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The Japan-Asia Youth Exchange Program in Science (SAKURA Exchange Program in Science) is the forum for enhancing exchanges between Asian and Japanese youth who will play a crucial role in the future of science and technology. This program is a close collaboration of the industry-academia-government and facilitates short-term visits of competent Asian youth to Japan. Further, it aims to raise the interest of Asian youth toward benefitting from latest trends in Japanese science and technology at Japanese universities, research institutions and private companies. A delegation of 8 undergraduate students and the academic staff member, Dr. B.C.L. Athapattu, from the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering Technology, OUSL participated at this exchange program from the 25th February – 07th March 2018 at Okayama University, and Osaka University, Japan. This exposure opened up new vistas of academic possibilities for the OUSL students and helped to create mutual understanding and respect for different cultures.

Left to Right Back Row

1) U.L.S.Yasarathne        2) T.W.L.R.Thalgaspitiya       3) G.L.Jayathunga  

4) H.K.M.Perera             5) G.C.R.Dayarathne                  6) P.A.K. Sameera

7) G.L.E.P. Perera             8) H.M.S.S.Sandarekha

 

Left to Right Front Row

1) M.N.C. Samarawickrama (Head of the Department - Civil Eng.)

2) K.A.C.Udayakumar (Dean Eng. Technology)

3)Prof. S.A. Ariadurai (Vice Chancellor )

4) Dr. Bandunee Athapattu (Senior Lecturer)

                                           (Coordinator of Sakura Project)

 

 

The OUSL, with the support from Commonwealth of Learning (COL),has initiated a research project on the implementation of the Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA) Programme in the teaching-learning process in Sri Lankan schools and on the evaluation of its impact. The key aim of this project is to develop capacity among school teachers and promote the adoption of digital education environments in schools.

This programme was inaugurated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, OUSL, Prof. K. B Gunaherath, on 20th July, 2018, at OUSL, and a capacity-building workshop was held from 20th to 22nd July 2018 for a group of 41 teachers from 39 schools representing the nine Provinces of Sri Lanka.It is envisaged that the participants of this research project will develop their competencies in adopting and promoting C-DELTA in their schools by improving their digital education leadership skills, thus becoming effective professionals who can cater to the digital education environments in their institutions.

This research project is presently implemented at the Faculty of Education, OUSL, by a five-member team, under the leadership of Prof. Shironica P. Karunanayaka, Dean, Faculty of Education, OUSL.

 

   

   

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The Education Faculty Offered a 'Short Course on Special Education' in the Maldives, MI College, thus creating a milestone in the history of the OUSL: this is the first time the university offered a course outside Sri Lanka.

This 3-month program saw 12 workshops being conducted for the 10 students who have enrolled for the program  

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The OUSL takes pride in creating another historical milestone in the history of the nation's ODL sector by launching the country's first ODL-facilitated Bachelor of Arts Honours in Library and Information Studies (LIS). In a world where information and access to information are rapidly altering states due to developments in the IT sector, the space of a Library and the symbolic significance associated with the notions of accessibility, openness, inclusiveness, user paradigm and library research have radically altered forcing the academics to reexamine the discipline of Library and Information Sciences. It is amidst that context that a team from the OUSL Library, headed by Dr. Wathmanel Seneviratne set out to not only reexamine, re-read their own disciplines, but to respond to the evolving professional needs on the market by offering an updated and cutting-edge BA through the ODL platform. This BA was created upon a proposal by the Sri Lanka Library Association whereby the Diplomates of the Association could obtain a competent degree related to their professional skills with a competitive national university.

“Just as much as a library is still a place to read and borrow books, it is also many other things at the same time—a sort of multiple identities for the same entity. That is why we thought of going back to the drawing board and re-examining our own discipline in the light of the radical shifts in the IT landscape as well as learner's own attitudes towards these changes. The BA in LIS is our response to those changes—and it is a labor of love of many dedicated and committed individuals too numerous to mention at this stage,” says Dr. Wathmanel, the Librarian, OUSL.  

The OPEN Quarterly asked her: How does one manage an entity with multiple identities which inevitably encourage multiple expectations? “That is our challenge, and that is what we, the BA in LIS academics and the students seek to explore. Managing multiple identities is a task that is closely bound to identifying such ideas; and one should not forget that those self-same identities would undergo changes with time. The Quantum Computer is on the way, and such innovations will change education attitudes and landscapes. The presence of BA in LIS is a sort of a buffer against such radical alterations—we pause, we identify and we seek.”

