Archive for January, 2013

Online Homework Systems Can Boost Student Achievement

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Online homework has great appeal for instructors, especially those teaching large courses. By using online assignments, instructors don’t have to collect, grade, and promptly return large quantities of homework assignments. Online programs provide instructors with feedback on student performance that can be used to modify the presentation of material in class. Online homework is also beneficial to students. They get feedback promptly, even more promptly than that provided by very conscientious instructors. Online homework can also be designed so that it allows students to work on areas that frequently cause trouble and/or on areas where the individual student is having difficulty.

Despite these beneficial design features, there is a need to document quantitatively that completion of online homework positively impacts student achievement. Some work in this area has already been done, and somewhat surprisingly, the results to date are mixed. Some studies reported a positive impact. In some studies, the correlations were weak, and in others online homework had no impact on exam scores. “The lack of consensus on the effectiveness of online homework highlights the need for further investigations.” (p. 71)

This research team decided to go with an online homework system that had showed better student performance than text-based homework in previous research. “For our study, we examined whether the previously reported learning gains for this online homework system were an isolated instance of success, specific to an instructor, or whether the system had the same efficacy when taught by multiple instructors over multiple years.” (p. 72) To answer that question, researchers collected data from 13 sections of the same course, enrolling 3,806 students and taught by five different instructors over a six-year period.


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Five-fold increase in IMM13 holders – dept

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: The number of IMM13 issued to refugees in Sabah has increased by nearly five-fold in 2012, compared to that in 2005, according to a figure revealed by an Immigration Department officer to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants here.

Head of Kota Kinabalu Immigration Department Special Unit, ASP Abd Khalid Abd Karim, said there were only 22,976 IMM13 in 2005 including those issued to new applicants that year.

However the number increased to 98,427 as of end of last year, said Khalid when testifying during the RCI proceeding yesterday.

Out of this figure, he said 60,248 were active documents, meaning existing IMM13 that were renewed by their holders within that year.

He said the remaining may belong to refugees who have been issued entry permits or those that have gone back to the Philippines, may have passed away or simply did not turn up for renewal of their documents.

He explained the hike was probably due to issuance of new separate IMM13 to children of existing holders whose names were previously included under their parents’ documents.

“An IMM13 copy may represent a household where parents have two under aged children but these children were later issued their own individual card,” he added.

He said new IMM13 documents were only issued to those with birth certificates and whose parents are IMM13 holders while non-refugee immigrants were issued different types of documents in accordance with the purpose of their entries.

by Murib Morpi.

‘Entering Sabah was easy’

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

NO TROUBLE: Panel told how foreigners entered state without travel documents.

KOTA KINABALU: ENTERING  Sabah without  the necessary travel documents has been a breeze for many foreigners from neighbouring countries, the Royal Commission of Inquiry was told yesterday.

Six witnesses who took the stand yesterday described how they illegally reached the shores of the state, either from the Philippines or Indonesia, without encountering any resistance.

Filipino Degon Alay, who came to Sabah in 2002 aged 13, said he took a boat, along with an uncle and a group of about 50 people and landed at Pulau Berhala, Sandakan after a 14-hour boat ride from Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, southern Philippines.

He told the inquiry that he had then taken a speedboat with a group of about 20 from Pulau Berhala and recalled landing at the Sandakan wet market at 8am the next day.

“We did not encounter a single Malaysian enforcement officer along the way,” he said.

Degon went on to reveal that he lived in Sandakan for 10 years before he was arrested on Nov 11 last year for possession of syabu.

He had worked as a bus conductor and lived with an aunt in Batu Sapi before his arrest.

Indonesian Nisah Rahman, 31, from Bone, Sulawesi, told the panel that she had entered Tawau by boat with 10 passengers from Nunukan in October, 2011.

She told the panel that they were asked to swim to shore after reaching Tawau waters and were taken to Sandakan by a man whom she identified as Irwan, where she worked in an oil palm estate.

by Avila Geraldine.

