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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.

The UP Open University, through the initiative of the Information Office, conducted a Business Writing Workshop on 13-14 June 2017. The workshop was organized to enhance the skills of employees in writing effective correspondences, memos, emails and other communication collateral related to the conduct of their work at the university.

Dr. Paz H. Diaz, Communications Expert, and Former Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies, was the resource person for the two-day event held at the UPOU Centennial Center for Digital Learning Auditorium. Dr. Diaz started with an overview of what effective communication is and the skills needed in writing effectively. She emphasized the importance of placing context in all writing works, especially in technical writing. To properly plan and organize the content of of communication collaterals, Dr. Diaz provided the details on how to prepare outlines and organized ideas especially in writing letters and memos.

The workshop had face-to-face lecture sessions, and exercises that were available on UPOU’s online course site. Sixty-one members of the administrative and research, extension, and professional service (REPS) staff participated in the workshop. The participants found the workshop very informative, refreshing and useful for their work at UPOU.

Dr. Serrano, Director of the Information Office and the Multimedia Center, thanked all employees for their participation, hoped that their expectations were met, and the workshop contributed to the improvement of their writing skills. She promised that more professional development programs on communication-related skills are being calendared to be held within the year for all the employees.

Mr. Pol Oliveros, UPOU Research Assistant, was the workshop's master of ceremonies. (Anna Canas-Llamas)

A UP Open University (UPOU) student of Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Ms. Janeth Morata-Fuentes, was awarded the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies (PFCS) Achievement Award for Chemistry Education (Secondary Level) at the 32nd Philippine Chemistry Congress held at Puerto Princesa, Palawan in May 2017.

Ms. Morata-Fuentes has a bachelor’s degree in Education (Chemistry) from UP Diliman and a Master’s Degree in Education (Teaching and Curriculum Studies) from the University of Sydney. Ms. Morata-Fuentes has a long list of awards in her name – 2010 Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award, 2010 Natatanging Guro Award (Natural Science Cluster) by the Philippine Science High School Foundation’s Dr. Cleofe Bacungan Endowment Fund, 2011 Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award and 2012 Outstanding Educator in Residence by the Academy of Singapore Teachers (Ministry of Education).

Despite her many achievements and awards, the PFCS Achievement Award for Chemistry Education this year came as a wonderful surprise. In an email interview with her, she mentioned being happy that the award affirmed the significance of her contribution to advancing the chemistry profession. She also acknowledged the responsibility that came with the award. “It would mean better performance as a teacher and as a teacher-leader. It means sharing in the responsibility of improving the quality of education in the rest of the region and across the country where and when it is needed.”

Since she is based in Palo, Leyte as a Special Science Teacher III at the Philippine Science High School – Eastern Visayas (PSHS-EV), she wanted to earn her doctorate without needing to relocate because her children are still young. “UPOU offered an option where one could complete a degree despite a busy workload.

Her experience at UPOU was a challenge especially that her master’s degree was not in Chemistry. She juggles her full work load with the demands of the courses, often needing to “double study” and read up on prerequisite knowledge “before I could go down to comprehending the materials required by the subject.” She mentioned that the skill set needed for distance education (DE) differs from the regular program. While doing her PhD with UPOU, she learned to make use of online lectures and libraries to better understand some of the topics, and is still learning to discipline herself in the efficient use of her time. Her experience at UPOU taught her to be more persevering, patient and resourceful. “I believe that my teaching practice and all the other tasks given to me at work have benefited from the knowledge and skills I picked from studying under this program.

Despite the general assumption that DE is easy, Ms. Morata-Fuentes says “It is as demanding as the course load of regular postgraduate programs.” Both DE and residential programs will include learning how to study independently, conduct proper research work and generate and make use of knowledge. She encouraged fellow UPOU students to “always take heart, enjoy the ride, and learn as much as we can. Isang araw, sasablay din tayo,” referring to the Sablay worn by UP graduates.

PFCS is a non-profit, non-stock corporation organized in 1988 to serve as an umbrella organization for chemistry societies of the Philippines, namely, Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS). PFCS Awards recognize outstanding contributions to Chemistry which aim to inspire the youth to take up chemistry, recognize outstanding contribution of chemists to development of discipline, recognize outstanding and exemplary contributions to society through chemistry.

