Letters to the Editor


I occasionally read TCX and I find the articles good with lots of discussions.

Nevertheless , I feel that the newsletter does not cater to all tutors because it focuses too much on online teaching. Although I am aware that online learning and technology play an important role at OUM, I believe that TCX should expand on what goes on in the dissemination of content knowledge as well.

As an English tutor, I would like to contribute articles relating to this type of knowledge, such as "How to develop a critical reader". In fact, I am sure there are tutors who have a similar interest.

Hence , TCX can be further improved by giving room to content-based teaching.

Kalminderjit Kaur A/P Gurcharan Singh
Negeri Sembilan Learning Centre

Dear Kalminderjit,

Essentially TCX takes a broad-based approach that reaches out to all tutors irrespective of discipline but that does not mean we cannot have discipline-specific write-ups, be they content or skills related. So yes, do send in your article for consideration; we would be very happy indeed!

TCX Editor


Although TCX has been in circulation for some time, contributions from tutors seem lacking. Perhaps, most tutors find it unimportant or are even unaware that it exists. This is unfortunate because tutors should fully utilize the newsletter as a channel to air their views and opinions.

Here, I would like to make a few recommendations. Firstly, there should be more promotion on TCX. Learning centres should be in the loop and the Directors should occasionally identify tutors to contribute articles and stories about their teaching experience. Next, TCX could increase readership by creating columns for various fields, for instance, education, management and so on.

Thank you.

Abd Razak Mohd Yusoff
Negeri Sembilan Learning Centre

Dear Abd Razak

Many thanks for writing in. While there has not been an avalanche, there has nonetheless been a steady flow of contributions from OUM tutors from across the country, including those roped in by the directors of learning centres. TCX is distributed in the PDF format by email to all internal staff and external tutors each time a new issue is released, so there should not be any problems with access. In case our target readership accidentally deletes the email, there is always the TCX website serving as backup. Your suggestion regarding discipline-specific columns is great - do send us an article or two to kick-start the column!

TCX Editor


Currently, I am teaching Consumer Behaviour and one of the complaints that I hear from learners relates to their dissatisfaction with the multiple-choice question (MCQ) format for the mid-term and final exams.

As a tutor, I know that it is beyond my power to change the assessment format at OUM. Yet, I feel that at the degree level, essay-type questions may be more appropriate to assess knowledge and understanding. With the latter, learners may feel more confident with the quality of evaluation at OUM and this may help in retaining them as learners.

Mahadir Ibrahim
Mentakab Learning Centre

Dear Mahadir,

You will be pleased to know that new assessment structures will be introduced from the January 2011 semester. Faculties will have the latitude to adopt particular combinations of formats to suit the kinds of courses that are offered. Contrary to popular misconception, MCQ tests, which are among the available formats, are no poor cousin to essay- type questions; they are considered by educationists as the strongest predictor of learner performance in comparison to other instruments.

Prof Dr Shaari Abd Hamid
Deputy Vice President,
Institute of Teaching and Learning Advancement (ITLA)


I have not been tutoring at OUM for some time and only recently did I become a tutor again. I find the system of tutoring different compared to the past.

Currently, face-to-face tutors are no longer interacting with their learners online. Instead, learners are assigned different tutors known as e-tutors. I believe this new system is causing hardship to learners. Perhaps we can have two forums: one with the e-tutor and another with their actual face-to-face tutor?

Jennifer Duarte
Perak Learning Centre

Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for your query. OUM introduced e-tutors as it was found that a significant number of face-to-face tutors who were tasked to lead online discussions either did not show up online (either because they were too busy or did not enjoy online facilitation), or were inadequately equipped to handle online discussions in a way that added value to learners' learning. E-tutors are trained to actively engage learners in online discussions (see the features in this issue for more on the topic). We are happy to share that, a result of the new e-tutor system, the quality of online discussions has improved. This is particularly helpful to learners residing in areas where it is difficult to source for locally-based qualified and experienced tutors. In addition, as a result of pooling learners into larger discussion forums moderated by proactive e-tutors, learners are mingling more with their peers, leading to better quality peer learning. Of course, none of this should deter face-to-face tutors from keeping in touch with their learners by email or other means for updates or even side discussions

Prof Dr Shaari Abd Hamid
Deputy Vice President,
Institute of Teaching and Learning Advancement (ITLA)

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