Wednesday, 22 February 2012

UTM-MIT to help government make science and mathematics more innovative and interesting.

Prof. Larson (second from left) answering question from audiences

SKUDAI, 20 September: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will provide programmes to assist the government make science and mathematics education more innovative and interesting.

Vice Chancellor Professor Datuk Ir Dr Zaini Ujang said, the programme, known as Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math (BLOSSOMS) will be led by Professor Richard Larson, founding Director of the Center for Engineering System Fundamentals.

He is also founding Director of Learning International Networks Consortium (LINC) and Principal Investigator of Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math. (BLOSSOMS) at MIT.

MIT, a world renowned university and most advanced in technology has worked with UTM to develop BLOSSOMS Center in UTM.

UTM and MIT will make recommendations to the government to create programmes that would attract more students in this country to choose the subjects of science and mathematics.

Professor Larson is ready to offer his expertise to assist the government create programmes in order to produce more students who are interested in both fields.

UTM and MIT are also in discussions to organize a summer camp at the MIT next year and UTM the following year involving students from around the world.

To strengthen relations between both institutions, UTM and MIT have established research collaboration involving 10 UTM academic staff to pursue studies at PhD and post doctoral level at MIT.

Professor Larson will also present action plans to establish BLOSSOMS at UTM before Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah.

UMS chancellor announces partnership to double IT grads in 4 years

University of Maine System Chancellor Richard L. Pattenaude addresses the 125th Legislature on Wednesday.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The chancellor of the University of Maine System announced Wednesday a new partnership with Maine businesses designed to double the number of graduates in computer and information sciences over the next four years.

Richard Pattenaude announced the formation of the University-Business Information Technology and Computer Science Partnership in his State of the University address to the Legislature.
“Maine business leaders are concerned about the number of computer science, information science and information management graduates coming out of our universities,” he told lawmakers. “These graduates are particularly critical because in this information age and in our changing economy, these skills are essential to all businesses — small and large, north and south, current and emerging.”
The chancellor said that some of the state’s large employers — including Wright Express, Hannaford, TD Bank, Unum, Idexx and Maine Medical Center — expect to see a significant shortfall of Maine graduates with degrees in computer science, information science and information management as their organizations grow and as employees retire.
“A rough estimate is that we will have to double the number of graduates from the current 50 to 60 per year to meet the long-term needs,” Pattenaude said. “If we don’t, it will stifle business expansion and will negatively impact business location decisions. And it will constrain business activity statewide.”
Pattenaude said the concern was raised by Mike Dubyak, president and CEO of Wright Express, a technology-intensive company with more than 500 Maine employees. Dubyak will co-chair the effort to implement a plan this fall to double the number of graduates in the field.
“UMS has computer science or information technology programs on five of our seven campuses,” the chancellor continued. “Much good work is being done. We are told that our graduates are of high quality, but there just aren’t enough of them.”
Pattenaude said the system would be working with high schools to recruit students interested in computer technology into programs on campuses in Orono, Fort Kent, Augusta, Farmington and Portland. Campuses at Machias and Presque Isle do not have IT programs, the chancellor said after his speech.
“We’re going to be looking at creating some specialized scholarships to attract more students into the programs, evaluating reallocating funds internally and asking for support from business,” he said in a telephone interview.
Pattenaude also told lawmakers that the system has made great strides in cutting back expensesto help offset a $43 million deficit brought on by the now-recovering economy. Although it has become more efficient, the seven-campus system still lacks sufficient funding, the chancellor said.
More than two years ago, in the midst of the recession, the university system came out with a financial projection showing that unless it changed how it did business, it would face a $43 million shortfall over four years, Pattenaude said. In response, the university trustees approved a strategy called New Challenges, New Directions.

“Like many businesses, we have trimmed our work force and now have 7 percent fewer employees. We finished last year with expenditures $5 million below the prior year,” Pattenaude told lawmakers. In addition, the system halved the unfunded liability for its retiree health care.
University employees have gone two to three years without raises, and administration has been cut back. Even while becoming more efficient, the university system still lacks sufficient funding, Pattenaude said.

“That, however, will not stop us from making progress, and that’s a promise,” the chancellor said. Pattenaude said the university system has tempered tuition increases, posting its smallest increase — 4.8 percent for resident undergraduates — in eight years. He said low tuition encourages student retention, leading to more graduations and economic development.

John Fitzsimmons, president of the Maine Community College System, and William Brennan, Maine Maritime Academy president, also addressed lawmakers. Like Pattenaude, Fitzsimmons expressed gratitude for Gov. Paul LePage’s budget proposal, which would continue current funding levels despite the state’s difficult fiscal challenges.
Fitzsimmons also told lawmakers that the community college system is making progress accommodating the thousands of Maine students who have been turned away even though they were qualified to enroll. For example, it is securing space for a campus at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station and negotiating for use of buildings at the Goodwill-Hinckley School in Hinckley, whose core operations as a residential school for at-risk youths ended last year.
Maine Maritime’s Brennan said the Castine school is “in a strong and vibrant position” with enrollment at maximum capacity, a record, and 90 percent of its graduates finding jobs — some in the six-figure range — within a half-year of getting their diplomas.
It was the first time a president of MMA has addressed the Legislature. The heads of the university and community college systems are required by statute to address the Legislature every two years.

UPM and UM Enhance Learning Facilities and Empower Student Lives with 4G Mobile Internet

Kuala Lumpur, 13 September 2010 – Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) and Universiti Malaya (UM) today joined the Education Partner Program (EPP) spearheaded by YTL Communications Sdn Bhd (YTL Comms). Under the program, both universities will apply the power of 4G Mobile Internet campus-wide to give their students cutting-edge learning facilities and further enhance the quality of life on campus for both students and academic staff.
UM plans to utilise YTL's 4G Campus-wide Network to boost research activities and be among the top 100 universities in the world

UM plans to utilise YTL's 4G Campus-wide Network to boost research activities and be among the top 100 universities in the world
UPM and UM are the third and fourth local university respectively to join the EPP program in the last two months after UTM and UTAR. All twenty of Malaysia’s public universities and selected private universities are expected to join the program by the end of the year.
“We want the students to access our enterprise, learning and research services from anywhere and at anytime and therefore we are pleased to partner with YTL Comms to give our students the freedom and the convenience of 4G Mobile Internet,” said Professor Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah, Vice Chancellor of UPM.
“We champion the model of Ubiquitous Learning at UPM. This means learning whatever, whenever, wherever. We call it www-learning, which is, incidentally, the way the real Internet should be, too”, said Associate Professor Dr. Suhaimi Napis, CTO and Director, InfoComm Development Centre (iDEC), UPM.
The Ubiquitous Learning Environment (ULE) at UPM, the brainchild of Dr. Suhaimi, relies on the Malaysian Research and Education Network (MYREN), a high-capacity broadband network that connects universities, colleges, research organisations and scientific laboratories. UPM was one of the founding proposers of this dedicated network that provides a platform for creating research communities and encourages them to exchange ideas and collaborate with international partners.
YTL's 4G Campus-wide Network is set to take UPM's model of Ubiquitous Learning Environment (ULE) even further

YTL's 4G Campus-wide Network is set to take UPM's model of Ubiquitous Learning Environment (ULE) even further
While UPM’s ubiquitous learning model relies on MYREN as the foundation, the university also has a number of cloud services that can support blended learning – a mixture of remote and on-premise education. For example, the video collaboration services, 1VideoBridge, make live virtual classes possible, with up to 160 laptops, desktops and other compatible devices connected at one time, where students can interact with the lecturer and each other. We also have uCast, modelled after a popular video-sharing portal to facilitate video-on-demand.
“All this innovation that supports the ubiquitous learning model can’t be fully harnessed by the students without high speed Internet access that is available everywhere and from any device,” said Dr. Suhaimi. “The power of 4G Mobile Internet will create new ways for education to be delivered and we are already working with YTL Comms to enable interoperability between our learning and research cloud services and all platforms, including new Android-based devices, which we are eager to explore.” He added.
Under the EPP partnership, each student will receive FREE converged data and voice services of 300 megabytes per user, on a monthly basis over a period of 3 years at anytime and from anywhere throughout the campus grounds. On top of that, the students will be able to top up their accounts at special student rates.
“UM is currently rated the top ranking university in Malaysia, but it is our mission to see UM among the top 100 universities in the world in the next five years. Our partnership with YTL Comms and participation in the EPP program is a major milestone towards realising this vision,” said Datuk Dr. Ghauth Jasmon, Vice Chancellor of UM.
UM sees 4G Mobile Internet as a perfect tool to enhance students’ lives on campus, too. “The combination of 4G Broadband & Voice service under one account is a great value proposition to our students. When every ringgit needs to be stretched, it helps that our students can use their 300 megabytes of free broadband to make free phone calls, too. Considering that the majority of their calls are made to friends and colleagues on campus, the savings they will be able to realize are substantial,” elaborated Dr. David Asirvatham, Director, Center for Information Technology, UM.
UM is Malaysia’s first public university and a Research University, as designated by the Government. As such, UM actively spearheads a number of research-intensive projects in ICT and Computational Sciences, Biotechnology and Bioproducts, and Health and Translational Medicine in which it applies the power of Grid Computing. However, due to the current bandwidth limitations, the Grid Computing can only extend to the servers at the time being.
“With the superior performance of 4G, that delivers connectivity in megabits instead of the kilobits we currently get with 3G, the power of grid computing can easily extend all the way to desktops and devices, too, significantly improving our research process,” added Dr. David.
“We are very impressed with UPM’s and UM’s vision to create superior academic environments and we are extremely pleased to be their partner in realising this vision,” said Yasmin Mahmood, Executive Director, YTL Communications. “We are building a better Internet for everyone, a 4G Mobile Internet network that truly empowers all people, and we want our students, the leaders of a better tomorrow, to be the first to experience this most advanced Internet technology available today.”