SIDMA College offered Academic Excellence Awards to SMK Kudat Top Scorers during PMR 2012

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

SIDMA College, UNITAR International University Sabah awarded six (6) students, from SMK Kudat, who scored 7As during the recently announced PMR examination results with Academic Excellence Award. The award was presented to the 6 students by YB Teo Chee Kang, ADUN N2, Tanjong Kapor at Dewan Seri Aminah Arif, SMK Kudat on January 29, 2013 in front of all the students.

Mr Rody Rodiley Tunai, representative from SIDMA College, upon arrival at the ceremony was given a warm welcome by the organizing committee. Prof. Dr. Mornie Hj Kambrie, SIDMA Chairman, was unable to attend the function as he has earlier committed to attend another function during that time.

Earlier last year Dr, Mornie had given a motivational talk to all SMK Kudat students and challenged those who were sitting for their PMR, SPM and STPM examination last year, that the college would be awarding an Academic Excellence Award, a cash award of RM 300.00 to each student who performed well in their examination (PMR – 7As; SPM – 9As; and STPM – 3A’s).

Mr. Teh Seng Chai, Principal of SMK Kudat, in his welcoming speech thanked Prof Dr. Mornie for his motivational talk and the Academic Excellence Awards incentives as it had a great impact on the school PMR result. The school PMR result has improved tremendously from 32% passes (2011) to 39% passes (2012), which according to Mr. Teh was a great achievement.

In 2012, SIDMA College adopted two secondary schools, namely SMK Kudat and SMK Gum-Gum Sandakan as a trial project to offer Academic Excellence Award to rural secondary schools students as an incentive for these students to do well during government examinations.

Mock cheque was given to the school principal during SIDMA College new students oath taking ceremony held at SESB Hall on 28th June 2012.

The project was also part of SIDMA Corporate Responsibility (CSR) to assist rural students in their studies and also to create awareness among rural students that apart from their parents, relatives and teachers, there are other people who supports them in their studies and would like them to excel during public examinations.

Prof. Dr. Mornie and SIDMA Board of Management congratulated all students and wished them luck and success in their future undertakings.

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Let’s enjoy living in harmony

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

It’s not easy upholding peace and harmony in a pluralistic nation like Malaysia. Efforts have been taken by various parties, including the Government, NGOs and civil society entities, to minimise friction due to social differences, be it cultural or religious.

MALAYSIA is a nation that is indeed unique and blessed.

The uniqueness of this beautiful nation, among others, lies not just in its multiracial and multi-ethnicity background but also in its religious diversity.

For Malaysians, their religions do not just shape who they are spiritually, but acts also as a major influence on their culture and social identities.

Belief in God, as the first pillar of the Rukun Negara is an important principle that binds Malaysians together.

From this, it can be understood that religion plays a crucial role in shaping the positive characters of individuals and contributes towards nation building.

It is also a well-known fact that religions shape the world view of individuals. These world views will then be manifested in one’s action towards God, other beings and even towards himself.

Associate Professor Dr Kamar Oniah Kamaruzaman, in her book Religion and Pluralistic Co-Existence, talks very aptly about the connection between religion and the inter-personal dimension.

She explains that: “True persons of religion understand well their social obligations and responsibilities to one and all, and take these responsibilities seriously. This is because their social responsibilities are part of their religious responsibilities and they are thus as much accountable to what goes in society as what goes within their own selves. Thus the social teachings of their religions make them disciplined, responsible and productive members of society.”

As religion becomes the focal point for most individuals, it is therefore essential to look at the sources of our own religion when dealing with differences.

In Islam for example, there is a clear source of guideline on the matter. One of the verses in the Holy Quran that outlines this is in Surah Mumtahanah, verse 8: “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) religion nor expel you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly towards them. Indeed Allah loves those who act justly” (Chapter 60: 8).

Another important verse in the Quran that calls for mankind to learn to know one another and accept diversity is discussed in Surah al-Hujurat, verse 13, which states: “O mankind, indeed we have created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” (Chapter 49: 13)

For a pluralistic nation like Malaysia where the social fabric is made up of various races, ethnicity, cultures and most importantly religions, to be able to uphold peace and harmony is not an easy task.

