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(L-R)The TDP project staff members Luisa A. Gelisan, Michael P. Lagaya, and Rhonna Marie Vereña, received the award on behalf of UPOU Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria, TDP's Project Leader. (Photo from Liza Gelisan's Facebook Page)

The Teacher Development Program (TDP) through eLearning of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) was among the eight recipients of the University of the Philippines (UP) 2nd Gawad Pangulo: Award for Excellence in Public Service. The award was given on 5 December 2017 at UP Diliman, Quezon City during the Gawad Pangulo Ceremony hosted by the Office of the President and organized by the UP Padayon Public Service Office under the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs (OVPPA). The Award aimed to recognize outstanding public service initiatives of various units of the UP System that exhibit compassion (malasakit) to the different publics that the university serves.

The TDP is one of UPOU's community engagement programs that aims to improve the quality of education in the public elementary and high schools in Mauban, Quezon by upgrading the knowledge and skills of the mentors. The program consisted of support for non-formal training programs/courses like teaching strategies, integration of computer and internet use to teaching and learning, and scholarship grants to the diploma and master’s programs offered by UPOU. The program was a joint effort of UPOU and its partners: Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd.; Mauban Local Government Unit; Department of Education-Quezon; and UPOU Foundation, Inc.

To date, the program has trained 132 teachers and more than 100 teachers had successfully completed their degree programs at UPOU. A few are still in the process of completing their courses. Aside from the training programs, TDP was also able to help establish an eLearning Ville in Mauban, Quezon, through partnerships with the Office of Congressman Mark Enverga, PLDT, Intel-Philippines, National Computer Center, and the Department of Science and Technology. The eLearning Ville is a model which combined the concepts of a Community eCenter and Learning Town.

This is the third award received by TDP. It has earlier received the International eAsia 2011 Award and the International Good Practice on Lifelong Learning. (ESPMANIPOL)

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, was one of the Learning Facilitators at the 3rd Convening of the International Network of Emerging Library Innovators (INELI) - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Project held from 26 November to 1 December, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF) Global Libraries initiative, the INELI-ASEAN Project aims for the training of national/public librarians or innovators from the ASEAN member countries through e-learning. Its third and final convening was directed toward processing key learnings and innovators’ experience; conducting workshops on networking, collaboration, partnership, and strategies to sustain these projects; finalizing collaborative projects; and presenting best practices in public library innovations through a poster-paper presentation. The project’s primary goal, which is the establishment of the ASEAN Public Libraries Information Network (APLiN), saw fruition at the introduction of the 2017-2020 APLiN Executive Board, presentation of APLiN’s three-year Development Plans, and the launching of its website.

Chancellor Bandalaria led several workshops over the course of the six-day event, including sessions titled “Network Makes A Difference (The Value of Networks, Sustaining Networks, Partnership and Collaboration)”, “Strategic Planning/Workshop on the Sustainability of the Collaborative Projects”, and “Online Learning Modules Workshop (Processing, Analysis of Key Learning, etc.)”.

Overall, the event renewed and stabilized its focus on the building of a strong network of outstanding emerging library leaders who hold an equally strong vision for the future of public libraries in the region. The event was organized by the National Library of the Philippines and hosted by the National Library of Vietnam.

UPOU Chancellor Melinda Bandalaria talks about "Open Education in the Philippines: The Imperatives; The Initiatives; The Impediments." as one of the speakers for third and last plenary session of NCODeL2017.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, served as one of the speakers during the third and last plenary session of the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL) held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on 23 November 2017.

In line with the country’s education agenda to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education as well as promote lifelong learning opportunities, Dr. Bandalaria tackled the importance of open education. Her staunch support for the democratization of quality education across learners of different social and economic backgrounds was apparent in her presentation, titled “Open Education in the Philippines: The Imperatives; The Initiatives; The Impediments.

With more than 400 million projected number of students who will be enrolled in higher education by 2030, Dr. Bandalaria believes that the educational sector should respond to the scale and urgency of the demand with accessible, affordable, and quality higher education. “In the Philippines, where poverty is still a major hindrance to accessing quality education, open education is a possible recourse,” she said.

