Espouse the existing dual-semester system of Wawasan Open University

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Effective September 2019, Wawasan Open University will be migrating the existing dual-semester system to a tri-semester system. I urge those who oppose the migration to sign the following petition to express your disagreement.


“We, the undersigned, students of Wawasan Open University (WOU), adamantly defend the dual-semester system of our university. We strongly espouse the existing dual-semester system and view it as an advantage of choosing WOU.”


Appeal of Academic Semester Migration

It is common knowledge that individuals with commitments such as full-time jobs or family responsibilities face difficulties in finding an academic course that they can accommodate in their schedule. However, with the introduction of Open Distance Learning (ODL), such individuals now have the flexibility to able to pursue a part time undergraduate or postgraduate certification.

Our university, Wawasan Open University (WOU), had recently announced that effective September 2019, the university will migrate from dual-semester to tri-semester academic system. We believe that the dual-semester academic system is a more effective and flexible system compared to the tri-semester academic system. We adamantly defend the dual-semester system for to the following reasons:

1.      Terms are shorter in tri-semester system. As a result, exam preparation time and deadlines for Tutor Mark Assignments (TMA) will be shorter respectively. With the amount of time reduced, it will be much more stressful for students to balance their studies with commitments such as work and family.

2.      Less effective tutorial session. The tutorial sessions will be restructured from FIVE 2-hour sessions to THREE 3.5-hour sessions. Although the total hours increased by 0.5 hours, it is widely accepted that one’s concentration declines after the first hour of focus.  Reducing the number of sessions and extending each session will result in ineffective transfer of knowledge that will negative impact the students.

3.      Losing flexibility to reduce their commitment for studies or speed up progression. A student who is unable to commit time to their studies can choose the minimum of 1 subject per semester. With the current dual-semester system, the total minimum would be 2 subjects per year. However, with the new tri-semester system, the minimum subjects per year would increase to 3. Conversely, a student who would like to speed up their progression can manageably take 4 subjects per semester in the current dual-semester system which would be 8 subjects per annum. In the new tri-semester systems, it will be difficult for students to match the 8 subjects per year due to shorter deadlines for TMAs and lesser time to prepare for exams as mentioned in Reason 1. The tri-semester structure of two regular semesters and one short semester further restricts students as they would have to choose the number and type of subjects based on the type of semester (i.e. normal or short semester).

4.      Delaying the overall progress of a program. Due to the change in semester structure, it will be difficult for students to take the same number of subjects per annum in the new tri-semester system as elaborated in Reason 3. If a student takes lesser subjects per annum, their completion will be delayed.

5.      Losing work-study-life balance. In dual-semester system, the semester breaks are around June/December timeframe, which usually overlaps with public school holidays. Students with children in public schools will be able to spend time with their children or possibly go on a family holiday. The semester breaks in the tri-semester system are unlikely to overlap with public school holidays which would mean less time for students to spend with their family. Shorter semester breaks in the tri-semester system also limit student’s life activity choices during their breaks.

We, the undersigned, call on the authority of WOU to reconsider the decision to migrate the dual-semester system to tri-semester system, to make a difference by maintaining a more efficient, flexible, and balanced program for students.


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