Distance Learning in the Philippines

DepEd Encourages Public School Teachers to Enroll in UPOU Programs

The Department of Education, through Memorandum Nos. 202 and 230, encourages public school teachers to enroll in the University of the Philippines Open University’s (UPOU) teacher education programs. The memoranda signed by DepEd Officer-in-Charge and Undersecretary Ramon C. Bacani decree that “teachers who earned their diploma degrees from UPOU will be considered to be on equal terms with those who have earned their master’s degree from other institutions.”

The UPOU degree programs for teachers are Doctor of Philosophy in Education (majors in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics Education), Master of Arts in Education (Language Studies), Diploma in Mathematics, Diploma in Science Teaching, Diploma in Language Studies for Teachers, and Diploma in Social Studies Education.

One thousand six hundred six (1,606) teachers have graduated from UPOU since 1997. Many of them benefited from the scholarship grants provided by the Department of Education and the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute.

The distance education program of UP started from the project Science Teaching Using Distance Education (STUDE), which was later renamed Upgrading Science Teaching Using Distance Instruction (STUDI). The project, headed by Dr. Ma. Cristina D. Padolina and who later became the first Chancellor of the UPOU, was created to develop a plan that will help upgrade the teaching capabilities of science and mathematics teachers all over the country.

In 1988, the Diploma in Science Teaching, the first degree program offered by distance education was instituted. Its first students were mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics teachers from Laguna, Cavite, Batangas, Mindoro, and Pangasinan.

Currently, UPOU offers a total of 22 degree programs and 9 nonformal courses. It is now acknowledged as the Cybercampus of the University of the Philippines. UPOU is also the Commission on Higher Education’s Center of Excellence in Open Learning and Distance Education and the Academic Focal Point for the Philippines under the ASEAN Virtual Institute of Science and Technology. (LA Gelisan, OC)


Philippine eLearning Society on the Rise
The PelS’ first general assembly held on July 30, 2003 at Bayview Park Hotel in Roxas Blvd., Manila was a kick off to the Society’s long term plans of promoting eLearning in the country. Twenty-nine participants, of whom a greater number came from Metro Manila, joined the said event. Dr. Benito Teehankee of the De la Salle University Professional Schools, Inc. welcomed the body and facilitated the assembly. Dr. Maria Lurenda Suplido of UP Open University then presented the draft of the Society’s constitution and by-laws for review. The body then approved the revised draft to be submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The meeting proceeded with the election of the 9-member board of trustees. The following were elected as board members: Dr. Benito Teehankee (President); Dr. Maria Lurenda Suplido (Vice-President); Ms. Eloisa Tinio (Secretary); Dr. Maria Celeste Gonzales (Treasurer); Mr. Jay Robert C. Fernandez (Auditor); Dr. Ricardo Robrigado (Trustee); Mr. Roland Diez (Trustee); Mr. Leo Querubin (Trustee), and CHED Commissioner, Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina (Trustee).

Undersecretary Virgilio Pena, Executive Director of Information Technology and Ecommerce Council (ITECC), graced the said event.


eLearning on a Prism: Students’ Perception (Part I)
by: Roland Diez

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave inspired me to write about eLearning on a prism. In his story, Plato described a dark underground cave where a number of people are seated on one long row with their backs to the cave’s entrance. These people can only see the distant cave wall in front of them as they are chained to their chairs from an early age. Reality to them solely depends upon this limited view of the cave – a silhouette copy of the real world. Elearning is one of the realities analogously seen on the cave’s wall. Per se, It is not yet fully fathomed as it gears towards a certain direction, and spills its newness and versatility in this modern world. It is, indeed, like the lights reflected on a prism.

Few days ago, I conducted a descriptive survey on how my students perceive elearning: its advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few of the significant results that came out. First, eLearning is time-efficient as one need not go to school to study; hence, his learning process cannot be affected by traffic jam along the roads. Secondly, eLearning lessens dependency on teachers and allows learning process at his own pace; thus, learning becomes less taxing, and more appealing and enjoyable. One can never be scolded based on what he does, nor be graded by his teacher based on attitudes, appearances, or the teacher’s personal preferences. Thirdly, eLearning gives the student the option to select the kind of material appropriate to his level of knowledge and interest. As eLearning becomes more accessible, the individual student appreciates more the convenience of praxis learning set on global rather than localized ground. Rich knowledge will no longer be a privilege to the majority of people in highly urbanized places. Instead, this knowledge will become available, too to people in under-developed countries. (Part One)

For clarifications, comments, or write-ups, please contact rolanddiez@yahoo.com or rbdiez@eastasia.edu.ph. http://www.elearning.ph/newsletter/current.html


High Court to pilot distance learning project for judges
Posted: 10:24 PM (Manila Time) | Jul. 01, 2004
By Alexander Villafania

THE SUPREME Court, in association with the Philippine Judicial Academy (PJA), will start pilot testing an electronic learning project for 200 judges nationwide as part of a shift to distance education among members of the judicial system.

The pilot test will start by the end of July and will involve the use of locally developed learning modules on electronic evidence and psychological incapacity.

The modules will be delivered via the Internet where participants will have to use a computer.

