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.
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.
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.”