The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) of UP Open University (UPOU) conducted a Round Table Discussion on Sustainability Perspectives on 18 April 2017 at the UP Open University Headquarters, Los Banos, Laguna to advance sustainable science as a vital component in achieving sustainable development.

In his welcome message, Dr. Primo G. Garcia, Dean of FMDS, said that sustainable development is a “global concept anchored on sustainability which takes into account the well-being of future generations.” Given the complexities of sustainability as an area of inquiry as well as a field of endeavor, he added, it is important to explore the concept from the scientific, philosophical and social movement perspectives.

Dr. Osamu Saito from the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) shared his expertise on sustainability from the point of view of the natural sciences. Dr. Saito presented a definition of sustainability science as an interdisciplinary approach that connects basic and applied research towards providing a solution to a problem. He enumerated notable publications in ecosystem, biodiversity and natural resources management which have dominated research in sustainable science. He said that fewer studies were done on sustainable urban and rural planning as well as architectural design innovation.

Dr. Saito also explained that sustainability science is concerned with examining the interaction between society and nature and is best approached through problem driven and problem solving methods, multi criteria assessment and systems approach, multi-, inter-, or transdisciplinary characteristics and adaptive management and social learning which are also adopted in other fields but are particularly vital for sustainability science. According to him, the key to further strengthening and promoting sustainability science is through integration, cooperation and collaboration between scientists and practitioners. This entails developing a relationship between science and society wherein research goes beyond scientific inquiry to include co-creation of knowledge for action.

Moving from the natural science perspective, the round table discussion tackled sustainability from a philosophical point of view with Dr. Richard Bawden of Western Sydney University doing his presentation via videoconferencing. Dr. Bawden opened his presentation by highlighting the importance of surfacing our philosophical assumptions about sustainability as well as practices of sustainable development. He suggested that if we are to pursue sustainability, we need to examine first our currently held beliefs and assumptions about the nature of sustainability because these would influence how we treat our research and actions towards it. The biggest challenge in promoting sustainability according to him is the lack of worldview consciousness, appreciation and transformation.

The last perspective to be discussed was sustainability from the social movement perspective by Dr. Alexander Flor, Dean of UPOU’s Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS). Dr. Flor traced the origin of sustainability from the “baby boomer” generation which questioned the narrow focus on economic growth and science at that time. From the Cartesian-Newtonian science perspective, scientific knowledge is seen as a tool to make humankind masters of nature where nature is a mechanical system that can be manipulated and exploited. This perspective is viewed by the sustainability movement as an antithesis to sustainability. An alternative to this view is a systems model that includes economic, social and environmental values. Sustainability from the social movement perspective inspired the contemporary discourse on sustainability advanced by the United Nations and the more progressive bilateral agencies.

The round table discussion was wrapped up by Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration of UPOU. The outputs and insights from the activity will be used for the improvement of the proposed PhD program in Sustainability Science in terms of its nature, intent, as well as current and future directions. FMDS’ thrust, courses and programs are geared towards the promotion of sustainable development in our communities (Paula Grace Muyco).

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the UP Open University (UPOU) and current President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), represented the Philippines to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) Stakeholder’s Meeting on 06 April 2017 at Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Dr. Bandalaria was among the 17 overseas participants from 16 institutions in 10 countries. At the meeting, she presented the Asian MOOCs, a portal that integrates the MOOCs offerings in the Asia Pacific, especially those offered by AAOU member institutions. Asian MOOCs was launched in October 2016, during AAOU’s 30th Annual Conference in Manila, Philippines, which UPOU hosted.

According to Dr. Bandalaria, Asian MOOCs was developed with an aim to advance and promote openness and innovation in education; encourage, support and assist AAOU members to offer MOOCs; and promote open education through MOOCs. The Asian MOOCs portal is coordinated by the Asian MOOCs Steering Committee within the AAOU, chaired by the Philippines through the UPOU.