Other PFCS Awardees include former UP Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Gisela Concepcion for Chemistry Research (2013), Dr. Lucio Tan for Service to the Chemistry Profession (2008), Former DOST Secretary Dr. William Padolina for Chemical Research (2000), and Former UPOU Chancellor, Dr. Ma. Cristina D. Padolina for Chemical Education (1997). (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), UP Open University (UPOU) organized a Tree Planting activity in line with the holding of “Ugat”, the 4th Wood Carving Competition and Exhibit, held on 20 June 2017 and the celebration of the 109th foundation of the University of the Philippines.

Fifteen native tree saplings from the UPOU tree nursery and handed over by Dr. Armand Palijon, UPOU Landscape Consultant, were planted by UPOU officials, faculty, and staff in front of the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL). The activity aimed to contribute to the “greening” of the UPOU headquarters as well as increase awareness and educate individuals on ways to contribute to sustainable development.

During the tree planting, Dr. Palijon also demonstrated how deep the saplings should be planted, how to create a basin, how to place a peg to secure the sapling, and other tips to ensure the trees’ health. The short discussion also served as a preview for his upcoming Let’s Talk It Over (LTIO) lecture in the afternoon about tree nurturing. Attended by the participating wood carvers from Paete, Laguna; Guagua, Pampanga; Hungduan, Ifugao; and Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan, the LTIO focused on how to take care of trees, particularly in the urban areas.

The said activities are part of FMDS’ thrust to align its research, public service and instruction with advancing sustainable development. (Paula Grace Muyco)

Two affiliate faculty members and two students from the Diploma in Land Use Planning (DLUP) Program of the University of the Philippines Open University-Faculty of Management and Development Studies (UPOU-FMDS) were among the 739 passers out of the 1,739 examinees in the Environmental Planner Licensure Examination as announced by the Professional Regulation Commission on 13 June 2017. Engr. Joan Pauline P. Talubo, Asst. Prof. Christine Joyce B. Mendoza, Ms. Rosalina S. Quitalig, and Ms. Mae S. Ortiz took the examination on 7-8 June 2017.

Engr. Talubo and Asst. Prof. Mendoza are currently faculty members at the Department of Community and Environmental Resource Planning (DCERP), College of Human Ecology (CHE), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). They also handle courses under the Diploma in Land Use Planning Program at the UPOU. Ms. Quitalig, on the other hand, is a Project Evaluation Officer at the Provincial Planning and Development Office, Provincial Government of Samar. Ms. Ortiz currently works as a Planning Officer at the Local Government Unit of Villareal, Samar.

The EnP Exam is conducted once a year in compliance with the Republic Act 10587 or The Environmental Planning Act of 2013. The Act ¬aims to regulate the practice of environmental planning by making sure that planning practitioners are competent and qualified to practice their profession. The law states that by 2018, only registered and licensed environmental planners will be allowed to head planning groups, departments, and divisions, including the government planning offices of provinces, cities, and municipalities.

FMDS congratulates EnP. Talubo, EnP. Mendoza, EnP. Quitalig and EnP Ortiz on their accomplishments.

The full list of 2017 EnP exam passers can be viewed here.

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On 20 June 2017, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Cultural Committee and the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies, in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the International Wood Culture Society (IWCS), officially launched the month-long wood carving competition and exhibit titled Ugat. In her opening message, UPOU Chancellor Melinda dela Pena Bandalaria noted that UPOU is a warrior working for environmental protection and that by making the advocacies known to the rest of the world, UPOU exhibits the spirit of being genuinely for the people.

Ugat features the works of wood carvers from all around the Philippines -- Ifugao, Palawan, Laguna and Pampanga -- as a means of showcasing not only the beauty of Filipino arts and crafts, but also bringing awareness to a bigger issue at hand --environmental degradation. Wood is a very important resource not only to our country, but to the entire world. Despite this, it is a down heartening reality that there is lack of importance given to it. Through the works of wood carvers from Paete, Laguna; Guagua, Pampanga; Hungduan, Ifugao; and Sofronio Española and Narra, Palawan, the beauty and functionality that trees have to offer and the need of preserving it is emphasized. The Filipino people are the ugat or the roots of the beauty that blooms from wooden crafts. Therefore, the people of this nation should also become the root cause of environmental empowerment and preservation.

