Using technology to transform higher education in Malaysia

 |   Sugriiva Paramasivam

k

Equipped with the key tech tools for business, Universiti Sains Islam (USIM) is transforming its campus for students and lecturers alike. Course content, lectures and assignments are now managed from a central hub, and the university is also able to access updated curricula and experience faster resolution of IT challenges. Because of its digital transformation, USIM is looking forward to its tech-focused future.

Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) is a fully federal government owned Islamic university based in Malaysia. With more than 12,000 students and 723 faculty members, USIM runs programmes focused on science, technology, management and more, taking a unique and holistic approach to uniting the revelational (naqli) and rational (aqli) sciences.

 

Recognizing the need to improve its offering to both students and staff, USIM introduced Microsoft Imagine Academy, Office 365, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams to its campus. USIM’s lecturers had begun looking for a way to access the latest curriculum on Microsoft office; at the same time, lecturers needed a better way to both manage assignments and communicate with students.

Due to the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education’s subscription to the Enrollment for Education Solutions License Program, USIM can now take advantage of a host of Microsoft solutions – all at zero cost. Recently, the university embraced a sweeping digital transformation strategy designed to leverage the immense value of digital platforms and position it for future growth.  Specifically, USIM wanted to provide personalized and interactive experiences to its stakeholders. It also sought to gather and analyze data to gain insight into stakeholder behaviour, as well as improve enrollment in its programs.

Story image 3

A future-forward approach

‘Students can now self-learn about web or mobile applications, as well as ecommerce websites, which are the tech tools for businesses,’ notes Khadijah Chamili, Deputy Director of USIM’s Information Technology Division. ‘Lecturers can also get resources from Imagine Academy and use them in face-to-face learning.’

More than this, Microsoft solutions are helping USIM’s IT department solve user challenges more efficiently, reducing the IT team’s need to travel between buildings to assist users on campus. ‘Our IT team is always updated with the latest information,’ notes Chamili. ‘But Microsoft Imagine Academy isn’t just for IT.’

Mohd Ilias M. Shuhud, a lecturer at USIM currently completing his PhD, emphasizes the ways in which Microsoft is helping make him a more effective educator. ‘When I get to class, I log on and open Microsoft Teams. All the students do the same. This is because all my materials – for example, slides, videos, exercises, assignments – are uploaded in Microsoft Teams. I can make announcements, use a chat program for private consultations, check assignments, and share learning materials. After class, students can reach me through Microsoft Teams too.’

Yet the benefits extend further. With Microsoft solutions, USIM’s lecturers and IT staff can now also master Microsoft Office’s high-level functionality through Microsoft Imagine Academy, while Lecturers are able to use Microsoft Imagine Academy’s IT Infrastructure, Data Science and Computer Science curriculum to teach their students. IT Administrators can communicate with users in other buildings via Skype for Business while students also get to use Windows 10 Education and Office 2016 on their own devices.

Deputy Director Chamili is emphatic about the result: “Everyone can benefit.“

Students can now self-learn about the tech tools for businesses … while lecturers can get resources from Microsoft Imagine Academy and use them in face-to-face learning. Microsoft Imagine Academy isn’t just for IT. Everyone can benefit.

Khadijah Chamili: Deputy Director, Information Technology Division, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia