The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) together with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Society for Distance Learning, Inc. (PSDL) will host the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODEL) on 22-23 November 2017. The conference will offer a comprehensive forum on Philippine education in the age of openness as well as introduce participants to the concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open learning. The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Manila, Philippines.

The two-day event includes seven plenary speakers for three plenary sessions from different institutions in the country and abroad. Announced as part of the line-up of plenary speakers is Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of UP Open University, and President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) who will speak during the 3rd plenary session to discuss Open Education: Philippine Initiatives (MOOCs and OERs).

Dr. Bandalaria will bring her expertise and experiences from her 21 years of academic leadership in an open and distance e-learning institution. Her career in the academe includes starting as an Assistant Dean for the School for Distance Education in Los Baños and eventually becoming a professor for development communication and Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) in UPOU. She has held administrative posts in the same institution such as Director for the Office of Students Administration and the University Registrar. Dr. Bandalaria is a staunch advocate of democratizing access to quality education for the vulnerable sectors of the society which led to numerous public service works and researches which aim to serve lifelong learners by enabling their socio-economic transformation, and contribute to the country’s progress and to the sustainable development goals.

Dr. Bandalaria finished her studies in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Major in Agronomy at the University of the Philippines Los Baños where she also received her Master of Science and PhD degree in Development Communication.

Other distinguished plenary speakers who will be joining Dr. Bandalaria in the 3rd plenary session are Director Ma. Susan P. Dela Rama, Executive Director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Atty. Michael Vernon Guerrero from the Arellano University School of Law. This plenary session comes after other sessions on Open Educational Practices and Open Education: Country Cases.