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On its 22nd year, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) will be celebrating its anniversary with the theme “UPOU@22: Leading in ODeL Within and Beyond.” This will be held on 24 February 2017 at its headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

After critical reflection on its 21st year, UPOU upholds its position as the pioneer and leading institution in Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) on its 22nd year. In the Philippines, the Open and Distance Learning Law (RA 10650) mandates UPOU to lead in assisting relevant agencies and institutions in developing distance education (DE) programs through capacity building programs and other initiatives. In the region, UPOU has extended its wingspan as President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) from 2017-2019. These positions provide UPOU more reasons to carry on with its mission of widening access to quality higher education.

Several activities are lined up for the one-day event. Morning activities will include the signing of memoranda with partners for 2017, the groundbreaking of the UPOU Teaching and Learning Hub (UPOU TLH), and the 22nd Anniversary Program.

The Anniversary program will feature the first message of the new UP President, Hon. Danilo L. Concepcion, for UPOU. The program will also be the venue to launch the different Flagship Programs of the university including three publications. The program also includes the opportunity to recognize the partners and the agreements forged in the previous year, and the awarding of outstanding members of various UPOU sectors with the Gawad Chancellor.

The afternoon will commence with the opening of the Wood Carving Exhibit: Lines, Curves and Strokes at Galeria Sinag at the UPOU Community Hub. Following the completion of its latest infrastructure, the UPOU Multipurpose Hall will be inaugurated in tandem with the inaugural activities of the UPOU Health and Wellness Committee. As customarily done, special recognition will be given to the members of the UPOU workforce who have rendered loyal service to the university. But recognition is not only because of traditions but primarily as appreciation and gratitude to the people whose contribution far outnumber the hours of service.

As a take-off on its 22nd year, UPOU’s chapter opens to soar high and claim its leadership in ODeL within the country and beyond. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

At the 1324th UP Board of Regents’ Meeting on 26 January 2017, Prof. Ricardo T. Bagarinao was appointed as the new Dean of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Education (FEd) effective 01 February 2017. His term will run until 31 January 2020.

As Dean of FEd, Prof. Bagarinao has set nine goals in his vision statement for the Faculty of Education to contribute to addressing the government’s need for sustainable education and the propagation of open and distance learning in higher education, in congruence with UPOU’s Strategic Plans. Under Instruction, his aim is to lead in the (1) enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning experience of faculties-in-charge and the students; (2) widen the access to FEd education; and (3) increase student enrollment and completion. Under Scholarship, he envisions to (4) enhance faculty research and/or creative work engagements; (5) increase the number of publications and paper presentations in conferences. Under Administration and Governance, the goals include (6) the enhancement of administrative efficiency to support academic excellence; (7) enhancement of faculty staff and student welfare; and (8) promotion of sustainable governance. Lastly, he aims for the (9) enhancement of public service. He was able to discuss the strategies for each goal during the search and consultation forum on 11 January 2017.

Prof. Bagarinao holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from UP Los Baños School of Environmental Science and Management. He is an educator and a public servant at heart, serving as a faculty member of the country’s national university right after he graduated with a degree in BS Biology from UP Cebu College. He served as trainer, facilitator, resource person, consultant, tutor, and mentor in different academic settings in recognition of his expertise in environmental science, sustainable development, natural resources management and disaster preparedness. As educator, he was awarded the UPOU Gawad Chancellor for Outstanding Faculty in 2015. As public servant, different sectors of the society have benefited in the many research projects he has led.

Known as the research guru of UP Open University, Prof. Bagarinao has led numerous projects leading to his recognition as the Outstanding Filipino Research Leader in 2012 at the World Research Festival. His wisdom transcends to his authorship of various publications in his field. He has always been the recipient of the UP International Publications Award every year since 2010, and was twice awarded the UP Scientist I title, first effective 2013-2015, and second, effective 2015-2017.

He has also held various administrative positions prior to his appointment as Dean. In UP Cebu, he served as Program Coordinator for the Master of Science in Environmental Studies program. When he transferred to UPOU, he was appointed Program Chair of PhD in Education program for 3 years before he served UPOU as the University Registrar for six years. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Chancellor Bandalaria discusses QAlidad.

In the Research Conversations organized by the UP Open University (UPOU) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) on 27 January 2017, Prof. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, discussed QAlidad, one of the twelve UPOU Flagship Programs for 2016-2019.

