The humble journey to The Creator: After all, we are just a tiny bubble in the ocean


background beautiful blossom calm waters
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This is a long email I wrote to all UTP staff today of my own self-reflection on training and learning


Assalamualaikum wrt & Hello

Greetings from CETaL

I have not written via email for quite sometimes, but I would like to share some reflection with everyone of you just to keep the mood enlightened. Four years ago, I have been tasked to lead our brand new centre, CETaL, an unknown territory. Just so you know, my background is always chemical engineering since my degree until my PhD, and I had never been exposed to any of certification of effective teaching and learning, what else any certification of education. I was in a blurry state for quite sometimes when I was given this task, and really 4 years ago, I started from zero. I didn’t know much, only to know that, yes I do have passion to ensure my students did well in the class, and I dig out all the opportunities to get to know the experts out there, so they are able to share some insights with me. From there I learn how to look into this business holistically.

I met several experts who are really passionate into teaching and learning. I remember quite clearly when I first attended a training on active learning, there were not more than 10 people who turned up. But I went through the training for the next 2 days, and I was very fascinated with the scholarly practice being shared. When I teach in the class, I straight away implemented some of the techniques, just to get the right feeling of doing it. Slowly I developed some materials that can be used to support my Active Learning approach.

When the second similar training offered, I encouraged my colleagues to attend the training (this time we had more than 20 participants), and I attended it for the second time. From there, I learnt what I have done well, and what I can improve. There are few times of my ‘aahhh’ moments, where I actually discovered that, there are times I did wrong unintentionally and have to correct that. When the third similar training kicked in, where our previous DVCA, Prof Ahmad Fadzil Hani joined, I also joined the training fully, but this time around to observe how the facilitators, Prof Khairiyah and Dr Syed Ahmad Hilmi conducted the training.

To cut short, I had attended two times cooperative learning, two times PBL training and two times flipped classroom training fully, just to understand what I did right, and what I did wrong, and what I missed to scaffold my students. I believe I still can learn more if I re-attend the trainings. My point here is, attending training for one time, may not be sufficient for us to make our practice solid. There are times where we miss some points, and if we revisit it back, then we may realise what we did wrong, and what can be improved. But on top of that is of course the passion to keep improving ourselves to become a better educator. We cannot simply become excellent for the first time we attended the training, what else if we never attended training and claim ourselves to be excellent educator. Additionally, if we attend the training, but we delay in practicing it, we will lose the skills that we learnt.

It is true that some of us have the talent as the educator, but research has shown that talent alone is not sufficient to bring the excellence in us, but more importantly for us to acquire grit, being resilience, keep improving self without feeling being forced, but liking to do it passionately.

Thank you for your time reading my self-reflection.




Many of us know why we need to change the way how we teach at schools and higher institutions for example to align with 21st century requirements, yet many of us do not know how to do that. Despite many theories of teaching strategies have been introduced for the past 40 years, we rarely looked into the scholarly approach, but we think we could devise something from our own idea.

The ideas of collaborative, cooperative, team based, active or problem based learning have been there for the past 30-40 years, but the educationists perhaps did not sufficiently lead as to translate these approaches into mass action. These strategies, have been long researched and proven in terms of its effectiveness but it is only scattering around the articles in journals and proceedings.

So what is 21st century learning? using ipad, smartphone, tablets and laptop in the class, do presentation with technology, talk to each other etc etc?

NO, that is just a small pieces of the big jigsaw.


At UTP, we believed that in order for us to attain 21st century learning skills, we should move from teacher centred towards students centred learning. The transformation from teacher centred towards students centred learning happened since year 2015. In 2016, we carefully researched and selected some pedagogical strategies that fit our requirements to produce future ready graduates. All the academic staff are compulsory to attend active learning training (2 days training) as this is our base and fundamental training, to strengthen the why and how, for which they also learn about supporting and scaffolding the students learning, understanding students learning behaviour together with learning on how to plan their classroom activities. We introduce the staff with BOOKS END MODEL and alongside the staff would learn for at least 20 techniques of Active Learning, for which you could find more than hundred from the internet sources, but knowing how to devise the technique is important. Then, we encourage the staffs to conduct the approach in their class for at least a semester before they could attend the next training i.e. on cooperative learning.


