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The UP Open University (UPOU) organized and conducted the first-ever Campus Tour for its new and old students and alumni on 09 August 2017 at the UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines.

The Campus Tour provided a venue for students and alumni to get to know their university more by experiencing the campus physically, and meeting UPOU staff and faculty face-to-face. Since UPOU delivers its instructions fully online, the opportunity for students to visit the campus and physically interact with professors and student support staff is usually during their graduation. Most of the interactions of UPOU students are done virtually.

The UPOU Campus Tour was held in two batches. The morning batch was scheduled at 9:30 AM while the afternoon batch met at 1:30 PM. Each batch went through a game called Bing-OU which required students to take selfies in UPOU landmarks, answer special questions, and post a Facebook Album using the hashtags - #UPOUCampusTour and #UPOpenUniversity. Twelve students won UPOU T-shirts as prizes. One hundred three students representing 20 UPOU programs participated, including some students of Continuing Education Programs and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

After each tour of the campus, the students were given orientation about the Student Orientation Course Site, the UPOU’s mode of delivery and other academic processes and procedures. Some alumni and continuing students shared their experiences to new students on how to cope with open and distance learning. Students were also given a chance to ask questions at the end of the orientation. Dr. Melinda dela Pena Bandalaria, Chancellor of UPOU, congratulated the students in embracing the idea of lifelong learning through UPOU. She encouraged everyone to continue and pursue their programs to completion amidst all other life's businesses. She expressed her hope to see the students again, especially at the time of their graduation when their dream of “Sasablay din ako” comes true. Deans, faculty members, and support staff from the three Faculty Offices of UPOU joined the short program to address questions from the students. Many of the students found the event very helpful and suggested similar events in the future. Some also suggested a “Campus Night” as a socials event for students. UPOU plans to hold more campus tours soon and make available a virtual tour for students who are not able to come physically. (Anna Canas-Llamas)

UP Open University’s (UPOU) Research Conversations on 11 August 2017 featured Institutionalizing Gender Perspective in Research: Reflexivity as an Alternative, a study by Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS); Ms. Luisa Gelisan, University Researcher of the Multimedia Center; and Ms. Paula Muyco, Research Assistant for the Diploma in Social Work and Diploma in Women and Development programs. The study proposes reflexivity as another approach and/or framework to gender research.

According to Dr. Garcia, “reflexivity allows researchers to reflect on their values, beliefs, and assumptions and how it shapes research and the construction or reconstruction of gender structures” which will help them better adjust their responses on more sensitive or intimate issues that arise before, during, and after the research proper.

The talk covered legal instruments to further strengthen gender and development (GAD) efforts such as Former President Fidel V. Ramos’ Memo Order 282 indicating that the academe must mainstream gender in its practices and/or to incorporate GAD issues in its programs and CHED’s Memo Order No. 01 stating that all private and public higher education institutions to mainstream gender in research, administration, extension, and curriculum. As a response to the memo, UPOU institutionalized the Gender-focused Research Grants which are given to proposed studies that have GAD components or are gender-focused after undergoing the review and endorsement process of the research and publication committee. The results of these studies are expected and required to be disseminated in a forum, conference, and colloquium and/or published in a reputable academic publication. Also, UPOU has engendered the institution’s teaching, research, and public service activities to uphold equality in women and men and fulfill and promote women’s human rights and development.

The talk also touched on reactions to the Gender Component requirement in research – these being acquiescence and resistance. Acquiescence was defined as taking a step towards gender mainstreaming, but not enough to facilitate deeper understanding of gender issues and realities, while resistance was defined as force-fitting gender perspective, action or inaction by people, or obvious or implied opposition. These reactions can also be used as parameters to determine the visibility or invisibility of gender in research and the success or failure of gender policies and institutions. To address this issue, reflexivity in research is proposed.

