The newly established Office of Information and Communications Technology held a three-day strategic planning session from September 2-4, 2019, to craft a unified plan for the University in terms of using ICT.

According to Assistant to the Rector for Information and Communication Technology Rev. fr. Winston F. Cabading, O.P., SThL-MA, the session aimed “to bring the 3 most digital technology-immersed departments [Santo Tomas e-Service Providers, Educational Technology Center, and the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences] together for a unified strategic planning for the University.”

Among the areas of concern were “the interfaces among the three [units]” and the need to craft a 5-year strategic plan, backed up by a mechanism to accomplish the targets. Also, the gathering aimed “to draft appropriate policies for the ICT services of the University.”

Rev. fr. Stephen Redillas, O.P., served as facilitator in the strategic plan. Among the salient points discussed were the competencies of each of the three units and how these competencies can be harmonized to move toward the same goals.

fr. Redillas (left) receives the certificate of appreciation from fr. Cabading.

According to fr. Cabading, “Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STePs) provides the robust, reliable, scalable, hardware and network infrastructure, while the Educational Technology (EdTech) Center provides the innovations for connected learning on multi platforms. Finally, the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (IICS), as the academic department, [is responsible] for the creation of technological innovations as well as training Thomasians IT professionals who are prepared for the fast-changing landscape of information technology.”

In an online interview, EdTech Center Director Anna Cherylle M. Ramos, MSc, said that with the August 2018 decision to provide the EdTech Center “a clearer focus specifically to be the support unit dedicated for eLearning through the UST Cloud Campus project and instructional media production…the EdTech Center [now] can better focus and prioritize services to harness the university’s expertise in deploying massive e-Learning scale adoption.”

Part of the goals is for UST to be an online university, which will allow it to 1) develop and deliver fully online courses; 2) offer unique courses that are not available to existing program offerings; 3) model and showcase 21st-century teaching and learning practices that embrace student-centric approaches in physical and virtual learning spaces; 4) develop an exemplary league of online instructors in course design, development, and delivery; and 5) produce digital content for a wider set of audiences, among others.

On the part of the academic units, the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences “aims to provide latest technologies to the University.” IICS Director Jerralyn T. Padua, MSc stated that it will partner closely with the EdTech Center to “offer dynamic programs and courses for students, alumni, professionals, and all other stakeholder.” Furhtermore, the Institute will “strengthen its software development consultancy in close coordination with the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers (STePS) in the service of all Thomasian business process owners by introducing innovative systems/applications for various units in the University.”

The output of the entire planning session was a Wildly Important Goal (WIG) to unite the efforts of all units concerned.

The Office of Information and Communication Technology was established in 2018 by the Rector, the Very Rev. fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., PhD. With its establishment, the Santo Tomas e-Service Providers and EdTech Center now fall under its direct supervision. STePs used to be under the Office of the Secretary-General, while EdTech Center used to be under the Office of the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.