The staff could further enhance their knowledge by attending flipped classroom training while from time to time we expose the faculty members with some tools and technologies that could help their delivery using active or cooperative learning strategies. This is where technology enhanced active learning comes in. After the staff had carefully and successfully implemented some of these strategies, only then we invited them to attend PBL, which is much more complex, not only about crafting the case study or problems to be given to the students, but also to learn on facilitating the students effectively. We simply do not encourage our staff to jump straight away to PBL before trying other simpler approaches, because we believe, this does not only make the students felt traumatised and on top of that the staffs are not able to motivate back the students, yet even the staff themselves may face trauma, which stopping them from further conducting students centred learning (SCL).


Once the staff had successfully attended all these trainings, we invited some of them who are very passionate into teaching and learning because we want to groom them as the trainers and the change agents at the department. We wanted to make sure they become visible and empowered, and not only able to give training inside UTP, but be able to be the champion of of these initiatives. We also encourage them to participate in several exhibitions on T&L to showcase their innovations i.e. when they had started to blend their pedagogical approach with some new technology and tool. In addition, we encourage them to collect data be it from the validated instruments for survey, the students’ reflection and the students’ learning attainments, which they would later publish their work be it in a T&L conference or any related journals. We also encourage the staff to apply for Scholarships of Teaching and Learning grants (SoTL), which are available annually so they can think of what kind of pedagogical strategies they wanted to use in their class and what are the objectives of their research as to collect meaningful data.


Alhamdulillah from our recent survey, we found that about 50-60% of our staff are already starting to believe in the transformation from teacher centred towards SCL. There are yet still many things to be done but we are happy with the current progress at UTP. Insha Allah by the end of this year, perhaps we’ll be able to have our own Virtual Reality center (as for now we already have several classes for technology enhanced flipped classroom, cooperative learning and PBL), so our VR can be coupled with several pedagogical strategies adopted at UTP. We are also actively training not only our academic staff, but we are extending it to our support staff, Graduate Assistants (GA) and some of the UG and foundation students who are the change agents at the students level to make them in the loop and feel belonging to this transformation.

It is an exciting, thrilling and enjoying days ahead.

You just want to start? Let’s try active learning first.

Wanted to know more, email us at or



Saya bersembang di whatsapp dengan seorang adik, kenalan Sabah (saya harini cerita pasal orang Sabah saja, haha) yang saya pernah ceritakan dalam satu post saya bulan April yang lalu. Insha Allah tak lama lagi dia akan menjadi graduan. Tapi hari ini, ceritanya tidak kurang memeritkan perasaan saya.

Beliau aktif dalam sukan bolasepak di universitinya utara semenanjung, yang pastinya bukan UTP haha. Tapi dalam pasukannya, hanya dia sahaja yang belum Islam. Lawatan saya ke Sabah pun dulu menunjukkan masyarakatnya biasa sahaja dengan saudara mara dan jiran-jiran yang berbeza agama, tidak judgmental, tidak ada yang cuba menyisihkan antara satu sama lain. Aman, tenteram, bahagia.

Tapi sebentar tadi, dia mesej saya menceritakan ada di kalangan sahabat sepasukannya di universiti tempat dia belajar sekarang yang mempersoalkan dia, kenapa dia tak masuk Islam? Dia tanya kembali, kenapa? Alasan kawannya, yelah, dah kawan-kawan kau semua Islam, masuklah Islam. Lame excuse. Ini saya copy balik apa yang dia mesej pada saya

“Depa igt tukar agama lepas tu alhamdullilah ada saudara baru. Tp depa x tau mcm mana struggle org tu nak mendalami agama baru dia. Malah depa xbantu pun”

Keduanya dia beritahu ada seorang perempuan Muslim menyampaikan salam kepadanya, kemudian perkara ini terjadi..