She detailed UPOU’s initiatives to improve access to quality education, which includes the continuous development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OERs). Currently, the university is developing additional MOOCs on business analytics, technology for teaching and learning, community-based disaster risk reduction management, and foreign service development. These have the support of both government and non-government agencies, such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Anchored on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and thrust toward public service, UPOU will continue to develop and implement initiatives that will support lifelong learning. Dr. Bandalaria stated that MOOCs and OERs are good starting points but she recognizes that more work still needs to be done to make open education work for the Philippines. Aside from enhancing the content of educational materials and learners’ access, the low completion rate of MOOCs must also be addressed. More importantly, institutions must keep lobbying for the recognition of MOOC certification among different stakeholders, academic institutions, and industry players.

Along with Dr. Bandalaria, Ms. Maria Susan P. Dela Rama, Executive Director of the TESDA Certification Office, represented by Mr. Carmelo Camon, discussed TESDA’s Online Program (TOP). TOP features online courses in several sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and health care. Another speaker for the session on “Open Education: The Philippine Initiatives (MOOCs and OERs)” was Atty. Michael Vernon M. Guerrero, a professor at the Arellano University School of Law. He shared his knowledge on Intellectual Property Rights and Creative Commons License.

Overall, the session opened a dialogue on the current trends and future directions of ODeL. It gave an overview of the status of open education initiatives – both formal and non-formal – and the importance of lifelong learning for all in the context of sustainable development in the country. (Patricia Calora, FICS)

Research, Extension and Professional Staff (REPS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) participated in the Second Colleges and Universities Public Service Conference (CUPSCON) held on 28-29 November 2017 at the University of the Philippines Cebu Performing Arts Hall, Cebu City. They were Ms. Emely Amoloza, University Extension Associate of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS); Ms. Luisa A. Gelisan, University Researcher of the Multimedia Center (MC);Ms. Rhonna Marie R. Vereña, University Researcher of the Faculty of Education (FED); and Ms. Eleanor P. Manipol, University Extension Specialist of the Information Office.

Ms. Gelisan and Ms. Vereña presented their paper titled "Teacher Development Program (TDP): Building Capacities Through Open and Distance eLearning." TDP is one of UPOU's community engagement programs in Mauban, Quezon implemented since 2005. The program grants scholarships to selected public elementary and high school teachers who then enroll in post baccalaureate degree programs either in education or in computer science offered by the UPOU. The degree programs were aimed at upgrading their knowledge in the subject areas that they are teaching. The scholars also participate in specific training programs aimed at enhancing their skills associated with effective teaching. Since its implementation, TDP has sponsored six (6) batches of scholars and has produced 101 graduates. Under the present batch, TDP6 or eCEP-TDP, 12 scholars started with their graduate degree programs this First semester of SY 2017-2018. The UPOU implements the program in partnership with Quezon Power (Philippines) Ltd.; Mauban-Local Government Unit; Department of Education-Quezon; and UPOU Foundation, Inc. The TDP has received the International eAsia 2011 Award and the International Good Practice on Lifelong Learning.

Dr. Melinda dela Pena-Bandalaria, the current Chancellor of UPOU, conceptualized the program in 2005. She continuous to develop the program to keep it responsive and relevant to the changing needs of the community, teachers, students, and the educational system.

Ms. Amoloza presented her paper "Changing the Lives of Filipino Teachers and Students: Participants’ Perceptions on the PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program." The PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program goal was for the participants to acquire the essential digital skills for 21st century teaching, learning, and working. The program's aspiration is "changing the lives of Filipino teachers and students". The project initiated in 2012 and is being implemented annually. It has covered 557 schools and 109 municipalities; and trained a total of 18,566 individuals all over the country. Plans are underway for the project's implementation in 2018.

Ms. Amoloza and Ms. Gelisan, who were recipients of 2017 Fellowship Grants from the University of the Philippines, also served as moderators in the several concurrent sessions.

The CUPSCON was organized by the University of the Philippines System Committee in Public Service led by the Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs. The conference aims to provide a platform to effectively harness teaching and research for extension and public service; to provide a venue for scholarly discussions on lessons and best practices for continuous improvement; and to document innovative initiatives that highlight higher education institutions' social responsibility and compassion. (ESPMANIPOL)

Ms. Rhonna Marie Verena (R) accepts the Best Presentation Award at the 3rd ASEAN University Conference on Public Relations and Communications (APRC) 2017.