QAlidad targets to establish a quality assurance (QA) culture within UPOU, and to promote and model QA in open and distance e-learning (ODeL). QAlidad seeks the operationalization of a QA audit in the university, the development of a UPOU QA framework, and the implementation of a UPOU QA System.

Chancellor Bandalaria presented the QAlidad component of the Strategic Plan in the context of its research requirements. According to Chancellor Bandalaria, the research for the operationalization of a Quality Assurance (QA) has already started with the review of literature phase. The main objective of this phase is to surface the pillars of quality in education, distance education and open and distance e-learning (ODeL). A survey research will be done to find out the perception of the different stakeholders including employees, students, employers, administrators of open universities in the region, on what quality consists of when it comes to ODeL. Based on the literature and the result of the survey, five rounds of Delphi will be conducted among the stakeholders to arrive at the final list of pillars of quality in ODeL. This will then form the first version of the QA Framework which will be used to audit UPOU as an ODeL university. In this audit, all UPOU’s processes and procedures will be codified by getting the narratives of different staff members working on the different aspects of ODeL program implementation. Focus group discussions and interviews will be done by sector. A second version of the Quality Framework with inputs from UPOU can then be finalized.

The output for these researches can be conference papers and publications, a QA manual that can be shared to all Higher Education Institutions and Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) members, and the implementation of QA at UPOU. According to Chancellor Bandalaria, quality should permeate all UPOU activities and UPOU should lead and influence research in the region especially as the current AAOU President.

Chancellor Bandalaria mentioned that UPOU was able to get funding for the codification of all UPOU practices and procedures relative to QA from the Academic Program Improvement (API) Fund of the University of the Philippines System. In addition, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has funded the development of a QA Manual as part of UPOU’s role in RA 10650.

Chancellor Bandalaria also solicited suggestions and recommendations on the proposed research methods and areas, and invited volunteer researchers to take part in the research.

Research Conversations are held every Friday at the Sandbox, CCDL, UPOU, Los Baños , Laguna. The OVCAA has decided to focus on all the Flagship Programs of the university for its Research Conversations for 2017. Prior to QAlidad, Prof. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has presented SALIKSIK, UPOU’s strategic program for research, on 06 January 2017. The target of this program is the improvement of ODeL research productivity and impact, and the significant contribution to research and innovation in priority social development fields. The performance indicators were presented as well as the four components of SALIKSIK identified as the (1) ODeL State of the Art Project, (2) Research Publication Project, (3) Research Preparation Support Project, and the (4) Analytical Tools Support Project. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

(L-R) Prof. Primo Garcia, Dean of FMDS, Dr. Wachju Subchan, Dr. Hari Sulistiyowati, Prof. Melinda Bandalaria, Chancellor of UPOU, and Prof. Inocencio e. Buot, Jr., Former Dean of FMDS.

On its first Let’s Talk it Over (LTIO) Forum for 2017 held on 23 January 2017, the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development (FMDS) invited collaborators from Universitas Jember (UNEJ) in Indonesia to share on topics related to the role of ecological valuation and global warming.

Dr. Hari Sulistiyowati, Professor at the Universitas Jember, presented “The Role of Ecological Valuation for Conservation Management.” Dr. Sulistiyowati started her presentation by defining valuation, specifically ecological valuation. According to her, valuation is usually defined as the monetary worth of something, especially estimated by an appraiser. She goes on to explain the three valuation approaches in ecology, namely, socio-cultural valuation, ecological valuation and economic valuation. In the end, Dr. Sulistiyowati concluded that ecological valuation can be a tool to assess, estimate, evaluate both structure and function in conservation management, ecological valuation is applicable for any level of ecosystem for conservation management, and it can be integrated with both economic and social valuation.

Dr. Wachju Subchan, Vice Rector of Universitas Jember, on the other hand, presented the “Physiological Time of Insect as Early Warning System of Global Warming.” Dr. Subchan explained that animals respond to temperature explaining why low temperature slows down activities of the animals as a way to regulate body temperature. In his presentation, he defined physiological time as the combination of the temperature-time determining the development of animals. According to his study, eggs of insects hatch faster at higher temperature, which led him to conclude that the population growth of the insects can be used as an indicator of global warming. It would also mean that insect population growth or insect abundance can be used a natural early warning system of global warming.

Dr. Sulistiyowati and Dr. Subchan are also visiting the university to discuss activities that UPOU and UNEJ can do collaboratively. In 2015, both universities have signed memoranda of agreement for an exchange program for their faculty and students. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Vice Chancellor Melinda Lumanta and Chancellor Melinda Bandalaria awards certificate of appreciatio to Asst. Prof. Roja Rivera.