“Hari ni ada budak perempuan kirim slm. Yang budak perempuan ni xtanya pun pasal agama saya, tapi tiba2 member balas kat perempuan tu yg saya ni bukan islam. Sampai mcm tu sekali depa letakkan perbezaan”

Atas alasan yang kawan-kawannya berikan supaya dia masuk Islam, dia cakap camni

“Saya fikir, saya berkawan dgn hang bukan sebab agama hang. Sebab hang tu manusia mcm sy. Sebab tu aku berkawan dengan hang”

Teman-teman sekalian, cuba letak diri kita sebagai seorang Muslim di kalangan 20 orang Kristian atau Buddha yang mengusik-usik kita bila nak masuk Kristian, apa perasaan kita?

Kalaulah kita pamerkan wajah Islam sebegini rupa, siapa yang nak masuk Islam? Sekurang-kurangnya saya bersyukur, adik tu masih mesej saya untuk menyatakan rasa kurang senangnya, masih ada tempat mengadu dan saya beritahu pada dia, tiada siapa pun yang berhak memaksa seseorang yang tidak Islam masuk agama Islam. Itu semua hidayah yang Allah jentik dan berikan kepada setiap seorang. Seyakin kita sebagai seorang Muslim, yakinkah kita akan mati sebagai seorang Muslim?

Kalau kita ada kawan yang belum Islam sekalipun, janganlah mainkan perasaan mereka. Mereka manusia seperti kita. Kadang-kadang kita yang jauhkan mereka dari Islam kerana kita nak sangat tunjuk kita yang superior. Tak ada langsung perasaan Islam sebagai rahmat untuk sekalian alam, rahmatan lil alamin.

Itulah yang terjadi di Malaysia ni juga, sebagai Muslim kita rasa berhak atas segala-galanya. Yang belum Islam ni tak layak pegang ketua hakim, tak layak pegang menteri undang-undang, dan tak layak pegang peguam negara. Kesemuanya dilabelkan. Wajah Islam apakah yang kita cuba pamerkan?

Salahkah mereka ini lahir di kalangan bukan Islam, di kalangan cina, India, Kadazan dan Dusun yang akhirnya kita menjadi zalim menidakkan hak-hak mereka sebagai manusia yang merdeka?

Kalaulah akhlak buruk yang kita pamerkan, bagaimana yang belum Islam ini akan minat dengan Islam? Kalaulah sikap judgmental yang kita pamerkan, siapa yang akan masuk Islam?

Masuk Islam bukanlah satu benda yang boleh dipaksa-paksa, ia semuanya kerja Allah Taala. Allah dah sebut dalam Surah Al-Baqarah ayat 256. Yang penting kita sebagai Muslim ni menjadi wasilah buat yang lain untuk menjadi Muslim juga. Tapi kalau kita sendiri tunjukkan contoh yang tak baik, akhirnya kita sendiri menjadi fitnah untuk Islam.

Ya kita memang excited kawan baik kita masuk Islam, tapi sedarilah bahawa ia adalah satu proses, bukan satu paksaan. Rapat dengan mereka dan santuni mereka bukan kerana kita ada niat tersembunyi, tetapi kerana keikhlasan sebuah persahabatan itu. Mungkin dengan asbab itulah hidayah Allah terjentik.

Santunilah mereka ini sebaiknya. Kerana mereka juga punyai jiwa, akal, hati dan perasaan seperti kita.

Pen off.

Really frustated.





Saya meletakkan lesson untuk generasi Y/millenial ini memandangkan ramai pemuda-pemudi zaman sekarang iaitu di dalam generasi Y/millenial seperti saya, hatta yang terpelajar sekali pun, kurang ilmunya tentang adab berkomunikasi. Lahirnya generasi SMS & Internet yang hanya mahu mengejar masa tetapi terlupa tentang adab dan tatasusila berkomunikasi, semuanya dipukul sama rata, apatah lagi kalau kita mahu jadi pendokong Islam.

Lesson 1: Susah sebenarnya nak jadi orang tengah (messenger). Bukan main taram je sampaikan segala maklumat yang dipasskan oleh orang lain, tapi kena pandai-pandai tapis, kena fikir-fikirkan dulu sesuai atau tak sampaikan maklumat itu dan ini atau to the extent tak perlu ceritakan. Banyak adab dan tatasusila yang kita perlu fikirkan, cara menyampaikan dsb.

