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Open Education, Looking at the Bigger Picture

17 May, 2017
6:30 pm
- 8:00 pm


In this talk, Professor Tham Choy Yoong will set the stage by giving the current state of play with respect to open education and briefly tracing its historical development. Building from this back ground he will examine open education’s role in contributing to a changing society towards sustainable development. In 2015 the international community, under UNESCO, adopted a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A key SDG is the global education agenda (SDG4 – Education 2030) which calls to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Prof Tham will examine the points in the 2015 Incheon Declaration and its accompanying Framework for Action. This document spelt out the action plan in detail to achieve SDG4. Looking at the latest trends in open education, Prof Tham will then discuss the OER and MOOC (massive open online courses) landscape and proposals to apply these to address the main problems which may hinder the role of open education in achieving the global education agenda. The proposals will touch on issues of telecommunication infrastructures, its accessibility and cost, accreditation of skills and competencies, ultimately market response and employability will be examined. The conclusion will look at the expectation of the international community on how developed countries can provide the leadership in this endeavour.

With Distinguished Speaker, Professor Tham Choy Yoong

Former Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia

Tham Choy Yoong’s career spans across industry, business and academia. He began his involvement in tertiary education, particularly in the area of science and engineering, in various capacities since 1995 while he was working in industry. He had acted as external examiner and member of academic quality validation panel for franchised British university programmes in Malaysia. He still serves as a member of the industrial advisory panel of and external programme assessor for such programmes offered by a college in Penang.

After graduating from the University of Malaya in 1973, for 10 years he worked in the public sector, then in industry, followed by another 14½ years operating his own engineering consultancy business. As employer, he gained insight into the training and education of graduate level manpower. He was founding dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Science, Tunku Abdul Rahman University, Kuala Lumpur where he had spent 6 years, and dean, School of Engineering and Science, Wawasan Open University, Penang. He retired as Professor and acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of this institution in 2013. Choy Yoong received the PhD in electrical and electronic engineering from Swansea University in 2000 and spent 3½ years as postdoctoral academic staff in the University of Cambridge working in astrophysics. his current interests include open resources, software development, applications and policy issues in open education.


Co-Author: Dr Ishan Abeywardena

Adviser, Open Educational Resources, Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver, Canada

Dr Ishan Abeywardena joined the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) on January 1, 2016 as the Adviser on Open Educational Resources (OER) in the field of International Development. In this capacity, Dr Abeywardena works with governments, institutions and organizations throughout the Commonwealth assisting them with OER policy development; strategic implementation of OER nationally and institutionally; capacity building in OER reuse and repurposing; and course material development.

Prior to joining COL, Dr Abeywardena was the Director of International Academic Relations and Acting Director of the National Online Distance Education Service (NODES) at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) for a period of one year. He served as a Senior Lecturer in Information Technology at Wawasan Open University (WOU), Penang, Malaysia from 2009 to 2013 and later headed the School of Science and Technology at WOU as the Deputy Dean from 2013 to 2014. Before joining academia, Dr Abeywardena had held several key technical positions in the UK IT industry. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from University of Malaya, Malaysia; two Masters Degrees in Engineering Management and Wireless Enterprise Business Systems from Brunel University, UK; and a BSc in Computer Science from Bangalore University, India. Dr Abeywardena is also a member of several professional bodies within the technology industry. A computer scientist by training, he has keen research interests in Educational Technology, OER, eLearning, MOOC, ODL and mobile application development.


17 May, 2017
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


The HEAD Foundation
20 Upper Circular Road The Riverwalk #02-21 058416 Singapore + Google Map


The HEAD Foundation
+ 65 6672 6160