Today, as can be seen, many countries are still finding the right formulae to address the issues of religious diversities and justice.

Instead of looking at the values in each religion that are able to provide the answer, they prefer to concentrate on differences that exist among religions.

Consequently, this will widen the existing gap among people of different faiths and beliefs instead of actually building a bridge of understanding towards living harmoniously with one another.

by Enizahira Avdul Aziz.

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RCI: ‘Money was their master’

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

NO ORDERS GIVEN: Those who issued ICs to foreigners in Sabah did it for money, RCI told.

KOTA KINABALU: THOSE  behind the issuance of Malaysian identity documents to foreigners in Sabah were doing it solely for the money and not under instructions from anyone, the Royal Commission of Inquiry was  told yesterday.

Several former state National Registration Department (NRD) admitted to selling the documents on their own accord and not under orders from any quarter.

Sarawak Special Branch head Datuk Ibrahim Zakaria, who took the stand as the 33rd witness, testified that in 1996, he had been tasked to interview former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Datuk Abdul Rauf Sani, who had served as Sabah NRD director from 1990 to 1992.

“He (Rauf) had admitted to issuing 6,305 identity cards to foreigners and had collected RM167,300 from it. He also admitted to doing so for personal profit and on his own will without instructions from any quarter.”

Ibrahim, who was then with Bukit Aman Special Branch, added that Rauf was detained under the ISA for illegally issuing identity cards.

Rauf had told the inquiry that blue identity cards were issued to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah.

He had said the immigrants issued with identity cards were taught how to vote in elections, or risked having their documents withdrawn.

Intelligence Technical Unit staff officer of the Kelantan police headquarters, Deputy Superintendent Badaruddin Ismail, told the panel that another ex-Sabah NRD director, Ramli Kamaruddin, had admitted to giving 16,000 receipts known as JPN 1/9 (temporary identity documents) and JPN 1/11 (temporary documents to indicate the holder of an identity document that was reported lost) to foreigners.

Mining the birth of a great city

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: Starting as a small tin mining town in the 1850’s, Kuala Lumpur has since bloomed into the fully developed city it is today.

Initially opened at the confluence of the Gombak and Klang rivers by tin miners, Kuala Lumpur’s landscape has seen great changes over the years.

From small nipah-roofed houses to being the proud owner of one of the world’s tallest twin towers, the city has shifted from a township housing mostly labourers to becoming the heart of the Malaysian administration.

The rapid development started after Kuala Lumpur, then part of Selangor, was declared the state’s capital in 1880.

In 1896, it was chosen to be the capital of the Federated Malay States, and continued to be the country’s capital after Malaya achieved its independence in 1957.

Kuala Lumpur was conferred the city title on Feb 1, 1972, and declared as a Federal Territory two years later.

The city now houses hundreds of high-rise buildings and skyscrapers which cater to thousands of businesses, residential premises and administrative offices.

In conjunction with the 39th Federal Territory Day this Friday (Feb 1), the NST will publish pictures of Kuala Lumpur during its olden times from today to Friday to bring readers the nostalgia.

April 30, 1959: Two ‘raised gardens’ being constructed at traffic islands along Jalan Raja and Batu Road near the Kuala Lumpur General Post Office and the Municipal Office. When they are completed they will be filled with earth to be used for planting flowers and shrubs. This move, initiated by the Municipal Council, is aimed at making the Federal capital more attractive and discouraging the public from trampling on these traffic islands.

Read more @: Mining the birth of a great city – General – New Straits Times

3,925 Candidates Pass STAM 2012

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

PUTRAJAYA:  — A total of 3,925 candidates or 67.4 per cent passed the Religious Higher School Certificate (STAM) 2012 obtaining at least the Maqbul (Pass) in all the 10 subjects.

Malaysian Examinations Syndicate Director Dr Na’imah Ishak said the results showed an increase from the 3,420 candidates who obtained at least a pass in the 2011 examination.

She said 385 candidates obtained Mumtaz (excellent), 1,263 candidates obtained Jayyid Jiddan (Very Good), 1,868 candidates obtained Jayyid (Good) and 409 obtained Maqbul (pass).

