Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria (2nd from right) moderated the first special session where the panel members were the former Chancellors of UPOU, (L-R) Dr. Felix Librero, Dr. Grace Javier Alfonso and Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina.

The 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL2017), a biennial academic forum organized by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), was a smashing success.

Held on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Metro Manila, Philippines, 333 faculty members, researchers, administrators and policymakers from 123 higher education institutions (HEIs) participated and made the conference a huge success.

With the theme “Philippine Education in the Age of Openness,” NCODeL2017 treated its participants to three pre-conference workshops on instructional design, technology and data privacy in Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL); three plenary sessions on different aspects of ODeL featuring seven speakers who talked about Open Educational Practices, Country Cases on Open Education and the Philippine Initiatives in Open Education; four special sessions on on-demand issues revolving around ODeL - establishment, assessment, research and its dark side; and 50 research papers by 106 authors presented in four parallel sessions.

The conference opened with Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of UPOU welcoming all the participants with a reminder about ODeL’s ultimate drive towards social responsibility and service to the country. The keynote message of Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and the Arts, was about the importance of access and quality education for all Filipinos. “Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) ang magsisilbing tulay upang marating at makamit natin ang pangarap na abot-kaya at libreng edukasyon.” Another keynote speech was from Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Commissioner J. Prospero De Vera, whose call was for greater openness among HEIs. He was represented by Mr. Franklin Oliva, his Executive Assistant.

At the close of the 2-day event, awards were given to deserving academics whose researches proved outstanding. Dr. Maria Ana Quimbo from UP Los Baños was the recipient of the NCODeL 2017 Best Paper Award, while Dr. Giged Battung from St. Paul University was the NCODeL 2017 Best Practice Awardee. Dr. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs formally closed the event with the highlights of the conference and an invitation to the International Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (ICODeL) themed “Technology Enhanced Education in the Age of Openness” to be held on on 24-26 November 2018 in Kaosiung, Taiwan.

Chancellor Bandalaria congratulated the UPOU team, thrilled and proud with the success of the conference. “Again, we've proved that as a team - together - we can do better!!”