Institute of Quality Management, Research & Innovation (IQMRI) at Open University Malaysia (OUM) was first established on 1st June 2003 as the Centre for Quality Management, Research and Innovation. The centre has evolved through various phase to its current existence as IQMRI. The aim of IQMRI is to assist the University towards improving the quality of education and support services through the promotion of quality management, research and innovation.
To be a leader in quality assurance and research in open and distance learning (ODL).
To promote quality and research culture towards realising quality education by leveraging on supportive policies, framework and work environment.
The objectives of IQMRI are:
a. To drive research and quality initiatives towards improving programmes and services in OUM;
b. To promote and assist in initiating research projects relevant for OUM;
c. To manage research fundings (external and internal) for meaningful research output that contributes to the provision of quality education and innovations;
d. To create an environment that promotes research, publications (papers in conference proceedings and journals), innovations and produce post-graduates.
e. To improve OUM’s quality management system for greater effectiveness and efficiency, and
f. To drive quality culture among staff for greater productivity and increased efficiency towards performance excellence.
I. Institutional Research Projects and Research Collaborations
Presently, IQMRI has initiated several institutional research projects, with the aim of engaging more academics to form research groups.
IQMRI believes the importance and strength of research collaborations and welcomes such efforts from internal staff, centres and institutions. The institution has a good working collaboration within the ASEAN region and hopes to expand its network in its effort to remain in the forefront of ODL.
II. External and Internal Research Grants
IQMRI promotes and manages acquisition of external research grants. One the largest body to provide such grants is the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) through several schemes such as the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS). Academic staff are invited to sign up in MyGrant system that manages MOHE grants at: (Click Here)
Research activities at OUM are also supported through the establishment of an internal research grant. The OUM Internal Research Grant (IRG) application and related processes are managed by IQMRI. The centre manages all administrative matters, provide reports concerning the progress and the outcome of all research projects conducted at the university.
III. ASEAN Journal of Open and Distance Learning (AJODL)
IQMRI manages the publication of a regional journal on Open and Distance Learning or ODL known as ASEAN Journal of Open and Distance Learning (AJODL). It is a peer-reviewed journal aimed to support sharing of knowledge, experience, research efforts and findings pertaining to ODL and ASEAN. It is an open access journal that is indexed under the Malaysian Citation Index (MCI) and the Thailand Citation Index (TCI). The journal is published online twice a year, every June and December. IQMRI welcomes all staff to submit their articles to the journal and submission is open throughout the year.
Staffs are also encouraged to publish their work in other journals. The following are a number journals in ODL.
· Malaysian Journal of Distance Education
· Asian Association of Open Universities Journal
· Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning (indexed with DOAJ)
· International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (indexed with DOAJ)
· Open Praxis by ICDE (indexed with DOAJ)
· Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning
· International Journal of Lifelong Education
IV. Research Development Programmes and Support
IQMRI also takes the necessary efforts to organize research workshops, seminars and lecture series as part its initiatives to support professional academic development in research and innovation. In a year, IQMRI conducts at least 5 workshops and 5 seminar series.
IQMRI also offers equipment and software for loan to researchers. The centre will progressively acquire additional equipment and software based on demand. Those who are keen may apply using the IQMRI Equipment Loan Form for research purposes.
V. Research Evaluation through MyRA
IQMRI manages data concerning research in order to evaluate the universities performance in research and innovation. A key assessment system used by OUM is MyRA (Malaysian Research Assessment System) developed and managed by MOHE.
VI. Quality Document Repository
IQMRI is responsible for maintaining a repository of OUM Quality Documents. The documents maintained are the Quality Manual (QM), Manual Operating Procedures (MOP) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which are being used at all departments and learning centres within OUM and METEOR subsidiaries.
IQMRI provides assistances to departments and learning centres to compile, review and update their quality documents. The review process involves numerous discussions and workshops. These updated documents serve as the ‘controlled documents’ for use of relevant staffs as well as auditors.
As the owner of the repository, the departments and learning centres are required to register and constantly update IQMRI of the latest version being used at respective offices. The documents are shared with all staffs at (OUM Quality Documents Link) accessible through the University’s portal.
VII. Audit Management
IQMRI manages internal audit for the whole University. The Institute coordinates audit activities for all SIRIM certified and non-certified departments and learning centres for quality control and continuous improvements. Internal audits are carried out by a pool of trained internal auditors. The pool of auditors comprises of certified lead auditors as well as trained auditors.
Every year, IQMRI prepares an annual audit plan and assign auditors to specific department/learning centres. In ensuring smooth internal audit, IQMRI’s role is to ensure proper arrangement for the visit, provide the Audit Kit, collating and analysing the audit reports.
Each audit team comprise of a lead auditor and trained auditors. Duration and number of auditors assigned for audit very much depends on the number of processes to be audited. Audits are scheduled either yearly or biannually for each department/learning centre depending on criticality and arising needs.
Even though, only two departments in OUM undergo ISO 9001 certification, the University’s management insisted that all departments as well as learning centres be audited according to the International Standard.
VIII. Quality Training
In order to ensure good understanding of quality requirements, IQMRI provides training programmes to staffs primarily focusing on auditors, document controllers, management representatives, heads of departments and process owners. This helps to ensure that key personnel are equipped with the right knowledge and skill to carry out their job. For instance, head of departments are expected to impart their knowledge to their subordinates to ensure quality standard are being practised at all levels.
Training programmes were designed based on feedbacks obtained from audit activities as well as new requirements set by quality standards. IQMRI also conducts internal training on the new standard.
Refresher courses were also conducted to reacquaint staffs to quality standard or bring their knowledge and skills up to date.
IX. Quality Improvement Management
Quality Improvement Management is a process whereby IQMRI coordinates the efforts to conduct Quality Improvement or Strategic Projects aimed at finding innovative and effective solutions to improve quality. Efforts at institutional level are initiated by a Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) who decides the scope of work, staffs involved and duration required. QIC will monitor the progress and the outcome of the project, while IQMRI will act as the secretariat during the whole process.
X. Promotion of Quality Culture
The most crucial and challenging role of IQMRI is to ensure assimilation of quality culture in the day to day practices throughout the University. Adaptation of quality practises at all level of staffs “anytime” and “anywhere” without having to be monitored, i.e. having quality as a way of life, is the way forward for OUM.
IQMRI is establishing groups of Innovative and Creative Circles (ICC) to help assimilate quality culture. ICC is a group of key personnel that will be grouped together based on the University’s core processes. ICC serves as a platform for the formation of a ‘Community of Practice’ (COP) where all members share similar interest in improving a specific core process. Basically, ICC’s roles are to review cross departmental processes, close the gaps between the departments and implement continuous improvements. The heads of ICC will be required to present the groups’ progress to the University’s QIC, on a regular basis.
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