Lesson 2 : Pilihlah perkataan yang sesuai dalam semua situasi. Bukan semua tempat sesuai untuk cakap aku dan ko, walaupun dalam majlis itu ada kawan-kawan yang sebaya. Ada yang perlu cakap saya dan encik X, encik Y sebagai menghormati majlis/program.

Lesson 3: Apabila kita nak buat kawan dengan seorang yang baru kita kenal, talk about your and his/her background. This is what we call the art of blending the communication. Try to find similar interest, and talk more about it. Bila memilih perkataan ganti diri e.g. aku, ko, saya, awak, abang, kakak…look first at his/her acceptance.

Lesson 4: Pilihlah perkataan yang sesuai apabila anda ingin berbicara. Tak semua orang boleh menerima satu laras bahasa. Bila berbicara dengan orang tua, orang kaya, orang sederhana, budak kecil , semuanya perlu menggunakan laras bahasa yang sesuai. Nilai intelek itu bukannya pada IQ anda, tetapi sejauh mana anda mampu menyampaikan ilmu anda dalam bahasa yang mudah difahami oleh sesiapa sahaja.

Lesson 5 : Orang Melayu dahulu tinggi adabnya, manis budi bicaranya. Yang pentingnya, bijak menggunakan common sense. Kita jarang meletakkan diri kita dalam kasut orang lain. Adakalanya kita meletakkan kepentingan menyelesaikan kerja kita mengatasi keperluan orang lain, maka akhirnya aspek ‘common sense’ dikesampingkan. Remember to balance two things: people focused & task focused!

That’s all for now. 🙂

What is your practical life aim?

Somebody asked me, where do I find the passion to do what I’m doing now. I answered the query like this:

1. You have to look at the bigger picture what you’re doing. Ultimately, everything that we do is to please Allah Taala. May Allah forgive us with our wrongs and all the deeds that we put effort to strive will be piling up all the hole of sins that we made earlier.

2. My wife Putri Nurizatulshira had made me enlightened recently. When I was at my low point, she made me realised that what matters the most is we do things that Allah pleases with us. We have to remember that at our adult age, we spent large number of hours for working, that is where we want to get halal rizq to feed the family. Sometimes we have to be away from our family, is it worth it if we just do it for the sake of money, promotion or power? In addition, going over some shortcuts or backdoors to get the promotion or fulfilling our working KPI for example, is it worth it?

3. The same thing when we talked about our DNA. What is our values when it comes to our ibadah of hablum minannas? Should not we be doing work that contribute to help others be it in anyway, instead of just thinking about our own KPI? Instead of chasing things that we’re not sure whether it will be counted or not as part of the ibaadah.

4. That’s where my motivation and passion lies. I know that in Malaysia, good education is a critical area for us. Even for me, it is beyond the importance of improving the economies of the nation. Once we give wrong education direction, few generations will be ruined. As such we’re accountable when we make the necessary changes.

5. I found that our society is lack of critical thinking and ability to synthesise information due to the ability to acquire high order thinking skills. I found that we’re lack of good values in ourselves, not many of us learn the right values via formal education, perhaps it was the parents who put attention on it, but maybe it is still lacking at school and higher institutions because we’re very adamant on academic achievement

6. To fix this, I need to equip myself well with the right knowledge. I learn engineering not only for the technical competency but I learn the leadership

skill. And when I’m particularly concern about education, I have to make myself verse on the subject matter, hence the reasons i need to expand my knowledge further.

7. I believe that I cannot do this alone. I need support. I need more people to be part of the changes, marching together to go against all odds. Hence the reason why I passionately shared with others, especially the academia who are so comfortable on their own chairs to come down together and educate our students well. And I know that if I spread it out beyond my institution, we’ll see it become systemic in nature, and we’ll have more people who are equally passionate to change our future generation.

8. The job as the academic staff has to go beyond making its institution achieve the ranking and what not. We can be very strategic to achieve what we want on the paper, but are we really making an impact to the society out there? Or perhaps we’re just the ivory tower who’ll soon become irrelevant to the society? We must bring ourselves down to the people. We must educate, because as the academia, we’re educator first, our discipline second.