The text books of the LIS program were a magnificent undertaking which drew in reputed scholars from abroad who engaged in comprehensive and in-depth research to create the narratives in a student friendly manner. The program is specifically aimed at the professionals who are already engaged in the LIS discipline and will put them through an exhaustive program of study whose individual components range from training in academic discourse to engagement in technology-related subjects to modern research skills. The program will be offered by the HSS Faculty and a separate unit has been established to administer the program. The library shelves are already packed with additional reading materials for the new BA. As the OUSL gears itself for this historical landmark, the Team OUSL Library eagerly await the arrival of the potential skilled librarians of the future in the OUSL classrooms.

          

The Team LIS

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Mannar, the site of an ancient port city, became the newest location to benefit from the regional expansion of the OUSL. The University opened its 18th Study Centre there equipped with spacious classrooms and other amenities. The OUSL VC, Prof. S.A. Ariadurai, DVC Prof. K.B. Gunaherath, Registrar Mrs. Vindya Jayasena and other Senior Academics graced the occasion.  

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The PGIE was successful in its bid for a research grant from the British Council under its Transform Programme -- a multi-country project which attempts to facilitate progressive cultural change and cultural expression through a range of activities including the Arts, Culture and Education. The PGIE applied for this grant in response to a grant call circulated by the Vice Chancellor of the OUSL and was able to secure the highest marks for its proposal on Reconciliation, Arts and Education.

This grant will support a 1-year research project into arts-based reconciliation initiatives in Sri Lanka and their pedagogical implications. The project will investigate the under- researched link between how the arts can contribute to sustainable reconciliation and how these in turn can be mainstreamed through pedagogy. As part of the grant the British Council will also facilitate collaboration between the PGIE and Queens University and Ulster University in Northern Ireland -- leading to a comparative focus to the research study. The study is expected to produce a series of publications and will include a learning and sharing event at the end of the project cycle. This grant allows the PGIE to build on a previous collaboration with the School of Social Political Science of the University of Edinburgh that saw the institute host an innovative "Ideas Lab on Art and Reconciliation" in December 2016.

 

Image1 Left to right Director UDA, Ratnapura, Registrar OUSL, Director RES

A land of 1 acre and 2 roods situated at New Town Ratnapura has been allocated for Ratnapura Regional Centre upon Cabinet approval of the proposal made by Megapolis and Western Development minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.

The land was officially handed over to the Registrar of the Open University of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Vindya Jayasena by the Director Urban Development Authority Sabaragamuwa region on 20th June 2018. Dr. H.K. Jayawardhana, Director Regional Educational Services, Mr. D.S.D. Kasun, Assistant Registrar/Capital Works, and Dr. Nilusha Wanigasekara Assistant Director Ratnapura Regional Centre, participated the occasion.

The land will be used to establish a new building complex for Ratnapura Regional Centre of the Open University of Sri Lanka.

Image:1 Left to right: Director, Urban Development Authority Sabaragamuwa region, Mrs. Vindya Jayasena, Registrar OUSL, Dr. H.K. Jayawardhana, Director Regional Educational Services.

cross linked cellulose

A team of senior academics from the OUSL and other senior scientists have filed a patent application for “A process of producing a cross-linked cellulose and acrylic acid grafted super absorbent copolymer using a domestic microwave oven for agricultural applications.” The project team comprised of Prof. S.A Ariadurai - Department of Textile and Apparel Technology, Faculty of Engineering Technology, OUSL, Dr. A.G.B Aruggoda - Department of Agricultural and Plantation Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Technology, OUSL, Ms. C. K Disanayaka - Deputy Director, Division of Food and Agriculture, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board , Ms. S. Kulathunge - former Director Gamma Centre, Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Board and Ms. T.N Fernando, a PhD student of the Department of Agricultural and Plantation Engineering, OUSL.

Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs) are structurally cross-linked, highly swollen, hydrophilic polymer networks capable of absorbing a large amount of water or aqueous saline solutions, practically 10 to 1000 times of their original weight or volume (Ramazani-Harandi et al., 2006). In the field of agriculture, one major purpose of using SAPs is to aid water sustenance and improve humidity condition of growth media. Further, SAPs are used to increase the water availability to the plant in the growth media, which would enable the plants to survive longer under water stress.

