Indonesia Open University or Universitas Terbuka (UT) is an educational institution which focuses on the development of Open and Distance Higher Education (ODHE) or Pendidikan Tinggi Terbuka and Jarak Jauh (PTTJJ) and will celebrate its 36th anniversary on 4 September 2020. UT confidently steps forward to serve for the advancement of Indonesia’s higher education. Until today, UT has 300 thousands of active students spread across Indonesia and overseas. UT continues to open itself for other universities and educational institutions to collaborate in the development of open and long distance education or ODHE, including during this Covid-19 pandemic.
A series of activities in the UT’s 36thDies Natalis were inaugurated online by UT’s Rector, Prof. Ojat Darojat, M.Bus., Ph.D., which was witnessed by the public audiences through Youtube UT TV and the Microsoft Teams, on Wednesday (15/7/2020). The 36thDies Natalis of Indonesia Open University or Universitas Terbuka (UT) brought up the theme of "UT is the Leader in Distance Education Innovation" which is aligned with the three main pillars of the UT’s Rector work programs, which are redefining the academic dignity or esteem, improving the student enrollment rates, and improving the good governance.
In his speech, Ojat said that education in the new normal era is required to be more agile, conscientious, and brisk in order to cope with the existing transformation. UT continues to innovate in the student’s capacity building, to make students who have the characters and globally competitive by utilizing effective and appropriate technology. UT invites other higher education institutions to synergize in developing online quality, mass, and strategic learning programs for future education services. In its 36th anniversary, UT is expected to always become the leading and superior higher education institution in distance education (PJJ).
In his scientific oration, Special Staff for the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Drs. H. Mohamad Nasir, Ak., M.Si., Ph.D., explained the obstacles that the conventional education faces when it is demanded to organize distance education or PJJ in this new normal era, which are that there is a confusion to transform the learning contents from offline to online, inadequate technology, as well as unprepared and segregated lecturers or instructors. Nasir emphasized that distance education or PJJ is the answer. Through distance learning, university study can be done anywhere and anytime, as well as it eases the campuses to increase the number of the courses provided by them without necessitating more classrooms, without geographical boundary problems, and student registration can be done anywhere, as well as by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Nasir also highly appreciates the achievement that UT has in the development of distance education in Indonesia since 36 years ago and the systems that it operates as well as the platform that it runs in the integrated digital learning. UT, which is the leader and more advanced pioneer in responding the technology development, has produced the outcomes that are able to adapt and keep up with the world’s class universities. He urges the higher educational institutions in Indonesia to learn and adopt the distance education systems that UT has in order to respond to the demand for the today’s online learning. Nasir advised that UT should be able to educate other universities to develop their distance education programs.
The former Minister of Research, Technology, and Higher Education of the Republic of Indonesia’s Cabinet of 2014-2019 Period expressed that there is only one higher education institution in Indonesia that has excellent and integrated learning management system (LMS), which is UT. With such good LMS, UT has been able to accommodate a full interaction between the lecturers or the faculty members and the both students synchronously (in person and real time) and asynchronously (scheduled communication), so that the learning objectives can be accomplished.
Another activity that was performed as one the series of activities in the UT’s 36th Dies Natalis includes, among others, web seminar (webinar) and seminars of the faculties. A number of webinar activities that have been carried out are Knowledge Sharing Forum (KSF) series which has presented a number of resourceful persons from various institutions and agencies. This KSF activity is held once every week which lasts until the end of this July.
A number of contests were organized, for example UT’s Marching Song Writing Contest or Lomba Cipta Lagu Mars UT, Selection of the Best Partners and Management or Caretaker of Learning Group (pokjar), the selection of the Best Achievers in Open and Distance Higher Education (ODHE) or Pendidikan Tinggi Terbuka and Jarak Jauh (PTTJJ) in a number of categories, such as the Most Accomplished Lecturer, the Most Accomplished Head of Study Program (Kaprodi), the Most Accomplished Finance Officer, Most Accomplished Employee, the Most Accomplished ICT Data Processing Officer, and the Most Accomplished Archiver. There was also a Creativity Contest for Civitas Academica Blog and Vlog , the Contest of the Best Journal Articles which are published by the Faculty Members of UT, UT Service Innovation Contest, as well as Unit Office Space Layout Contest. The following activities include Meeting the Public Figure (online), as well as the publication of popular scientific articles in the national mass media. The summit of the UT’s 36th Anniversary was conducted virtually on 4 September 2020 with the launching of the UT’s 36th Anniversary Books and Videos, as well as to officially play on for the first time broadcast, the Marching Song of UT that supplements the UT’s Hymn that is urrently existing. (*)