Reyes, Fajilan talk of blended online instruction, documenting ethnolinguistic groups at AUDRN conference

UST Filipino Department Chair Mr. Alvin Ringgo C. Reyes, and Filipino Dept. faculty member Asst. Prof. Wennielyn Fajilan, Ph.D., presented research papers during the 2019 Asian University Digital Resource Network (AUDRN) Local Knowledge National Conference with the theme, “Local Knowledge across Generations: Towards the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

Held from February 8 to 9, 2019 at the Silliman University, Dumaguete City, the conference was a gathering of local knowledge researchers, partners, advocates, champions, and digital technology researchers, strategists, planners, and developers.

It was aimed at providing a unique forum to discuss the integration of local knowledge in higher education using information and communication technology (ICT). Moreover, the conference was a venue for AUDRN partners to share their research studies on the integration of local knowledge in the curriculum including Whole-Person Education.

The University of Santo Tomas is an active partner of the AUDRN.
Reyes presented his study titled “Mandated Blended Online Instruction: A Case Study on the
Affordances and Challenges of GenEd Filipino E-Learning Adoption at the University of Santo Tomas.”

In his paper, Reyes presented how the new General Education Filipino 1 course offered by UST, titled Kontekstuwalisadong Komunikasyon sa Filipino (Contextualized Communication in Filipino), serves as a space for the discussion of local knowledge. He also talked about how such subject matter was delivered through the blended learning approach where the first meeting serves as a face-to-face encounter with students while the second one, through online instruction.

He also presented the challenges and solutions taken regarding the implementation of the blended online learning in terms of curriculum, human resources, and facilities.

According to Reyes, “there must be a dedicated course in the undergraduate curriculum for the
teaching of local knowledge. Filipino is the best course to handle this as language is the repository of one culture.”

Mandating online instruction is more effective in ensuring active implementation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-based instruction compared to making it optional. However, face-to-face and online instructions must not be dichotomized; teaching in the cloud campus and in the physical classroom are one and integrated. ICT is a powerful tool that may be utilized for the understanding, discourse, codification, and dissemination of local knowledge in different fields. Teachers must be challenged to aspire for higher levels of technology use, such as modification and redefinition.”

Meanwhile, Fajilan presented her paper titled “Defining and Redefining the Local: A Preliminary Analysis of Representations of Asi Culture in Community-based Websites.”
Fajilan’s paper stated that, “In a multicultural and multilingual community like the Philippines, local knowledge pertains to multiple knowledges embedded in the cultures of more than a hundred ethnolinguistic group.

However, majority of these ethnolinguistic groups’ culture are undocumented and lack representation in national affairs.” To combat this problem, Fajilan pointed out that “the emergence of web publishing in the last two decades has paved the way for new ways of representing local knowledge as evidenced by Romblomanons.”

According to Fajilan, “By publishing independent websites, local communities like the Asi of Romblon created their own space to represent their own culture. In doing so, an alternative source of local knowledge became available for a community that was neglected in traditional cultural sources like the academe and print media.”

The study illustrated how these alternative sources map local knowledge systems so that these sources may be best utilized for a critical integration of ICT in learning about and empowering indigenous communities. One of the websites that served as primary basis of her data is of the Simaranhon Tribe of Romblon.

Joining Reyes and Fajilan was UST Educational Technology Center Director Asst. Prof. Anna Cherylle M. Ramos, who represented UST in the AUDRN Institutional Partners’ Meeting with School Presidents.

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