Kuala Lumpur, 22 Apr, 2011 - UCSI University and Maxis Berhad are teaming up to offer University students high-speed Internet access. The two entities established a smart partnership today as part of the Maxis Integrated Partner in Education (MIPE) programme that launched last week. Under the agreement, Maxis will provide high-speed Internet to the University and become one of the University’s industrial partners. UCSI University Vice Chancellor, Dr Robert Bong and Senior Vice President for the Maxis Business Division, Mr. M Fitri B. Abdullah, signed a certificate of partnership in front of a crowd of nearly 200 students during a ceremony at the University. 

In his speech, Dr Bong said the partnership is part of UCSI University’s commitment to bring in modern technology to augment its teaching and learning environment. He said the University is currently pursuing software that will allow lecturers to create virtual “classrooms” with lectures, materials and forums online.

“Our goal is to provide our students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in life in the most effective way possible,” he said. “With blended learning, we will be able to use a variety of tools to make both teaching and learning more efficient, more relevant and more accessible through modern technology.”

Under the agreement, Maxis will provide high-speed WiFi services of up to 50mbps that can be subscribed to directly using mobile phones. 

The Maxis WiFi service will enable students to interact with their lecturers outside the normal classroom setting, combining the usual face-to-face learning with online delivery methods as part of the University’s blended-learning teaching philosophy, championed by its Faculty of Education and Centre for Learning Excellence. The high internet speed will also enable students to quickly download podcasts of their lectures, access online resources, conduct research and join online group discussions, enhancing their learning experience. The availability of high-speed internet access across campus grounds also increases student connectivity and mobility, creating a conducive environment for one to learn on the go. The WiFi service is currently on a free three-month trial basis, after which it will be available at a low daily, weekly or monthly rate for students.

The partnership with Maxis will enable UCSI University to enrich the university experience for its students, with the introduction of the University Hot Ticket, a supersaver prepaid card from Maxis, customised to suit the University’s academic, community and social events. Maxis will be contributing part of the sales for the prepaid cards to social causes and events championed by the students, heightening student awareness of and participation in, community and social issues. 

Maxis and the University’s Faculty of Management and Information Technology are also working together to fulfill the MIPE commitment to developing student entrepreneurship. UCSI University is the first out of Maxis’ tertiary education partners, to deploy Hotlink dealership kiosk businesses on-campus. Currently, there are two kiosks in operation, offering students preferential incentives as well as further blended learning opportunity to put into practice lessons from business courses and to take away new experience from a current communications business model. 

Mr. M Fitri B. Abdullah in his speech said, “On 5 April, Maxis launched its Maxis Integrated Partner in Education programme, a unique offering of an end-to-end array of integrated services to the university sector. Today, we are pleased to see the promise of education enabled by communications technology and partnership commitment, bearing its first fruit at UCSI University.”

“At Maxis we certainly believe in the power of integration of strengths from different areas to create a synergistic service ecosystem and unique customer experience which is greater than the sum of its parts. We can see that the committed and innovative staff and students of UCSI University also believe in the spirit of combining capabilities and of reaching across borders, to arrive at a form of knowledge and preparedness which will truly mark them out as the next digital native generation.”

New international students at the University will also benefit from the partnership, with a special bundled package made available by Maxis and UCSI University. They will receive both prepaid mobile services and broadband internet worth RM200 for free upon their arrival at the University. This ensures better integration for the international student community on campus with the local community while easing their transition to their new life in the country. 

Through this smart partnership, Maxis will also be part of the University’s Co-Operative Industrial Placement Programme, which currently has close to 900 industrial partners. This allows internship opportunities for UCSI University’s students, who need to complete at least two months of industrial training in each academic year. This format, unique to the University, ensures students are constantly in touch with industrial practices, while applying what they have learnt in the classroom. 

In conjunction with the University’s 25th Anniversary, UCSI University and Maxis also recently worked together on a major charity project worth more than RM40,000, which involved more than 200 students. The students and staff of Maxis visited 25 charity homes in a day to paint and clean up the homes, and also to interact with the residents in fun games and activities.

Source : UCSI