As President of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU), Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, Chancellor of the UP Open University (UPOU) was invited to participate in the 1st Asia-Pacific MAssive Open Online Course (MOOC) Stakeholders Summit (2016) on 2-3 March 2017 at the Windsor Suites Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Three areas were tackled in the discussions in the Summit, namely, sustainability model including policy level, platform level, institution/subject/program level; sharable case studies and best-practices of MOOC educational models; and possible area for cooperation among Asia-Pacific regions and European countries.

Chancellor Bandalaria shared about sustainability model in the platform/portal level. She presented the AAOU’s “Asian MOOCs”, an integrated portal for all the MOOCs in the Asia Pacific, especially those offered by AAOU member institutions. Asian MOOCs was launched in October 2016, during the AAOU’s 30th Annual Conference in Manila, Philippines. In addition, Dr. Bandalaria also mentioned the researches on MOOC assessment that UPOU is currently developing.

The Asia-Pacific MOOCs Stakeholders Summit is a platform for sharing and discussion among policymakers, platform/portal providers, and practitioners in MOOC education, and is organized by the Thailand Cyber University Project (TCU), Office of the Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education, Thailand, in collaboration with JMOOC, National Institute of Lifelong Education (NILE), Republic of Korea, and UNESCO Bangkok.

The UP Open University (UPOU) held the launching session for the Round Table Discussion (RTD) Series on Assessment on 17 March 2017 at the UPOU Oblation Hall in Los Baños, Laguna. Dr. Kunchon Jeotee, Assistant Professor at the Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU), lecturer for the Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) program and assessment research collaborator at the ASEAN Studies Graduate Program, was the session’s lead discussant on “Assessment at STOU.”

Dr. Kunchon, an expert in statistics, online learning and evaluation in education, shared how evaluation is done at STOU especially at the STOU Office of Registrations, Record and Evaluations where he is currently connected. According to Dr. Kunchon, STOU has a very strong and strict exam system for both their regular exam and walk-in exam, starting from the production of all subject textbooks written by recognized experts in STOU. These experts create test questions about the chapters they wrote which are then compiled to compose the 100 items for the subject’s exam. The questions go through a long series of checking and evaluation before and after printing and distribution to the STOU regional centers and partner schools in the 78 provinces of Thailand. STOU has an item bank for questions for the random generation of questions in walk-in exams. Students who opt for the walk–in exam, take tests simultaneously all over the country.

The UPOU Faculty and Research, Extension and Professional Service (REPS) members who attended the RTD actively participated in the discussion by contributing their experiences in the different assessment methods done by UPOU. Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, explained that UPOU used to print and send out exams to the students based all over the country and abroad, but now, online examination is being explored and will be shared in the succeeding sessions of the RTD Series. RTD Series on Assessment is spearheaded by the UPOU Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA), in partnership with the three UPOU Faculty Offices. Prof. Melinda Lumanta, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, explained that the the RTD Series on Assessment stemmed from the idea of discussing the results and recommendations of the UPOU Task Force on Examination Systems, and was expanded to become a venue to tackle and share experience and knowledge about the different types of assessment applicable to open and distance e-learning (ODeL). Chancellor Bandalaria applauded this initiative and hopes for a publication at the end of the series so other ODeL institutions may also benefit from this activity. The RTD series is set to be held twice a month, with the definite schedule to be circulated to everyone. Inquiries about the RTD Series on Assessment may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) will be offering once again its Child Rights Promotion and Protection (CRP) Certification Program as massive open online courses (MOOCs) starting April 2017. These courses are free and open to everyone especially for those interested in and advocates of child rights protection and promotion such as those working in non-government organizations and other professions dealing with children.

