“Philippine Education in the Age of Openness” will be the overarching theme of the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODeL). The two-day event will be joined by a passel of local and international participants who will share concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open and distance elearning (ODeL). This year’s conference aims to build upon the outcomes of the conference held in 2015.

One of the plenary speakers during the conference is Dr. Alyani Binti Ismail, the current chair of Malaysia Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) Working Committee. She is also currently the head of Wireless Communication Engineering Laboratory and coordinator for Franchise Program of Diploma in Multimedia Technology Engineering in the Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM). She also currently works as a senior lecturer, postgraduate coordinator, and academic coordinator in the Faculty of the Engineering of the same university.

Dr. Ismail earned her PhD in Electronics Engineering at University of Birmingham in United Kingdom. Dr. Ismail is also an accomplished researcher. Her area of specialties and research themes include microwave passive filters and antennas, dielectric properties of materials for microwave applications, engineering education, Outcome Based Education (OBE), project based learning, and Islamic approach to engineering education. Her leadership ushered different research projects about low loss micro-machined microwave transmission line and filters for RF MEMS application and design of a multi-standard base band digital transceiver using Software Defined Radio (SDR). In 2008, she also obtained a patent for her research product, Ultra-Wide Bandpass Filter.

NCODeL serves as a forum for administrators, teachers, scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to learn from each other as they explore spaces and possibilities for ODeL for development. Dr. Ismail will be taking part in the NCODeL 2017 conference which will run from 22-23 November 2017 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Metro Manila, Philippines.

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) together with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Society for Distance Learning, Inc. (PSDL) will host the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance eLearning (NCODEL) on 22-23 November 2017. The conference will offer a comprehensive forum on Philippine education in the age of openness as well as introduce participants to the concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open learning. The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, Manila, Philippines.

The two-day event includes seven plenary speakers for three plenary sessions from different institutions in the country and abroad. Announced as part of the line-up of plenary speakers is Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of UP Open University, and President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) who will speak during the 3rd plenary session to discuss Open Education: Philippine Initiatives (MOOCs and OERs).

Dr. Bandalaria will bring her expertise and experiences from her 21 years of academic leadership in an open and distance e-learning institution. Her career in the academe includes starting as an Assistant Dean for the School for Distance Education in Los Baños and eventually becoming a professor for development communication and Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) in UPOU. She has held administrative posts in the same institution such as Director for the Office of Students Administration and the University Registrar. Dr. Bandalaria is a staunch advocate of democratizing access to quality education for the vulnerable sectors of the society which led to numerous public service works and researches which aim to serve lifelong learners by enabling their socio-economic transformation, and contribute to the country’s progress and to the sustainable development goals.

Dr. Bandalaria finished her studies in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Major in Agronomy at the University of the Philippines Los Baños where she also received her Master of Science and PhD degree in Development Communication.

Other distinguished plenary speakers who will be joining Dr. Bandalaria in the 3rd plenary session are Director Ma. Susan P. Dela Rama, Executive Director of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Atty. Michael Vernon Guerrero from the Arellano University School of Law. This plenary session comes after other sessions on Open Educational Practices and Open Education: Country Cases.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted funding for Conference Fellowship to the 5th National Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning (NCODeL 2017) on 22-23 November 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galeria, Manila, Philippines.

The CHED Conference Fellowship is open to all faculty members, administrators, policy makers, researchers and other employees of higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines. Application for the fellowship requires a duly accomplished application form, signed by both the applicant and the head of the institution, and submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or faxed to (049) 536-6013 on or before 15 October 2017.

With the theme “Philippine Higher Education in the Age of Openness,” NCODeL 2017 will comprehensively tackle the concepts, principles, and methodologies of and recent trends in open learning through seven plenary speakers who are known experts in the field. It also aims to build upon the outcomes of the conference held in 2015. This two-day conference is part of UP Open University's (UPOU) fulfillment of its mandate to promote open and distance learning in the Philippines as stated in RA 10650 (Open and Distance Learning Law or ODL Law). UPOU implements the ODL Law with CHED and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), which also co-organizes the conference with the UPOU Foundation, Inc (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Society for Distance Learning (PSDL).

