Community engagement has always been a top priority for the Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITI) in order to ensure the success of the various research projects that the institute is involved in, as it is through interaction with the various communities that allows researchers to conduct studies that will maximize the benefits for the community.
It was with this spirit for research that a collaborative effort between UNIMAS and Cornell University, USA, to develop a service learning programme for students from Cornell University at the different ISITI research sites in Sarawak was initiated. This programme, which is primarily undertaken by ISITI, will integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience of students.
ISITI recently welcomed the first group of eight students to Sarawak, who will be embarking on a three week service learning excursion to two ISITI research sites in Bario and Long Lamai. Upon arrival, the students, together with their instructors, Associate Professor Dr Shorna Broussard Allred and Amy Kuo Somchanhmavong, were given a one-day orientation to the programme. They were introduced to the research sites by ISITI’s visiting professor, Dr Roger Harris, and had the chance to have a discussion with ISITI Director, Professor Dr Alvin Yeo on the dos and don’ts when interacting with indigenous communities, whereby they shared their concerns and questions about meeting with the communities for the first time.
Apart from that, the group listened to talks by Professor Dr Narayanan Kulathuramaiyer, from the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology as well as Mr Abang Azlan, from the Faculty of Economics and Business, UNIMAS. These talks shared valuable insights on some of the areas that the students will be concentrating on during their visit to Bario and Long Lamai, which include eco-tourism, cultural preservation, economic development and environmental impacts.
Professor Dato’ Dr Mohamad Kadim bin Suaidi, vice chancellor of UNIMAS, also shared his thoughts and engaged in a close discussion regarding the service learning programme with the group prior to their departure to Bario.
The students were then brought on a tour around Kuching, where they visited various heritage sites located in the heart of Kuching and were introduced the culture and history of Sarawak.
Success and Happiness by Activating Regional Economy (SHARE) is a project which generally aims at promoting ICT solutions that can bridge the information gap in rural areas in Asian countries and bring better lives to the community in these areas. Contributions from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam as well as collaborative initiatives with Asia Pacific Telecommunity projects have resulted in several projects being carried out in different countries, each addressing sectors of e-agriculture, e- education, e- health and e-environment, using models of latest technologies and standards which are cost effective.
Following the success of the previous SHARE projects implemented in these Asian countries, a project in Tanah Datar was proposed, and it commenced in 2014. This project is a collaborative initiative between the CST and UNIMAS and aimed to introduce the residents of Tanah Datar to ICT. The ICT Training Programme was designed to facilitate the training of fifteen participants at a certificate-level programme to learn about ICT and relevant technology applications which have been developed by SHARE partners. This programme also aimed to enable Tanah Datar as a region to grow and extend their local competencies using technology, in various socio- economic activities, for ensuring lifelong success and wellness, as well as to produce change agents among local communities through use of SHARE applications.
Through this project, participants were trained in three courses of the e-Education component; English for SHARE Purposes, New Media Design for SHARE Purposes and Change Management. The training programme generally focused on enabling participants to create digital documents of the local and indigenous knowledge (IDK) of the people in Tanah Datar. The courses in the e-Education module included trainings on the process involved in researching the IDK and reorganizing it in a form that can be shared not only with the community itself but also with other communities in the region.
The course was designed using a theme-based approach and was delivered via e-Learning. Participants worked in groups of three to complete a series of projects related to selected key goals. At the end of the training programme, it was observed that participants were able to complete all the projects assigned to them using the knowledge gained from the respective modules. Participants also showed an improvement in terms of using English when communicating their projects, comparatively to when the initial meetings with the participants where most were very reluctant to speak using English. Most participants have also warmed up to using e-Learning as the main method of content delivery and are keen on continuing with the rest of the ICT training programme.
This research was supported by the Centre for Rural Informatics, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak through research grant No. UHSB/B-AM2013/13
(Original article from: http://www.share-asia.net/index.php/home/greetings-from-the-chairman?id=141)
A team of UNIMAS members went to Tanah Datar, West Sumatera, Indonesia from 21 – 23 December 2014 to conduct the final workshop for the ICT training (e-Education component). The UNIMAS team members included Associate Prof. Dr Fitri Suraya Mohamad, Prof. Dr Alvin Yeo Wee, Syaryfah Fazidawaty binti Wan Busrah, Adam Francis and Jaya Laxshmi.
The team arrived at Tanah Datar on 21 December 2014 at 8 p.m. and had short discussion between the team members to discuss the details of the training workshop which was to be conducted on 22 December 2014.
ICT training workshop
On 22 September 2014, the UNIMAS team went to the ICT training center at 8.30 a.m. to meet with all the participants. The participants were asked to complete several questionnaires regarding the e-education training before they started presenting their projects to the team.
A total of five teams presented all the projects that they worked on to the team. The first project that they presented was titled “Portraits of Batusangkar”, which incorporated photography, interviewing, research as well as written and verbal presentation skills. All the participants displayed their proficiency in photography. The participants also presented their second project titled “Heritage of Batusangkar” which required that they make use of motion graphics and basic interactive design in their projects as well as research as well as written and verbal presentation skills. The final project presented by the participants was “A Click to Batusangkar: An Interactive Development Project” which saw the participants organise their work into a flash format for an interactive development project. The participants made use of Adobe Flash and Adobe Media Encoder for this project, and incorporated project planning, organization and written English skills that they were exposed to throughout the duration of their training. The team had a question and answer session with the participants on their projects before evaluating their overall performance.
At the end of the presentation session, the team had a discussion with the participants as to their progress and the expected outcomes of the ICT training session. The participants raised a few questions as to the direction that they should be looking at after the completion of the training session, and they were informed that they would have to use the knowledge and skills that they gained throughout the training for the betterment of their community as well as think of ways to make the training sustainable.
