MMSU to champion flexible learning in Region 1



The Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) will lead the state universities and colleges in Region I, and the private higher education institutions (HEIs) in Ilocos Norte, in capacitating their faculty members with the knowledge and skills on flexible learning ready for the first semester of the Academic Year 2020-2021. 


With the approval of the Board of Regents (BOR), pending the nod of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), MMSU is set to conduct a series of training workshops for this purpose. 


Taking the Lead in the Region

The project, “Strengthening the Online Teaching Capability of Faculty Members of SUCs in Region 1 and Private HEIs in Ilocos Norte,” aims to extend the current technologies and best instructional practices of the University to other HEIs in the Ilocos region, as instructors and professors face their college students under the New Normal academic environment. 


Particularly, it aims to increase the participants’ knowledge on the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of flexible teaching and learning as bases for instructional delivery options and to instill in them a sense of appreciation on the applicability of flexible teaching and learning in higher education. 


With both online (webinar and self-paced) and face-to-face sessions, the MMSU-led capacity-building shall target around 3,000 faculty members from the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC), North Luzon Philippines State College (NLPSC), Pangasinan State University (PSU), University of Northern Philippines (UNP) and private HEIs in Ilocos Norte.


The specific topics to be discussed will be the following: the concept of flexible teaching and learning; setting up an online course using an LMS; designing courses for flexible teaching and learning; developing learning packages for flexible teaching; and, using ICT tools for teaching.  


The features of the MMSU Virtual Learning Environment (mVLE) will be essentially highlighted to showcase its utility and applicability to the contexts of the target HEIs. 


The University Information and Technology Center (ITC) has significantly developed the mVLE as its Learning Management System (LMS) since 2013. MMSU teachers have been utilizing the LMS since then. 


Prof. Wilben Christie R. Pagtaconan, ITC director and the project team leader, stressed that “the mVLE can serve as a relevant, viable, and sustainable tool to administer classes in a virtual classroom environment, thus, turning it and our other technologies and practices into an opportunity to band with other HEIs in the province is to promote our sense of Ilokano unity and harmony.” 


The ITC, together with the Department of Computer Science (DCS), and the College of Teacher Education (CTE), leads the facilitation of the said regional project. Faculty members of the DCS, College of Industrial Technology (CIT) and College of Engineering (COE) will serve as trainers in the regional sessions. 


With MMSU as a Center of Excellence in Teacher Education and Center of Development in Information Technology, University President Shirley C. Agrupis believes that “cascading our current technologies and best practices as an institution to our brothers and sisters in the region is no longer just a privilege, but a responsibility.” 


“In taking the lead role in this endeavor, we make sure that we maintain a healthy and fluid transmission of knowledge and expertise, while we ensure that our MMSU faculty are fully geared up for this coming first semester.” 


Continuing Excellence in the University
The University has also conducted series of face-to-face and virtual training-workshops titled “Strengthening the Online Teaching Capability of MMSU Faculty Members.”


A face-to-face training workshop on the use of ICT tools in teaching was conducted from June 22 – 30 at the ITC and at the College of Industrial Technology (CIT).  Three hundred fifty faculty members participated in the sessions in batches. Trainers were the faculty members from DCS, CIT and COE. The team assured that proper health protocols were strictly observed in the said session.   


In addition, a Webinar Series was also streamed via Facebook among the academic workforce of the University. Experts from CTE and CIT were the trainers.  


Dr. Byron Joseph A. Hallar, chief for distance learning, discussed ‘The Paradigm of Online Teaching and Learning’ (July 3), while Prof. Fe Erlinda D. Ibalio, a curriculum development specialist, tackled ‘Designing Courses for Online Teaching and Learning (July 6). Also, ‘Designing Learning Activities for Online Teaching and Learning’ (July 8) was explained by Dr. Ronald Candy S. Lasaten, chief for instructional materials development. 


Moreover, Prof. Melchor S. Castro, an information technology specialist, shared about ‘Selecting Open Educational Resources (July 10), while Prof. Gerry D. Abad taught ‘Preparing Assessment Tools’ (July 13).


Dr. Agrupis stressed that “these efforts reflect how we effectively and efficiently hurdle the obstacles of the New Normal academic environment, taking a step forward by extending our resources to the whole region.” (StratCom)