Recognizing the importance of international input in improving learner support at the OUSL, the International Relations Unit (IRU) organized five days of activities for the academics and other stakeholders with the participation of an international scholar, Prof. Ormond Simpson who is an expert in ‘ learner support to increase student retention in ODL.’ These five days of activities started on 29th May 2017 and successfully ended on 2nd June 2017, followed by close interactions and discussions with different stakeholder representatives (students, members of senior management etc.). Two-day outbound residential workshop with 58 academics from all five faculties, Regional Centers and the PGIE, was held on 30th& 31st May 2017 at Tamarind Tree Hotel, Minuwangoda.

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National Workshop on Provincial Open Educational Resources (OER) Policy Implementation was held at the OZO Hotel Colombo from 27th February 2017 to 1st March 2017. The chief guest was Mr. Sunil Hettiarachchi, Secretary to the Ministry of Education. Professor Shironica P. Karunanayake gave the welcome address. Dr. Ishan Abeywardena, adviser on OER from Commonwealth of Learning delivered introductory remarks and the key note speech was delivered by Professor Samuel Anbahan Ariadurai, Vice Chancellor, OUSL.

The workshop was a part of OER Integration Initiative at the OUSL. It was organized by the OUSL with the support of Commonwealth of Learning Canada. In view of promoting OER in the Sri Lankan General School Education System (primary, secondary and collegiate), Commonwealth of Learning with the partnership of the OUSL and with support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) has successfully completed a project leading to the development of OER policy frameworks for the nine Provincial Ministries of Education (PMoE) in the year 2016. Professor Shironica P. Karunanayake was involved in the preliminary work and came up with a draft policy for each of the nine provinces in Sri Lanka.

This National Workshop on OER Policy Implementation brought together all the key stakeholders to finalize the provincial policies for potential adoption and implementation. The objectives of the workshop were:

  • build awareness among policymakers and key stakeholders at national/provincial level on the concept and impact of OER for general school education
  • reinforce the necessity and benefits of a provincial OER policy for general school education
  • finalize the draft OER policies for each province ready for adoption/implementation and
  • plot the way forward for adopting and implementing provincial OER policies in Sri Lanka.

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MOUThanjavur

A general MoU was signed between the OUSL and the Tamil University, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India on 09 March 2017. This MOU will facilitate students and staff exchange programmes, joint conferences/seminars/workshops, scholarly collaborations and supporting educational, professional and cultural activities among faculties and students of the two institutions.

MoU OUSL AAT

The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka(AAT) signed an MoU at the Office of the Vice-Chancellor of the OUSL on 21 February 2017.

This MoU facilitates the development of academic and professional aspects related to the conducting of the Bachelor of Management Studies Degree and Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management programme offered by the Department of Management Studies of the OUSL.

Under this MoU, AAT will provide professional inputs, resource persons and industrial training facilities whenever such contributions are required for the successful delivery of academic, research and industrial analysis components of those academic programmes.  

A general MOU and an agreement was signed between The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and Mianz International College (MI College) on 2nd December 2016 to offer the OUSL short courses through MI College in the Maldives. Initially, the following courses have been identified by both parties to be offered at MI College for the Maldivian students who will be registered with the OUSL.

  1. Short Course on Teaching Children with Learning Disabilities
  2. Short Course on Research Methodology in Education
  3. Short Course in Financial Accounting (SCFA)
  4. Short Course in Marketing Management
  5. Short Course in Human Resource Management

This is the first initiative for the OUSL to offer such short courses overseas. This initiative will strengthen the OUSL to offer Foundation, Diploma, Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in the future at the Maldives.

The Vice Chancellor, Registrar and the Director International Relations Unit of the OUSL participated in the graduation ceremony of the MI College held on 2nd December 2016 in the Maldives.

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"Sarasavi Medura," a four-story modern hostel complex of the OUSL, was recently declared open by the Vice Chancellor of the OUSL Prof A. Ariyadurai. This Temporary Residential Facility (TRF) can accommodate up to 400 students at a time and features environmentally-friendly modalities of construction. Completed with spacious comfortable rooms, study spaces, dinning room plus other basic amenities, this TRF is the latest addition to the OUSL's vision to provide maximum support to its ODL student population.

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A book released as an Open Educational Resource (OER) and published by the OUSL titled "Dreamweaving Open Educational Practices” was launched on 8th December, 2016, at the Faculty of Education, OUSL. The Vice Chancellor, Professor S. A. Ariadurai, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest, while Emeritus Professor Chandra Gunawardena delivered a review of the book.

