The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) was recognized for its unwavering passion and dedication to community-based extension work during the recently concluded eLearning Forum Asia (eLFAsia) 2019. The event, which was held on 29-31 May 2019 at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, served as a venue to advance knowledge of the use of information technology in teaching and learning in the Asian educational community.
Themed (R)evolution of (R)eLearning, eLFA 2019 welcomed paper presentations on interactive learning technology, open educational resources (OER), massive open online courses (MOOCs), eLearning pedagogy, and big data in education, among others. There were also three awards up for grabs: Community Outreach Award, Exemplary Teaching and Learning Award, and Technology Innovation Award.
UPOU, was awarded gold for community outreach and inclusivity. The award was intended for organizations and individuals who exhibit unbridled spirit for improving the quality of education through the use of technology in disadvantaged areas.
The university demonstrates this passion through its entry, the PLDT Infoteach Outreach Program. The program is a partnership with the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, which was initiated through the leadership of UPOU Chancellor Melinda dela Peña Bandalaria. It targets the country’s digital literacy rate. Since its inception in 2012, nearly 25 thousand individuals have been trained from 160 local government units and 704 schools from 65 of the country’s school divisions. The institution’s project representative, University Extension Associate, Ms. Emely Amoloza, was unable to attend. Dr. Joane V. Serrano, Director of UPOU Information Office, received the award on behalf of Chancellor Bandalaria.
UPOU competed against five other institutions for the Community Outreach Award: Chulalongkorn University, National Taipei University of Business Affiliated Open College, Hong Kong Baptist University Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning, Sunway Education Group, and University of Santo Tomas Educational Technology Center & Simbahayan Community Development Office.
Hong Kong Baptist University’s Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning took silver for its collaborative team-based international eTournament on content generation for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while the National Taipei University of Business Affiliated Open College took bronze for their teaching methods and administrative measures for lifelong education which enabled ubiquitous learning for a wide range of audiences. They were represented by Martin Lau and Ruay-Shiung Chang, respectively. (Patricia Calora, FICS)