In line with promoting environmental awareness, Dr. Armand Palijon, an urban forester from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) conducted a talk regarding tree nurturing, where he discussed the basics of raising and maintaining trees, and preventing and treating pest infestation.

At the end of the talk, the best works from the relief category titled Deutschland Rust by Bayani Ray Acala, Ingit by Luisito Cayanan, and The Dwellers by Felix Baldemor were awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively, and the works Immipuggo by Raymundo Dong-e was awarded 1st place, Kwento Mo, Kwento Ko Rin by Luisito Cayanan gained 2nd place, and Putok sa Buho by Felix Baldemor placed 3rd for in the round category.

Ultimately, the event was able to bring people to consciousness of their actions and the probable implications these may have to the world around us. As stated by Dr. Melinda Bandalaria, being a hero in this modern age does not require much, any act geared toward saving the environment is in itself an act of heroism. (Lorena Jean Saludadez)

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of UP Open University recognized its course completers and top learners in the Continuing Education Program (CEP) Closing Ceremonies held on 17 June 2017 at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.

A total of 127 from 10 courses have complied with all the requirements for completion. Sixty learners received certificates for having completed their courses with distinction and high distinction. Asst. Prof. Rita C. Ramos, FMDS Secretary to the Faculty, facilitated the awarding of the certificates.

Lean management expert, best-selling author, and international speaker Mike Grogan inspired the completers during the closing rites. Mr. Grogan is enthusiastic about motivating Filipinos to become more proactive and productive. He believes that Filipinos are the greatest human potential in the world. In his inspirational message, he emphasized, “The greatest history is not in the past, but is in the future. This is the generation that will build the first world Philippines.”

The following top learners/course representatives also delivered their messages on behalf of their classmates: Maria Jezreel Cathereen P. Marchan, Introduction to Electronic Commerce (eCom); Allenie Anne J. Santiago, New Enterprise Planning (NEP); Pauline Marie R. Quinto, Personal Entrepreneurial Development (PED); Chrisren G. Morata, Simplified Accounting for Entrepreneurs (SAfE); Mae A. Valdez, Integrating Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management in Policies, Plans and Investments toward Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (CCA&DRM); Jenny Lyn C. Pascua-Likigan, Organic Agriculture (OA); Runelita N. Panganiban, Responding to Climate Risks in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management (RCRANRM); Apryll O. Apostolides, Caring for the Child with Special Needs (CCSN); Billie Kim P. Nucum and Oscar R. Reyes II, Financial Management in Nursing Practice (FMNP); and Jar-Aisa J. Isnain, Research Utilization in Nursing Administration (RUNA). They were introduced by the following Course Coordinators present in the event: Mr. Ramon Manuel T. Nisperos (eCom and NEP); Ms. Tricia C. Ascan (SAfE); Prof. Raymundo M. Lucero (OA); Mr. Chito L. Patiño (RCRANRM); and Dr. Marie Grace A. Gomez (CCSN).

The course representatives shared their experiences as learners in their respective courses. They stressed how flexible and convenient distance education is for some of them who are unable to attend a traditional classroom set-up due to work and/or family obligation. They also expressed their gratitude to the whole FMDS-CEP Team, their Course Coordinators, classmates, family, and friends. Offshore representatives of CCSN, RCRANRM and RUNA had their messages video-recorded.

Dr. Primo G. Garcia, FMDS Dean, delivered the opening remarks while Mr. Larry N. Cruz, FMDS-CEP Program Development Associate, gave the closing remarks. Ms. Jeniffer F. De Pasion-Guevarra, University Extension Associate, served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The UPOU's Multimedia Center, in collaboration with the UPOU's Information and Communication Technology Development Office made the event available online via live streaming at UPOU Networks.