9. As such, getting promoted until I become a professor or meeting the KPI is just the intermediate for me. It is not my ultimate aim, I usually don’t give a look to that, but as best as I could work wholeheartedly to get His blessings by making the right transformation not only to this university, but with the hope that I made the right contribution to the society and nation.

10. Looking at that vision, made me never tire of doing my task passionately. Insha Allah, I know that if I’m persistent to what I’m doing, if I acquire the grit (the passion and the perseverance to do what I want to do), I am sure Insha Allah I’ll be there.

11. So here you go my life’s aim. Being a professor? Sure why not, but that’s not the end.

Tips for SCL Implementation

Over the past few years I had been holding CETaL’s Head, also becoming the practitioner of SCL in my own class, there are several things that I noticed that I learned over the experience I had. As such, I’d like to share with all of you prior to the start of the semester, so we can improve our classroom deliveries.

1. Start small, and gradually increase it over time. Don’t overkill it.

Some people observed that I have been doing things very fast, moving from active learning towards PBL etc. I have a reason for that. If I move slow, it is difficult for others to move because I’d not be able to share much examples. Thus, if I do it fast, I can try to enhance my experience doing it, share with all of you so you can start at natural pace. The key important point here is , increase gradually over time. Please don’t do at my speed unless you’re being trained well. If you just attended active learning training once, do not push yourself to do beyond the books end division model, such as doing JIGSAW for example. The Jigsaw activity is a formal cooperative learning technique, where you’ll learn the details in the second part of the training (cooperative learning). I notice that because of the lack of explanation or the way how the staff conduct jigsaw, students found it to be inefficient because they felt that they had to do the teaching and the lecturers are not teaching them at all. So the techniques such as think pair share, brainstorming or pair note taking are reasonable enough to be conducted as the intermediate activities in between 50 mins lecture.

Please do not conduct any kind of problem based learning (PBL) or project based learning adopting cooperative/collaborative learning or flipped classroom if you had not attended the training once, or at least your teaching partner has already attended them and able to coach you doing the facilitation. If you’re doing it alone, restrain yourself from doing it unless you’re trained. You can still achieve the stretch (I know that many want to achieve great, which is good!) of doing active learning, by simply adopting some simple tools in your class (such as padlet, kahoot, Socrative, mentimeter etc etc), and disseminating your practice either at the departmental level or CETaL COP.

2. Don’t simply do SCL- we need to reflect and measure its effectiveness 

One typical failure of SCL or any kind of intervention being done in the class is our failure to self-reflect the activities that we’ve done and how it has improved the students’ learning. Usually, we have a tendency to use this and that techniques and fail to see whether the students are really getting something out of it. Thus, it is important for us to gather some reflection from the students for example (1 minute paper for example), look at their performance be it in cognitive, psychomotor or affective domains and self-reflect ourselves, what could be done better or what goes wrong with what I’ve been using before. On the SCL implementation techniques, there’re more than 1000 scholarly papers out there that you could refer on their successful implementations and we can always learn from these scholars to improve our deliverables.

3. Collaborate among the instructors

I noticed that some of the courses divided the groups of students and two or three different lecturers will teach from week 1 until week 14 for different groups, and there are also practices where turn teaching is adopted i.e. split 14 weeks into two, the first half covered by one lecturer and the next half covered by other.

For the first practice, consistency is very important. If one class is doing AL, it is advisable for other classes to use similar practice too. Students will complain if they found that one lecturer do extensively compared to another lecturer.  Therefore, it is important for the instructors to collaborate in terms of the assignment given, type of activities etc etc. As we’re aiming for collaborative students, why in the first place that we’re not collaborating and be in SILO?

As for the second practice, it is not advisable to do so as the students will perceive the first 7 weeks and the last 7 weeks are totally disintegrated and they’ll see it as a different subject. How extensive the second part lecturer had to do depends on how good is the understanding of the students in part 1. At the same time, the lecturers failed to create a good relationship with the students within the short period, hence deteriorating the quality of the classroom management. This will create more resistant among the students if the second part use SCL while the first part is highly teacher centred.

Collaboration among the instructors be it for one single subject or to come out with integrated project for few courses, are advisable. For the past two years we had been working on integrated PBL/project based learning, and we had reduced tremendously the burden of a single lecturer preparing everything (rubric, assessment, case study, communication with students etc.)