To know more about NCODeL 2017 or the CHED Conference Fellowship, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or phone numbers (049) 536-6001 to 06 local 710, 220 or 831 and mobile numbers 0977-272-1937 or 0918-422-8070.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), talked about the imperatives, status, and challenges of open education in Asia as an invited speaker at the e-Learning Korea 2017 Conference held at Coex, Seoul, South Korea. The theme of the said conference held from 30 to 31 August 2017 was “e-Learning: Happy Encounter with New Technology.”

Chancellor Bandalaria discussed “The Paris Message” which argues that funding is crucial to achieve online, open and flexible systems that will deliver quality higher education, student success, improved capacity, and cost-effective pathways to learnings. In line with this, she also emphasized the United Nations (UN) Education Agenda 2030 or Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #4 that proposes inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. She also included the forecasted needs of education in Asia and regional cooperation for quality education/regional competitiveness.

Chancellor Bandalaria also discussed Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of open education in Asia. Lastly, Chancellor Bandalaria enumerated sustainability/business models for MOOCs; recognition of certificates of MOOC completion; student engagement and persistence in MOOCs; lack of an accepted QA Framework for MOOCs and OERs; designing teaching presence into the course; digital exclusion in Asian countries; and intellectual property mindset/culture as challenges that open education in Asia currently face.

Chancellor Bandalaria was invited to the conference by the ASEAN Cyber University (ACU) Project. The ACU Project aims to expand higher education opportunities in ASEAN and strengthen the relationship between the Republic of Korea and ASEAN universities. ACU also offers e-Learning courses and educational resources through open platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Other attendees from UPOU were Dr. Melinda Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Director of Information Office/Multimedia Center; and Ms. Margaret J. Suarez, University Researcher. (Jan Pauline Borce)

Asst. Prof. Myra Oruga, Chair of FMDS-REC and D/MIH Programs, facilitates Ethics Committee’s 2nd workshop in preparation for the UPOU-IRB accreditation to DOST-PHREB

The UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies-Research Ethics Committee (FMDS-REC) conducted its 2nd training workshop on 24-25 August 2017 in preparation for the University of the Philippines Open University’s Institutional Review Board (UPOU-IRB) accreditation to the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (DOST-PHREB).

In the first workshop conducted last November 2016, it was suggested to make the accreditation university-wide and not only for the FMDS. The creation of a fully-accredited IRB is in line with UPOU’s thrust to ensure that the research conducted by its students and academic staff protects the rights of its human participants, the research activities undertaken are ethically sound, and the research is done in a way that serves the interest of society as a whole.

During the two-day activity, a writing workshop was done for the finalization of the ethics’ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual. The SOP manual was initially consolidated by Asst. Prof. Myra Oruga, Chair of the FMDS-REC and the Diploma in/Master of International Health (D/MIH) Programs; and Ms. Jelaine Bagos, Research Assistant of the D/MIH Programs, and was revised during the first write-shop. Among the topics discussed in the SOP manual are as follows: (1) Selection and appointment of Members; (2) Management of initial submissions and resubmissions; (3) Review of progress, final, and early termination reports and protocol amendments; (4) Expedited review; (5) Full review; (6) Preparing for a meeting; (7) Communicating REC decisions; (8) Managing active files; and (9) Archiving of terminated, inactive, or completed files.

As agreed in the workshop, a Round Table Discussion will follow on 23 October 2017 to finalize the organizational chart and additional policies and guidelines needed for the accreditation.

