Written by Mekong Institute

The Greater Mekong Sub-region -Virtual University (GMS-VU) project was launched in 2001 by the Asia-Pacific Programme for Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Bangkok, with the assistance of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Institute Thammathirat Open University (STOU). The aim of the GMS-VU Project is to promote Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) tourism education via distance learning.

To pursue the aim, APEID held four-regional tourism Workshops:

  • Expert Meeting for Formulation of Pilot Project for GMS Tourism Programme at a Distance and On-ine for GMS in January 2002 at Yunnan University (YNU), Kunming, PR China
  • Task Force Workshop on Tourism Programme at a Distance and On-line for GMS in May 2002 at STOU, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Workshop on GMS-VU Project on Tourism: Open Educational
  • Resources in March 2006 at STOU
  • Technical and Vocational Education Workshop on Tourism by Distance Mode in March 2007 at STOU.

A set of Open Education Resources (OER) was developed as a result of these workshops by theparticipating universities of National University (YNRTVU), Savan Institute of Management (SIM) and Hanoi Open University (HOU).

In order to introduce the OER to lecturers teaching tourism in Universities in the GMS, the MI hosted the “Capacity Building Workshop on Tourism using OER” on 17-21 March 2008, with the assistance of UNESCO Bangkok. Twenty-four tourism institutions, and Ministry of Hotels and Tourism attended the workshop. The authors of the various modules participated in the workshop as resource persons.

The workshop presentations covered five elective courses, as well as an overview on the core course, which deals with basic concepts on tourism. In addition, a team of delegates from Myanmar shared an overview of their domestic tourism-focused Human Resource Development (HRD) initiatives and shared how aspects of sustainability and /or spirit of Mekong are incorporated into the respective curriculum and courses. An evaluation of the feedback from individual questionnaires and classroom participation revealed that the participants found the workshop content useful and almost all were completely satisfied with the program.

The recommendations to be formulated by MI, in cooperation with the UNESCO Bangkok, emphasize four major areas:

  • Developing a “GMS Tourism” module
  • Strengthening collaboration among institutes and universities focused on teaching tourism through open education
  • Widening the use of GMS tourism resources
  • Promoting GMS as a single destination through open resources.
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