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The UP Open University (UPOU) Research Conversations featured Dr. Sheila R. Bonito, Director of the UPOU Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS), on 18 August 2017. Dr. Bonito talked about Innovative Teaching and Learning or InnovaTE, one of UPOU’s flagship programs, which promotes the adoption or adaption of innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies in support of effective learning. Dr. Bonito stated that the performance indicators for InnovaTE are innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies; enhanced capacity in effective online teaching among the faculty; and reduced attrition and improved graduation rates among students. Its initial components consist of online teaching toolkit available in the Faculty Portal website; faculty seminar-workshop/webinar series; online teaching skills certification program; and FIC and Tutor Congress.

Dr. Bonito explained that the Faculty Portal will house modules and Open Educational Resources (OERs) as part of UPOU’s effort to collate, organize, and present available content. However, at the moment, only modules for course authors are available and can already be retrieved at faculty.icodel.org. Webinars and workshops on open educational practices (OEP), OER in Education, the extent of use of OER in UPOU, and OER in Health have already been conducted with other topics in the pipeline. These webinars are available for viewing at networks.upou.edu.ph, UPOU’s online repository of OERs. Dr. Bonito also provided the following websites as resources for more OERs and open education studies - roer4d.org and oerhub.net.

Dr. Bonito called for continued research on open education and OERs and for other research topic suggestions. The audience also raised concerns on how can resources such as student theses repository and data sets be open when existing policies like the Data Privacy Act limit practitioners to make their work available to the public. This is very relevant to UP especially that OERs can be considered as public service to public and private schools that are in need of help to improve their teaching methods and learning outcomes. (Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura )