UST Educational Technology Center Director Asst. Prof. Anna Cherylle M. Ramos discussed contextualized e-learning as part of the national broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer’s webinar series INQlusive. The session was titled “Learning in Focus: Are we ready for an online semester?” and was livestreamed on June 26, 2020 at Inquirer.net’s Facebook page.
The webinar, which tackled the changes, challenges and concerns on taking education from the classroom to the internet, also included as resource speakers the Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Atty. Nepomuceno Malaluan, De La Salle Lipa College of Information Technology and Engineering Dean Jorge Bocobo, Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership Lead Convenor Harvey Keh, and Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila President JB Bejarin. The session was moderated by Inquirer Super Editor Pam Pastor and Inquirer Lifestyle Desk Editor Ruel de Veyra.
“There’s a wide variation in terms of student and teacher readiness for remote instruction, and digital equity gaps that must be addressed,” Asst. Prof. Ramos acknowledged, saying that “The decision of one school [regarding continuity of classes online] will be different from that of another school. In the case of UST, to be proactive in post-COVID times, our University is in close coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) which guides all institutions on how to best deliver instruction based on the context of the learners.”
Asst. Prof. Ramos noted that even prior to the pandemic, UST has been revising the standard training curriculum for online instruction. She added that “Our general education courses are already in blended instruction while many of our technical courses are into web enhanced courses. Right now, we are moving into the enriched virtual model, mixing more flexibility in terms of online and offline activities that can still be delivered while fully in distanced mode, and so that our faculty can rapidly teach in this manner.”
To assist the faculty members in the transition, a “rapid e-learning standard training program” began in the last week of June for over 1,000 tenured faculty members. With a month of self-paced instruction and virtual training classes, Asst. Prof. Ramos explained that “These training activities that we provide our teachers are content rich, pedagogically driven, and technologically assisted by our educational technology experts in the University. It is also contextually enriched by the program outcomes needed by the industry. This will eventually allow each of our faculty to prepare the courses and be ready for the fully online environment before August.”
After the training, weeks will be dedicated to quality assurance of the courses within the academic colleges to ensure that “the courses are grounded in sound instructional design principles for online delivery,” said Asst. Prof. Ramos.
In her closing message, Asst. Prof. Ramos reiterated that day-to-day survival is still the topmost priority amid the pandemic. Though as teachers, “It is still expected that we would still perform our primary function, that is the continuity of teaching and learning, and to ensure that our new reality does not affect the quality of education. We should continue to uphold the values of equity, diversity and inclusion, in our own context, and we must stay relevant, not just because of the crisis, but also because we are preparing our students to succeed in a technology pervasive world.”
Asst. Prof. Ramos serves as president of the Philippine e-Learning Society, and has been in the field of educational technology for 2 decades. She is a certified e-learning specialist through a scholarship granted by the federal government of Germany and is a digital literacy alumna of the distinguished Australian Fellowship Awards 2015 from Queensland University of Technology.
The webinar is publicly available through this link: https://www.facebook.com/inquirerdotnet/videos/868869616938198/