By JULES VIVAS
In recent news on education, there has been a debate on whether schools should push through with the opening of classes in August. On May 28, however, the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary Leonor Briones announced that no face-to-face schooling would be conducted until safety from the disease could be guaranteed. Sec. Briones also mentioned that learning opportunities could still be provided by means of blended and distance learning. Meanwhile, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Prospero de Vera III said that universities implementing “flexible” learning might start the school year in August.
For those unfamiliar with the terms mentioned, blended and flexible learning are one and the same, and pertains to a method of education that incorporates traditional or classroom teaching with technology. Distance learning, on the other hand, only involves digital or online education, which allows students to earn a diploma or degree without being physically present in schools.
There are more discussions up for debate on how education in the country should proceed today. In the meantime, educational institutions are using what is readily available for most of them right now: online learning. Here are updates from some of the schools, their current plans and programs for the coming school year.
AMA Education System (AMAES)
Schools under the AMA Education System (AMAES) will start their school year in June, but will follow a full-online learning approach. The institution, one of the leading IT schools in the country, has been providing alternative study methods from blended learning to full-online degrees through its AMA Online Education (AMA OEd), even before the pandemic.
“As educators, we share DepEd’s objective to continue educating our children in these trying times. Our decision to shift, for the time being, to a full-online setup gives students a chance to continue studying to remain at pace with their respective courses,” said the founder and chairman of AMAES, Dr. Amable R. Aguiluz V.
Schools under AMAES that will conduct the full-online learning program are AMA University and Colleges, ABE International Business College, ACLC and ACLC College, St. Augustine School of Nursing, Sta. Veronica College–La Union, South Luzon College-Cavite, and AMA Basic Education.
De La Salle Philippines (DLSP)
De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) creates Benilde Online Learning Term (BOLT) for students who were previously enrolled with the school. BOLT is an interim term that offers over 200 well-curated courses to be conducted by expert educators with high level proficiency in online teaching.
Benildeans are given the chance to take up to four subjects before the beginning of the third term. This allows graduating students to complete their requirements before face-to-face classes resume. The classes will be coursed through Benilde’s official learning management system BigSky, which presents the tools and materials for lessons.
The online course will only have two-to-four synchronous meetings. Majority of the sessions can be carried out offline, without seeing the faculty mentor and classmates in real time, a set-up ideal for students to manage their own flexible study hours. BOLT begins on July 1 and will run until August 26, 2020.
Likewise, another DLSP school, La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) is currently solidifying its distance learning, with the launch of its home-based learning program FLETCH or Flexible Lasallian Education through Technology and Collaboration at Home.
“Online learning lends itself to personalized learning. It presents itself with a lot of possibilities, so long as the teacher is creative. We found that while in face-to-face learning a teacher could only handle 30 to 40 students, online a teacher can handle 80 students but also focus on individual learning,” explained Br. Edmundo Adolfo L. Fernandez FSC, president of DLS-CSB and LSGH. “Parents can request for evening classes if they want to supervise their children after they come home from work.”
Enrollment is ongoing until June 25.
lsgh.edu.ph | benilde.edu.ph
Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU)
ADMU comes up with new initiatives in online education namely AteneoBlueCloud (ABC) and Adaptive Design for Learning (ADL). ABC is Ateneo’s brand for their virtual campus and online community of learners and educators, while ADL is a framework created as a response to the students’ changing needs, especially in the pandemic. The latter consists of teacher training, materials development, and assessment for online learning. More details about the two concepts will be released soon.
“I wish to assure the entire community that the Ateneo de Manila will open and that we are ready for the academic year ahead. Education is more than just work for us. It is our vocation and mission. We will keep learning if only to take hold of what lies ahead of us,” said ADMU president Jose Ramon Villarin. S.J., on the announcement of the new school year.