The SC acquired funding from the Asian Foundation for 4,000 US dollars per module. It also tapped Singaporean firm CrimsonLogic to provide the e-learning software.

Atty. Ivan Uy, chief information officer of the SC said the e-learning project is one of their experiments to see what mode of distance education would work for them. Usually, they conduct seminars and conferences in different places, which are usually costly.

“There were two reasons why we embarked in this project: one is to improve the continuing education of our judges and second to save up on costs,” Uy said.

Uy said that the pilot test would run for about five months, followed by an evaluation to see where the project worked and to make changes.

“If it proves its worth, we’ll include other learning modules like money laundering, accounting issues, and criminal laws,” Uy said.

So far, initial reception to an e-learning project was positive, according to Uy. He said many of the participating judges have attended a teleconferencing seminar.

With regards to the choice of pilot modules, Uy said many of the judges have to start learning about electronic evidence since it is stipulated in Republic Act 8792, otherwise known as the E-Commerce Act.

Meanwhile, the psychological incapacity module was chosen since many of the participating judges to the e-learning project are handling marriage annulment cases.


Distance learning group to set up e-learning standards
Posted: 3:32 AM (Manila Time) | Jun. 18, 2004
By Alexander Villafania

THE PHILIPPINE E-Learning Society (PELS) has tied up with the Asia E-learning Network (AEN) to establish standards on e-learning using the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM).

As part of this tie-up, PELS will be conducting seminars and training programs early next year for teachers and institutions that are engaged in distance and e-learning programs.

SCORM is a standard used by many distance learning institutions worldwide to develop curriculums that can conform with each other and be reused by other schools.

In the case of PELS, they would be using SCORM to standardize all the learning modules that can be shared among e-learning schools.

PELS will also look for partners to promote the use of SCORM in the Philippines. One of their plans is to get a SCORM expert from Singapore to train Filipinos.

PELS President Ben Teehankee said in an interview that using SCORM would save the country’s e-learning institutions from having to create their own modules and instead borrow those that are already available.

Teehankee said the use of SCORM in an e-learning environment ensures that learning modules can run on any operating platform, including Microsoft Windows, Unix and Linux.

Although such a project would entail investments on the part of the e-learning schools, Teehankee said they could just start from basic modules and eventually ramp up to intermediate curriculums.

“If there’s one thing that should be developed first in e-learning is the content that caters to a specific group of students. Delivery is also a very important aspect in e-learning and using SCORM can ensure that student learning can be maximized,” Teehankee said.


UP, semiconductor firms launch online engineering courses
First posted 11:46pm (Mla time) Sept 22, 2005
By Alexander Villafania

The University of the Philippines College of Engineering (UP-COE), in cooperation with Intel Philippines, Philips Semiconductors, and Texas Instruments recently launched the UP Distributed Graduate Instruction (UP-DIGRI) program, an online distance learning project for the country’s electrical, mechanical and industrial engineers who wish to take up high-level graduate degrees.

The UP-DIGRI program was developed as an alternative for those who cannot find time for traditional classes in universities. It was also developed to speed up the production of a pool of graduate degree engineers in an effort to fill the demand by of the Philippines’ semiconductor companies.

The three semiconductor firms allotted a total of 24,000 dollars to build the facility and purchase equipment; UP provided space for the laboratory and the internally developed University Virtual Learning Environment.

The program offers two Masters in Engineering in Microelectronics courses and four in Masters of Material Science and Engineering, all at the UP.

Students taking the courses attend classes virtually except for laboratory work.

UP-COE Associate Dean Norbert Que said they already have 52 students taking various courses under the UP-DIGRI program.

Dean Que added that they would be conducting per semester evaluation for the program to ensure updates of curriculums for the following semester. “We’re taking every effort to make sure that our curriculums are up-to-date with world standards,” he said.


Online learning facility for state schools pilot tested
Posted: 7:44 PM (Manila Time) | Jul. 16, 2004
By Alexander Villafania

THE NATIONAL Computer Institute (NCI), the training division of the National Computer Center, recently pilot tested its first online learning facility that will be used for state colleges and universities (SUCs).

It conducted the pilot test with the Benguet State University (BSU) in La Trinidad, Benguet and the Bicol University in Legazpi City.

The NCI adopted an interactive category of distance learning that involves two-way communications, videoconferencing, voice over IP (VoIP) and Web chat.

The first online course used for the training was on Access, a database application developed by Microsoft.

Through the system, a weeklong lecture was given teachers and students in the SUCs. The video conferencing facility allowed the instructor located at the NCI office in Diliman, Quezon City to interact with the participants.

Daily hands-on exercises were submitted through e-mail. Even the final exam was conducted live via video conferencing.

The pilot test will be followed up by the introduction of other basic courses soon.

The NCI coordinated with Microsoft Philippines to provide the software, while it used the nationwide network of the Philippine Research, Education, Government Information Network (PREGINET).

PREGINET is under the supervision of the Advanced Science and Technology Institute, one of the research and development agencies of the Department of Science and Technology.

Incidentally, PREGINET will also start pilot testing this August a new e-learning application developed under the auspices of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Called the ASEAN Virtual Institute of Science and Technology, the software will be initially targeted at SUCs and will eventually be used also by other members of PREGINET.