Reflexivity in research can be used (1) to look into how a research topic is anchored on issues of dominance, gender, sexuality, class, age, and race; (2) to determine both perspectives from marginalized sectors and researchers’ values, beliefs, interests, ambitions, and how it shapes research; (3) as a reaction/response to intimate questions and answers brought by doing gender-based research; (4) as an approach to better analyze the process and results of research. In addition to the existing GAD checklist for research, the study presented a framework featuring reflexivity to better guide researchers in pursuing GAD research.

During the forum, a discourse took place as a means to better understand reflexivity as an approach in research. On one hand, there is a concern on the difficulty of achieving reflexivity because academics have been trained and expected to be as objective as possible, throwing away their biases and personal underpinnings and assumptions. On the other, it is believed that academics have a responsibility to acknowledge and practice reflexivity as an alternative approach to gender-based research. With this, there is a call to action for younger and starting researchers to embrace reflexivity and pursue research in such a way that conjuncts the reflexivity in qualitative with the rigor of quantitative research.

To close the conversation, a question-and-answer activity was facilitated where the participants shared the gender component in their research experiences, and what could have been the gender component if there were none considered during the time of research. (Ma. Rosette San Buenaventura)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) extended the deadline for the submission of abstracts for the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning (NCODeL 2017) to September 15, 2017 to accommodate papers on open and distance learning from Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), Technical and Vocational Institutions (TVIs), and other institutions and practitioners in the Philippines.

The theme of NCODeL 2017 is “Philippine Education in the Age of Openness. ” The three sub-themes, namely, Open Education Practices (OEP), Technology in Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) and Quality Assurance in ODeL, should be reflected on the abstracts for paper and panel proposals which should be submitted online through ncodel.upou.edu.ph. With a maximum of 350 words in English, the abstracts of the paper and panel proposals should be research-based and have not been presented nor currently for review in any other professional meetings.

As host and lead organizer of NCODeL 2017, UPOU invites all teachers, researchers, administrators, policymakers and practitioners who are doing and practicing or interested to do research and practice online learning, elearning and blended learning to participate in the conference on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Manila, Philippines. NCODeL 2017 aims to introduce participants to the concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open learning and build upon the outcomes of the conference held two years ago by letting participants share experiences and best practices.

NCODeL 2017 is part of UPOU's effort to fulfill its mandate in RA 10650 (Open and Distance Learning Law) to promote open and distance learning in the country, in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which have both endorsed the conference. Other organizers include the UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI) and the Philippine Society for Distance Learning, Inc (PSDL). More details about NCODeL 2017 is available at ncodel.upou.edu.ph.

At the Research Conversations organized by the UP Open University (UPOU) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) on 28 July 2017, Dr. Diego Maranan, Assistant Professor at the UPOU Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS), discussed part of his PhD research -- a device called Haplós. His research draws from philosophy, somatic practices, neuroscience, and technology design, and culminated in the creation of a device for facilitating body awareness. Haplós is a novel, wearable, programmable, remotely controlled technology which uses vibrating motors. Dr. Maranan developed this as part of his research at CogNovo, a 4.1 million EU-funded project at Plymouth University, United Kingdom, that focused on interdisciplinary research on creativity and cognition.

Dr. Maranan opened the talk with the question “Do you know yourself?”, pertaining to the knowledge of our bodies as physical parts of ourselves as opposed to the typical response about mental or behavioral state. This underlined the concept of body awareness which deals with the connection between the way we organize our bodies and our disposition, the malleability of our concept of our bodies, and the understanding of our body as part of a space.

Dr. Maranan mentioned that his research has shown that Haplós can increase body awareness by enhancing the user’s perception of the body part that has been exposed to the device. In addition, Haplós has also shown to decrease food cravings with statistical significance. Because the sensations provided by the Haplós system have been described as highly unusual, pleasurable, and engaging. Haplós is theorized to interrupt the elaboration of intrusive thoughts associated with food cravings, as predicted by the Elaborated Intrusion Theory of desire.