Educational Psychology and its relevance to the distance education (DE) practice of UP Open University (UPOU) was the main topic of the Research Conversations organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) held on Friday, 13 January 2017 at Sandbox, CCDL, UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

Asst. Prof. Rameses A. de Jesus and Asst. Prof. Roja L. Rivera of the Faculty of Education shared their knowledge and expertise on educational psychology with their presentation entitled “Educational Psychology: Aspects Relevant to our Distance Education Practice at UPOU.” They tackled the foundational concepts and principles of educational psychology in the context of work at UPOU and also looked at the principles relevant to the student and faculty support. They also identified specific areas of research interests that can be pursued either as an individual or as a team.

Their presentation was divided into two parts – discussion on the overview of Educational Psychology and the group interaction. Asst. Prof. de Jesus presented the foundations, theories and the main concerns of Educational Psychology. Quoting from the American Psychological Association (APA), Asst. Prof. de Jesus said that “Educational Psychology promotes teaching and learning but there is no single learning approach or style that works for everyone.” Educational Psychology, being the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning, is focused on identifying and studying the learning methods to better understand how people absorb and retain new information. It was also mentioned that the aim of educational psychology is to provide research knowledge that can be effectively applied to teaching situations.

Educational psychology, as applied in teaching and learning in UPOU, affects the students, instructors and the administrative leadership, hence, research areas surfaced from the discussion mainly centered on student and teacher development by which can be done qualitatively and quantitatively processes. Asst. Prof. Rivera cited several experiences showing the different learning styles of UPOU students wherein she stressed that studying these can help in better understanding of the students’ learning process. In relation to providing psychological support, she suggested exploring the institutionalization of guidelines for student support that will cut across all faculty offices and all UPOU programs.

The topic elicited active participation from the audience, each contributing to the research suggestions. The activity was also streamed live through the Research Conversations Youtube Channel. Faculty members, researchers, and administrative staff actively participated in the conversation. (Anna Cañas-Llamas & Jamsie Joy Perez)

Chancellor Bandalaria welcomed all partners and guests to the launch.

UP Open University (UPOU), in fulfillment of its mission of widening access to quality education and its public service thrust, targets the Sustainable Development and Conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in its project with UP Los Baños, Kanazawa University, Ifugao State University (IFSU), the Ifugao Provincial Government, and selected municipalities in Ifugao funded by Mitsui & Co. Ltd.

Dubbed as the “Youth Capacity Building and Exchange Program toward Sustainable Development and Conservation of Ifugao Rice Terraces,” the project will focus on training the Ifugao youth on the concepts of IRT as a Satoyama landscape and a Globally Important Heritage System (GIASH), sustainable tourism, sustainable farming practices, local food security, agricultural heritage systems and the cultural heritage preservation of the IRT. Training modules and multimedia materials will be developed to aid in the capacity building of the youths.. Partnerships will also be linked between countryside and urban communities and provide hands-on experience, exchange programs and internship to rural and urban-based youths.

During the launch, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, welcomed all partners and guests to the launch. She coined the term #Y4IRT as the shorter name to the project and explained how the project proves important to the University. All collaborators were given an opportunity to share messages. Dr. Koji Nakamura from Kanazawa University gave a short message about the importance of educating and supporting the young generation. Dr. Portia Lapitan, UPLB Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, says UPLB is proud to be part of the team that leads in the conservation of the country's National Heritage.

Dr. Marissa Bulong, the Director of the IFSU GIAHS Center, shares how IFSU commits its full support in the successful implementation of the project. Councilor Pablo Cuyahon of the Hungduan Municipal Government stated how much it means to the Ifugaos that projects like #Y4IRT are aimed at the sustainable development and conservation of their rice terraces, culture and way of life.

Mr. Masanori Sato, General Manager for Corporate Planning & Administration Division of Mitsui & Co. Ltd, the project's funding agency, explained that #Y4IRT is one the three projects chosen by the company out of about 90 proposals submitted within Asia.

Dr. Joane Serrano, #Y4IRT Project Leader, introduced the Project Team members.

Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), delivered the closing remarks. He thanked everyone for their presence and commitment to the sustainable development and conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

This capacity building and exchange program will empower the young generation of Ifugaos with the knowledge and leadership needed to sustain the IRT landscape. Participants will learn about the IRT culture and way of life, and involved youths will learn from each other to promote a holistic view of rural and urban linkages to appreciate interconnectedness of these systems. This project, which will run for two years, will create awareness of the GIAHS areas among the youth, and their relevance in the present world. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) organized a tribute program entitled “#Pasasalamat: A Tribute to President Alfredo E. Pascual and Team.” The event was done to express gratitude and appreciation to the outgoing UP President and his administration, held on 24 January 2017 at the UPOU Audiovisual Room, in Los Baños, Laguna.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, being with the university prior to its establishment and witnessing it hurdle over UP processes and procedures amidst its unique stand of being non-conventional. She also mentioned in her opening message that through President Pascual’s administration “UPOU was able to serve the country and in the process, consequently, kept its reputation.”

A short video was presented, portraying how the leadership of President Pascual and the support of his administration to UPOU towards becoming one of the leading institutions in open and distance e-learning in the region. In addition, a hand mime was performed by a group of UPOU staff members to the tune of “Thank You.” Younger staff members sang the Beatles' “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Twist and Shout.” President Pascual joined the band in a rendition of “Can’t Take my Eyes Off of You.”

Chancellor Bandalaria and former Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso also presented the gifts prepared by the UPOU community – a plaque of the UPOU Oblation, a digital photo album of the President’s photos at UPOU events, and a portrait of the President with the UPOU oblation.

President Pascual responded in humble and heartfelt gratitude. He shared that his UP Presidency was a brave answer to the call of serving the country. He mentioned that UPOU has worked diligently to pursue its initiatives and he has done everything to help. “UPOU is the embodiment of accessible, open and inclusive UP education,” he stated. Wishing for UPOU to continue what it has started and strengthen its leadership in the open university arena, he urged everyone to work together for the good of the University and the entire nation.

Former Chancellor Alfonso, who worked with President Pascual for five years as the UPOU Chancellor, closed the program in a message that conveyed her great honor and pleasure for having worked with the President and his team. She expressed delight in all the support his administration gave UPOU in terms of academic growth, service to the public and administrative efficiency. “Our experience in working with you and your team has been most enriching, endearing and truly a memorable journey in our university life,” she related.

#Pasasalamat ended with a photo of all UPOU officials and staff members. Asst. Prof. Cesar Luna served as emcee of the event.

President Pascual will be succeeded by Atty. Danilo Concepcion, who will assume position on 10 February 2017. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

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 2017. 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 2017. 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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UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria served as one of the special studio guests during DZMM’s TURO-TURO episode entitled “Mas Cool nga ba ang Cyber schooling – Distance Learning at Open University para sa mga Estudyanteng Busy” last 07 January 2017. Along with Dr. Bandalaria was Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) President Emanuel Castro de Guzman, and PUP Open University System (OUS) Executive Director Anna Ruby P. Gapasin.

During the interview, Dr. Bandalaria introduced the concept of “open university” being espoused and promoted at UPOU. All 31 undergraduate and graduate programs of UPOU are offered fully online, with teacher-student interaction done through MyPortal, its Learning Management System. Dr. Bandalaria mentioned that the system uses security measures to ensure that the enrolled students are the ones who access the online resources and answer the exams. Other questions about distance education were also addressed, such as fees being paid through bank payments or credit cards, and the availability of scholarship grants.

Dr. Bandalaria further presented the advantages of enrolling in distance education programs. “You can work while studying,” she stated. Those who have not completed their bachelor’s degree can now finish their studies at a reduced cost since students need not commute to attend classes. Dr. Bandalaria noted that offering programs through the distance education mode proves that “the government is giving importance in democratizing access to education”, as mandated in Republic Act 10650 (Open Distance Learning Act).

Although most of UPOU’s students are working, there is also an increasing rate of undergraduate students who are full-time students, high school graduates, or students who still depend on their parents. According to Dr. Bandalaria, “What we saw here is the opportunity to give chance to this sector—the high school graduates—for them to have a distance education, since they also have other things they want to do, such as those in show business, sports, or abroad.”

At the end of the interview, Dr. Bandalaria encouraged lifelong learning and reasoned that lack of financial resources and being busy must not hinder those interested to study. UPOU also offers free online courses through its Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

TURO-TURO is a talk show that “discusses and tackles education issues in the Philippines and the world”. DZMM anchor-reporter Dexter Joie Ganibe served as the host for the certain episode. TURO-TURO is aired live over DZMM 630 kHz on the AM Band, DZMM TeleRadyo channel 25 and 26 on Destiny Cable and Sky Cable respectively, online via dzmm.com.ph, and worldwide via The Filipino Channel. (Pauline Grace Rebulanan Milante)