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UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor and President of the Asian Association of Open Universities, Dr. Melinda dela Pena Bandalaria, together with Dr. Jean Saludadez, and Assistant Professor Reinald Adrian Pugoy, participated in the 27th World Conference on Online Learning with the theme “Teaching in the Digital Age - Re-Thinking Teaching and Learning” held on 17 to 19 October 2017 in Toronto, Canada.

As the 27th edition of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference, hosted this year by Contact North | Contact Nord, this conference was attended by more than 1,400 delegates from over 95 countries in the world. Delegates of this three-day conference were treated to over 150 plenaries, practical workshops, interactive panel presentations, innovation labs, hands-on demonstrations, and academic paper presentations. These activities were all focused on five tracks covering topics such as technology application, quality assurance, and new applications and models of Open and Distance Learning. These tracks were (1) Emerging Pedagogies and Designs for Online Learning, (2) Expanding Access, Openness, and Accessibility, (3) Changing Models of Assessment, (4) New Delivery Tools and Resources for Learning, and (5) Re-designed Institutional Business Models.

Around 500 presenters shared their research results to the other participants of the conference. Part of the presenters were Dr. Jean Saludadez, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and Asst. Professor Reinald Adrian Pugoy of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies. Dr. Saludadez presented “Exploration of Peer Evaluation as an Assessment System for MOOCs”, a study she did with Mr. Kunchon Joetee, Dr. Primo Garcia, Dr. Joane Serrano, Ms. Donalyn Piamonte, and Ms. Maria Dominique Culing. Their research compared peer assessment with teacher’s assessment and identified if the former can be used as an assessment system for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Furthermore, Asst. Prof. Pugoy also showcased his paper, in collaboration with Prof. Mari Anjeli Crisanto, Dr. Jean Saludadez, Mr. Manuel Antonio Saludadez, Mr. Joshua David Sta. Rita, and Ms. Donalyn Piamonte, on “System Design and Architecture of the ASEAN Studies Graduate Program Online Assessment Platform”. This research showed the phases undergone in developing an online assessment platform for the ASEAN Studies Graduate Program.

According to the ICDE website, the World Conference on Online Learning was a way to tackle how “online, open, and flexible” education may be used to address students’ needs from all over the world and eventually, help in the achievement of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals of quality education.

Aside from participation in the the conference, Chancellor Bandalaria also took part in the Roundtable of Executive Heads of Open Universities facilitated by Sir John Daniel, Contact North | Contact Nord Research Associate, on 16 October 2017. This was participated by the other 18 leaders of Open Universities from around the world. The roundtable provided attendees a venue for open discussion where they tackled the innovations, challenges and opportunities of Open Universities around the world.

These events had also been an opportunity for online learning practitioners to connect with other participants and talk about the state of online learning in the world. They were aimed to help online learning practitioners engage with each other, have meaningful exchanges, and explore more on teaching, learning, and skills development. (CABaurile, OC)