This publication, edited by Professors Shironica P. Karunanayaka and Som Naidu, is an outcome of the IDRC-funded ROER4D Research Project led by them and successfully completed at the Faculty of Education during 2015-2016. It features stories of school teachers across the nine provinces in Sri Lanka, who have integrated Open Educational Resources (OER) and adopted Open Educational Practices (OEP) in their teaching and learning.

This is the second book released as an OER by the Faculty of Education and is available at:

http://www.ou.ac.lk/home/images/OUSL/publications/Dreamweaving%20Open%20Educational%20Practices.pdf

Dreamweaving

Dreamweaving

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REFERENCA AWARD 1

P.D.S. Hiroshan Gunawardane, an OUSL graduate in Technology in the Mechatronics stream, who is presently a Lecturer of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has become the “Winner of the Year 2016” and the first Sri Lankan to receive the "Referenca Award" for Science & Technology for Peaceful Work from REFRENCA European Union organization, awarded at the Academic Economic Congress 2016 held in SLOVENIA.

REFERENCA EU is the European Union organization comprising of hundreds of companies and institutions in the region who distinguish renowned persons in the global academia. They have undertaken a comprehensive assessment of Hiroshan’s academic background, projects, research works, publications and community work as a part of their criteria for the award.

REFERENCA AWARD

Motivational Lecture KRC

A motivational lecture on Knowledge Management and Innovation by Dr. Nawaz Jiffry (consultant KMI / Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist) was held on 27th October 2016 at the OUSL Kandy Regional Centre auditorium. This session was organized by the CERC unit, KRC targeting private and public sector employees/employers, university students, entrepreneurs, unemployed youth and the students who want to pursue higher education in the future.

Representatives of many reputed institutions in and around Kandy participated in this session, which was sponsored by the Commercial Bank, Katugastota Branch.

Participants extended their gratitude to the organizers and requested more lectures of this nature in the future.

Motivational Lecture KRC

Motivational Lecture KRC

Motivational Lecture KRC

Motivational Lecture KRC

Motivational Lecture KRC

Robotics Toolkit

From Left: Eng. B.G.D. Achintha Madhusanka, Eng. [Mrs.] Nimali Medagedara, Mr. Singhe Wijesinghe , Eng. P.D.S. Hiroshan Gunawardane

A team comprising of researchers supervised by Eng. [Mrs.] Nimali T Medagedara and Eng. BGD Achintha Madhusanka of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, OUSL has been selected as the first-runners up in “The Soft Robotics Toolkit Design Competition 2016” hosted by Bio Design Laboratory, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in Harvard University USA. The principle researcher, Eng. P.D.S. Hiroshan Gunawardane is a graduate from the Department of Mechanical Engineering who is now employed as a probationary lecturer. A valuable assistance was also rendered by Mr. Singhe Wijesinghe, an undergraduate student from the Department in the fabrication process.

The OUSL competed with around 20 other nations with more than eighty teams from well-known universities, high schools and researchers around the world in three categories. The Soft Robotics Design Team of the OUSL introduced the “Design and Development of a Hand Gesture Controlled Soft Robot Manipulator” which is a novel methodology to control a soft robot manipulator with a three finger soft gripper by imitating real-time human hand gestures.

The competition was judged by nine top researchers in the field of robotics selected by the Harvard University. The winner was Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, USA (World Rank 682). The First Runners-Up was the Open University of Sri Lanka(World Rank 4479) and Second Runners-Up was Cornell University, NY, USA. (World Rank 6). Some of the other renowned universities that participated are University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (World Rank 91), Colorado State University, CO, USA (World Rank 192) and Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, USA (World Rank 387).

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A group of ten OUSL staff members participated the 30th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU 2016) hosted by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), held 26-29 October, 2016 at Manila, Philippines. OpenEducation in Asia: Changing Perspectives was the theme for the AAOU 2016 conference. This Conference provided the catalyst for knowledge sharing among participants and created opportunity for researchers to share their knowledge and make contacts to initiate more collaborative research.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor S. A. Ariadurai was one of the plenary speakers at the conference focused on ‘Open and Distance Learning in 21st Century’. Professor. Ariadurai delivered his address on “How to face Challenges - The Sri Lankan Experience”.

In total, nine research articles were presented by the OUSL participants at the conference, out of these two papers were selected as Finalists for Best Paper award and Finalist for Best Practice award respectively.