The participants were then briefed on the e-health component of the training programme. The participants were introduced to the Embedded Wireless system and were informed that the device will allow them to send health report data to doctors around the world who were connected to the network. It was explained that online profiles containing their personal health check data would be created and uploaded, and that once an active connection was established between the device and the server, all the data will be auto-synced. This will also ease the switching between user profiles as everything is connected to the network.
A short closing ceremony was also held at the ICT training center, marking the completion of the e-education component of the training programme. The session ended at 5.30 p.m.
A meeting was arranged between representatives from the Ministry of Information and Communications Relations and the Badan Kepegawaian Daerah dan Pendidikan Pelatihan and a team from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) to discuss the upcoming SHARE ICT Training project and TNA for the participants at Tanah Datar at the Badan Kepegawaian Daerah dan Pendidikan Pelatihan, which is the training center at Tanah Datar.
A discussion between representatives from Tanah Datar and UNIMAS was held regarding several issues namely:
- The need to finalize the curriculum structure of the training programme for the participants.
- The development of the ICT training center which is currently underway.
- The content of the TNA forms which were to be distributed to the participants later.
- Meeting with the appointed coordinator which will be sent to UNIMAS.
- The complete finalized list of equipment that needs to be placed at the ICT center.
- Explanation of the vision, mission and objective of the training programme, SHARE applications as well as proposed modules that will run throughout the training programme.
- A guidebook should be made for the ICT Training participants.
- The MOA between UNIMAS, TTC, Tanah Datar and the coordinator should include the job description of the coordinator.
- The proposed schedule of the training programme which is to begin in September 2014 to December 2014 and commence again in March 2015 onwards. It was suggested that all training sessions would run for a period of three months per level.
- Detailed timetables for the sessions as well as the materials to be made available soon.
The team from UNIMAS informed them that they will bring back these suggestions and points for further discussion and will update the team from Tanah Datar later.
The TNA session with the participants was conducted in the afternoon. There was also a Q&A session with the participants to clarify some questions that they had regarding the training programme.
Development of ICT (Information Communication Technology) in Tanah Datar regency will be further enhanced by the cooperation with TTC (The Telecommunication Technology Committee) of Japan. It is characterized by a discussion between Tanah Datar Regent M.Shadiq Pasadigoe and Dr. Hideyuki Iwata (Director Promotion TTC), on Thursday, June 14, 2012.
On this occasion, Dr. Iwata discussed the form of future cooperation with the Tanah Datar. TTC hopes to establish an ICT Training Centre in Tanah Datar that can accommodate the needs of the district government and the public in the use of ICT.
Tanah Datar Regent greatly welcomed the plan and quoted, “I will facilitate the development of ICT in Tanah Datar, please review the TTC more in the finer points of what is needed in Tanah Datar, as far as it is for the good of the community will support me”. Regent added that, the cooperation with the TTC which started in 2009 has been beneficial especially in the presence of an optical fiber that has been utilized for the internet.
TTC arrival this time brought along Dr. Fitri Suraya Mohamed, professor of Unversiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) who also collaborated with TTC in the development of e-education in Kuching, Malaysia. Dr. Fitri and Dr. Iwata had the opportunity to demonstrate the TTC project in front of Tanah Datar Regent, Chief SKPD (Regional Working Unit), ICT teachers and representative students from elementary, middle and high school in the Hall of Tanah Datar Regent’s Office.
Kadishubkominfo Ir. Daryanto Sabir, M.Sc., who accompany the Regent Tanah Datar said that as SKPD in charge of ICT development will continue to follow up on this collaboration.
(extracted from: http://www.tanahdatar.go.id)
Written by Era, Rui Dishubkominfo Translated by Ng Koh Ping
APT J3 Project Malaysia 2010 is a collaboration between a number of organisations, namely the Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovation (ISITI-CoERI), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), The Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) Japan, Japan Advanced Institute Science and Technology (JAIST) Japan and Mitsubishi Electric, Japan.
The project is titled “Technology Enhanced Solutions for Remote Rural Communities in Malaysia to Facilitate Development of Learning and Preservation of Local Knowledge and to Create Health Awareness and Practices for Health Living”. As the title suggests, there are three key outcomes from the project:an e-Education solution for the primary and secondary schools in Bario; an installation of a health check system, and an installation of a fibre-optic network between the Bario telecentre to the two schools in the area.
As a part of the project requirement, TTC organized a Case Study visit to Japan from 11th – 18th January 2012 for the J3 Research Group from ISITI-CoERI, UNIMAS and selected representatives from Bario who have been involved directly from beginning of the project. Among the invited people from the ISITI-CoERI, UNIMAS team were the Vice Chancellor of UNIMAS, Professor Datuk Dr KhairuddinAb Hamid, the Director of ISITI-CoERI, Associate Professor Dr Alvin Yeo Wee, and the J3 project leader, Dr Fitri Suraya Mohamad. The Bario team consists of SK Bario headmistress, Madam DaraTigan, SMK Bario principal, Mr Yeo Kok Wing and the Bario telecentre manager, Mr John Trawe. The key objectives of visit are closely related to the e-education and e-health solutions which are designed and developed for the project. The schedule (below) presents a list of the R&D centres and organisations that the UNIMAS and Bario team visited during the seven-day visit.
Throughout the trip to Japan, the team was introduced to many accomplished academicians and researchers, which shared their knowledge and experience in e-health, e-education and network system. The acquaintance with Japanese researchers and academics provided new ideas about technologies that are plausible for use in Malaysia. Besides that, the team also had the chance to meet up with a number of ICT experts who provided valuable insight into web-based technology for learning. The knowledge and experience in Japan gave a constructive perspective about how the team could advance current research on developing effective technology solutions for remote rural communities in Malaysia.