Eight courses under the three clusters of the CRP MOOCs will be offered through Massive Open and Distance e-Learning (MODEL), the UPOU’s platform for its MOOCs:

Cluster 1: Theoretical and Legal Framework for Children
Understanding Better the Child (22 April-2 June)
Legal Instruments for the Protection of Children (10 June- 21 July)
Institutional Mechanisms Towards Child Rights Protection and Promotion (29 July-8 September)

Cluster 2: Planning and Implementing Programs for Child Rights Protection and Promotion
Planning Programs on Child Rights Protection and Promotion (15 July-25 August)
Implementing Child Rights Programs (9 September-20 October)

Cluster 3: Communicating and Advocating for Child Rights Protection
Communicating for Child Rights Protection and Promotion: Theoretical Approaches (16 Sept-27 October)
Traditional and New Media for Child’s Rights Protection and Promotion (26 September-6 November)
Advocacy and Social Mobilization for Child Rights Protection and Promotion (4 November-15 December)

CRP MOOCs were first offered in 2015 as part of the collaboration of United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund-Philippines and UPOU. This re-offering is part of UPOU's openUP Flagship Program for 2016-2019. The openUP Flagship Program is aimed at mainstreaming MOOCs as part of UPOU's formal and non-formal program offerings. To avail of this free course and access more UPOU MOOCs offerings, visit (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Speed painter Odette Cagandahan-Monfero
Will enrich the Women’s Month celebration on March 28, with animo
“Kulay, Galaw at Pinta”
Gaano man kahirap ang buhay, kababaihan, magtatagumpay ka!

Artist and artwork will be visually entertaining
Splash of colors will be intellectually stimulating
Modern music will be mixed in to create a unique experience
It will be a joy to be part of this launch, both wonderful and intense

The UPOU Office of Gender Concerns sponsors this pro-women project
With the UPOU Foundation and the UPOU Cultural Committee, women's rights protect
The Tempo Band, dancers, and surprises will make it great
Come one, come all! Visit Galeria Sinag before April 28 (Susan Janette G. Ealdama)

On 03 March 2017, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) of the UP Open University (UPOU) held the third of its series of Friday Research Conversations about UPOU’s 12 Flagship Programs. Prof. Ricardo Bagarinao, Dean of UPOU Faculty of Education and Chair of the UPOU Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee (DRRM), was invited to speak about Climate Adaptive and Resilient UPOU (CAReUPOU) and share some possible research areas under this flagship program. In his presentation entitled “CAReUPOU: Concepts and Researchable Areas,” he mentioned that CAReUPOU is composed of two components – the (1) Green UPOU which aims for resource conservation, environmental education, ecological waste management and the use of renewable energy; and (2) the DRRM which is composed of disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.

With disasters claiming more lives and creating irreparable damages, the whole of the country and the world has engaged in widespread campaigns related to DRRM. At UPOU, where students are dispersed all over the world and much of its operations depend on e-systems, matters regarding DRRM are addressed through CAReUPOU. CAReUPOU is UPOU’s initiative to actively integrate the principles of sustainability and responsible resource utilization in its operation. It is also UPOU’s program to actively establish resilience and adaptive mechanisms against climate-related risks, geohazards, fire, and information security risks.

Prof. Bagarinao mentioned that in CAReUPOU, the researchable areas include baseline condition, criteria and indicators, modelling, and behaviour and response. He also gave examples of potential studies such as

  • UPOU Disaster Preparedness: A Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice Survey or Institutional Climate Change
  • Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts Among UPOU Offices
  • Developing Sustainability Criteria and Indicators for an ODeL Institution
  • Risk Reduction Initiatives: Balancing Costs with Benefits
  • Modeling Behavioural Responses to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Initiatives

Faculty and staff of UPOU actively participated in the discussion and volunteered some creative research suggestions. Prof. Jean Saludadez, UPOUs Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration, suggested opening the research topics to all UPOU employees and even to UPOU students who are doing their special problems. Prof. Melinda Lumanta, Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, agreed that a system can be developed to disseminate research interest and allow people to sign up and form into groups. Assoc. Prof. Joane Serrano emphasized the importance of e-resiliency and in investing in servers in the cloud. She also mentioned that the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) initiated the Green UPOU program a few years back and she is happy that the program has been elevated to include the effort of the whole university. Asst. Prof. Lacaste, the UPOU Registrar, suggested the evaluation of UPOU’s current practice of waste segregation including the disposal of e-wastes.