Other initiatives and developments in MOOCs within Asia and Europe were also presented at the Meeting, which aimed to share information and discuss the scope of the ASEM Network of MOOCs program; specify the roles and responsibilities for each project in the program; and discuss directions for each projects in the program. These directions includes the co-development and management of MOOC contents; case collection in quality assurance ; development of quality assurance guidelines for MOOC contents ; and the publication of the collection of best cases in social recognition and usage for MOOCs in ASEM region.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental process established in 1996 to foster dialogue and cooperation between Asia and Europe. ASEM operates with 53 partnerships from 30 European countries, 21 Asian countries, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. ASEM addresses political, economic, social, cultural, and educational issues of common interest, in a spirit of mutual respect and equal partnership. This ASEM MOOCs Stakeholders’ Meeting is hosted by the Ministry of Education of Republic of Korea, and organized by a national-level agency under it, the National Institute for Lifelong Education (NILE).

On 17 April 2017, UP Open University (UPOU) opened two massive open online courses (MOOCs)--ODeL 101: Introduction to ODeL, and Quality Assurance in ODeL -- as part of the Open and Distance eLearning (ODeL) Certification Programs under the MODeL Certification Series.

The offering of MOOCs is done in keeping with the University’s role to promote open distance learning (ODL) and to democratize access to quality higher education in the country, as designated by RA 10650. UPOU, with the support of the Commission on Higher Education, aims to empower higher education practitioners through the MODeL Certification Series, which lends to the goal of capacity-building among higher education institutions (HEIs) through ODL and lifelong learning.

As a project funded by the CHED Institutional Development and Innovation Grants (IDIG), these ODeL Certification programs are specifically aimed at faculty and staff members of HEIs, and are divided into three tracks, each one with a specialization in mind: ODeL for Administrators, ODeL for Teachers, and ODeL for Technology Personnel/System Administrators. The courses are two of several in the series which qualifies a student for certification once completed.

ODeL 101: Introduction to ODeL runs for five weeks, and introduces students to the key concepts, theories, and principles of open and distance e-learning. It begins all three specialization tracks.

Quality Assurance in ODeL focuses on quality, as well as the mechanisms for quality assurance, as significant aspects of offering programs and courses in ODeL mode. Through the introduction of basic concepts and pillars of quality in ODeL and models of evaluating ODeL with a focus on quality, the four-week course aims to equip its learners, especially administrators, with knowledge on ensuring the quality of their programs and courses.

In addition to these courses, the following MOOCs will soon be offered through MODeL: Strategic Management of ODeL, Designing Learning in ODeL, Course Materials Development for ODeL, Assessment in ODeL, Learner Support in ODeL, and Technology in ODeL.

The ODeL Certification MOOCs, as well as several other courses, are offered through Massive Open Distance eLearning (MODeL), the official MOOC platform of UPOU. Interested learners may find out more about the courses being currently offered, as well as several other courses to come, by visiting the UPOU website or the MODeL platform.

The UP Open University (UPOU) held the second of its Round Table Discussion (RTD) Series on Assessment on 5 April 2017 at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna, and through video-conferencing at the UPOU Multimedia Center, DICT Building, C.P. Garcia Ave., Diliman, Quezon City. Dr. Sheila Bonito, Dr. Joane Serrano, and Asst. Prof. Charisse Reyes, members of the UPOU Exam Task Force, presented the report of the taskforce as well as the exam policies and procedures drafted by the taskforce.

Dr. Patricia Arinto, UP Faculty Regent, Professor and former Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education chaired the Task Force with the three discussants as members along with Ms. Margaret Suarez, University Researcher. They shared their general observations on UPOU’s policy requirements on facilitation of summative assessment in the context of distance education. They identified the following key considerations concerning the exam administration in the University: the integrity and security of exams; exam administrator’s competencies; the quality, validity, and reliability of exams; and the efficiency of the exams.

The RTD was participated in by UPOU regular and affiliate faculty members, learning center coordinators, and other staff involved in exam administration. It concluded with the suggestion to establish an examination unit which will further look into the standardization of the policies and procedures of exam administration. (Jamsie Joy Perez)

UP Open University (UPOU) Professor and Former Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education, Dr. Patricia Arinto, served as a keynote panelist at the Open Education Global Conference 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa on 08-10 March 2017.

