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Malaysia to integrate technology with language skills

The current century demands that the workforce, in order to be high-quality, be made up of individuals who are versatile and able to adapt rapidly to the ever-changing economy and technological landscape.

Thus, creating graduates who are quipped with excellent language skills and management and entrepreneurial capabilities, will be crucial if Malaysia is to remain competitive and achieve its goal of becoming a developed nation.

According to a recent report, the Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), through its Centre for Modern Languages and Human Sciences (CMLHS), is introducing its new Master of Science in Technology-Integrated Language Studies (MSc TiLS), to help realise this goal.

The first intake is expected to commence learning in February 2019.

The programme aims to enhance the skills of its graduates, especially in communications, so they can become part of the skilled workforce that contributes towards achieving the country’s aspirations.

According to an Associate Professor in the  Department of English Language at CMLHS, the MSc TiLS is the first in the country to integrate technology in language studies, equipping learners with skills that enable them to multifunction in relevant organisations.

She noted that, traditionally, university programmes have always produced graduates with skills in one specific area. For example, it’s either in language studies or information technology. However, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) and the Internet of Things (IoT) being ubiquitous entities in academic programmes, the current trend in language studies is shifting towards multidisciplinary realms.

For example, people who are in web marketing may be required to generate accurate interpretations of discourse analysis to optimise linguistic content that appeals effectively to consumers, she added.

It was noted the ability to utilise technology will boost the confidence of learners in their workplace. In other words, this programme will raise their awareness, transform their mind and drive change in teaching and learning, she stated.

The MSc TiLS combines technological applications with a conventional foundation in language studies, which will be conducted in a blended learning environment.

The focus is to allow learners to experience hands-on learning and engage in technology integrated tasks.

The Associate Professor stated that learners can update their knowledge in a flexible and well-supported environment. In addition, the tasks and assessments are meant to enrich their research competency and encourage lifelong learning.

The programme consists of six core courses — two of which are Technology in Language Studies and Web-based Tools in Teaching and Learning.

Technology in Language Studies is designed to train learners through three learning do mains. The domains (cognitive, affective and psychomotor) cover language-learning theories and strategies, and how they can be applied in technology-mediated studies.

The Web-based Tools in Teaching and Learning introduces learners to core principles of integrating Internet tools in teaching and learning.

It includes lessons on Web 2.0 tools to support language learning. Students will be introduced to various issues of using web-based tools in language assessments.

The potential learners who are expected to enrol in this programme are fresh graduates and working professionals.

The Professor noted that the MSc TiLS is designed to equip workers with practical and state-of-the-art experience for career development and professional enhancement. For fresh graduates, it will provide them the competitive edge in pursuing their occupational endeavours.

She added that the graduates will have vast opportunities in the education and service sectors. The integration of technology in the programme will meet the demand of vocations that require technological knowledge and communication skills.

Employers in the fields of training, research, media services, information technology and technopreneurship are inclined to hire graduates with such skills.

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