Students needn’t delay their dreams of becoming accountants or engineers

Miri – 20 April 2020 – These trying times we are facing with the coronavirus pandemic does not mean you have to put your pursuit of a higher education on hold. Ordinarily, becoming an accountant or engineer would take three to four years and any delay in starting your course now would only mean a delay in achieving your career aspirations, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

If you are keen to keep your educational plans on track and make an early start on your university career, you can choose the path taken by students who recently enrolled in Foundation Studies programmes at Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Curtin Malaysia offers foundation programmes in Engineering and Science, Commerce and Arts, which are intensive one-year programmes designed to prepare students with the basic knowledge and skills for effective undergraduate studies. Intakes for the programmes are in March, August and December each year.

When the Movement Control Order was first announced by the government, and the Curtin Malaysia campus consequently going into lockdown for the duration, the newly-enrolled foundation students were just about to attend their orientation prior to the commencement of first-semester classes.

Curtin Malaysia, Curtin University’s largest international campus, reacted positively to the new conditions, swiftly moving classes, tutorials and workshops onto online spaces so that its students could continue effective learning.

This meant the foundation orientation activities had to also go online and included class registration and an introduction to learning in a fully online environment. Thereafter, on 1 April, the students commenced online classes in full confidence knowing they were well and truly on their university journey.

The classes will be ongoing until 3 July, and following a study week for exam preparation, the students will have their first-semester examinations from 13 to 17 July.

“Though this is the first time we’re conducting our foundation classes online, thanks to our digital infrastructure and expertise, we were able to quickly migrate the course materials online and started delivering the programmes through a combination of virtual learning platforms and digital communications,” said Curtin Malaysia Pro Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Simon Leunig.

“It is an exciting experience for our lecturers to engage with the students in a new way, and for the students, all fresh out of high school, to adapt to a drastically different way of learning.”

Professor Leunig said the move to fully online learning has been well received by both students and lecturers at Curtin Malaysia. Classes are in both synchronous mode, with lecturers conducting ‘live sessions’ with their students online, and asynchronous mode, with recorded sessions viewed by students in their own time, followed by shorter engagement sessions where the recorded material is discussed.

It is still unclear when face-to-face classes and normal campus life will resume fully, but it will probably be awkward at first for the new foundation students, the majority of whom have never actually set foot on the campus. Furthermore, any interaction they have had with their lecturers and other staff, and with fellow students, have so far been from the comfort of their homes.

The upcoming second-semester intakes for Curtin Malaysia’s degree and foundation programmes are proceeding as planned in July and August, respectively. To allow potential students and their parents to find out more about the campus, Curtin Malaysia has an ongoing ‘Virtual Info Day’ online until the end of the MCO.

Students and parents can log on to futurestudents.curtin.edu.my/virtual-info-day/ and engage with staff, academics and student ambassadors to get the information they need about courses and fees, application procedures, scholarships and study grants, campus facilities and more.

In addition to the foundation programmes, Curtin Malaysia offers a large variety of courses across a number of disciplines, including double-degrees, part-time study, off-campus learning and alternative pathways. All courses and degrees are identical to those at Curtin’s main campus in Perth.

In recent months, Curtin Malaysia has expanded its programme portfolio to include a Bachelor of Science (Computing) programme featuring Software Engineering and Cyber Security streams; Bachelor of Science programmes in Psychological Science and Health, Safety and Environment; Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Human Resource Management, and Bachelor of Applied Science in Construction Management. New postgraduate programmes include a Master of International Business and Master of Commerce in Marketing.

Undergraduate students at Curtin Malaysia have the option to transfer to the Perth campus to complete their degrees at any time since they have identical programmes and academic calendars. This option represents a substantial saving for students, paying Malaysian fees for the first two to three years, then Australian fees for the remainder of their courses.

Curtin University is ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide in the highly regarded Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) 2019 and has risen to 230th in the world in the 2019-20 QS World University Rankings.

In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, Curtin has 10 subjects ranked in the top 200 worldwide, including number two ranking in the world for Mineral and Mining Engineering, top 50 in Earth and Marine Sciences, and top 100 in three other subjects: Civil and Structural Engineering, Architecture / Built Environment and Sports-related subjects.

Digital infrastructure and expertise and adaptability of its staff and students has allowed Curtin Malaysia to thrive under the MCO.

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