University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching and Learning through Industrial Training Program

by Sy Fazlin bt Seyed Fadzir & Syahrul Nizam Junaini
A review on university-industry collaboration from IEEE Explore Database ( shows that it has brought various impacts on university teaching and learning (T&L). Table 1 shows some of the studies done on the impact of university-industry collaboration in T&L in some countries.

Issues pretaining to university-industry collaborations are complex and diverse. These issues are summarized in Table 2. On examining the literatures, it is found that researchers have put the most emphasis in studying the issue on partnership policy.

Recognizing the potential and promising results from university-industry collaboration have prompted some universities in Malaysia to establish centers for research and development (R&D) as well as industrial training purposes. The list of the centers and their respective universities is shown in Table 3.

Table 1. Impact of University-Industry Collaboration on Subject/Area by Country

Table 2. Issues Related to University-Industry Collaboration
Table 3. Centres in Some Universities in Malaysia

In UNIMAS, one of the approaches to promote university-industry collaboration is through the students’ industrial training program. Currently, each respective faculty handles and manages the program. The following discussion describes how the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology (FCSIT) conducts the industrial training program of its students.
The industrial training program is an essential component of the Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology degree. FCIST students are required to undergo the industrial training program irrespective of previous work experience or training programs attended. Credits earned from other subjects and/or training programs as well as work experience do not count as industrial training credits.

The FCSIT identifies several areas deemed appropriate and suitable for students who are and will be undergoing the industrial training program. For instance, one area where students should be given training is in application development. This includes activities such as analysis and design, programming, product development, system specification and maintenance, setting up and design of computer networks, and configuration of hardware and troubleshooting of hardware and software.
The fundamental purpose of industrial training is to prepare students for employment in their chosen discipline upon completion of their undergraduate study. The objectives of industrial training program are:
  • To introduce students to IT experience and knowledge which are not taught in the classrooms but which are required in the industry.
  • To apply CS and IT knowledge taught in the classroom in real industrial situation.
  • To use the experience gained during the attachment period for classroom discussions.
  • To gain first-hand experience of working in IT industries.
  • To expose students to various aspects of professional practices, responsibilities and ethics.
  • To prepare the students for future employment.
To achieve these, university studies should be enhanced by the opportunity to relate academic and professional aspects of computer science (CS) and information technology (IT) disciplines. Hence, the industry are encouraged to play an active role in developing their expertise by ensuring that the students are given the appropriate training.

Since 2004, FCSIT students have been placed for short-term positions in the industry in areas of information systems, software engineering, internetworking technologies, computational science, and multimedia computing. Table 4 shows the number of students who underwent industrial training from 2004 to 2007.

Table 4. Number of Industrial Training Students (2004-2007)

In 2007, the industrial training period was from 10 July until 23 November. As shown in Table 5, FCIST students from various study programs underwent their attachment in both the government and private sectors. Majority of the students (32) underwent industrial training in the private sectors.
Table 5. Number of Students Based on Study Programs and Sectors

Comments from the industrial training supervisors were also gathered and analyzed. Selected positive and negative comments on our students are shown in Table 6.
Table 6. Industrial Training Supervisors’ Comments on Students

The foregoing discussion describes the industrial training program at the FCSIT, UNIMAS. So far, the faculty is pleased with the students’ performance during their industrial attachment.
However, the faculty believes that process and quality of conducting the industrial training program still needs extensive effort and improvement to achieve the expected T & L outcomes.
The present practice in UNIMAS is that each respective faculty appoints a coordinator to run its industrial training program. One suggestion is to centralize the management of industrial training program i.e. at the university level.
The university appoints an Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) who will act as the single point of contact (SPoC) to liaise with the industry. He or she will assist the faculty industrial training coordinator.

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