UPOU views research as essential to its function as a university. It looks at research as a means to enhance its teaching function, create new knowledge, and contribute to addressing societal issues and problems. The University has made available a number of grants to support the research activities of faculty and staff members, including the dissemination of research results.

UPOU conducts research in distance education (DE) and the disciplines it currently offers. Since its establishment, the University has spearheaded research in open and distance e-learning in the country. Its research in this area has been diverse, covering the following topics:

  • DE learner profile
  • DE learning styles
  • DE learner performance
  • Learner support systems
  • Online teaching and learning
  • Virtual learning environment
  • Mobile learning
  • Computer-mediated collaborative learning
  • Gender and distance education
  • Pedagogical approaches in distance education
  • DE program evaluation
  • Technology-enhanced learning
  • Massive open online courses
  • Management of distance education

In addition, the University has also pursued research in other disciplines being taught at the university:

  • Basic education
  • Information and communication technology for development
  • Multimedia
  • Communication
  • Organization and management
  • Public policy and governance
  • Environmental management
  • Health studies
  • Development studies

Many of these researches in the other disciplines also incorporate the affordances of information and communication technology and/or open and distance e-learning in addressing wider social problems and concerns.

Top 5 cutting-edge research or niche of your University

Known as the cyber campus of the University of the Philippines system, the UP Open University (UPOU) provides wider access to quality education through technology-mediated and enhanced learning. For more than twenty years, it has pioneered and continues to be the pioneering higher education institution in the Philippines to offer degree programs and continuing education courses through open and distance eLearning (ODeL). The affordances of ODeL allows for ubiquity, flexibility, openness, resource sharing and connectivity. It conducts ongoing research on online teaching models, learning environments and platform, learner support, assessment and quality assurance. Several citations and awards serve as testament to UPOU’s commitment to the highest standards of academic excellence:

  1. Designated as the National eLearning Competency Center by the Information Technology and eCommerce Council.
  2. MyPortal or UPOU’s Virtual classroom, was adjudged by the APEC Digital Opportunity Center as one of the top 10 best in e-practice in Asia
  3. Commission on Higher Education’s National Center of Excellence in Open and Distance Education
  4. Republic Act 10650 (Open Distance Learning Law) has tasked UPOU to assist relevant national agencies, higher education institutions, and technical and vocational institutions in developing their distance education programs.
  5. President of the Asian Association of Open Universities

To support the vision of the Philippines to become the global center for analytics, one of the thrusts of the UPOU is to develop courses in line with big data and analytics and to conduct research on how to maximize and optimize data for decision making. This can support leading and major industries in the country like the Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and help further push the Philippine leadership and competitive advantage in these lines of business through continuous talent development. UPOU partners with the Commission on Higher Education in offering online analytics courses to interested HEIs. UPOU is also parlaying its experience in course development in business analytics into learning analytics for research, which is crucial if higher education institutions are able to serve the learning needs of its students.

Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 4, that of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all; and promotion of lifelong learning, UPOU established its Universal and Inclusive Accessibility Program. The program encompasses all aspects of academic and administrative functions and services of the university, starting from the moment an individual seeks information about the university to becoming a lifelong learner. Among the major components of the program, are the offering of massive open online courses (MOOCs) in UPOU’s MODeL course site and the UPOU Networks, an online repository wherein all the open educational resource (OER) materials are curated and stored. UPOU also conducts research on applying universal design for learning (UDL) principles in its portals and course content.

The UPOU heeds the call for a sustainable future and recognizes the importance of integrating sustainability in its instruction, research and public service initiatives. It has developed strong ties and collaboration with experts and practitioners on sustainable development all over the country and the world. Among the research topics included are those that address the 17 SDGs including indigenous and community-based issues and problems, quality education, good health and wellbeing, sustainable communities, and gender equality. At the center of each SDG is education which can be accomplished through technology enhanced learning. Many research and publications on sustainability are produced by high-income countries and very small percentage comes from low-income countries like the Philippines. With its borderless approach in teaching and research, UPOU is in a unique position to strengthen research ties on sustainability and help broaden the impact area and developing sustainability values.

UPOU believes that the affordances of benefits of information and communication technologies are accessible to as many people as possible. One of the areas where the university has applied this principle is in promoting digital literacy among women, particularly those in remote areas of the country. The university has done studies on how digital literacy has benefitted this sector.