I am truly delighted to welcome all the participants of the AAOU 29th Annual Conference, which Open University Malaysia (OUM) is hosting for the second time from 30 November – 2 December 2015. Previously, OUM hosted AAOU’s 21st Annual Conference in year 2007. It is indeed an honour for OUM to be given the privilege to host this eminent event. AAOU’s Annual Conference is widely accepted as the leading platform for practitioners and proponents of open and distance learning (ODL) to network and to be engaged in academic discourse in areas of common interest.
As the population of Asia grows rapidly over the past decades, human resource development has become a pertinent issue for many Asian countries, particularly those countries where opportunities for accessing higher education are limited.
ODL plays an important role in alleviating the constraint as it allows higher education to be widely accessible to the masses anytime, anywhere. This year’s conference theme New Frontiers in Open and Distance Learning is timely because with the rapid advancement in technology for learning, there are indeed plenty of opportunities for ODL institutions to explore and to expand the capability of ODL as a vehicle for capacity and knowledge building in the region.
The Conference will hopefully provide the catalyst for knowledge sharing among participants, particularly in areas pertaining to the sub-themes - new paradigm for open universities, technology as drivers in ODL, new research, practices and quality assurance in ODL and the open knowledge movement.
With 62 institutional members from 23 countries, AAOU is certainly a force to be reckoned with. I believe that the recommendations and outcomes of this conference can have far-reaching benefits to the ODL community.
I wish this Conference a great success in its quest to promote ODL among the masses as well as to instil professional and ethical standards among ODL educators. It is also my hope that conference participants will gain valuable insights and ideas that may be utilised for the benefit of their communities and countries. Lastly, I would like to thank the previous conference organiser, Open University Hong Kong, for the guidance and support towards this year’s conference.
To all our foreign delegates, I wish you a pleasant stay in Malaysia.
Prof Emeritus Anuwar Ali