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Educational Psychology and its relevance to the distance education (DE) practice of UP Open University (UPOU) was the main topic of the Research Conversations organized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) held on Friday, 13 January 2017 at Sandbox, CCDL, UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

Asst. Prof. Rameses A. de Jesus and Asst. Prof. Roja L. Rivera of the Faculty of Education shared their knowledge and expertise on educational psychology with their presentation entitled “Educational Psychology: Aspects Relevant to our Distance Education Practice at UPOU.” They tackled the foundational concepts and principles of educational psychology in the context of work at UPOU and also looked at the principles relevant to the student and faculty support. They also identified specific areas of research interests that can be pursued either as an individual or as a team.

Their presentation was divided into two parts – discussion on the overview of Educational Psychology and the group interaction. Asst. Prof. de Jesus presented the foundations, theories and the main concerns of Educational Psychology. Quoting from the American Psychological Association (APA), Asst. Prof. de Jesus said that “Educational Psychology promotes teaching and learning but there is no single learning approach or style that works for everyone.” Educational Psychology, being the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning, is focused on identifying and studying the learning methods to better understand how people absorb and retain new information. It was also mentioned that the aim of educational psychology is to provide research knowledge that can be effectively applied to teaching situations.

Educational psychology, as applied in teaching and learning in UPOU, affects the students, instructors and the administrative leadership, hence, research areas surfaced from the discussion mainly centered on student and teacher development by which can be done qualitatively and quantitatively processes. Asst. Prof. Rivera cited several experiences showing the different learning styles of UPOU students wherein she stressed that studying these can help in better understanding of the students’ learning process. In relation to providing psychological support, she suggested exploring the institutionalization of guidelines for student support that will cut across all faculty offices and all UPOU programs.

The topic elicited active participation from the audience, each contributing to the research suggestions. The activity was also streamed live through the Research Conversations Youtube Channel. Faculty members, researchers, and administrative staff actively participated in the conversation. (Anna Cañas-Llamas & Jamsie Joy Perez)

Chancellor Bandalaria welcomed all partners and guests to the launch.

UP Open University (UPOU), in fulfillment of its mission of widening access to quality education and its public service thrust, targets the Sustainable Development and Conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) in its project with UP Los Baños, Kanazawa University, Ifugao State University (IFSU), the Ifugao Provincial Government, and selected municipalities in Ifugao funded by Mitsui & Co. Ltd.

Dubbed as the “Youth Capacity Building and Exchange Program toward Sustainable Development and Conservation of Ifugao Rice Terraces,” the project will focus on training the Ifugao youth on the concepts of IRT as a Satoyama landscape and a Globally Important Heritage System (GIASH), sustainable tourism, sustainable farming practices, local food security, agricultural heritage systems and the cultural heritage preservation of the IRT. Training modules and multimedia materials will be developed to aid in the capacity building of the youths.. Partnerships will also be linked between countryside and urban communities and provide hands-on experience, exchange programs and internship to rural and urban-based youths.

During the launch, Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, welcomed all partners and guests to the launch. She coined the term #Y4IRT as the shorter name to the project and explained how the project proves important to the University. All collaborators were given an opportunity to share messages. Dr. Koji Nakamura from Kanazawa University gave a short message about the importance of educating and supporting the young generation. Dr. Portia Lapitan, UPLB Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, says UPLB is proud to be part of the team that leads in the conservation of the country's National Heritage.

Dr. Marissa Bulong, the Director of the IFSU GIAHS Center, shares how IFSU commits its full support in the successful implementation of the project. Councilor Pablo Cuyahon of the Hungduan Municipal Government stated how much it means to the Ifugaos that projects like #Y4IRT are aimed at the sustainable development and conservation of their rice terraces, culture and way of life.

Mr. Masanori Sato, General Manager for Corporate Planning & Administration Division of Mitsui & Co. Ltd, the project's funding agency, explained that #Y4IRT is one the three projects chosen by the company out of about 90 proposals submitted within Asia.

Dr. Joane Serrano, #Y4IRT Project Leader, introduced the Project Team members.