Prof. Lumanta thanked Prof. Bagarinao for sharing about CAReUPOU and presented him a certificate of appreciation. The activity was livestreamed via UPOUNetworks. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) joined the annual “Walk for a Cause" as the kick-off program in celebration of Women’s Month and International Women’s Day last 8 March 2017.

Led by the UPOU Office of Gender Concerns (OGC), sixteen (16) faculty and staff members joined the walk. The parade started at 6 o'çlock in the morning from Olivarez Plaza Mall to Paciano Rizal Park in the Old Municipal Compound of Los Baños. Different barangays of Los Baños as well as government and non-government institutions also joined the parade. A short program followed after the parade.

Fundraising for cancer prevention in women

The “Walk for a Cause” is a fundraising activity for cancer prevention among women organized by the local municipality of Los Baños. Proceeds from the activity will be used for the health program of the Municipal Health Office primarily to provide financial support for diagnosis and treatment of cancer in women.

“UPOU joined the Los Baños Walk for a Cause because our academic community is an active part of the community at large. As the impact of UPOU’s work continues to extend throughout the nation and in the global arena, we are still very much rooted in the local community. The Walk was for a great cause – prevention of cancer in women, and the provision of health and entrepreneurial assistance that benefited local women. It was an event that exemplified UPOU’s own commitment to equality, well-being, and opportunities for all,” said Asst. Prof. Rameses De Jesus, OGC OIC-Director.

After the walk, the participants were entitled to avail the Serbisyo para kay Juana where free medical services such as pap smear and breast screening, nutrition counselling, social welfare services, free legal assistance, and enterprise development coaching were provided in the covered court of the Old Municipal Compound.

Women’s Month upcoming activities

Besides “Walk for a Cause”, OGC has three more activities lined-up in celebration of Women’s Month. "Let's Talk It Over: Kababaihan. Kalikasan. Komunidad.", a lecture series will be held on 21 March 2017. This will be followed by "Women in Art: Kulay, Galaw, Pinta", a painting exhibit to launch on 28 March 2017. Finally, "Hilot: Understanding and Experiencing a Traditional Method for Women’s and Men’s Reproductive Health” will be held on 30 March 2017. (Rica Mae Valencia)

Prof. Flor at the book launch on 01 March 2017. (Photo by Emely Amoloza)

The University of the Philippines Baguio Cordillera Studies Center (UPB CSC) has published a book of readings edited by Dr. Alexander G. Flor, professor and dean of the UPOU Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS), Dr. Alejandro N. Ciencia, Jr., UPB professor of political science and Dr. Cecilia Fe L. Sta. Maria-Abalos, UPB professor of communication.

The book “Resilience and Sustainability: Fourteen Narratives,” launched by the UPB CSC on 01 March 2017, is a selection of papers covering the entire spectrum of disciplines involved in the climate change and disaster risk management discourse. These papers were presented at the International Conference on Building Resilience and Developing Sustainability (ICBRDS) held at the Baguio International Convention Center in January 2015. The book highlights best practices in DRRM, promotes resilience vis-a-vis disasters and the effects of climate change, and highlights the development of sustainable communities. The fourteen chapters in this book went through a double blind review process before their publication.

Prof. Flor teaches development communication, knowledge management and environmental communication at the UP Open University. He has been designated as UP Scientist I and awarded a One UP Professorial Chair on Knowledge Management (KM4D). He is one of UP’s top researchers garnering an H-index of 8 with 282 citations (Google Scholar, 2017).

