Life after secondary school: Pursuing higher education during a pandemic

HWUM incorporates both environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy features into its Putrajaya campus. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.
HWUM incorporates both environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy features into its Putrajaya campus. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA, May 11 — For many secondary school graduates, the Covid-19 pandemic might have put a damper on their plans to continue their studies. 

Now with life slowly beginning to return to some form of normality, college hopefuls will be eagerly awaiting their chance to pursue an education that will aid them in their future endeavours.

If you’re still unsure of where to begin this exciting new phase in your life, you might want to take a look at the foundation programmes, specifically catered for students, at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM).

UK excellence close to home

A pioneer in world-class teaching, Heriot-Watt University has a history dating back to 1821 and is ranked amongst the top 300 universities in the world on Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Establishing itself as one of the top universities in the United Kingdom for business and industry, Heriot-Watt’s programmes aim to better equip its students with career-relevant education and skills to perform at high levels in their careers. 

The public research institution has five campuses globally located in Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia. 

The Malaysian campus, located in Putrajaya, was built in 2014 to cater to the growing demand of Asean students and is known as the first green campus in the country. 

Apart from the 300-metre-long sustainable living grass roof, the HWUM campus also employs other environmentally friendly design features such as maximising the use of natural daylight to ‘power’ lighting on campus and a rainwater harvesting system to boot. 

A new learning experience

HWUM’s stunning lakeside location offers an excellent, conducive environment to learn. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.
HWUM’s stunning lakeside location offers an excellent, conducive environment to learn. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.

The foundation programmes on offer at HWUM are tailored to suit a student’s pathway to their degree-level studies, with challenge-based learning provided by a team of experienced lecturers. 

The courses encompass five main disciplines including engineering, business, built environment, psychology, and actuarial science and data science. 

Taking into account the role technology plays in education, the internationally recognised courses at HWUM also integrate online aspects to learning, further encouraging active student participation through its new online platform.

“I find the new online platform to be user-friendly. There’s a range of services available for students such as ‘Coffee Chat’ sessions for online discussions,” said Foundation in Business student Jane Chek Zi Yan. 

“I also like having a green energy bar that increases when I complete a task. It motivates me to continue completing my tasks.”

Most of the learning activities are available online, giving students more control over their studying, as well as having a platform that uses real-time data to provide student learning performance feedback.

Students and their lecturers will have access to data on their academic progress, allowing them to use these analytics to enhance their educational journeys at HWUM.

HWUM’s online platform also acts as a social platform for its students and lecturers, enabling them to interact and socialise with one another as well.

Lecturers are also assigned to students from their very first day and are just a click away via the online platform, providing guidance and support throughout their college journey.

Through their university-style teaching, students will be able to transition seamlessly into degree-level studies.

Just like Jane (left), Darren (right) found Heriot-Watt’s online platform surprisingly interactive and useful during their first semester. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.
Just like Jane (left), Darren (right) found Heriot-Watt’s online platform surprisingly interactive and useful during their first semester. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.

Don’t worry if you’re not too tech-savvy, just like Foundation in Science student Darren Lim, as HWUM will introduce this new online learning experience to every new student. 

“It was really fun and exciting to join the Fit-for-Future programme on the online platform,” said Lim. 

“It was my first time participating in an online class. I was nervous and concerned that I wouldn’t be able to connect properly or find the right tabs for my classes. After a few tries and with help from my professors the online platform is really convenient and easy-to-use.”

Not just IQ

It’s not all about books at HWUM, as EQ is also nurtured during a student’s academic journey. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.
It’s not all about books at HWUM, as EQ is also nurtured during a student’s academic journey. — Picture courtesy of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia.

At HWUM, students are not only exposed to stimulating academic experiences but also ones that test and nurture their emotional intelligence through its Positive Education approach. 

Introduced in 2017, this approach focuses on the holistic development of individuals, creating purposeful, impactful and resilient professionals with its extracurricular programmes such as the EmPOWER and Youth Transformation Programmes. 

EmPOWER is an innovative programme which encourages HWUM students to perfect their soft skills, such as people, social and communication skills, through aspects like “Self Leadership” and “Defining Impact”. 

The Youth Transformation Programme is aimed at helping students unlock their full potential in areas including creativity, innovation, critical thinking and communication with a host of interactive events and projects. 

What programmes are there?

HWUM foundation programmes offer tailored pathways in Business and Science to their undergraduate degree programmes. 

The Foundation in Business, which is a total of three semesters, will prepare students progressing into specialised fields such as actuarial science, data science, psychology and business disciplines like business management and administration. 

Foundation in Science, on the other hand, allows students to further their education to any degree programme they fancy such as data analysis, quantity surveying, statistical data science and engineering disciplines as well. 

The programmes entail lectures, seminars and group work over the course of a three-month (14 weeks) period and will graduate with a Scottish Certificate of Higher Education in Foundation Studies from HWUM. 

HWUM is currently accepting applications for its July 2020 foundation programmes intake, with those who apply and pay for their first-semester tuition fees by the end of the month entitled to an early bird waiver of RM4,000. 

The university is open seven days a week online with education consultants on standby to receive enquiries, which will be answered remotely. 

To find out more about HWUM’s foundation programmes and how to apply or book an online appointment with the university, call +603 8894 3888 or e-mail [email protected]

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