Dr. Primo Garcia, Dean of the UPOU Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS), delivered the closing remarks. He thanked everyone for their presence and commitment to the sustainable development and conservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

This capacity building and exchange program will empower the young generation of Ifugaos with the knowledge and leadership needed to sustain the IRT landscape. Participants will learn about the IRT culture and way of life, and involved youths will learn from each other to promote a holistic view of rural and urban linkages to appreciate interconnectedness of these systems. This project, which will run for two years, will create awareness of the GIAHS areas among the youth, and their relevance in the present world. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) organized a tribute program entitled “#Pasasalamat: A Tribute to President Alfredo E. Pascual and Team.” The event was done to express gratitude and appreciation to the outgoing UP President and his administration, held on 24 January 2017 at the UPOU Audiovisual Room, in Los Baños, Laguna.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, being with the university prior to its establishment and witnessing it hurdle over UP processes and procedures amidst its unique stand of being non-conventional. She also mentioned in her opening message that through President Pascual’s administration “UPOU was able to serve the country and in the process, consequently, kept its reputation.”

A short video was presented, portraying how the leadership of President Pascual and the support of his administration to UPOU towards becoming one of the leading institutions in open and distance e-learning in the region. In addition, a hand mime was performed by a group of UPOU staff members to the tune of “Thank You.” Younger staff members sang the Beatles' “Here Comes the Sun,” and “Twist and Shout.” President Pascual joined the band in a rendition of “Can’t Take my Eyes Off of You.”

Chancellor Bandalaria and former Chancellor Grace Javier Alfonso also presented the gifts prepared by the UPOU community – a plaque of the UPOU Oblation, a digital photo album of the President’s photos at UPOU events, and a portrait of the President with the UPOU oblation.

President Pascual responded in humble and heartfelt gratitude. He shared that his UP Presidency was a brave answer to the call of serving the country. He mentioned that UPOU has worked diligently to pursue its initiatives and he has done everything to help. “UPOU is the embodiment of accessible, open and inclusive UP education,” he stated. Wishing for UPOU to continue what it has started and strengthen its leadership in the open university arena, he urged everyone to work together for the good of the University and the entire nation.

Former Chancellor Alfonso, who worked with President Pascual for five years as the UPOU Chancellor, closed the program in a message that conveyed her great honor and pleasure for having worked with the President and his team. She expressed delight in all the support his administration gave UPOU in terms of academic growth, service to the public and administrative efficiency. “Our experience in working with you and your team has been most enriching, endearing and truly a memorable journey in our university life,” she related.

#Pasasalamat ended with a photo of all UPOU officials and staff members. Asst. Prof. Cesar Luna served as emcee of the event.

President Pascual will be succeeded by Atty. Danilo Concepcion, who will assume position on 10 February 2017. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

Eric Alcuezar Fernandez, a student of UP Open University, placed 4th in the September 2016 Special Professional Licensure Board Exam (SPLBE) for Professional Filipino Teachers in the Middle East.

Mr. Fernandez is a Senior English Instructor II for the Saudi Japanese Automobile High Institute in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He has been working in Jeddah as an English Instructor for six years.

He came upon UPOU through a friend’s recommendation and pursued the Professional Teaching Certification (PTC) program for teachers. After completing PTC, he also pursued Master’s degree in Development Communication and graduated in 2016. Mr. Fernandez is also currently enrolled with UPOU as a Doctor of Communication student.

“I had been meaning to continue my studies and almost lost hope until I found UPOU,” he related in an email interview. “My drive was basically grounded on my dream to reach the highest educational attainment not at the expense of my current job. I could only do it through distance education. I chose UPOU because I believe that if an institution belongs to UP System, you can expect the most quality education you can have.”

When asked about his experience with UPOU as a student, he mentioned “having the time of [his] life. The fact of the matter is that I even have learned way better than when I was in the mainstream classrooms.”

Mr. Fernandez mentioned having to face many challenges as an online student, but the greatest is the need to become a self-regulated and metacognitive learner to manage his time and activities. “We always have this tendency to delay things which makes us really have a hard time to start doing something.” He shared that “nothing is much greater than relying on the Divine Providence,” bearing in mind that his learning also depends on himself. He makes most of his time reading, and realized that he has learned a lot by choosing not to cheat on himself.

He also mentioned that UPOU has helped so much in his professional development. “UPOU had definitely made my smooth passage to promotion in my current job and inspired me to become a promising and aspiring author.” In fact, he has written many books two of which are being readied for publication. “I am a proud UPOU student and Iskolar ng Bayan, and I owe most of my successes to UPOU.”