Another book edited with Prof. Melinda F. Lumanta entitled Conversations on Openness: An Engagement in Discourse Capture, was launched during the 22nd Anniversary of the UP Open University on 24 February 2017. Additionally, Prof. Flor recently published chapters titled “Knowledge Management for Development (KM4D),” Encyclopedia of Information and Communication Technology (Pour, 2017), “eAgriculture,” International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (Ang Peng Hwa and Robin Mansell, 2016) published by Wiley-Blackwell and a chapter titled “Dysfunctional Digital Demeanors:Tales from eLearning’s Dark Side” in the book Developing Successful Strategies for Cybertransparency in eLearning (Eby, Yuzer and Atay, Eds, 2016) published by IGI Global Academic Publishers.

Prof. Flor is a member of the Editorial Board of the Scopus and Thomson Reuters indexed International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education (IJICTE). At UPOU, he authored several volumes used as the main resource for course offerings under the Master of Development Communication program. These include Introduction to Development Communication, Development Communication Praxis, Developing Societies in the Information Age: A Critical Perspective, and Environmental Communication. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Through lines, curves and strokes
Banhay Kulay artists revealed their souls
Life lessons carved on wood
Oil on canvas as soul food

Eleven members from the Paete Artist Guild
Showcased their works-of-heart to build
A lasting legacy at Galeria SinAg
SINing at AGham na nagbibigay liwanag”

Graced by UPOU Chancellor Bandalaria
Supported by the UPOU Foundation and administrators in full regalia
Sponsored by the UPOU Cultural Committee
February 24-25, 2017 twin launch was held successfully

It was an honor to interview the Maestros
Trace how their ideas fueled their gustos
Made one proud to be a Filipino citizen
Like them think and dream at a higher realm

“Luzviminda” by Kid Baldemor
Forges into the future with one’s family to explore
“The Joy of Living” by Bayani Ray Acala
Makes one skip a beat: fa-sol-la

"Blossom 1,2,3" of Lito Baldemor
Realistic sweet-smelling flora de amor
“Angelica” of Joseph Bañez
Irresistibly imaginative tree with houses

“Huli Ka” of Phaern Afurong
Fun moments of childhood fish-along
Odette Cagandahan’s glow-in-the-dark
Made “Marilyn Monroe” and “Steve Jobs” spark

“Best Teacher” of Danilo Cads
Salutes moms, like Jayson Bañez' "Pure Love"

Edward Dave’s “Ark of the Covenant”
Testifies to Christ’s commitment which is constant

Nestor Cagayat’s “Panalangin”
Encourages one to have faith in Him
Glenn Cagandahan’s “Transcrucifix”
Transcends death in a matrix

So what are you waiting for?
Visit the exhibit now!
It runs until March 24, sundown (Susan Janette G. Ealdama)

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) renewed its annual institutional membership to the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) last 15 February 2017 as part of its efforts to widen UP Open University’s network through partnerships and linkages. Membership to the organization is seen as beneficial in learning about the current professional practice and trends in social work education thus enriching the faculty’s Diploma in and Master of Social Work curriculum.

The IASSW office is located at the Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milano- Bicocca, Italy and is the global association of social work schools and social work educational programs at the tertiary level. It advocates for the development of social work education in the world, creates standards to improve social work education, boosts international exchanges, offers a venue for creating discourse on social work research, and conducts policy and advocacy activities to support human rights and social development. IASSW aims to engage social work educators in the whole world for the exchange of knowledge and expertise. IASSW has been granted consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as an NGO since 1947 and represented at the United Nations in Geneva. The association shares studies and research in social work through the International Social Work journal and conferences and seminars organized.