4. Don’t be deceived by the complaints

We know that some of the students are highly resistant to SCL approaches, but there are only small numbers of vocal students. If and only if the complaints come from the majority of the students in the class (which perhaps indicating that we had been doing something not right in the class), we should realise that we cannot please everyone. There are students who will not like it in the first place or they are at a bottom part of the trauma cycle (you’ll learn more about this trauma cycle in cooperative learning training), therefore, we should always try to motivate them. Using some TED talk from the YouTube may help to boost their motivations in learning. Perhaps this link can be useful to you (check first with the class whether they’ve watched them or not)

Life is a marathon not a sprint 🙂

Remember that while 10% are angry at what you’re asking them to do, the remaining 90% will one day come to you and say Thank You.

5. Provide CLOSURE

There are reasons why sometimes you receive a large number of complains in the class for some type of activities that we conducted. Firstly is because the amount of work given is burdening and taxing the students, and we had not given them appropriate scaffolding. Assigning a huge chunk of project at week 1, leave the students to deal with it without proper scaffolding/guidelines, and expect them to submit in week 14, no one will like it. Hence a proper meeting to check their progress from time to time, to motivate them to complete it is very important. Peer rating is also important, there are ways to do it, and you’ll discover more in training part 2.

For any kind of SCL activities, please do a proper closure. The students need assurance of what they had learnt is correct. Otherwise they’ll be left hanged and unsure whether they’re learning correctly or not. Please allocate 10 minutes to recap back what they had done and what they had learnt before allowing them to leave the class.

I think that’s all for now. Will share more later! Thank you.


Assoc. Prof. Mohammad Tazli Azizan, PhD, DIC

Head, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

Seri Iskandar 32610


05-3687611 / +60(0)-134355007


Semasa zaman undergraduate di UK dahulu, saya menyedari bahawa saya tidak mendapat kepuasan pembelajaran yang sebenar. Hampir keseluruhan pensyarah saya hanyalah pensyarah, dan mereka sangat ‘teacher-centred’ dalam pengajaran. Dengan berlatarbelakangkan pendidikan dari Malaysia yang sukar membuka mulut untuk bertanyakan soalan yang kita tidak fahami, I’ve been deprived from learning. Apa yang saya tidak faham di kelas, memang saya takut nak soal balik pensyarah. Belajar kejuruteraan kimia pada saya membosankan kerana saya tak dapat ‘clear picture’, apakah itu kejuruteraan kimia.

Saya hanya mampu mengatasi segala salah faham saya dan ketidakfahaman saya dalam kelas melalui study group. Mujur kami ada study group di kalangan kami pelajar Malaysia. We formed the group ourselves, we assigned each other a course that we must never ponteng throughout the semester. By the end of the semester, every member should prepare notes/mindmap to be photocopied and shared with others. So during the study group time (we’re fortunate to have one month study break before the exam), each of us take turn to teach the members. Tapi bila part yang sama-sama kami tak faham, kami hafal je pakai mnemonic LOL. Nak jumpa pensyarah pun segan.

After we taught each other, we did the tutorial given to emphasise our understanding. Then we divided an exam question each, try to do ourselves and show to each member how we did that and if we’re stuck, we discussed. Towards the end we came out with a compilation of answer scripts that we inherited to our juniors for their revision.

Cuma yang saya seronok lebih part chem eng ni bila masuk final year, buat plant design because my mind is activated. Hands on sendiri. Discussion among group members. Barulah nampak apakah kejuruteraan kimia yang sebenar. Subjek yang paling minat masa tu Process Safety sebab subjek tu la yang pensyarahnya pakai visual (video) untuk analyse case study pasal Bhopal 1984. Itulah pengalaman pembelajaran paling aktif yang saya pernah lalui dalam kelas masa zaman sarjana musa.

Afterall, masa belajar dulu kena banyak belajar sendiri. Untungnya kami, almost each time of the exam, markah exam kami yang duduk dalam study group ni memang dekat-dekat, kecuali kalau tiba-tiba blank dalam exam tu different story. Alhamdulillah saya berjaya dapat border line first class honours.