His advice to UPOU students and aspiring distance education students is to make time and to focus. “Things are only made possible if we find time. There is always a time for everything. There is no secret ingredient in finding the right timing. It is only getting yourself to focus on what to do in order to start doing something that you needed to do.”

UPOU offers the PTC program, an 18-unit non-degree program, which provides non-education degree holders the qualification to take the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET). PTC will give students an understanding of the cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical characteristics of children/adolescents and how they develop and learn; knowledge of subjects they teach and how to teach them; skills for managing and monitoring student learning, and a reflective attitude about their practice, and an openness to adapt their teaching to new findings, ideas and theories. PTC is open for 3rd Trimester AY 2016-2017 admission until 21 January 2017. Along with UPOU’s other graduate degree programs, the Master of Development Communication and Doctor of Communication programs are open for 1st Semester AY 2017-2018 applicants until 07 April 2017. To apply for the programs, go to our.upou.edu.ph. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) trained a new set of master trainers for the Phase 4 of the implementation of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) Infoteach Outreach program on 9-10 January 2017 at the UPOU Oblation Hall in Los Baños, Laguna. The 20 master trainers are Division Information and Communication Technology (ICT) coordinators and selected public school teachers from the Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Divisions in Rizal, Cavite Province, Cavite City, Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Cebu Province, Mandaue City, Santiago City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City.

The participants were oriented on the format and logistics of the infoteach outreach program and their roles as master trainer. They were also trained on how to use and teach the module. The training was conducted using blended mode approach to allow participants to experience online learning.

Topics that were discussed during the two day training were Microsoft Productivity Tools and the Open Source Equivalents; Internet Productivity and Collaboration Tools; Green IT, Responsible Use of Social Media, Multimedia Literacy, Effective Communication Skills, and Global Citizenship. The training participants were also introduced to Basecamp, an online project management platform that the project will use to facilitate collaboration and monitoring of project activities. Lectures were given by Chancellor Melinda dP. Bandalaria, Asst. Prof. Roberto B. Figueroa and Asst. Prof. Myra c. Almodiel.

The online learning component required the participants to submit their training outputs through the Basecamp and share these materials with fellow participants as Open Educational Resources (OERs). The exercise was also envisioned to enable the participants to be familiar with the collaboration and monitoring platform. The online component of the training was implemented from 11-13 January.

The Infoteach Outreach Program is a collaborative undertaking of UPOU, PLDT, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) and DepEd to enable the teachers and students acquire the digital skills for the 21st century teaching, learning and working. The program was further improved to make the training curriculum responsive to the external dynamics that impact on education. This 4th phase of Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants and focus on the digital productivity tools, being responsible global citizens, and anchoring them to lifelong learning opportunities. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

All regular faculty members of the University of the Philippines who are involved in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) through research, creative work or extension service are invited to send their Expression of Interest to become Research and Extension Fellows and Junior Fellows of the newly created UP Resilience Institute, by emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Attention: Professor Benito Pacheco), on or before 17 January 2017.

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UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria served as one of the special studio guests during DZMM’s TURO-TURO episode entitled “Mas Cool nga ba ang Cyber schooling – Distance Learning at Open University para sa mga Estudyanteng Busy” last 07 January 2017. Along with Dr. Bandalaria was Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) President Emanuel Castro de Guzman, and PUP Open University System (OUS) Executive Director Anna Ruby P. Gapasin.

During the interview, Dr. Bandalaria introduced the concept of “open university” being espoused and promoted at UPOU. All 31 undergraduate and graduate programs of UPOU are offered fully online, with teacher-student interaction done through MyPortal, its Learning Management System. Dr. Bandalaria mentioned that the system uses security measures to ensure that the enrolled students are the ones who access the online resources and answer the exams. Other questions about distance education were also addressed, such as fees being paid through bank payments or credit cards, and the availability of scholarship grants.

Dr. Bandalaria further presented the advantages of enrolling in distance education programs. “You can work while studying,” she stated. Those who have not completed their bachelor’s degree can now finish their studies at a reduced cost since students need not commute to attend classes. Dr. Bandalaria noted that offering programs through the distance education mode proves that “the government is giving importance in democratizing access to education”, as mandated in Republic Act 10650 (Open Distance Learning Act).