Prof. Arinto’s presentation entitled “OER and OEP towards Equitable and Quality Education for All” shared the findings of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) in the Global South Project about the dynamics of open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). According to Prof. Arinto, “For OER to contribute to achieving equitable and quality education for all, it is necessary to promote and support OEP.” Prof. Arinto also stated that OEP, being “practices that support the (re)use and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path”, is important as it ensures not only equity of access but also equity of outcomes. In conclusion, she cited Karunanayaka and Naidu (2016) and Czerniewicz et al. (2016), promoting and supporting OEP in the Open University of Sri Lanka and at the University of Cape Town, respectively.

Patricia Arinto is the current Faculty Regent of the University of the Philippines. She is also the deputy principal investigator of the multi-country ROER4D project and the theme adviser for research on MOOCs (massive open online courses) in the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D) project both funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. She has published scholarly articles and given keynote presentations on teacher professional development in ICT and curriculum integration, distance learning, and open education.

The Open Education Global Conference 2017 (OE Global 2017), the world meeting to discuss, plan, reflect, collaborate, innovate and celebrate openness in education, was specifically held in Cape Town, South Africa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and the year 2017 as the 15th anniversary of the term “Open Educational Resources” and the 5th anniversary of the Paris OER Declaration. This conference was organized by the Open Education Consortium and the University of Cape Town.

At the OE Global 2017, Prof. Arinto served as panel members with Mark Horner of Siyavula and Carina Bossu of the University of Tasmania for the Keynote Panel on Open Perspectives with Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams of the University of Cape Town as Chair. Other UPOU faculty and staff members also presented at OE Global 2017. Prof. Sheila Bonito, Assoc. Prof. Joane Serrano, Asst. Prof. Charisse Reyes, Asst. Prof. Rita Ramos and Ms. Carmelita Orias are members of the panel presentation discussing the different aspects of the results of a study conducted for the IDRC’s Sub-project on Impact Studies on OER entitled “Impact of OER on Cost and Quality of Course Materials in Postgraduate Distance Education Courses.” (Anna Cañas-Llamas)


UP Open University (UPOU) culminated its celebration of the National Women’s Month in the opening of the “Women in Art: Kulay, Galaw, Pinta,” a solo exhibit by Odette Cagandahan on 28 March 2017 at the UPOU Community Hub, Los Baños, Laguna. The event was organized by the UPOU Office of Gender Concerns (OGC), the UPOU Cultural Committee, and the UPOU Foundation, Inc.

“Women in Art: Kulay, Galaw, Pinta” is an exhibit aimed to inspire women, especially mothers, to continue and pursue their dreams and passion, and be agents of change. It features actual works of Ms. Cagandahan including her speed paintings, oil on canvass paintings of women’s faces, glow in the dark paintings of women and nature, and sculptures of women’s body.

Ms. Cagandahan is a full-time contemporary visual artist from Paete, Laguna with a degree in Fine Arts from UP Diliman. Her works have been exhibited in leading galleries in Metro Manila and has received several awards and distinctions. She is known as a “speed painter,” finishing on-the-spot larger-than-life artworks within 2-8 minutes.

At the opening of the exhibit, she speed painted Ariana Grande to the tune of “Break Free” to inspire women to break free from the norms and limitations dictated by the society and initiate and propagate change by believing in what they can do. The UPOU V-Force Dancers also performed a dance number to the UPOU Tempo Band’s rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure.” Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan, Director of the OGC, also delivered a short message and together with Prof. Primo Garcia, Chair of the Cultural Committee and Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), and Ms. Cagandahan, led the cutting of the ribbon at the Galeria Sinag. Ms. Jeniffer de Pasion-Guevarra was the program’s emcee.

“Women in Art: Kulay, Galaw, Pinta” is open until 28 April 2017 at the Galeria Sinag, UPOU Community Hub, Los Baños, Laguna. Gallery hours are 9 AM to 6 PM, Mondays through Saturdays. For inquiries, call (049) 536 5992.