A total of 5,818 candidates sat for the STAM last year at 116 examination centres nationwide, she said when announcing the 2012 STAM results at the Education Ministry, here today.


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Opening minds to new experiences

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Ahead of the unveiling of the National Education Blueprint on Tuesday, our columnist shares why an education steeped in the humanities is needed to produce open-minded and competitive citizens.

I attended the UiTM School of Mass Communications 40th anniversary last weekend. I was among the pioneer batch of students, blazing the trail for the country’s first batch of academically trained journalists, advertising, public relations and broadcasting professionals.

As hundreds of us gathered amidst hugs and shrieks of joy, what many of us most reminisced about was the incredible education we got in a nurturing environment that enabled us to learn, think, imagine and rebel. For us among the first few batches of students, much was owed to Tan Sri Arshad Ayub, the pioneering educationist who led ITM’s exponential growth, who provided us the space and the opportunity to realise our full potential.

Long before private-public sectors partnerships and twinning programmes were de rigueur, Arshad was already thinking out of the box, passionate in ensuring his young charges got the best education.

He brought top Malaysian professionals from the private and public sectors to teach us and university professors, local and abroad, to provide us additional academic rigour.

This was 1972, long before all kinds of insecurities, imagined fears and threats against our identities as Malays, as Muslims, got the better of us. We were pioneers, hungry for knowledge from anywhere, anyone, hungry to be the best.

And it was education leaders like Arshad and our first Head of School, Marina Samad, who stopped at nothing to give us the best in order to bring out the best in us.

In those early days of educating Malays to enter the professions, there seemed to be a clear vision and philosophy that only an education steeped in the arts and humanities would produce the open-minded Malays needed to be productive and competitive citizens, able to embrace change and bring about change to their community and society. What more to produce communications specialists.

It was a time when lecturers were totally dedicated to opening up our minds to new ideas and new experiences.

There was my English and Literature lecturer, Pritam Singh Sekhon, who brought his portable record player to class to get us to listen to classical music. He introduced us to Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin.

He brought us by bus to see every single play at the Experimental Theatre in Universiti Malaya. We hung out with the directors and student actors and actresses before and after the play, whetting our appetite to do our own productions – which we did.

by Zainab Anwar.

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Be prepared to be amazed by flora, fauna of Kinabatangan.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

KOTA KINABATANGAN: The Sungai Kinabatangan is 560 km long.

It starts at the Crocker Range in the southwest of Sabah and ends at the Sulu Sea. It is the longest river in the ‘land below the wind’.

Near the river, 10 species of primates can be found, including the Proboscis monkey, the Orang Utan and the Bornean gibbon.

The place is home to 250 bird, 50 mammal, 20 reptile and 1,056 plant species.

Planning to see wildlife near Sungai Kinabatangan? Then, travel in a boat along the river. Boat rides along Sungai Kinatangan begin at 6am. The last boat ride is at 4pm.

Recently, this writer had the opportunity to view flora and fauna along the Kinabatangan riverbank. Along with two friends, she took the evening boat ride to view the wilderness and natural habitats there.

The two-hour boat ride, which began at the Sukau Greenview lodge, was priced at RM30 per person. From the boat, visitors could see the Sukau village and a few other lodges and resorts.

“Look, they are sitting on the branches of those trees. They are eating wild fruits,” exclaimed a passenger while pointing at a few trees.

An adult Orang Utan sitting on one of the branches of a tree on the Kinabatangan riverbank had caught the attention of several visitors.

“These wild animals are seen near the banks of the river. They hide behind trees and on branches,” said a passenger, Rose Azrin Dahlan, a communications consul “However, the thinning forest canopy does not allow these animals to go into hiding. They come closer to the riverbank because their natural habitats, which are deep in the woods, have been taken over by humans,” she said.

Orang Utans are large apes that live on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. These apes mostly live on the branches of trees and swing from branch to branch using their arms.

The word ‘Orang Utan’ means ‘man of the forest’ in the Malay language.