quickly look into this matter for the sake of its learners.

Thank you.

Khaliah Abdul Karim
Melaka Learning Centre

There is no module for the course “English Across Time and Space”. We use textbooks and a study guide for the course. That might be the reason why you could not download the module. We did, however, face a hiccup with myLMS early last semester which caused a delay in materials being uploaded. Our apologies for that.

Dr David CL Lim
Programme Manager, Bachelor and Master of English Studies

All users who can access myLMS should be able to access the library. You may not be able to use the digital library if you open the library URL directly. Instead, you should access the library from myLMS. Once the iPortal has been fully loaded, please choose the databases in “Online Databases”. Remember to click Off Campus Access to start using them. Please do not hesitate to contact me at munawar@oum.edu. my should you have more enquiries.

Ahmad Munawar Mohmad Anuar
Librarian, TSDAS Digital Library


I teach Public Speaking at OUM and have read a few TCX issues in the past.

Basically, I feel that this newsletter is indeed useful to tutors. They can gain knowledge and experience through the sharing of ideas and opinions.

Keep it up!

Chanthravalli a/p Karuppiah
Kuantan Learning Centre


As a channel to share views, TCX is indeed a good effort.

As an English tutor, I find the content quite informative with a lot of contributions from OUM tutors throughout the country. The topics discussed are wide ranging and I get to know about the experiences of other tutors.

Among other things, I get to learn the dos and don’ts of being a good tutor. I have yet to share my own experience and I am looking forward to doing so in the near future.


Rajentharan a/l Subbiah
Melaka Learning Centre


Ive been teaching mathematics (for example, SBMA 4303: Basic Mechanics) at OUM for almost 8 years. Generally, I feel that the university is well-equipped and the staff support is satisfactory.

However, I am somewhat surprised by recent changes in the assessment of learners. In the past, there were many quizzes and tests spread throughout the semester for the learners to assess their specific knowledge. In my opinion, this is a great way to evaluate learners and motivate them to study. Quizzes and tests contribute positively to learners, in that they depend more on the modules, making them read the modules instead of just glancing through them.

Yet around last year, this form of assessment was phased out and replaced with one coursework. Our learners (especially the adult ones) tend to study at the very last minute. So if you give them only one coursework rather than a number of assessments, this will only encourage their bad habit. If they get through their coursework, they will feel contented as if they have learnt everything. Consequently, they will read less and even skip classes. Hence, there will be no continuous learning, which is vital for maths and I believe for other subjects as well.

Basically, everybody can get a degree. However, a tutors role is not only to create graduates but to ensure that learners gain knowledge and improve their thinking skills (particularly critical thinking). This can be achieved by having a series of quizzes, tests and assignments.

Mohd Noh Abdul Rahim
Melaka Learning Centre

We appreciate your comments regarding the role of tutors and your suggestions regarding quizzes and tests. We share the view that quizzes and tests are useful to evaluate learners knowledge and motivate them to study. It was with this in mind that OUM has (since its inception) included quizzes and tests as an important component of the coursework assessment for many courses offered in our degree and diploma programmes.

Notwithstanding the merits, the manner in which quizzes and tests was conducted over the years had been found wanting, lacking control and transparency and generally open to abuse. From the reports received and a study following that, it was found that quizzes and particularly tests in a number of learning centres were administered without proper monitoring and without adherence to proper examination procedures.

We also established that it was problematic to conduct tests and quizzes in an examination-controlled setting in many learning centres due to the unavailability of suitable rooms, lack of staff to assist with invigilation, and difficulties with scheduling and logistics. Tests were largely held in tutorial rooms immediately after a tutorial with students sitting close to each other.

There were two tests for many courses which were supposed to be held fortnightly. However, due to time constraints and student numbers, these tests were held weekly and sometimes back-to-back in some learning centres. This leaves the students with little time to study. There were occasions too where students who did not sit for a quiz or test on a scheduled date were arbitrarily given replacements and sometimes the same test questions. Given the situation, there were reports and frequent complaints from students of alleged copying among students, poor monitoring and a lackadaisical attitude when conducting the tests. In short, lack of transparency was a major problem.

Mention of the above is not intended to cast every learning centre in a negative light. Far from it, quizzes and tests in many of them were run by tutors professionally. However, the increase in the number of complaints every semester, despite remedial efforts taken by us, tended to reflect negatively on the transparency in the conduct of quizzes.

For these reasons, OUM decided to gradually phase out tests and quizzes and replace them with the midsemester examination which accounts for about 25% of the overall assessment marks. Like the tests, the mid-semester examination also compels students to study their modules carefully if they intend to do well in the examination and the courses. Since the May 2009 semester, the mid-semester and final examination for a number of courses have been set in the MCQ format. Eventually, we hope that all faculties will comply with the MCQ format when setting the examination papers.

We hope this answers your query. Thank you for writing and for your contribution to our teaching programme.

Teoh Beng Kuan
Deputy General Manager,
Assessment & Examination Department

We welcome letters from our readers on any issue that may be of concern to you. Please e-mail us at tcx@oum.edu.my

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If I want my learners to succeed in their studies, I should guide them to:

Think outside the box by being more open-minded about new knowledge
Apply their knowledge and experience to solve problems in the classroom
Understand the art of learning and memorise the relevant facts
Think for themselves on what suits them best in their studies
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