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Eric Alcuezar Fernandez, a student of UP Open University, placed 4th in the September 2016 Special Professional Licensure Board Exam (SPLBE) for Professional Filipino Teachers in the Middle East.

Mr. Fernandez is a Senior English Instructor II for the Saudi Japanese Automobile High Institute in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has been working in Jeddah as an English Instructor for six years.

He came upon UPOU through a friend’s recommendation and pursued the Professional Teaching Certification (PTC) program for teachers. After completing PTC, he also pursued Master’s degree in Development Communication and graduated in 2016. Mr. Fernandez is also currently enrolled with UPOU as a Doctor of Communication student.

“I had been meaning to continue my studies and almost lost hope until I found UPOU,” he related in an email interview. “My drive was basically grounded on my dream to reach the highest educational attainment not at the expense of my current job. I could only do it through distance education. I chose UPOU because I believe that if an institution belongs to UP System, you can expect the most quality education you can have.”

When asked about his experience with UPOU as a student, he mentioned “having the time of [his] life. The fact of the matter is that I even have learned way better than when I was in the mainstream classrooms.”

Mr. Fernandez mentioned having to face many challenges as an online student, but the greatest is the need to become a self-regulated and metacognitive learner to manage his time and activities. “We always have this tendency to delay things which makes us really have a hard time to start doing something.” He shared that “nothing is much greater than relying on the Divine Providence,” bearing in mind that his learning also depends on himself. He makes most of his time reading, and realized that he has learned a lot by choosing not to cheat on himself.

He also mentioned that UPOU has helped so much in his professional development. “UPOU had definitely made my smooth passage to promotion in my current job and inspired me to become a promising and aspiring author.” In fact, he has written many books two of which are being readied for publication. “I am a proud UPOU student and Iskolar ng Bayan, and I owe most of my successes to UPOU.”

His advice to UPOU students and aspiring distance education students is to make time and to focus. “Things are only made possible if we find time. There is always a time for everything. There is no secret ingredient in finding the right timing. It is only getting yourself to focus on what to do in order to start doing something that you needed to do.”

UPOU offers the PTC program, an 18-unit non-degree program, which provides non-education degree holders the qualification to take the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET). PTC will give students an understanding of the cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical characteristics of children/adolescents and how they develop and learn; knowledge of subjects they teach and how to teach them; skills for managing and monitoring student learning, and a reflective attitude about their practice, and an openness to adapt their teaching to new findings, ideas and theories. PTC is open for 3rd Trimester AY 2016-2017 admission until 21 January 2016. Along with UPOU’s other graduate degree programs, the Master of Development Communication and Doctor of Communication programs are open for 1st Semester AY 2017-2018 applicants until 07 April 2016. To apply for the programs, go to our.upou.edu.ph. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) trained a new set of master trainers for the Phase 4 of the implementation of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Infoteach Outreach program on 9-10 January 2017 at the UPOU Oblation Hall in Los Baños, Laguna. The 20 master trainers are Division Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coordinators and selected public school teachers from the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Divisions in Rizal, Cavite Province, Cavite City, Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Cebu Province, Mandaue City, Santiago City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City.

The participants were oriented on the format and logistics of the infoteach outreach program and their roles as master trainer. They were also trained on how to use and teach the module. The training was conducted using blended mode approach to allow participants to experience online learning.

Topics that were discussed during the two day training were Microsoft Productivity Tools and the Open Source Equivalents; Internet Productivity and Collaboration Tools; Green IT, Responsible Use of Social Media, Multimedia Literacy, Effective Communication Skills, and Global Citizenship. The training participants were also introduced to Basecamp, an online project management platform that the project will use to facilitate collaboration and monitoring of project activities. Lectures were given by Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria, Asst. Prof. Roberto B. Figueroa and Asst. Prof. Myra c. Almodiel.

The online learning component required the participants to submit their training outputs through the Basecamp and share these materials with fellow participants as Open Educational Resources (OERs). The exercise was also envisioned to enable the participants to be familiar with the collaboration and monitoring platform. The online component of the training was implemented from 11-13 January.

The Infoteach Outreach Program is a collaborative undertaking of UPOU, PLDT, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) and DepEd to enable the teachers and students acquire the digital skills for the 21st century teaching, learning and working. The program was further improved to make the training curriculum responsive to the external dynamics that impact on education. This 4th phase of Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants and focus on the digital productivity tools, being responsible global citizens, and anchoring them to lifelong learning opportunities. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

All regular faculty members of the University of the Philippines who are involved in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) through research, creative work or extension service are invited to send their Expression of Interest to become Research and Extension Fellows and Junior Fellows of the newly created UP Resilience Institute, by emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Attention: Professor Benito Pacheco), on or before 17 January 2017.

