Espina: Virtual learning

The Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education improvised learning activities during the Covid-19 pandemic, and schools were guided to conceive course syllabi, instructional strategies and tools.

Virtual learning was the best and most accessible for appropriate courses in various academic levels.

The home-based virtual learning programs were feasible in college and post-graduate courses. But for the elementary and high school, modular lessons had to be added with the guidance of the teachers and parents.

The technical facilities, like the internet, are vital. If the system fails, like power and connection problems, the learning process is deterred. Likewise, the students, teachers and parents must be skilled in the technical operations.

There is no substitute for classroom face-to-face interaction. But we have no choice. Home-based learning activities are enriched with research and readings.

How are tests done? Yes, some utilize written and oral practical exercises with corresponding rating scales in the elementary, high school and college levels. In the masteral and doctoral levels, research followed by written synthesis and oral presentations is adequate.

Related learning programs like thesis and doctoral proposals and defense utilize higher levels of technical tools like PowerPoint and videos. In all these, internet connectivity is important since students come from different cities or regions where technical connections vary. Power failures or laptop defects must be attended to immediately.

In my case, through expanded online resources, I teach doctoral courses in language and literature at the University of San Jose-Recoletos Graduate school of Arts and Sciences under dean Glenn Pajares. I rely on extensive readings and research and require the students to present research outputs with as many technical tools and interactive methods like group interaction, role-playing and group dynamics. These are possible if a professor, like me, has a technical assistant.

There are some constraints on online learning like limited student mobility, exposure to technical tools, radiation, overuse of laptops, higher electric bills, dependence on some family members, like parents or siblings who sometimes assist the students, limited teaching strategies, among others.

On a positive note, the students improve their reading and research resourcefulness; their time management skills to cope with time-paced requirements are enhanced. There are many sources of information online.

The non-academic training institutions like those managed by Cinbeth Orellano, Donna Arquillano, Anna Fegi and Margie Visitacion utilize virtual learning as well. The academe has all the manpower and technical staff and facilities to cope with learning innovations amid the pandemic.

FORWARD. Enrolment is going on at St. Theresa’s College. A large part of the school’s vision is to integrate values and community involvement in the curriculum. The faculty and students have been oriented with virtual learning methodologies.

TALENT. Voice and singing online courses are conducted

by singer Donna Arquillano.

TRAINING. Benedicto College teachers undergo regular “online teaching mechanics.” They attend seminars on course syllabus preparations, research and linkages. Photos show activities before the pandemic, which presently have to be attuned to online activities.