Present during the activity were Dr. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and UPOU Research and Publication Committee (RPC) Chair; Asst. Prof. Oruga; Ms. Alvie Simonette Alip, UPOU RPC Member; Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, Dean of the Faculty of Education (FEd); Dr. Sheila Bonito, FMDS-REC Vice Chair; Ms. Bettina Evio, FMDS-REC Member (External); Asst. Prof. Rita Ramos, FMDS Secretary to the Faculty; Asst. Prof. Queenie Ridulme, FMDS-RPC Member, FMDS-REC Member and MAN Program Chair; Ms. Bagos; and Ms. Louise Villanueva, Research Assistant at the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA). (JRBagos)

The UP Open University (UPOU) Research Conversations featured Dr. Sheila R. Bonito, Director of the UPOU Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS), on 18 August 2017. Dr. Bonito talked about Innovative Teaching and Learning or InnovaTE, one of UPOU’s flagship programs, which promotes the adoption or adaption of innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies in support of effective learning. Dr. Bonito stated that the performance indicators for InnovaTE are innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies; enhanced capacity in effective online teaching among the faculty; and reduced attrition and improved graduation rates among students. Its initial components consist of online teaching toolkit available in the Faculty Portal website; faculty seminar-workshop/webinar series; online teaching skills certification program; and FIC and Tutor Congress.

Dr. Bonito explained that the Faculty Portal will house modules and Open Educational Resources (OERs) as part of UPOU’s effort to collate, organize, and present available content. However, at the moment, only modules for course authors are available and can already be retrieved at Webinars and workshops on open educational practices (OEP), OER in Education, the extent of use of OER in UPOU, and OER in Health have already been conducted with other topics in the pipeline. These webinars are available for viewing at, UPOU’s online repository of OERs. Dr. Bonito also provided the following websites as resources for more OERs and open education studies - and

Dr. Bonito called for continued research on open education and OERs and for other research topic suggestions. The audience also raised concerns on how can resources such as student theses repository and data sets be open when existing policies like the Data Privacy Act limit practitioners to make their work available to the public. This is very relevant to UP especially that OERs can be considered as public service to public and private schools that are in need of help to improve their teaching methods and learning outcomes. (Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura )

Earthworms have been blamed as the culprits by Ifugao farmers for the collapse of the rice terraces. Dr. Nestor Baguinon, Retired University of the Philippines Los Baños Professor and Adjunct Faculty of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), tackled this issue and sought to answer if earthworms are indeed the “accidental culprits or innocent victims” in the collapse of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

In his presentation entitled “The Science behind the Relationship of Earthworms and the Collapse of Rice Terraces in Ifugao” at the FMDS Let’s Talk It Over on 17 August 2017, Dr. Baguinon mentioned that residents and local farmers in Ifugao believe that earthworms are alien species, intentionally introduced after the 1990s and are therefore the sole reason for the deterioration of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

To properly understand the issue, Dr. Baguinon explained the nature of earthworms and their biological characteristics. According to him, earthworms can either be hermaphroditic, meaning they can reproduce asexually or sexually, where two individuals copulate and produce fertilized eggs enclosed in a cocoon. The giant earthworms are pigmented, local to the rice terraces and thrive in moist soil that are not water-logged. The other kind of earthworm, Pontoscolex, are unpigmented, introduced species, and can live in both dry and water-logged rice paddies.

He also explained the beliefs of the locals are mere myths. The earthworms have inhabited Ifugao long before 1990s, but not in the terraces but rather in the muyong -- the communal forests within the vicinity of the rice terraces. Because of the deteriorating forests of Ifugao, earthworms found sanctuary in the rice terraces to survive. He goes no to explain that unlike golden kuhol, earthworms are native to the area, and are not introduced from foreign places. In addition, Ifugao farmers’ shift from traditional to modern farming is another cause of earthworm infestation in the rice paddies, including the use of pesticides since these decimate the predators of the earthworms.

Dr. Baguinon also explained that there are other triggers to the collapse of the rice terraces, especially environmental factors like earthquakes that alter irrigation lines, and climate changes like El Nino and La Nina. He concluded his presentation by saying that this problem about the collapse of the rice terraces is not unsolvable. The Ifugao people can be educated about the natural, environmental and agricultural causes and solutions. They can then take advantage of their knowledge to continue making the Ifugao Rice Terraces productive.