Potential and speculative future applications of Haplós were discussed after his presentation which included inquiries (1) on the study’s application for mental issues and other medicinal purposes, local fashion and production, and (2) for the study’s possible continuation at UP Open University in collaboration with other campus units in the country.

This article is based largely on the abstract of and with permission from Dr. Maranan. (Rosette San Buenaventura)

The UP Open University (UPOU), Local Government Unit of Mauban, Quezon, Quezon Power (Philippines), Inc. (QPL), the UPOU Foundation, Inc.(UPOUFI) and the Department of Education signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the establishment of the sixth phase of the Teacher Development Program, Phase 6, which has been renamed to “TDP/Enhanced Continuing Education Program for Mauban” (TDP/eCEP4Mauban) to expand its reach. The MOA signing and program launching was held on 3 August 2017 at the Audiovisual Room, UP Open University, Los Baños, Laguna.

UPOU Chancellor and TDP Program Leader, Dr. Melinda dP. Bandalaria; Mauban Mayor Fernando “Dingdong” Llamas; UPOUFI President Felix Librero; QPL Community Relations Manager Chuckie Rivera; and representative from the Department of Education-Quezon Province, Dr. Felipe Malabaguio led the MOA signing and program launching.

The TDP, which started in 2005, was initially established to provide scholarship grants to public school teachers from Mauban, who shall pursue graduate studies in UPOU. From TDP1 to TDP5, 164 elementary and high school teachers have been awarded scholarships and 110 have graduated. The sixth phase of the program will cover other professions and areas deemed important to achieve a holistic development for Mauban, Quezon.

Dr. Bandalaria said that the TDP6-eCEP4Mauban project will be implemented for 36 months, from August 2017 to July 2020 and will have two major components — scholarship grants to relevant degree programs offered by UPOU, and scholarship to short-term training programs.

Dr. Felix Librero appreciated the people behind the project. He reminded them to continue with the program for “the progress of the community and people through education.” Mayor Fernando "Dingdong" Llamas, announced that he is already planning to institutionalize the funding support for TDP through municipal ordinances to ensure the continuity of the program. On behalf of QPL, Community Relations Manager Chuckie Rivera also conveyed their never-ending support and indebtedness, “let us not stop, let us not be static.” He also challenged everyone to "pursue individual and holistic growth."

Two of the graduates of TDP’s earlier phases, Ms. Mharlee V. Derecho (Phase 1) and Mr. Wilson S. Martinez (Phase 3) shared how TDP has become a big help in their journeys as learners and as teachers. The sacrifices and hardships became beautiful experiences when they graduated and began to see the fruits of their hard work. They are now both Principals in their respective schools and are also encouraging their teachers to be a part of the TDP.

During the program launch, the 12 TDP6-eCEP4Mauban scholars of were introduced. Aside from the scholarship grants, each one received a "technology package" consisting of a laptop computer unit and a pocket WiFi.

The TDP6-eCEP4Mauban scholars are the following:

  1. Ms. Cristine G. Alpajora (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  2. Ms. Roxanne C. Apostol (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  3. Ms. Rianne Karla M. Gandia (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  4. Ms. Charlen Joy R. Geguinto (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  5. Ms. Loisy Grace A. Lorena (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  6. Ms. Hyayella S. Mandrique (Diploma of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  7. Mr. Edwin L. Reyes (Master of Arts in Social Studies Education)
  8. Ms. April Joy E. Urciana (Master of Arts in Social Studies Education)
  9. Ms. Amy Shierle L. Barnes (Master of Social Work)
  10. Mr. Peter Orlan Catalla (Diploma in Science Teaching)
  11. Ms. Dennise A. Gabo (Master of Arts in Language and Literacy Education)
  12. Mr. Kenneth T. Caliwanagan (Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies)

(Lara Bonifacio and Luisa Gelisan)

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has endorsed the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning (NCODeL 2017), set to happen on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Manila, Philippines.