Besides IASSW, UP Open University through FMDS’ Social Work program is also a member of the Asia Pacific Association for Social Work Education (APASWE), the National Association of Social Work Education, Inc. (NASWEI), the Social Welfare Development Learning Network, and the Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children-CALABARZON Region. Through these linkages, FMDS hopes to reach prospective Social Work students and contribute to the development of the Philippine social work curriculum through open and distance e-learning. (Paula Grace Muyco)

The Master of Public Management (MPM) has successfully concluded its first activity under the UP Academic Program Improvement (API) project entitled: “Planning and Training to Establish Collaboration with the Local Governance Resource Institutions through Externship of Faculty Members in relevant sites” on 15-17 February 2017. The program was organized in collaboration with the Nueva Vizcaya State University, Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Office and Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Tourism Office. The activity aimed to make the faculty members and staff grounded and updated on what is going on in the field through the first-hand insights and experiences and to establish collaboration with local governance resource institutions towards the enhancement of the delivery of the courses under the Program. There were 13 Faculties-In-Charge (FICs) and staff members who participated in the three-day activity which included a courtesy call and interview with Hon. Carlos M. Padilla, Governor of Nueva Vizcaya; a visit to the local government unit-managed Lower Magat Ecotourism Park; and a “Let’s Talk It Over” cum Public Forum on Federalism and Local Governance. The courtesy call and interview with Governor Padilla provided the participants a glimpse on thirteen-point agenda of the province labelled as PRAYERS N FAITH: Protect the environment; Reform the provincial government; Agriculture and food safety; Youth and sports; Education and skills training; Rural development and electrification; Social services, safety and security; Networking for development; Farm-to-market roads and infrastructure; Arts and culture; Indigenous people; Tourism; and Health and housing services. The faculty members were given the opportunity to ask questions about the relevant issues in the province such as mining. The visit to the Lower Magat Ecotourism Park showcased how the provincial government maintained and further developed the park after its management was transferred from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya. The activity was highlighted by the conduct of the “Let’s Talk It Over” cum Public Forum on Federalism and Local Governance at the Nueva Vizcaya State University. This was participated in by over a hundred students and local government officials. This was also accessed by graduate students from Ateneo de Naga through webstreaming via the UPOU Networks. Dr. Danilo Dela Rosa Reyes of UP-National College of Public Administration and Governance, Dr. Benjamin N. Muego of Ateneo de Manila University – Loyola Schools, and Governor Carlos M. Padilla served as resource speakers. (Joana Marie delos Reyes)

The UP Open University (UPOU) published three books which are licensed under creative commons.

To share experiences and learning in the operation and implementation of open and distance eLearning (ODeL) in the Philippines, the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) published the books “Conversations on Openness: An Engagement in Discourse Capture” and “From Centers to Hubs: Reconceptualizing UPOU Learning Centers.”

“A Conversations on Openness: An Engagement in Discourse Capture,” encapsulates the university’s dominant narrative on openness in its pre-MOOC (massive open online courses) phase. It features the talks delivered by UPOU officials and faculty members in the series of roundtable discussions on the openness of open universities held in 2012 at the university headquarters in Los Banos, Laguna. The book also introduces “discourse capture,” an experimental technique cum format and a knowledge-sharing device that presents an exposition of ideas along with context and processes of spontaneous collective thought. Dr. Alexander G. Flor, Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies, and Dr. Melinda F. Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs edited this book.

"From Centers to Hubs: Reconceptualizing UPOU Learning Centers," edited by Dr. Lumanta and Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Director of the Information Office and Multimedia Center, features the following narratives of the university's Learning Centers as seen through the lenses of its coordinators:

  • Beginnings of the UPOU as it shared space in UP campuses.
  • Role of the Learning Center Coordinators.
  • Effects of technological advances on student support services.
  • Experiences of the Learning Center Coordinators in dealing with the distance learners and their needs.
  • UPOU’s investments and efforts to make its services of accessible to its various publics.
  • The UPOU Virtual Learning Center

The third book, “AGCOM-DEVCOM Crossover: A Participant-Observer’s Journey,” is by Dr. Felix Librero, a UP Professor emeritus, a former UP Faculty Regent, and the second UPOU Chancellor. The book contains stories about the Dr. Librero's journey as a development communication professional and academician. The articles included in the book were each written for specific purposes, time, and audiences.

All the three ebooks are available for free. Copies can be downloaded from UPOUNetworks. (Luisa A. Gelisan, Multimedia Center)