INSTITUTIONS of higher learning are responding to the learning and social habits of Generation Y (Gen Y).
Roshidi Hassan, who lectures at Universiti Teknologi Mara’s (UiTM) Faculty of Business Management.”The days are gone when undergraduates feel distant from their vice chancellors, for example. Now, vice chancellors are using social networking tools such as Facebook (FB) to communicate with students,” says Associate Professor Dr
Roshidi, who researches into the attitudes and work habits of Gen Y in Malaysia who were born between 1980 and 1995, says his faculty has implemented changes in the learning system.
The Business Management Faculty tailored its curriculum to the learning style of young people five years ago to factor in their preference for learning by doing, working in teams and sharing findings from their research in presentations.
Vice chancellors now use social networking tools to communicate with students
The faculty sends its students to companies to learn about their problems.
They later act as consultants and advise those organisations on how to overcome their difficulties.
”Gen Y students want to apply the theory that they have learned and they take ownership of their knowledge seriously.
”Students find this type of learning more enjoyable and meaningful than sitting in lectures,” says Roshidi, adding that academicians are now facilitators of learning rather than lecturers.
Gen Y’s affinity with technology means that they expect state-of-the-art facilities on campus.
“You will notice better Internet connection and information and communications technology tools in the classroom.
Universities have also begun offering study tours and internship opportunities abroad to appeal to Gen Y’s love of travel and learning about other cultures.
“Students now are adventurous and they will compete for the chance to gain international exposure.”
They love nothing more than to be given the chance to be heard.
”The vice chancellor’s FB page is a hit with the students because it is one of the places where they feel they can voice out their opinions.”
Roshidi believes universities which have yet to hop on the social networking bandwagon will lose out. ”The trend is to treat students as partners,” he adds.
By Suzieana Uda Nagu, Nurjehan Mohamed and Sharifah Arfah
Source: The New Straits Times Learning Curve 26 February 2012