The CHED endorsement encourages all officials, employees and students from all Higher Education Institution in the country for voluntary participation. Officials and employees of State and Local Colleges and Universities are advised to obtain permission from the Head of the Institution and use government funds properly.

Organized by the UP Open University (UPOU), in collaboration with the UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Society for Distance Learning (PSDL), NCODeL provides a venue for administrators, teachers scholars, practitioners and policymakers to learn from each other as they explore spaces and possibilities for ODeL for development.

As part of UPOU’s implementation of RA 10650, or the Open and Distance Learning Act (ODL Act), the NCODeL 2017 aims to introduce participants to the concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open learning. With the theme “Philippine Higher Education in the Age of Openness,” NCODeL 2017 hopes to build upon the outcomes of the conference held in 2015.

Submission of abstracts for the conference is open until 15 September 2017. More details about NCODeL 2017 may be found at ncodel.upou.edu.ph, and inquiries may be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) calls for the submission of abstracts for the upcoming 5th National Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning (NCODeL) to be held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila, Philippines on 22-23 November 2017. The submission is open to all practitioners and scholars from all higher education institutions and technical and vocational institutions. With the theme “Philippine Education in the Age of Openness,” the 5th NCODeL aims to serve as a venue for educational institutions involved in open and distance learning in the country to share their experiences, practices, and research on ODeL.

Abstracts for panel and paper proposals, conveying this year’s conference theme and the sub-themes, must be written in English of no more than 350 words, research-based, and have not been presented or accepted in any other professional meetings nor currently being reviewed for presentation at any other professional meeting.

Abstracts will be accepted online until 15 August 2017 through ncodel.upou.edu.ph. First authors of the accepted abstract will be notified by 15 September 2017. Authors with accepted abstracts are required to register and attend the conference for their paper presentation, and must submit their full paper by 15 October 2017. Paper presenters and participants can avail of the early bird registration until 31 August 2017. For more information about the conference, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On 07 July 2017, Assistant Professor Rita Ramos, Faculty Secretary of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), and Chair of the UPOU Health and Wellness Committee, served as the speaker for the Research Conversation on the Flagship Program: TAYO or Team Approach and Youthful Outlook for UPOU. TAYO is UPOU’s Flagship Program that focuses on health and wellness and aims to provide and/or establish healthy work spaces for a healthier workforce.

Prof. Ramos started the talk by sharing an integral part of the TAYO program which are UPOU’s existing groups who are involved in activities such as volleyball, basketball, pilates, dance, band, bikers, and photography groups. These informal groups help with fitness, relaxation, and socialization – conditions theoretically ideal for increased work productivity.

She also gave a preview of other programs that can be included in the future such as ergonomics which can be beneficial to the UPOU employees. At the moment, TAYO’s structure is fluid and flexible for the purposes of recreation and relaxation; however, the health and wellness committee aims for the program to be more empirical and theory-driven as it progresses. Although still open for further suggestions and comments, Prof. Rita discussed possible variables to consider in determining the effectivity of the program such as measuring work productivity, fitness level, and vital signs. In an effort to address the lack of empirical data, the committee conducted an assessment survey of the health and wellness program. With 25 respondents for the initial survey, she hoped that more will participate in both the activities and assessment survey.

Prof. Rita also lightly grazed on existing studies in health and wellness such as Ammendoila et al’s (2016) inquiry on using the intervention mapping framework for designing a health and wellness program in the workplace, Macdonald and Westover’s (2011) study on decreasing employee obesity and increasing overall health, and Losina et al’s (2017) paper on the relation of physical activity and decreased work absenteeism.

To cap the talk, Prof. Rita raised two points to consider in the continuation of the health and wellness program: (1) should the program continue as unstructured/flexible or should it be structured? and (2) should the program remain voluntary or should it be obligatory? These points attracted many comments and suggestions from the participants who were mostly UPOU faculty and staff members. The session ended with the giving of a certificate of appreciation to Asst. Prof. Ramos and a salo-salo over extended conversations among the employees.

UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, talked about sharing and empowerment in the message she delivered during the launch of the 2nd Phase of the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program (ISMTP) on 28 June 2017 at the Ifugao State University (IFSU) in Lamut, Ifugao.

ISMTP is a three-year project funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), collaboratively implemented by Ifugao State University, University of the Philippines Open University, Kanazawa University, Ifugao Provincial Government, and the Ifugao Municipal Local Government Units. The first phase of the project started in 2013 and concluded last 26 January 2017 with the graduation of the third batch of trainees. As the first of its kind in Ifugao, ISMTP is firm to its commitment in helping capacitate stakeholders in the GIAHS Ifugao Rice Terrace landscape

ISMTP Phase 2 aims to further strengthen the capacity building activities of the project and to expand the exchange program by immersing participants from Japan to the rich culture present in the Ifugao Rice Terraces region.

“Talk of what we do, share in virtual space, share about the processes and results... Announce to the world that this is what we are doing, tell them that they can replicate and share this with everyone. Because we believe that sharing is empowering.” Chancellor Bandalaria was one of the key partners of the project to give messages during the launch, along with IFSU, represented by its President, Dr. Serafin Ngohayon, who also delivered the welcome remarks as the host of the launching program; Atty. Pedro G. Mayam-o, Governor of Ifugao; Mr. Masuhiro Izumiya, Chairman of the Ifugao GIAHS Support Committee; and Mr. Suzumo Ito, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperating Agency, which funds the project. Prof. Koji Nakamura, Kanazawa University Visiting Professor and Executive Director of the ISMTP-Phase II shared what second phase is all about including the expected outcomes for this second run.

Chancellor Bandalaria is thankful for the opportunity of serving the people and the country through this project. According to her, “This is our malasakit para sa susunod na henerasyon ng Filipinos.” She declared UPOU's commitment from beginning to end “para sa Pilipinas nating mahal.” (Anna Canas-Llamas)

Dr. Primo G. Garcia, Dean of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) led the Research Conversations about Mission RA 10650, UPOU’s Flagship Program dedicated to fulfilling its lead role mandated by RA 10650 or Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Act. The session started with a brief introduction of the ODL Act and the roles of UPOU in the law such as providing technical assistance in curricula development forODL program and sharing innovative ideas and research for other ODL institutions. Moreover, UPOU’s share in the fulfillment of the ODL Act includes the development of information and communication technologies (ICT) for ODL, provide and design quality learning materials for ODL institutions in the Philippines, and capacitate teachers and practitioners in ODL.

Dean Garcia also reported some of the activities that UPOU has done to fulfill the mandate like organizing conferences and other academic assemblies where educators and administrators of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Technical and Vocational Institutions (TVIs) acquire and advance knowledge about ODL; offering Massive Open Online Courses on Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL); conducting specialized training workshops on blended learning and sharing educational resources with Philippine HEIs.

To help UPOU continue and strengthen these initiatives, Dean Garcia shared the researchable areas for Mission RA 19650, classifying them into four groups -- capacity building where training needs assessment and training course evaluation can be done; technical assistance where research can include the crafting of a quality assurance framework, ICT infrastructure policy or accreditation policy; instructional models where examples can include ODeL-based curriculum research, learning materials evaluation and research and innovative technology for ODeL; and lastly, innovative research in ODL which will cover the issues and concerns of institutions on distance education (DE) and combining traditional and new media in ODL.

The Research Conversations provided a venue to discuss and share these researchable areas. Participating faculty, REPS and administrative staff members also shared their thoughts on the matter. Several suggestions, issues, and possible research methods to use surfaced. The UPOU Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), which spearheads the Research Conversations, encouraged research collaboration among UPOU faculty and staff members. The Research Conversations on Mission RA 10650 was held on 16 June at the Sandbox, CCDL Building, UPOU, Los Baños, Laguna.