Ms. Rhonna Marie Robles-Verena, a University Researcher from the Faculty of Education (FEd), UP Open University (UPOU), was given the Best Presentation Award at the 3rd ASEAN University Conference on Public Relations and Communications (APRC) 2017. Ms Verena is one of the six conference presenters given the award. Other awardees were from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The award's criteria were paper content (60%), presentation media/visuals (20%), and delivery (20%).

Ms. Verena presented a paper on "Connecting Teachers and Students in Online Classrooms: Communicative Practices of Student Support" wherein she discussed the evolution in the communicative practices of student support services provided by FEd. The evolution were influenced by the following factors: 1) diversity in the program offerings, 2) changing and varying profile of its students and faculty members, 3) enrollment rate, 4) developments in the implementation of distance education, and 5) advances in technology. She also shared the current initiatives/innovative practices that have been employed to disseminate relevant information about academic and administrative processes to all the Faculty’s stakeholders.

APRC 2017 was organized by Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), Institute of Public Relations Malaysia Students Association, and UUM Student Development and Alumni Office of the College of Arts & Sciences. It was held at the EDC Hotel in UUM, Kedah, Malaysia on 25-26 November 2017.

The theme of this year's conference was "Bridging ASEAN to Global Community: The Current and Future Communication Challenges." The conference is a platform for students and representatives of higher learning institutions in Malaysia and the Asian region to discuss and share thoughts on issues related to public relations and communication as experienced and practiced in other ASEAN countries. The UPOU is one of the partner-institutions of the conference.

Other UPOU personnel who presented their research papers and/or participated in the conference were Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, Luisa A. Gelisan, Emely Amoloza, and Ela Giselle Abao.

This is now the 2nd year that UPOU bagged the Best Presentation Award.

Four special sessions pertaining to different concepts evolving in Open and Distance eLearning were conducted during the 5th National Conference in Open and Distance eLearning held at Crowne Plaza Manila last 22-23 November 2017.

Dr. Melinda F. Lumanta, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor at the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS), led one of the special sessions during the second day of the conference entitled, “Towards Understanding, Conceptualizing and Measuring Openness in Education”.

This special session looks at openness through a systems perspective where the educational institution seen as the focal system interacting with its internal and external environment... the more permeable the greater the tendencies to openness which are often reflected in openness dimensions and concretize through organizational practices.” In her presentation, she further discussed about the concepts of a learning organization highlighting the importance of systems thinking as a way of looking at an organization.

It is through systems thinking that one will understand the system which involves the shift of mind; from seeing parts to looking at the whole; from seeing its members as reactors to active participants shaping their own future; from adaptive or survival learning to generative learning”. After presiding, she then introduced her seven other colleagues by providing an overview of each presentation.

Dr. Ricardo T. Bagarinao, Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Education (FEd), followed by presenting ODeL from a biological analogy focusing on the permeability of its membrane on organizational boundaries. Pointing to the main idea that open education should be “flexible and welcoming”, however, “it must also maintain certain level of selectivity.”

To further understand what has been referred to as openness dimensions, Ms. Jennifer S. Belen, the UPOU College Librarian, and Ms. Luisa A. Gelisan, University Researcher II of the Multimedia Center of UPOU presented their research entitled, “How Open is Open” which gives better view and certain measures of educational openness.

Accessibility as one of the dimensions of openness, Ms. Eleanor P. Manipol, University Extension Specialist in the Information Office of UPOU, shared her initial findings on making higher education accessible to students with disabilities such as color blindness. She determined the issues and difficulties experience by learners in ODeL environment.

In line with this, Ms. Victoria Canape-Belegal, Administrative Officer V and Section Head of Student Records and Appraisal Section, and Ms. Marie Karen O. Enrile, Office of the Registrar’s University Extension Associate, addressed the accessibility issues in the area of admissions through accreditation of prior learning and through admission practices in UPOU. (CBundalian)

Dr. Alexander G. Flor, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) discusses the challenges of open and distance elearning (ODeL) in  one of the special sessions of  the NCODeL 2017.