With the webinar streamed through UPOU’s online repository of open educational resources, the UPOU Networks, and Facebook Live, questions and comments were encouraged from the audience. Some of the comments that surfaced was a suggestion to advise Ifugao students to focus on the Ifugao Rice Terraces in their thesis, and to conduct cross-cutting and interdisciplinary studies of different issues relevant to the Ifugao Rice Terrace.

The UPOU FMDS showed appreciation to Dr. Baguinon through a certificate presented by Dr. Consuelo Habito, Program Chair for the UPOU Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management Program. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) joined the Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc. (LBSCFI) in a toast for Sustainable Supply of Water in Los Baños at the LBSCFI-organized Technoforum on 03 August 2017 at the W.D. Dar Hall, PCAARD Complex, Los Baños, Laguna.

UPOU was represented by Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education and Chair of the UPOU Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee; Dr. Consuelo Habito, Program Chair of the UPOU Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management Program; Dr. Cesar Luna, Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration; and Ms. Elvy Pamulaklakin, Chief Administrative Officer of the UPOU Campus Development and Maintenance Office. In addition, the UPOU Multimedia Center was tapped as the official video documentation team of the event and Ms. Anna Cañas-Llamas, UPOU Information Officer, served as UPOU’s representative to the Technoforum Committee.

About the Technoforum

The Technoforum is a yearly activity conducted by the LBSCFI as part of its National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) Celebration, dubbed as “SyenSaya.” This year, SyenSaya was conducted on 2-4 August 2017 together with the CALABARZON Regional Science and Technology Week, with the theme “Science and Technology in Harmony with Biodiversity.”

True to SyenSaya’s theme, the Technoforum tackled the issue of water supply sustainability in Los Baños. Entitled “Maka-kalikasang Talakayan tungo sa Sustenableng Supply ng Tubig sa Los Baños,” this year’s Technoforum reached out to resort owners, administrators of schools, restaurants and water refilling stations, barangay officials and and representatives from homeowners associations.

Three resource persons were invited to share knowledge and information related to the topic. Dr. Nathaniel C. Bantayan, Director of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystem (MCME), shared the current state of Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (MMFR) as an ASEAN Heritage Park. He emphasized that the supply of water in Los Baños is highly dependent on the health of MMFR. He stated that the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was given the mandate to protect the Mt. Makiling Watershed, and explained the plans, protection and monitoring measures as well as the different researches that MCME conducts. He also reported that although Makiling Watershed is in good condition, it is important to stop illegal logging to maintain its good condition. Dr. Bantayan also shared the continuing challenges MCME faces in managing the MMFR.

Engr. Fatima Jean R. Alvarez, Production Supervisor of the Laguna Water District Aquatech Resources Corporation (LARC), gave a presentation about “Water Demand and Water Supply” in Los Baños. She stated that LARC supplies the water needs of all barangays of Los Baños except for Brgy. Bagong Silang. According to her, at present LARC has about 24,000 active connections. Engr. Alvarez also explained that the water demand can be categorized as domestic, public and commercial. She highlighted that population and climate change are among the major factors that affect the water consumption. She also touched on the cost and distribution of water in the municipality and gave visual examples of how much water is consumed on a daily basis for regular activities. Before she ended, she ensured that Los Baños has a safe and sufficient supply of water.

The third speaker was Dr. Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Associate Professor IV of the UPLB School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM). She shared her study about water sources in the Philippines wherein she mentioned that the Philippines ranks among the lowest in fresh water availability. She also presented the different water-related government agencies and the different laws and ordinances relevant to water supply and usage in the Philippines specifically in Los Baños and Calamba. She ended her presentation with a list of what can be done to ensure water sustainability like clarifying local ordinances, responsibilities, and penalties for non-compliances, strengthening the implementation of existing laws and policies and alloting payments for environmental services. She encouraged the audience to give back to Mt. Makiling since Mt. Makiling is the primary reason Los Baños is enjoying sufficient water supply.

The presentations were followed by an enlightening question and answer session, afterwhich the toast for sustainable water supply by all participants of the forum. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

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 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