The BUKA Conference 2023 on “Advancing Equity and Access to Higher Education Through Open and Distance Learning” will be held on October 17-18, 2023, at the Wawasan Open University in Penang, Malaysia. The conference will bring together researchers, educators, and practitioners in open and distance learning to discuss innovative solutions to current challenges in promoting equity and access to higher education through technology-enabled learning. Join us for an exciting and collaborative event exploring the latest developments and advancements in open and distance learning. Please visit the following website for more details: https://www.bukaconference.asia.
The College of Education (CED) of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) has organized an annual online activity called BUKATalk to encourage the College’s community of learning (CoL) to reflect on their teaching experiences and discuss and share good teaching practices as part of the implementation of innovative flexible learning (InFLeX) in the College.
BUKATalk is part of CED’s pilot program under the EU-funded Better Universities & Knowledge for All (BUKA) project. The activity is underpinned by the REACH (Relevant, Engaged, Active, Connected, and Holistic) framework proposed by CED Dean Amelia Buan and colleagues as part of the implementation of the InFLeX modality at MSU-IIT.
At a recent BUKATalk Dr. Rhea Febro-Confessor shared a brief lecture on “Thinking Together through Communities of Practice (CoP).’’ She talked about the essential features of CoPs and the important dimensions of “practice.” She emphasized that cultivating a CoP must include: designing for evolution; opening dialogue between inside and outside perspectives to see opportunities and possibilities; inviting different levels of participation and not expecting everyone to participate at the same level; focusing on value; combining familiarity and excitement; and creating a rhythm for the community. Her talk prompted the faculty peer mentors to reflect upon the various peer mentoring activities conducted in the College for possible revisions and enhancement towards more progressive communities of learning and practice.
Also at the BUKATalk faculty members from the different departments of the College shared their virtual classroom set-up in the University’s Moodle-based LMS; best practices in assessment, lesson delivery, student support, and interaction; and challenges encountered in implementing InFLeX. The presenters were: Kayce Maye Michelle D. Casas and Victor Rosales of the Department of Technology Teacher Education, Giselle Dangdang and Felix Gaviola, Jr. of the Department of Professional Education, Odessa Aberilla and Elesar Malicoban of the Department of Science and Mathematics Education, Leo Santillana and Darlton Ace Tero of the Department of Physical Education, and Dante Joma Zabala and Neal Alfie Lasta of the Integrated Development School.
In her synthesis statement, Dean Buan challenged everyone to pursue quality and equity in instruction despite the challenges of the new modality of teaching and learning, and to be involved in achieving the goal of MSU-IIT’s pilot program under the BUKA project, which is “to be a delivering institution of quality accessible education for Mindanao through innovative modalities.”
The Universitas Terbuka (UT) – BUKA team organized the first virtual International Conference on Innovation in Open and Distance Learning (INNODEL) on 14-15 November 2021. The theme of the conference was “Technology for Online Education: Access, Quality, and Equity,” highlighting current issues and innovations in online learning technologies to promote equitable access to quality online education.
INNODEL featured the following prominent experts as keynote speakers:
* Dr. Martin Dougiamas, Founder and CEO of Moodle
* Prof. Ir. Tian Belawati, Professor at the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training and former Rector of Universitas Terbuka
* Professor Simon Bedford, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning Futures), Western Sydney University, Australia
* Mitja Jermol, UNESCO Chair in Open Technologies for OER and Open Education, Slovenia
* Assoc. Prof. Cai Yiyu, Deputy Director, Centre for Augmented and Virtually Reality, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
* Dr. Onno W. Purbo, Indonesian IT Expert
The 2021 INNODEL was attended by more than 150 participants and 70 presenters. The UT-BUKA Team presented a working paper entitled “Internet Offline System Design: UT Akses.”
There was also a one-day pre-conference workshop by Microsoft Indonesia, EON Reality, and Universitas Terbuka to share experiences and current innovations in online learning.
For more information about INNODEL, visit: https://innodel.lppm.ut.ac.id/
On 10 June 2021, UP Open University released a call for proposals for the Sustainable Institution Building for Open Learning (SIBOL) program. SIBOL is UPOU’s program under the European Union-funded “Advancing Equity and Access to Higher Education through Open and Distance Learning” or BUKA project. SIBOL aims to provide mentoring and technical support to state colleges and universities (SUCs) that are interested in offering—as a public service—a teacher training program in online, blended, or remote learning for a partner institution or organization.