Nak dipendekkan cerita, chalk and talk learning pada saya menyebabkan saya rasa bodoh di dalam kelas and becoming superficial learner sebab masa tu saya hanya nak score untuk exam. Itu pun tak score jugak. Kalaulah dianjakkan masa dan pensyarah-pensyarah saya buat student centred learning, pastinya pengalaman saya di dalam kelas akan lebih bermakna kerana saya berpeluang kenal rakan-rakan lain seramai 60 orang itu dan get to learn together. As I said earlier, I was deprived from learning. Hasilnya cuma campur dengan kawan-kawan Melayu dan housemate je lah. Pensyarah saya pun saya rasa tak kenal saya pun.

Jadi pada asbab itu, apabila saya diperkenalkan dengan student centred learning (SCL)ini sebagai seorang pensyarah, saya tak berpatah balik semula ke belakang, kerana saya mahu menyediakan pembelajaran yang bermakna kepada pelajar saya. I told them why I did this and I told them that I care for them hence why I am doing this.

SCL here you go. I am all the believer. I’ll sell you out all way long.


When I was first appointed as the Head for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETaL) at my institution, I had zero knowledge about what are the things that I suppose to learn and what are the things that I suppose to do. CETaL in addition was a recently established center looking at improving the T&L at UTP and I had no idea how this particular center should be running.

You see, I just completed my PhD in Chemical Engineering in May 2014 and I was appointed to be the first Head of CETaL in September 2014.

However, I noticed that the management offered me this position because they saw that (and I admit too) I have a strong passion in teaching and learning and how badly I want to transform the teaching and learning experience at the university and how badly I want to shape my future generation. I want to make sure that the students are not spoonfed even they have been doing this for the past 12-13 years of their formal education. I want them to become human with humanities and values, and not just an intelligent robot. I clearly mentioned to the management about this during the interview session.

So I took up the challenge. Initially, I tried to garner important information such as who are the key important people in this area, something like well-renowned professors who are good at this area. I consulted them, I went to the trainings of modern pedagogy. I approached these experts to be my mentors. There is a professor who is good at engineering education and modern pedagogy like Prof Khairiyah from UTM, another few who are the expert in enabling technologies for T&L like my sifu Prof Abd Karim Alias and Dato Prof Amin Embi, another one who is excellent in Scholarships of Teaching and Learning like Prof Raja Maznah. These mentors are highly instrumental to me and to CETaL and now they are still our CETaL advisory panel members.

On top of that, I went to several trainings on technology for T&L. Then, before I imposed or preached others on how good is this and that pedagogy and technology etc, one important thing that I do is I tried it in my class. I ensure that I perfected my skills in T&L. Whenever I ventured into something new from the trainings that I attended, I must make I sure I tried and experienced it first before others. Only this I believe that, I can convince others to jump the train with me. I showed to my colleagues the evidence that I gathered when I made even small changes in my class.

I knew that there are other faculty members at my institution who are equally passionate to T&L. I seeked for help like from Subarna Sivapalan and Emy Elyanee Mustapha to be the cluster leaders of CETaL. Within the first few months, I roped almost 20 faculty members from different departments in and appointed them as the founding members of the center. They are also instrumental to the center to help me steering CETaL.

From time to time, we had more and more faculty members joining us. More numbers during the sharing session and community of practice. I called myself as Dora the Explorer. I have to wander around looking for the best practices in T&L, bring the speakers in and train us. I’ll be the one who must sit in that seminar room to listen for the first time from these speakers.

Once the management had decided to transform the T&L using a dedicated roadmap, I have my team ready to train others. From no one knows what is active learning all about, we have now 20 trainers who are actively training other lecturers, graduate assistants, lecturers from other universities and the teachers at schools because only that we can make change, not only at our institution but to the whole nations. We’re also now will be having additional 20-30 trainers in cooperative learning, problem based learning and flipped classroom, for which we are developing our own modules by next year, Insha Allah.

The journey is still long. From a tiny space that we have, now we have a dedicated building to conduct all the transformation plan needed to be done. Now, we received many submissions of SoTL grants proposal, and the lecturers are creative and innovative in their own classroom, Alhamdulillah.

