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Curtin marketing lecturers receive award for excellence in distributed learning

Miri – 6 June 2017 – Senior lecturer in Marketing Dr. Shamsul Kamariah Abdullah of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) and her counterpart at Curtin University’s main campus in Perth, Dr. Aneeshta Gunness, are joint recipients of the ‘Programs That Enhance Learning for Curtin Business School’ Award.

The award was presented by Curtin Business School (CBS) at Curtin University in Perth for excellence in the delivery of their Retail Marketing & Distribution unit using Distributed Learning (DL) pedagogy.

DL provides students from both campuses the opportunity to study the unit simultaneously through live web conferencing. Virtual cross-cultural teamwork is applied in DL where students join as a team across campuses to complete a retail plan as one of the assessments for the unit.  

The Retail Marketing & Distribution unit is a core unit of the Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) programme offered across the Malaysia and Perth campuses. The programme which was piloted in 2014 has since become an ongoing initiative.

According to Dr. Shamsul Kamariah, DL enables the students to experientially link and acquaint themselves with cultures they are initially unfamiliar with. The students are trained to understand their cross-cultural differences and therefore develop their cultural intelligence.

Dr. Aneeshta, who is the unit controller, added that technology is a key component in DL and designing the appropriate curricular activities and aligning them with the strengths of DL is instrumental in delivering true value to students.

She said that whilst international experience remains an added value of distributed learning, it is supported by the activities conducted during the unit’s weekly 2-hour workshops that promote active application of retailing theory, higher level thinking, collaboration, interaction and communication.

In DL, student teams tackle various case studies and share their findings synchronously using the DL infrastructure. These case studies are based on existing retail operations in Malaysia and Australia which students physically visit.

Apart from the real case study, students also use virtual collaborative platforms such as Group Map and Facebook to discuss the case studies assigned to them. They use Group Map to upload their thoughts which are captured in real time during the workshops.

The nature of their major assignment forces them to gain sufficient insights into both cultures, and based on their acquired knowledge, make decisions that will ensure the creation of a viable retail operation to be set up either in Malaysia or Australia. In addition, the two lecturers contribute specialised ‘insider’ knowledge of their respective local cultures and economies and give the students rich feedback during their presentations.

Feedback from students on the DL concept has been very positive. According to Dr. Shamsul Kamariah, students from both campuses are taking a real interest in learning about each other’s cultures and have increased confidence in communicating and working with people of different backgrounds.

“They have demonstrated an open-mindedness to new perspectives and are very excited about developing a new business operation together. They also have a strong belief that the experience will benefit them in their future careers,” she remarked.

Both Dr. Shamsul Kamariah and Dr. Aneeshta agree that the use of DL has greatly improved the working relationship between the two campuses, as well as helped enhance professional practices and improved the students’ overall learning experience.

The use of DL at Curtin University’s campuses is aligned to its belief that the capacity to build bi-directional links in both teaching and research are the hallmarks of a genuine global university. Its new Global Positioning Strategy will see further expansion of its global footprint through strategic international alliances, partnerships and well integrated campuses, including connections and collaborations across its locations becoming more embedded in day-to-day practices.

Curtin is now recognised as being among the top two per cent of universities in the world; as Australia’s second most international university; and as the university that was recently named as the biggest Australian mover in the prestigious Nature rankings and the most collaborative of all Australian universities.

Another development that has enhanced its global standing is the Curtin Business School receiving the highly sought after accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an accreditation achieved by only five per cent of business institutions worldwide.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).

Unit Coordinator Dr. Aneeshta Gunness.

Senor lecturer Dr. Shamsul Kamariah Abdullah.

Cross-cultural team presentation by students at Perth and Malaysia campuses.

Distributed learning class between Australia and Malaysia.