Dr. Alexander G. Flor, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), discussed the challenges of open and distance elearning (ODeL) in one of the special sessions of the 5th National Conference in Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL) held on 23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila, Philippines.

The presentation was titled “Navigating through the Dark Side of Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL)” which aimed to inform the participants of the possible downsides of adopting “openness” in their education system. This is also to alert them of the possible effects and challenges alongside it.

Dr. Flor’s presentation showed a different take on ODeL unlike the other presentations which aimed to show the participants the benefits and the recent discoveries on ODeL. According to him, “We should take the good along with the bad.” He also shared that open knowledge resources are not always appropriate for all types of audiences especially those who do not have access to the basic media needed for ODeL. His talk did not just end with the list of the cons of open knowledge and delivery systems, he also “untangled the ODeL problematique” and suggested possible solutions to make the approach efficient and effective to the education system.

Dr. Flor proposed that ODeL should not be encouraged in the basic education curriculum. He emphasized that the appropriate assessment approach in this type of system should also be used according to knowledge levels. He added that It is also a must to utilize a “third-party or industry based assessment” in evaluating the learners.

Dr. Flor clarified that his presentation is not intended to discourage the audience to adopt ODeL in their curriculum but to make them aware of the possibilities of this approach.

This Special Session is part of the 2-day conference hosted by the UPOU, in coordination with the UPOU Foundation, Inc., the Philippine Society for Distance Learning and the Commission on Higher Education. NCODeL 2017 was participated in by more than 300 participants in 123 higher education institutions from all over the Philippines. (Yrelle Mae Lleva, FICS)

Data Privacy Act Pre-Conference Workshop participants discuss the components needed in creating consent forms for both their students and staff during the group workshop.

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of UP Open University (UPOU) organized a Pre-Conference Workshop on Data Privacy Act on 22 November 2017 during the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL) at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila, Philippines. Atty. Emerson S. Bañez, a lawyer from the Disini and Disini Law Office, served as the Resource Speaker on Data Privacy Act in Education.

The law does not require that you never get hacked, ever. It requires you to minimize the risks,” said Atty.Bañez. Atty. Bañez provided the participants an interpretation of the law. He also shared some practical steps that can be taken to ensure the compliance of institutions to the law’s requirements.

After the lecture, a workshop was conducted where participants were grouped and tasked to identify components needed in creating consent forms for both their students and staff. Representatives from each group were then asked to present their outputs. A short question and answer session concluded the workshop.

Atty. Bañez currently works as a Special Counsel in a law office which pioneered developing expertise in the field of e-commerce, technology and cyberspace law. He is also a regular faculty at the UP College of Law. He also teaches computer, research, and media law courses as an adjunct faculty with the UP Open University.

A total of 68 administrators and academics, faculty members, staff, researchers and students of higher education institutions (HEIs) participated in the workshop.

Asst. Prof. Myra D. Oruga, Faculty of Management and Development Studies Diploma in/Master of International Health (FMDS-D/MIH) Program Chair and Ms. Jelaine R. Bagos, FMDS-D/MIH Program Research Assistant spearheaded the workshop. They were assisted by Asst. Prof. Rita C. Ramos, FMDS Secretary to the Faculty; Asst. Prof. Queenie R. Ridulme, FMDS Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN) Program Chair; and Ms. Jennifer F. De Pasion-Guevarra, University Extension Associate, who also served as workshop facilitators. Dr. Cesar Luna, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, served as the Master of Ceremonies. (JRBagos)

The Faculty of Education (FED) of the UP Open University (UPOU) organized a pre-conference workshop on Instructional Design in Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) on 22 November 2017 during the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL).

The pre-conference workshop consisted of a lecture, writeshop, and presentation of outputs by the participants. Asst. Prof. Charisse T. Reyes facilitated the lecture and served as the workshop’s overall facilitator. The lecture consisted of four parts: planning the course modules; selecting the online learning resources; designing learning activities in ODeL; and writing the study guide. Some essential topics that were discussed covered identifying learning outcomes to structuring and sequencing course content, and more specifically, the transformation of residential-mode courses into online or blended mode -- or “online-izing” courses. The lecture also included the discussion of resource-based learning.