Although most of UPOU’s students are working, there is also an increasing rate of undergraduate students who are full-time students, high school graduates, or students who still depend on their parents. According to Dr. Bandalaria, “What we saw here is the opportunity to give chance to this sector—the high school graduates—for them to have a distance education, since they also have other things they want to do, such as those in show business, sports, or abroad.”

At the end of the interview, Dr. Bandalaria encouraged lifelong learning and reasoned that lack of financial resources and being busy must not hinder those interested to study. UPOU also offers free online courses through its Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

TURO-TURO is a talk show that “discusses and tackles education issues in the Philippines and the world”. DZMM anchor-reporter Dexter Joie Ganibe served as the host for the certain episode. TURO-TURO is aired live over DZMM 630 kHz on the AM Band, DZMM TeleRadyo channel 25 and 26 on Destiny Cable and Sky Cable respectively, online via dzmm.com.ph, and worldwide via The Filipino Channel. (Pauline Grace Rebulanan Milante)

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UP Open University (UPOU) Chancellor, shared the vision of the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach program in her message during the Memorandum of Agreement signing among UPOU, UPOU Foundation, Inc. (UPOUFI), and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. (PLDT). the Phase 4 Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants. The module will focus on the digital productivity tools rather than the digital skills which the participants already possess. The program will cover the “interest, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital technology communication tools to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, create and communicate with others.” The curriculum will tackle: Research and Information Literacy; Critical thinking, Problem solving and Decision making; Creativity and Innovation; Digital Citizenship; Communication and Collaboration; and Technology Operation and Concepts.

According to Dr. Bandalaria, “The Infoteach Outreach Program goal of anchoring digital literacy skill to lifelong learning direction is our contribution to the attainment of the specific goal in the Global Agenda of 2030.” She also emphasized that the project hopes to empower the students.

Dr. Bandalaria further explained that the program is also a venue for UPOU’s Public Service goals which is “to widen access to continuing professional education; provides digital opportunities to local communities; and fosters critical discussion of relevant issues in the community and society”. She explained that she considers the partnership as a mechanism to extend one’s sphere of influence or coverage and in the process be able to go beyond what one could achieve alone. “The partnership is also a learning process for both parties involved,” she stated. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

Prof. Patricia Brazil Arinto has been elected as the new University of the Philippines (UP) Faculty Regent (FR) starting January 2017 to December 2018, to succeed Regent Philip Ian Prieto Padilla, MD, PhD. Her plans of action include specific proposals for faculty development and welfare, inter-campus faculty collaboration and proactive faculty participation in University governance.

Prof. Arinto has been with UP for 27 years. She served as the Dean of the UP Open University (UPOU) Faculty of Education (FEd) but her second term was cut short seven months to completion when she resigned from her post following her FR nomination. She has also held other administrative positions both at the UPOU and in UP. Some of the most recent committee appointments at the UP System level included being the Chair of the UP General Education Task Force for 2015-2016, and the UP System GE Council 2011-2013 and 2016-2019.

At the UPOU, her initiatives include the institution of an independent learning track for UPOU programs with small enrollments; the abolition of UPOU’s instructional material fee as part of UPOU’s adoption of open educational resource-based course packages; and the institution of the Master of Distance Education, Graduate Certificate in Distance Education and the Bachelor of Education Studies, among others.

She was recognized at the 2016 UP Knowledge Festival being one the UP’s most highly cited academics and researchers based on Google Scholar. She is known as an expert in distance education, learning design, and teacher professional development in technology-supported learning, where she has published several book chapters and journal articles. Her research involvement and external work included being the Team Leader for the Technology-supported Teacher Professional Development in Early Literacy Instruction; Theme Adviser for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D); Deputy Principal Investigator of Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project of International Development Research Centre (IDRC); Project Leader and Principal Investigator of an Australian Government-funded study on the use of tablet computers in public secondary schools in the Philippines. Prof. Arinto holds a Doctor in Education degree from the Institute of Education, University of London and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Technology-Based Distributed Learning from the University of British Columbia (Canada). Both her master’s and bachelor’s degree are from UP. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)

The UP Open University (UPOU) and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone, Co. (PLDT) signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program on 29 November 2016 at PLDT Innotech Lab, Mandaluyong City.