An orientation session was held on 24 June 2021 via Zoom for institutions that signified interest in submitting proposals. Eighteen SUCs participated in the orientation session where Dr. Patricia Arinto, UPOU BUKA project leader and current Dean of UP Visayas Tacloban College, presented the background of the SIBOL program, the eligibility requirements, the types of proposals requested, and the selection criteria and procedure.
The SUCs that participated in the orientation were the following: Agusan Del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology; Batangas State University; Bukidnon State University; Cavite State University; Central Luzon State University; Eastern Visayas State Universityv- Ormoc City Campus; Eastern Visayas State University – Tacloban City; Ifugao State University; Kalinga State University; Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology; Nueva Vizcaya State University; Negros Oriental State University; Romblon State University; Southern Leyte State University; Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology; Tarlac State University; University of Southeastern Philippines; and Western Mindanao State University – Zamboanga City.
The SIBOL program aims to build a network of institutions that shall form the core of zonal open and distance learning centers in the Philippines. For details about the program visit the SIBOL website.
The College of Education of the Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) led by Dean Amelia T. Buan conducted a virtual training program for InFlex peer facilitators from 8 January to 29 February 2021, as part of its Better Universities & Knowledge for All (BUKA) project. The objective of the training was to capacitate peer mentors from the different departments of the College in providing support for faculty in the implementation of the Innovative Flexible Learning (InFLeX) modality.
Noting that the way to capacitate teachers is by establishing a community of learning, Dean Buan challenged Mr. JoneiI Medina and Ms. Rica Mae Guarin, faculty members of the Department of Science and Mathematics Education who completed the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Training of Teacher Trainers on Flexible Learning Modality in October 2020, to design a training program for faculty anchored on the MSU-IIT context. Mr. Medina and Ms. Guarin proposed a specialized training for the development of skills in engaging and motivating students in an online and flexible learning environment, maintaining the integrity of assessment, and establishing learning communities among students. The hybrid training consisted of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, with international speakers in the synchronous webinar sessions and local trainers facilitating the asynchronous activities.
Dr. Hanna Teräs, principal lecturer at Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland, gave the lecture on keeping learners engaged and motivated in InFleX modality on 19 January 2021. She highlighted the importance of utilizing learning or pedagogical design in online flexible teaching to engage students and keep them motivated. She also underscored the importance of objectively considering what the learner can achieve and accomplish instead of blaming either the teachers or the students for poor performance.
Dr. Engr. wim Van Petegem, a professor at the Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven in Belgium, gave the lecture on maintaining the integrity of assessment in an online and flexible learning modality on 29 January 2021. One of the key messages of the lecture is the need for teachers to be creative in designing assessment tasks that would encourage critical thinking and discourage mere knowledge recall. It was also emphasized that assessment should be geared towards the development of 21st century skills that would capacitate students to be ready for future work demands.
Prof. Charisse Reyes, a faculty member at the UPOU Faculty of Education who is currently doing her PhD studies at Monash University, Australia, lectured on student support and learning communities. She noted the need for a well defined and well disseminated student support framework to minimize dropout rates among distance online learners. She presented various theories on student engagement and emphasized some key areas of student support, namely, academic support, technical scaffolding, providing support for health and well-being, and providing a sense of community.
Running alongside the lectures were asynchronous activities where the participants were guided in reviewing their course syllabi and revising their teaching and learning activities to make them more engaging, improving their course assessment plan, and adopting student support mechanisms. The group sharing, department mentoring, and peer presentations culminated in the graduation of the first batch of trainees in the InFleX Peer Facilitators Training Program on 13 March 2021. According to Dr. Buan, this pioneering group is expected to continually reflect on their own professional practice and share what they learned with their colleagues through department-based capacity building training. They are expected to help achieve the vision of the MSU-IIT College of Education to be a capable provider of fully online and distance learning courses by 2023, in line with the MSU-IIT’s mandate to provide quality education for the development of Mindanao and the country through relevant programs in instruction, research, and community engagement.