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Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, shared the vision of the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach program in her message during the Memorandum of Agreement signing among UPOU, UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. (PLDT). the Phase 4 Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants. The module will focus on the digital productivity tools rather than the digital skills which the participants already possess. The program will cover the “interest, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital technology communication tools to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, create and communicate with others.” The curriculum will tackle: Research and Information Literacy; Critical thinking, Problem solving and Decision making; Creativity and Innovation; Digital Citizenship; Communication and Collaboration; and Technology Operation and Concepts.

According to Dr. Bandalaria, “The Infoteach Outreach Program goal of anchoring digital literacy skill to lifelong learning direction is our contribution to the attainment of the specific goal in the Global Agenda of 2030.” She also emphasized that the project hopes to empower the students.

Dr. Bandalaria further explained that the program is also a venue for UPOU’s Public Service goals which is “to widen access to continuing professional education; provides digital opportunities to local communities; and fosters critical discussion of relevant issues in the community and society”. She explained that she considers the partnership as a mechanism to extend one’s sphere of influence or coverage and in the process be able to go beyond what one could achieve alone. “The partnership is also a learning process for both parties involved,” she stated. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

Prof. Patricia Brazil Arinto has been elected as the new University of the Philippines (UP) Faculty Regent (FR) starting January 2017 to December 2018, to succeed Regent Philip Ian Prieto Padilla, MD, PhD. Her plans of action include specific proposals for faculty development and welfare, inter-campus faculty collaboration and proactive faculty participation in University governance.

Prof. Arinto has been with UP for 27 years. She served as the Dean of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Education (FEd) but her second term was cut short seven months to completion when she resigned from her post following her FR nomination. She has also held other administrative positions both at the UPOU and in UP. Some of the most recent committee appointments at the UP System level included being the Chair of the UP General Education Task Force for 2015-2016, and the UP System GE Council 2011-2013 and 2016-2019.

At the UPOU, her initiatives include the institution of an independent learning track for UPOU programs with small enrollments; the abolition of UPOU’s instructional material fee as part of UPOU’s adoption of open educational resource-based course packages; and the institution of the Master of Distance Education, Graduate Certificate in Distance Education and the Bachelor of Education Studies, among others.

She was recognized at the 2016 UP Knowledge Festival being one the UP’s most highly cited academics and researchers based on Google Scholar. She is known as an expert in distance education, learning design, and teacher professional development in technology-supported learning, where she has published several book chapters and journal articles. Her research involvement and external work included being the Team Leader for the Technology-supported Teacher Professional Development in Early Literacy Instruction; Theme Adviser for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D); Deputy Principal Investigator of Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project of International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Project Leader and Principal Investigator of an Australian Government-funded study on the use of tablet computers in public secondary schools in the Philippines. Prof. Arinto holds a Doctor in Education degree from the Institute of Education, University of London and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Technology-Based Distributed Learning from the University of British Columbia (Canada). Both her master’s and bachelor’s degree are from UP. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. (PLDT) signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program on 29 November 2016 at PLDT Innotech Lab, Mandaluyong City.

This partnership between UPOU and PLDT aims to promote digital literacy among public high school school teachers and students. Infoteach Outreach started in 2013 with an initial participant of 1,655 from 11 school divisions. At present, it has trained a total of 523 Master Trainor and Trainors, 5627 teachers and 6067 students from public high school for the past 3 years of implementation. It has reached 435 schools in 45 schools division nationwide.

This year, the program hopes to train a total of 6,000 secondary teachers and students from 19 municipalities in the following areas: NCR, Bulacan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Cavite, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City. It will start with the training of 300 trainers and 20 master trainers with UPOU using the blended learning approach.

Ms. Evelyn Mamauag-del Rosario, PLDT Community Relations Head, explained in her welcome remarks that working with the education sector is a more effective and efficient way of achieving the goals of the program. She also stressed that the training of teachers and students has a greater impact in reaching families and communities.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, on the other hand, explained that the goals of the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program is to broaden the reach of the program and make the training curriculum responsive to the external dynamics that impact on education. This 4th phase of Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants. The module will now focus on the digital productivity tools rather than the digital skills which the participants already possess She expressed UPOU’s commitment to the project implementation. UPOU and PLDT have been partners for more than four years now in initiating a number of similar projects to digitally empower teachers and students.

