The Making of the TDR Regional Training Centre in the Western Pacific Region

The TDR Regional Training Centre in the Western Pacific Region – Malaysian Global Health Consortium in the Faculty of Medicine (FOM), Universiti Malaya was launch by Prof April Camilla Roslani, the Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, and Dr Anna Thorson, the Unit Head, Research Capacity Strengthening, TDR, WHO on the 03 October 2023.

How it all begins?

It all started around two years ago when the Malaysian Global Health Consortium joined the World Health Organization’s TDR network of research training institutions for Implementation Research. MGHC is a network of three institutions: the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s Institute for Health Systems Research and the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the Universiti Malaya. MGHC was launched during the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) 12th Global Health Conference 2018 in Universiti Malaya.

The MGHC and WHO TDR partnership draws together the expertise of each institution to create a unique regional training centre (RTC) with specialties in methodological approaches for implementation research, international bioethics training and applied health systems research, as well as a long-standing postgraduate training programme in public health.

The MGHC also received a grant from the WHO TDR to conduct and develop training for Implementation Research in the form of mini massive open online courses (MOOC). The grant included money for creating video lecture for the mini MOOC. Instead of engaging external parties to film and produce the videos, the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya proposed the development of a video studio cum learning centre which allows the members of the MGHC to record video lecture and run hybrid sessions. The Department offer to provide space and money to develop the centre.

The plan is to renovate three rooms on Level 5, Block J, Faculty of Medicine (J5010, J5030 and J5050) which is located in the Department. Rooms J5010 and J5030 will be converted into the video studio cum learning centre. It will be used for video recording and hybrid teaching and learning sessions. While room J5050 will be converted into the control room and video production and editing area.

The proposal was taken up by the MGHC and the Department form a team to come up with the design and proposal.

There were many things that need to be considered by the team as this is the first time, they are handling such a project.

Among the issues identified were:

  • There was only limited funding for the project. Together with the Grant from WHO TDR and money from the Department’s Short Course Fund the budget for renovating the three rooms and buying equipment for video recording and production, and hybrid teaching and learning was only a little over MYR200 thousand.
  • The facilities for hybrid teaching and learning need to be able to be conducted by the lecturer and one person running the control room. Everything need to be able to be controlled remotely from the control room, i.e., the video camera, the audio system, and the displays screens.
  • The video studio cum learning centre needs to be design for dual usage. The room needs to be sound treated to minimise reverberation and echos to ensure the voice of the lecturer are clearly heard for the people in the learning centre and also during video recording. The tables and chairs for the in-person lectures in needs to be movable and collapsible so that it can be stored away during video recording.
  • The video and audio settings for the lecture also needs to be able to cater for in person, online and hybrid lectures. During the hybrid and online sessions, participants and speakers who are connected remotely needs to be able to see and hear what is happening in the centre and the people in the centre also needs to see and hear the remote participants.
  • The video recording capabilities also need to be able to cater for individual lectures, face-to-face interviews and hybrid interviews sessions.
  • There is also a need to have an interphase that can enable simultaneously live streaming to multiple platforms.
  • The network connections also need to be able to cater for online video conferencing and live streaming through multiple platforms.

The Proposal

It was a huge undertaking for the Team and there were many discussion sessions with the staff from the FOM Development Team, led by Mr Muhammad Firdaus Mohd Hatta to go through the different proposals. The Team also needs to develop a business plan to be presented to the FOM Business Unit to ensure sustainability of the project. After getting approval from the FOM Development Team and Business Unit, the proposal was presented to the FOM Management and received their blessing to proceed in March 2022.

One of the initial conceptual drawings of the centre.
Technical Drawing for the HDMI connections
Technical Drawing for the Ethernet Connections
Technical Drawing for the Sever Rack Configuration
Floor plan with information for the HDMI connections.
After going through many proposals for the floor plan, this is the layout plan of the video studio/learning centre.

The Development

The following photo gallery shows the picture during the various stages of the renovation.

Article written by Victor Hoe

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