After the lecture, the participants were divided into seven groups, with each group co-facilitated by FED faculty members: Dean Ricardo T. Bagarinao for group 1; Asst. Prof. Roja L. Rivera for group 2; Asst. Prof. Rameses A. De Jesus for group 3; Asst. Prof. Aurora V. Lacaste for groups 4 and 5; and Asst. Prof. Ana Katrina Marcial for groups 6 and 7. During the writeshop, participants were instructed to select individual topics to be delivered online from their own course outlines. They were asked to come up with module content, learning objectives, a selection of resources, and learning tasks. They were also asked to write and present a study guide based on the previous tasks. Participants and facilitators exchanged questions and discussed the outputs, bringing the workshop to a close.

The pre-conference was part of the two-day conference held on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila Philippines. About 30 participants from different academic institutions actively participated in the pre-conference workshop.(AMFlores)

Asst. Prof. Mari Anjeli Crisanto presents the technologies used in teaching and learning as one of the topics of the NCODeL 2017 Pre-Conference Workshops organized by FICS.

In the recently concluded 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL 2017) organized by the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) gained a deeper understanding of elearning through the pre-conference workshops conducted. One of the three pre-conference workshops organized for the participants was the “Technology in Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL)” spearheaded by the UPOU Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) held on 22 November 2017.

The workshop was led by the Faculty Dean, Dr. Alexander G. Flor. He presented an enlightening and informative introduction to ODeL and gave a discussion on “Teaching in a Virtual Classroom.” Other faculty members also presented different topics such as “Tools for Teaching in UPOU” where technologies used in teaching and learning were discussed by Assistant Professors Myra Almodiel and Mari Anjeli Crisanto. It was followed by an “Overview of Learning Management Systems (LMS)" delivered by Assistant Professor Al Librero where he provided examples and actual LMS he uses in class. Lastly, Assistant Professors Reinald Pugoy and Joyce Manalo talked about “Moodle-ing: A Walkthrough of the Basics of Moodle. ” In this session, they demonstrated and explained the procedures and processes involving the use and application of Moodle as a free and an open-source LMS for eLearning. Dr. Ria Mae Borromeo, Assistant Professor at FICS, moderated the session.

An open forum was held to cap off the pre-conference. Dr. Flor together with the faculty members provided insightful responses to the number of participants from various educational institutions who communicated their views and queries regarding initiatives and implementations of ODeL as a means of learning in the country. Other participants commended the team for giving a clearer view of ODeL. School administrators and leaders also inquired about the possibilities of partnership in promoting and implementing ODeL through basic trainings. In behalf of Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of UPOU, Assistant to the Chancellor Myra Almodiel ensured to give support to other institutions interested in ODeL.

The pre-conference was part of the two-day conference held on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila Philippines. A total of 75 participants from different academic institutions actively participated in the pre-conference workshop on Technology in ODeL. (Cherry Bundalian, FICS )

At the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL), the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), through its Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), launched the book “Assessment Praxis in Open and Distance eLearning: Thoughts and Practices in UPOU”. The book editors, Dr. Melinda F. Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Liza C. Carascal, Executive Director of the UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI) and Principal of the UP Rural High School, proudly presented the book during the conference dinner held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria on 22 November 2017.

This fifth book produced by the OVCAA gives a glimpse of how a community of 21st century educators, immersed in open and distance elearning (ODeL), engages thought and practice to produce a unified and constantly adapting system of assessment in varied forms and functions carried out at different levels. This volume captures the assessment praxis of the UPOU as gleaned from existing practices as well as from thought papers of its faculty members, researchers, and academic and administrative leaders. The richness of the book comes from its 14 chapters written by 22 authors.

As emphasized by Dr. Lumanta, praxis, as differentiated from practice, is the dynamic interplay between thought and action involving a continuous process of understanding, interpretation, and application. This is reflected in the organization of the book chapters -- thoughts, practices, and institutional responses informed by the ODeL framework. These are wrapped up by a culminating chapter wherein a multi-level and multi-functional perspective of assessment was proposed. In varying ways and emphases, the articles in this book articulate the need to address the realities of 21st century teaching and learning where assessment plays an important role. (MADolom & MRSanBuenaventura)