Field Base Teaching: A Malaysian Experience

Raman Mariyappan

Abstract


This paper narrates the field base teaching method that has been incorporated in Northern University of Malaysia. By tradition, the university is a management university, which emphasis on management skills, such as banking, finance, entrepreneurship and other essential components of management. Beginning of 1995, the university realizes that a wider curriculum scope is needed to cater ever growing demand on humanities programs. As a result of this, courses such as history, sociology, anthropology, geography and other courses related to humanities programs were introduced. Components of geography were introduced as regional geography and environmental management in 1997 as one of the elective subject in Public Administration Undergraduate Program. Generally, the teaching method being employed at the university was lectures, tutorial and the assessments were more exams oriented. Starting from the academic session of 2000/2001, the evaluation processes were altered and assignments were introduced. I took this opportunity to introduce assignments based on report writing about development projects and its impacts on natural environment surroundings the university. This paved way for the students to conduct surveys and data collection prior to the report writing. Slowly, I introduced the idea and the importance of field base teaching to the students and the management. Initially it was well perceived by the management and the students. Latter, when the number of students increased from merely 20 to few hundreds, issues such logistics, cost and other related issues influenced the management to rethink the idea of field base teaching. At present the number of students varies from 1,000 to 1,500 per academic semester. The numbers of instructors were also increased from one to fifteen. Unfortunately my present role as an instructor and coordinator does not provide the luxury of practicing field-based teaching due to financial and man power constrain. It is an uphill task to design a syllabus and convince the faculty members to participate in the field based teaching.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2015.v5n1s1p121


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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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