UP Open University (UPOU) Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) held a Webinar entitled “OER in UPOU” on 09 May 2017 as the second in the Open Educational Resources (OER) Series in support of UPOU’s flagship program “Innovation in Teaching and Learning” (Innovate) under the UPOU Strategic Plan 20116-2019.

Dr. Sheila Bonito, OASIS Director and Ms. Carmelita Orias, OASIS University Researcher, presented part of the results of a study conducted under the International Development Research Center (IDRC) entitled “Impact of OER on Cost and Quality of Course Materials in Post Graduate Distance Education Courses in the UPOU.”

Dr. Bonito introduced what Open Educational Resources (OER) are, saying that OER was first introduced in 2000 in a conference hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and is defined as “digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.” She mentioned that UPOU started raising awareness on the use of OER in 2011. In 2012, UPOU shifted to developing resource-based course modules from textbook-like modules. That same year, UPOU drafted its own policy and strategies on the use of OER. In 2014, this OER Impact Study under the IDRC Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) was launched, aimed to look into the cost and quality of course materials development.

Ms. Orias discussed the extent of use of OER in UPOU. Their study looked into the number, types and sources of OERs used, as well as the licenses, manner of usage and the learning activities involved in the use of OER. The study involved sampling 535 modules in 48 courses representing the education, health and development studies disciplines offered by UPOU in AY 2015-2016. The study found that 87% of these modules use OERs, with majority of the OERs coming from the Internet, but still employing print materials like books, book chapter and journal articles. Copyrighted materials have the highest usage in all three disciplines, and most of the learning activities that were designed for the resources were “reading/viewing/answering study questions.” The study also found that 12 of the 48 courses use copyright materials in the course materials, 14 of the 48 courses use mostly OERs and materials without copyright licenses, and 22 of the 48 use a combination of public domain and copyrighted materials. The next steps recommended as a result of this study is the possible provision of OER repositories to UPOU course authors, increase awareness of creative commons license and encourage the use and sharing of OER among UPOU faculty members and students.

This webinar was preceded by the Webinar on Open Educational Practices in 27 March 2017, done in celebration of the open education week by Hon. Patricia Arinto, UP Faculty Regent and Former Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education. Videos of the webinars are available at networks.upou.edu.ph. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Dr. Melinda dela Pena. Bandalaria, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), and Dr. Shyue-Ling Wang, President the National University of Kaoshiung (NUK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on 18 May 2017 in NUK Campus, Kaoshiung, Taiwan.

The partnership between the two universities shall include collaborative programs on faculty exchange, degree or course development for overseas Filipino workers (OFW), NUK as UPOU testing/learning center in Taiwan, development and offering of massive open online courses (MOOCs), resource persons/training program on business analytics, among others.

Officials from UPOU and NUK present during the agreement signing were Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration; Dr. Grace J. Alfonso, UP Professor Emeritus; Dr. Hsing-Lung Lien, NUK Vice President; Dr. I-Hsien Ting, Dean of NUK Division of International Affairs; and Ms. Tiffany Huan, Coordinator of Academic Exchanges. Also present was Dr. Tim Wu, Shu-Te Chair Professor. (Luisa A. Gelisan, Multimedia Center)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU), led by Chancellor Melinda dela Pena Bandalaria, held an orientation on open and distance eLearning (ODeL) and about UPOU with overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on 16 May 2017. After the orientation, the UPOU team also held discussions with OFWs regarding specific concerns about studying through ODeL.

The event, organized by Ms. Irenne Ng of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), was participated in by Filipino engineers and operators. Ms. Ng said that MECO wants to help OFWs pursue higher studies for their career advancement in Kaohsiung. Being a UPOU alumnus herself, Ms. Ng said that UPOU gives working people opportunity to pursue their studies while still busy with work.

Other members of UPOU present at the orientation were Vice Chancellor Melinda F. Lumanta; Vice Chancellor Jean A. Saludadez; UP Faculty Regent and UPOU Professor Patricia B. Arinto; UP Professor Emeritus Grace J. Alfonso; UPOU Registrar Aurora Lacaste, and Assistant Professor Rameses de Jesus. The orientation for OFWs is just one of the academic undertakings that the UPOU group pursued in Kaoshiung. (Luisa A. Gelisan, Multimedia Center)