Mr. Ramon R. Isberto, Head of Public Affairs of PLDT and Smart, was also present to give the closing remarks. He expressed the importance of developing students’ curiosity or interest in learning. This will be their tool for the future as the pace of change is not slowing down but will even go faster and wider. Mr Isberto noted that the improvement in technology is constant and skills sets will change every so often. Their future work does not exist today but will still be created in the future. There will be no life long careers. They would be changing careers from time to time so the tools that are taught to them today will be the tools they will use in their lifetime.

The 4th Infoteach Outreach Program Training of Trainors will be conducted on 9-10 January 2017 at UP Open University, Los Baños, Laguna. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

The UP Open University (UPOU) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Committee organized two fora this December 2016 to advance UPOU’s level of readiness in earthquake disaster and information risk at the UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

The first forum about Earthquake Disaster Preparedness and Management was held on 06 December 2016. Mr. Daniel Jose Buhay, Science Research Specialist from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), was the resource person.

Mr. Buhay discussed in detail the importance of readiness during earthquakes. He explained how earthquakes happen and what causes the tremors, especially in the Philippines. He also mentioned how UPOU office in Los Baños, Laguna will be affected, saying that UPOU is susceptible to liquefaction, a case when the soil loses integrity due to ground shaking and behaves like quicksand. This is due to the location’s proximity to Laguna Lake. He talked about preparations before the earthquake; doing the drop, cover and hold during earthquakes; and how be safe even after earthquakes. The different phases in planning for a proper earthquake drills in schools were also discussed. The DRRM Committee, chaired by Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, said that the committee will be working on creating the different teams to ensure a disaster-prepared and resilient UPOU.

The second forum, conducted on 08 December 2016, was about Information Security Risk with Mr. Gulshan Vasson as the resource speaker. Mr. Vasson is a Senior Lecturer for the UPOU Diploma in Computer Science program with 13 years of experience in Information Technology including information security, solutions architect and technology project management. He is also a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), a lawyer licensed to practice law in India, and an Information Security consultant for various organizations.

Mr. Vasson discussed information security and mobile forensics. He explained mobile forensics, as part of digital forensics, as the science of recovering digital information from a mobile phone, and includes recovery and analysis of information for mobile devices. He explained how mobile phones can be used unlawfully, the extent of the operation of some hackers on different mobile operating systems, the laws involving data privacy, and some sample scenarios of identity theft and other cybercrimes. In the end, he said that security depends on the person because no matter how complicated a system is, hackers will be able to tap into the system and access private information. Layers of security will help but a more important tip he gave was for each individual to always be careful and vigilant especially on everything that includes online systems.

Both the fora elicited many questions from the UPOU audience, which were ably answered and by the resource speakers. Both fora were conducted at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) is one of the partner universities of the second ASEAN University Conference on Public Relations and Communication (APRC2016). The conference, hosted by the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia Student Association in collaboration with Students Development and Alumni (SDA) Office, Universiti Utara Malaysia, provided a platform for students, academics, and practitioners to discuss issues and share experiences related to the practice and application of public relations and to foster networking.

“One Vision, One Identity, One Community: Fostering Public Relations Network for ASEAN Communities” served as the theme of the conference that was held at the EDC Hotels and Resorts, Universiti Utara Malaysia on 18-20 November 2016. Participants were lecturers, students, and Public Relations (PR) practitioners from Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nigeria, Sudan, Thailand, Australia, and the Philippines.

Dr. Elizabeth Goenawan Ananto, a PR Practitioner and Lecturer at the Trisakti University, Indonesia served as keynote speaker. She said that the more complicated an organization is, the more it is necessary to have an established communication and public relations unit. She added that internal communication is more important, this is to develop trust within the institution. “Eighty percent of the crisis comes from within the organization.Internal affairs should be given attention to avoid internal conflict.” Dr. Ananto also encouraged the participants to develop global mindset and tolerance for differences, while at the same time keep ones own identity. “Do not imitate, be who you are. Don't try to be white than the whitest. Be proud of your identity.”

As partner university, UPOU sent nine participants to the conference to present eight research papers, listed as the following:

  • Communicating with Prospective Students: Public Relations Media and Strategies of a University Information Office by Ms. Anna Ma. Elizabeth F. Cañas-Llamas
  • Exploring the Potentials of QR code as Mechanism to Validate Student’s Enrollment by Ms. Percia V. Secreto & Ms. Jennifer Belen
  • New Media in Education: A Communication Practitioner’s Role in Media-assisted Learning by Ms. Luisa A. Gelisan
  • Potentials of Social Media in Increasing Social Presence in Online Courses by Asst. Prof. Myra C. Almodiel
  • Promoting Community Development through Partnership: The Experience of a Communication Academic Unit by Ms. Emely M. Amoloza
  • Supporting Online Education: The Experience of a Communication Practitioner at the ASEAN Studies Graduate Program by Ms. Dona Lyn M. Piamonte
  • The Online Application System and Its Contributions to Operational Efficiency in an ODeL Institution by Ms. Percia V. Secreto & Ms. Marie Karen Enrile
  • The Use of Blogs and Comics as Student Support Communication Tools for Incoming Online Students by Ms. Jeniffer F. De Pasion, Assoc. Prof. Joane V. Serrano, Ms. Paula Grace M. Muyco & Mr. Christian C. Guevarra