This partnership between UPOU and PLDT aims to promote digital literacy among public high school school teachers and students. The PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program started in 2013 with an initial participants of 1,657 from 11 schools divisions. To date, it has trained a total of 793 Master Trainers and Trainers and 11,696 teachers and students from public high schools. For the past 3 years of implementation it has reached 435 schools in 45 DepED schools divisions nationwide.

This year, the program hopes to train a total of 6,000 secondary teachers and students from 19 municipalities in the following areas: NCR, Bulacan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Laoag City, Cavite, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Davao City. It will start with the training of 300 trainers and 20 master trainers with UPOU using the blended learning approach.

Ms. Evelyn Mamauag-del Rosario, PLDT Community Relations Head, explained in her welcome remarks that working with the education sector is a more effective and efficient way of achieving the goals of the program. She also stressed that the training of teachers and students has a greater impact in reaching families and communities.

Dr. Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria, UPOU Chancellor, on the other hand, explained that the goals of the Phase 4 of the Infoteach Outreach Program is to broaden the reach of the program and make the training curriculum responsive to the external dynamics that impact on education. This 4th phase of Infoteach Outreach Program will capitalize on the digital skills of the participants. The module will now focus on the digital productivity tools rather than the digital skills which the participants already possess She expressed UPOU’s commitment to the project implementation. UPOU and PLDT have been partners for more than four years now in initiating a number of similar projects to digitally empower teachers and students.

Mr. Ramon R. Isberto, Head of Public Affairs of PLDT and Smart, was also present to give the closing remarks. He expressed the importance of developing students’ curiosity or interest in learning. This will be their tool for the future as the pace of change is not slowing down but will even go faster and wider. Mr Isberto noted that the improvement in technology is constant and skills sets will change every so often. Their future work does not exist today but will still be created in the future. There will be no life long careers. They would be changing careers from time to time so the tools that are taught to them today will be the tools they will use in their lifetime.

The 4th Infoteach Outreach Program Training of Trainors will be conducted on 9-10 January 2017 at UP Open University, Los Baños, Laguna. (Eleanor Payawal-Manipol)

The UP Open University (UPOU) Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Committee organized two fora this December 2016 to advance UPOU’s level of readiness in earthquake disaster and information risk at the UPOU Headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna.

The first forum about Earthquake Disaster Preparedness and Management was held on 06 December 2016. Mr. Daniel Jose Buhay, Science Research Specialist from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), was the resource person.

Mr. Buhay discussed in detail the importance of readiness during earthquakes. He explained how earthquakes happen and what causes the tremors, especially in the Philippines. He also mentioned how UPOU office in Los Baños, Laguna will be affected, saying that UPOU is susceptible to liquefaction, a case when the soil loses integrity due to ground shaking and behaves like quicksand. This is due to the location’s proximity to Laguna Lake. He talked about preparations before the earthquake; doing the drop, cover and hold during earthquakes; and how be safe even after earthquakes. The different phases in planning for a proper earthquake drills in schools were also discussed. The DRRM Committee, chaired by Dr. Ricardo Bagarinao, said that the committee will be working on creating the different teams to ensure a disaster-prepared and resilient UPOU.

The second forum, conducted on 08 December 2016, was about Information Security Risk with Mr. Gulshan Vasson as the resource speaker. Mr. Vasson is a Senior Lecturer for the UPOU Diploma in Computer Science program with 13 years of experience in Information Technology including information security, solutions architect and technology project management. He is also a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), a lawyer licensed to practice law in India, and an Information Security consultant for various organizations.

Mr. Vasson discussed information security and mobile forensics. He explained mobile forensics, as part of digital forensics, as the science of recovering digital information from a mobile phone, and includes recovery and analysis of information for mobile devices. He explained how mobile phones can be used unlawfully, the extent of the operation of some hackers on different mobile operating systems, the laws involving data privacy, and some sample scenarios of identity theft and other cybercrimes. In the end, he said that security depends on the person because no matter how complicated a system is, hackers will be able to tap into the system and access private information. Layers of security will help but a more important tip he gave was for each individual to always be careful and vigilant especially on everything that includes online systems.

Both the fora elicited many questions from the UPOU audience, which were ably answered and by the resource speakers. Both fora were conducted at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)