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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.