Ms. Cañas-Llamas and Ms. De Passion were awarded the Best Presenters. (Luisa Gelisan, UPOU Multimedia Center)

Raymond D. Basilio, the first graduate of the UP Open University (UPOU) Bachelor of Education Studies (BES) program successfully passed the recent Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) for the Secondary Level held on 25 September 2016. Mr. Basilio belonged to the first batch of students admitted in the BES program under the Alternative Education Systems track in the first trimester AY 2012-2013. He graduated from the program on 30 July 2016.

The BES program is one of the three undergraduate programs of the UP Open University with specializations in Alternative Education Systems (AES) and in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT). It is offered fully online under the Faculty of Education. The program carries 141 units of course work taken over 4 years following a trimestral schedule.

”If we are to ever progress as a nation, I sincerely believe that we will need many more people like you,” Professor Fortunato T. de la Peña, Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), told the 151 course completers in his inspirational message in the Continuing Education Program (CEP) Closing Ceremonies held by UPOU’s Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) on December 03, 2pm, at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.

Sec. de la Peña was instrumental in initiating the two longest running continuing education (non-formal) courses of UPOU—Personal Entrepreneurial Development (PED) and New Enterprise Planning (NEP)—which had touched the lives of over a thousand lifelong learners. He was the Director of the University of the Philippines-Institute of Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) when PED and NEP courses were conceptualized, developed, and delivered via distance education mode in the late ‘90s under the then School for Distance Education (SDE) of UPOU in UP Diliman. He also served as the first Course Coordinator of both courses when they were initially offered under the then Faculty of Management Sciences (FMS) of UPOU in 2002.

Expanding ICT application

At the start of his message, he noted how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) had broadened its applications. From Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), it has extended to highly technical and relevant scientific, technological, and creative realms. “My dear graduates, you are all shining testaments to the fact that ICT goes far and beyond BPO,” he stated.

A well-deserved praise

Sec. de la Peña also commended the course completers in his speech. He said that their achievement is worthy of praise as they have acquired skills that would help them in their chosen careers.

Bedrocks of a progressive society

Despite the diversity of the learner’s courses and motivations in taking up the course, he underscored that all of them share a common denominator—they are motivated and they all took the opportunity for self-improvement in UPOU. According to him, self-motivation and self-improvement, the two traits which he believes the learners possess, are the bedrock of a progressive society. Thus, he challenged them to share their knowledge and blessings for the benefit of the country and the Filipino people.

Government as primary arm in national development

He also emphasized that the government or the DOST, in particular, is always there to help the learners accomplish their mission. As Sec de la Peña said, the government has pledged to provide much greater support for the people who join them at the forefronts of national development.

CEP-related DOST programs

Sec. Dela Peña also shared some of DOST’s programs/services which are in line with business/entrepreneurship, agriculture, and rural development. These are the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), OneStore, and innovative packaging assistance which all assist small businesses and start-ups; and the Smart-Agri Program and Food Innovation Centers located nationwide which help increase agricultural productivity especially in the rural areas. Completers of CEP can take advantage of these programs as they pursue their business or social development initiatives.

DOST: Producing high-quality science and engineering graduates

The abovementioned DOST programs would not be successful without the experts behind their implementation, Sec. de la Peña stressed. Thus, before ending his speech, he also took the opportunity to introduce two of the DOST’s key agencies which are known in producing high-quality science and engineering graduates. These are the Science Education Institute and the Philippine Science High School. Both offer high school, undergraduate, and graduate degrees.

After his message, FMDS Dean Dr. Primo G. Garcia, assisted by FMDS-CEP Program Development Associate Mr. Larry Cruz, awarded Sec. dela Pena a certificate of appreciation and tokens from the university as a way of thanking him for gracing the event.

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU-FMDS) recognized its course completers and top learners in the Continuing Education Program (CEP) Closing Ceremonies held on 03 December 2016 at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna. A total of 151 from 11 courses have complied with all the requirements for completion. Seventy-three learners received certificates for having completed their courses with distinction and high distinction. Asst. Prof. Rita C. Ramos, FMDS Secretary to the Faculty, facilitated the awarding of the certificates of completion/recognition.