UTAR academics making waves globally

  • Education
  • Sunday, 02 Aug 2020

Research matters: Dr Khoo received a two-year research grant funded by EASTS-Japan.

MALAYSIAN lecturer Dr Sharon Jacqueline Albert Wilson sets a new record in being the first participant from outside North America to win the International Communication Division (ICD) Teaching Contest 2020.

The Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) lecturer who won the first place in the contest is also the first person from Malaysia to win the contest.

Initiated in 2016, the ICD aims to promote teaching excellence and recognise innovative and effective approaches to teaching international communication.

On top of being featured on the ICD website and social media, Dr Wilson will also be recognised at this year’s ICD Business Meeting during the 2020 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Annual Conference in San Francisco, United States.

The title of her winning entry was “Cross cultural teaching and learning on virtual platforms: A case study for continuous collaborative learning”.

Facilitated by Dr Wilson and Prof Dr Patricia Sloane-White, a collaborative course via video conference was held for students enrolled in UTAR and University of Delaware United States (UDEL).

The course was structured to engage the two groups of students in a shared cultural exploration concerning contemporary culture and social values.

Dr Wilson said: “I joined the contest, not thinking that I would win, let alone win the first place. I just wanted to share my project idea with everyone because this was something extremely meaningful and exciting for the students and also for Patricia and me as academics.”

“Students taught each other about their lives, values and experiences. They also explored and exchanged cultures as they grew up in two very different lifestyles and landscapes.

“Even though the semester has ended and many of the students have graduated, they are still connected by WhatsApp and continue to have meaningful conversations about the world they live in and the effect of events on them. This goes beyond traditional classroom education to continuous engagement, interaction and holistic learning, ” she added.

Another feather in UTAR’s cap is Assoc Prof Dr Khoo Hooi Ling, the academic-cum-researcher from UTAR’s Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science, who was selected to be the recipient of the International Cooperative Research Activity (ICRA) grant.

The grant, worth 1,000,000 yen (RM39,678) is allocated over two years (2020-2022) for the research topic titled “Shared Space Design and Modeling: Case Studies in Asian Cities”. It is funded by the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS-Japan) which is under the care of the Japan Transport and Tourism Research Institute.

EASTS-Japan is an umbrella organisation for science transportation societies in Eastern Asia. The society has members from 19 economies/regions mainly from the Asia Pacific region.

In 2018, Dr Khoo established an international research group on “Shared Space Design and Modelling”. The research group was led by Dr Khoo with two other members – Dr Raymond Ong Ghim Ping from the National University of Singapore and Dr Hsu Yu-Ting from the National Taiwan University. They share the same research interest in road design for non-motorised road users.

“Shared space is an area or zone that has no traditional traffic management systems such as traffic light, road marking or shared spaces, thereby forcing vehicles, alternate transport modes and/or pedestrians to share the same road or sidewalk space. Although the concept is not new, its implementation has faced various issues and challenges, ” Dr Khoo said.

“Researchers have to be sensitive to the recent issues and challenges in their research discipline and must be able to venture into some new concepts for future development. In addition, working together with peers who share the same research interest will make research life more interesting. No one is expected to work in silo, ” she added.

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