Prof. Sheila Bonito, Assoc. Prof Joane Serrano, Asst. Prof Rita Ramos, Asst. Prof Charisse Reyes and University Researcher Carmelita Orias attended the Open Education (OE) Global Conference 2017 held at Cape Town Convention Center, Cape Town, South Africa last 8-10 March 2017.

The group presented the results of their research entitled, “Impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) on Cost and Quality of Course Materials in Post Graduate Distance Education Courses in the Philippines”. The objectives of the study were to:measure the cost of developing OER-based course materials; evaluate the impact of OER use on the quality of learning materials in education, health, and development courses; and determine the cost-effectiveness of OER use.

This project was funded by the International Development Research Centre as a sub-project under the OER Impact Studies of the Research on Open Education Resources for Development (ROER4D) which aims to provide evidence-based research from a number of countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Prof Bonito is the research leader for this project under the Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services of UPOU. (Milette Aniceta-Orias)

The world celebrated 27-31 March 2017 as the Open Education Week. Sharing in this celebration, UP Open University (UPOU) conducted a free webinar on Open Educational Practices (OEP) on 27 March 2017 at the Audio-visual Room of UPOU in Los Baños, Laguna, and webstreamed live via The activity was jointly organized by the UPOU Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) and the UPOU Multimedia Center.

Dr. Sheila Bonito, Director of OASIS, opened the event and explained that Open Education Week was organized by the Open Education Consortium to raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities for everyone everywhere right now.

Dr. Patricia Arinto, Professor and former Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Education, and the current UP Faculty Regent, was the webinar’s resource speaker. She discussed the theoretical underpinnings of OEP and how this is applied at UP Open University. She started her presentation by explaining that open education “encompasses resources, tools and practices to employ a framework of sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.” The open education campaign started with the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement in 2007, with special focus on open and free content. A second phase involved OEP, which is more focused on the pedagogical practices in sharing OER to open up access to educational opportunities and allow more effective learning.

According to Dr. Arinto, OEP are “practices that support the reuse and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers in their lifelong learning path” and as “collaborative practice in which resources are shares by making them openly available.” She delved into the five stages of the Continuum of Open Practice and the different OEP strategies that can be employed by UPOU and other institutions. She concluded by saying that open resources is only one aspect of the learning design, another aspect is the creation of sustainable environments where OER can be shared to support high-quality educational outcomes. She stated further that access is not equal to success. Instead, equity of access should result in equity of outcomes so that learners will actually learn, and the education will be truly useful to them and to their communities.

Prof. Arinto is the deputy principal investigator of the multi-country Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South (ROER4D) project and the theme adviser for research on MOOCs (massive open online courses) in the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D) project both funded by the International Development Research Centre of Canada. She has published scholarly articles and given keynote presentations on teacher professional development in information and communication technology and curriculum integration, distance learning, and open education, and was recently a keynote speaker at the 2017 Open Education Global Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa on 8-10 March 2017.

This webinar is the first of the series of webinars that UPOU will be conducting, as part of its mandate in RA 10650 to assist relevant national agencies, higher education institutions, and technical and vocational institutions in developing their distance education programs through training, technical assistance, research and other academic programs, and as the current president of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU).

UPOU caught up with the OER Movement in 2010, first by attending international conferences, then by conducting academic discourses to explore the institutionalization of OER at the university level. In 2013, UPOU shifted to the use of open educational resources in its resource-based course packages (RBCP) for most of its course offerings. In participation in the 2015 Open Education Week, UPOU first offered three free and online bridge courses to its new undergraduate students, which has since been counted with many other MOOCs that UPOU offers to the public via

Students and other participants also viewed the webinar through the UPOU Learning Centers in Baguio, Cebu, Davao, Diliman and Iloilo. The webinar may also be accessed anytime at UPOU’s online repository of open educational resources, UPOU Networks. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

To celebrate World Social Work Day, and the International Women’s Day of March, the UP Open University’s (UPOU) Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) and the Office of Gender Concerns (OGC) spearheaded the conduct of the Let’s Talk It Over (LTIO) on “Kababaihan. Kalikasan. Komunidad.” The activity was held on 21 March 2017 at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna.