Additionally, I have a strong support team consisting of my clerk and executives even they are not many, who ensure the planning will go on as planned. I want them to believe that they have their own strength that need to be nurtured, and I’ll make sure their strengths and passions are aligned with their job role.

If in the near future I would not hold this post anymore, I’ll still championing and advocating for the changes in T&L not only at the university, but also to the society to make then aware that our education has to change. This position makes it easier for me to advocate for changes, but it doesnt have to be perpetual for me.

As a career advice for a new hired manager, I can summarize my experience holding my managerial post as follows:

I. Take the post if you are passionate on it

Ii. Lead not manage- be the one to see the possible dangers before others.

Iii. Own it

Iv. Empower and nurture trust to others to make the changes with you, and dont do it alone.

V. Identify others strengths and leverage it

Vi. Seek help from the experts

Vii. Empathise others and listen to your colleagues

I still have more to learn, and more to improve. Please make do’a for me, to be successful in dunya and akhirat.

Thanks for reading this!

Making Your Flipped Classroom Succesful

Flipped Classroom seems to be the ‘in-thing’ and the buzz word right now among higher education educators. It looks like a good model where all the students and the teacher collaborate together to accomplish the learning tasks. However, there are many things that we as the educator need to do in ensuring the flipped classroom is successful. I’d like to advise my fellow colleagues to do/acquire the followings if you intend to conduct flipped classroom in the near future:
1. You are passionate enough to do it and driven intrinsically to do it rather than wanting to do it because of your KPI, social and peer pressure, or you feel you want to do it for fun, or for the sake of experimentation without putting the right soul. Many failed flipped classrooms are not due to unavailability of tools but due to lack of intrinsic motivation among the faculty members, hence making them being mechanistic rather than putting soul in doing it.
2. You have high degree of perseverance to do it and would not return back to your traditional teaching style whatever it turns out to be. Students who come from spoonfeeding culture will be complaining a lot to you when they have to watch and prepare before the class. They’d want you to repeat again whatever that you have put in the video. They’d demand you to explain all over again as if they have never watch the video. They’d claim they paid their tuition fees for you to teach them so they can sit back and relax at the back while listening to you. 
3. You acquire high motivational skills to motivate your students to watch the prepared videos prior to their class session. You need to constantly motivate your students to acquire self-learning skills. You need to show powerful motivational materials so they could acquire more grit and be perseverance in learning so they’ll be able to grab more skills throughout their learning journey. You need to be able to inspire them so they know and do what it takes to be somebody in the future. 
4. You undergoes several training before you intend to do it. At least a 2-day workshop that will train you how to prepare good videos, quizzes and activities in the class. You wouldn’t want to repeat the same thing over and over again because there’ll be no element of surprise in the class and you don’t want to be predictable. 
5. You inform the students and convinced them throughout the semester why you are doing this and why you believe flipped classroom will work for your students. You don’t want to end up putting so much effort but students see little values in what you are doing. So, activate them as early as possible. Prepare them to embrace the change.
6. You show to your students that you care for them and will be alongside with them to assist them in their learning. You dont want your students to drown in the sea without direction. After all, this is your new job scope, facilitating your students learning. Get to know each and everyone in your class. Get to know their names and it gives them big appreciation that you know them. Treat your students like the adults and tell them that you are going to treat them like adults. If they misbehave or rude, they are no longer an adult.  
7. You build the material together with your teaching partner or you build it slowly. Start small. Don’t overdo it too.
8. You reflect from time to time on how to improve your delivery rather than just doing it. 
9. You provide a collaborative environment in the class where the students are free to mingle with each other to solve your assigned problems. Here, you’ll need to be creative in coming out with the right activities. 
10. You do it for the sake of your students learning, not because you want to do it for your own fame and for writing a publication. 
11. You love what you do, and you take high ownership of the success and the failure of your flipped classrooms. 
12. You treat your students as the individuals, rather than numbers. When at least a student come to you and saying thank you for whatever that you did for him/her in shaping him/her, give a pat to yourself at the back. At least you have touched a soul. 
So, please don’t do it if you dont have passion to do it, because it will just bring a bad name in the pedagogy itself.

It requires a lot of works. But if you have started doing it, go on and enrich your students’ learning experience!

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