Professor Shironica P. Karunanayaka of the Department of Secondary & Tertiary Education of the Faculty of Education, received the “Gold Medal for Best Practice Award”. Prof. Karunanayaka received this award for the research paper titled, “A Design-based Approach to Support and Nurture Open Educational Practices” (by– ShironicaKarunanayaka and Som Naidu), based on the ROER4D Research Project led by her at the Faculty of Education, OUSL.

The selection criteria for the Award specified an innovative practice developed to improve process or method, the potential for such practice to be replicated, impact on the Open Distance Learning environment, and the quality of writing. This was one of the six shortlisted papers selected by the adjudication panel for a 10-minute oral paper presentation during the conference. After an assessment by the Best Practice Award Adjudication Committee Prof. Karunanayaka was presented with the Gold Medal of the AAOU Best Practice Award 2016.

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Ms. E.W.A.I.M. Siriwardana, an undergraduate of the B.Sc. Nursing Degree program, was awarded the Best Paper’s Award of Allied Health Sciences Forum at the 9th International Research Conference of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University held on 8th& 9th September on the theme Professional Integration for a Secure Nation. The title of her paper was “A Study on Knowledge and Practices Related to Prevention of Needle Stick Injuries among Nurses in Intensive Care Units of Kandy Teaching Hospital, Sri Lanka.” Another two BSc Nursing undergraduates were involved in this study, namely, Ms. W.N.S. Herath and Ms. Y.M.W.D.K. Yapa. The paper was supervised by Ms. K.G.P.K Munidasa, a Lecturer attached to the Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences. This paper was based on a study conducted for partial fulfillment of the BSc Nursing degree program under the course NSU 4206.

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Ms. Nisansala Swaranamali Bopage who is currently working as a demonstrator at the Department of Chemistry, OUSL, was awarded the Best Student’s Award at the 4th International Conference on Pharmaceutical and Pharmacology – GLOBAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FORUM – SINGAPORE 2016 for the paper titled “Scratch Wound Assay (SWA) Guided Investigation of “Seetodaka” Oil, a Medicinal Oil Reputed for Wound Healing in Sri Lanka” by Nisansala S. Bopage, G.M. Kamal B. Gunaherath, K. Hector Jayawardena from the OUSL and S. Chandrani Wijeyaratne, A. M. Abeysekera from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura. This paper was based on part of the work she has carried out at the OUSL for her M. Phil degree which was funded by grants from Link Natural Products Ltd., and the Faculty of Natural Sciences, OUSL.

Image1 Left to right Director UDA, Ratnapura, Registrar OUSL, Director RES

Image:1 Left to right: Director, Urban Development Authority Sabaragamuwa region, Mrs. Vindya Jayasena, Registrar OUSL, Dr. H.K. Jayawardhana, Director Regional Educational Services.

A land of 1 acre and 2 roods situated at New Town Ratnapura has been allocated for Ratnapura Regional Centre upon Cabinet approval of the proposal made by Megapolis and Western Development minister Patali Champika Ranawaka.

The land was officially handed over to the Registrar of the Open University of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Vindya Jayasena by the Director Urban Development Authority Sabaragamuwa region on 20th June 2018. Dr. H.K. Jayawardhana, Director Regional Educational Services, Mr. D.S.D. Kasun, Assistant Registrar/Capital Works, and Dr. Nilusha Wanigasekara Assistant Director Ratnapura Regional Centre, participated the occasion.

The land will be used to establish a new building complex for Ratnapura Regional Centre of the Open University of Sri Lanka.

 

 

The traditional ground-breaking ceremony for the proposed four-story building of the Jaffna Regional Center took place on 6th August 2018 with the participation of the Vice Chancellor S.A. Ariadurai, DVC Prof. Kamal Bandara Gunaherath and Registrar Mrs. Vindya Jayasena.

 

   

 

Knowledge First 2018 Kandy, an Education and Career Guidance Exhibition, was held on 7th and 8th September in the Kandy City Center. The OUSL Kandy Regional Centre (RC) played an active role in this education exhibition which was held after the GCE AL exam.

The OUSL team made a comprehensive and an interesting presentation at this exhibition on the academic programmes available at the university. The response of the youth and parents was encouraging and a large number of students showed keen interest in the OUSL programmes. Many school leavers as well as professionals were seen flocking at the OUSL desk to obtain information on the various academic programmes offered by the University.