Prof. Primo Garcia, Dean of FMDS, welcomed the participants who attended including those who joined virtually, as the forum was livestreamed over He mentioned that “UP Open University mainstreams gender and development by celebrating both events this month of March as well as conducting programs and activities for the rest of the year through its Gender and Development plan.” He also explained that the LTIO on Kababaihan, Kalikasan, Komunidad will “delve into the role of social work in community and environmental sustainability and into the role of women in climate change.”

Two speakers were invited to talk. The first speaker was Director Marita C. Pimentel, Director for Field Operations of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and a member of the National Gender and Development Resource Pool of the Philippine Commission on Women. Director Pimentel gave a short, sweet and straightforward presentation about the DSWD Programs that caters to the women sector. She also mentioned that DSWD operates on the mantra “Gikan sa masa, Para sa Masa” and its core values as maagap at mapagkalinga, walang puwang sa korupsyon, and patas na pagtrato sa komunidad.

The second speaker was Dr. Thelma R. Paris, Independent Consultant and former Gender specialist for Climate Change who spoke about “Women, Agriculture and Climate Change.” She discussed the gender dimensions, changing roles, the impact and the coping mechanism involved in men, women, agriculture and climate change. She also gave some suggestions for research on climate change, agriculture, food security and gender and detailed some of the climate smart agriculture and farming practices. She concluded her presentation stating that “the goal of reducing poverty and hunger, improving human health and nutrition, climate resilience can be achieved if agricultural research institution in partnership with extension and NGOs will provide women and men equal access to opportunities and empower women to maximize their skills, talents and inputs for their benefits, their families, the society and the future generation.”

Both talks were thought-provoking, inciting a number questions and comments from the audience. Every question was aptly answered by the resource speakers. The program ended with Dean Garcia handing out the certificates of appreciation and Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan, Program Chair of the Diploma and Master of Social Work and Diploma in Women and Development programs, and Director of the UPOU OGC, officially closing the event and thanking everyone who participated and shared their views and expertise.

The World Social Work Day is jointly organized by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the School of Social Work Geneva (HETS-Geneve) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) where UPOU is an institutional member through its Diploma/Master of Social Work program. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Prof. Habito presents her paper at the WWD2017. (Photo by CdLHabito))

Dr. Consuelo dL. Habito, faculty member of the Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), UP Open University (UPOU) and Program Chair of the Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) program of FMDS, UPOU represented the Philippines to the celebration of the 2017 World Wood Day (WWD) on 21-26 March 2017 at the Long Beach Convention Center in California, United States of America. Dr. Habito presented a paper on the “Wood Carving Tradition of the Indigenous Peoples of Palawan, Philippines” during the Wood Symposium.

This year’s celebration, with the theme “Roots,” aimed to reflect on the identity and appreciation of culture as well as respect for diversity through the medium of wood.

With participants from over 100 countries and regions, this grand celebration became a feast of cultures featuring woodcraft activities, wood design and temple bus programs, folk art workshops, children's events, musical festival, wood symposium, dancing and chants by the Native Americans, and tree planting. All of these were simultaneously launched from 21-26 March 2017. Collaborative wood carving installation art and projects featuring woodcarving artists from various parts of the world were also featured. Mr. Ricardo Bagabaldo of Paete, Laguna was the lone Filipino woodcarver representing the Philippines.

As public service has always been a part of the university’s mission, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) will host another blood donation activity this year. This will be held on 6 April 2017, starting 9:00 AM, at the UPOU Oblation Hall, UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.

Initiated in 2012, the blood donation is now the fourth time that the university will be undertaking this activity. With the hope of helping the community on its ever increasing blood requirement, the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) spearheads this project in partnership with the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Administration. (Emely M. Amoloza)