Ever had that moment when you’re feeling quite blank that you can’t move from where your research, so far, has taken you? When you’ve been sitting to write for a good 30 minutes but there’s not enough juice to squeeze out? You are not alone. The UP Open University (UPOU) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) recognizes that each one of its employees and students may encounter that seemingly dead end once in a while. That’s why the OVCAA has decided to step up and help out.
As an equivalent to the scientific community’s research laboratories, Research Conversations, or “ResCon” to some, is an effort to uphold a participatory quality research culture in the university. This is held every Friday the whole year-round. ResCon is a venue where UP Open University faculty, REPS, research assistants, and everyone else can come together and talk about research and other academic matters. Speakers can also be invited to talk about their field of expertise and/or studies to facilitate conversation and come up with other researchable areas.
Dr. Melinda Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, has vamped up the OVCAA-initiated Research Conversations this 2018. OVCAA uncovered its updated publication material for Research Conversations 2018. Last year, the symbol used is that of a ‘honeycomb’ which signifies communication, interfacing, union, and hardwork. This year, OVCAA opted to add ‘honey’ to the honeycomb which symbolizes and emphasizes research productivity. During the conversation, UP Open University Chancellor Melinda dela Pena Bandalaria suggested to add ‘bees’ to signify the people and their efforts in research. The colors used were also thought to induce creativity and communication.
In addition, the OVCAA opted to use Sandbox’s sofas instead of the rigid office chairs and work tables to encourage more free-flowing conversations among the participants. Dr. Jean Saludadez, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, described this as the “ASEAN way” to allow conducive and productive discussions and remarked that the initiative proves to be quite effective. They were able to adopt a more comfortable way for this academic gathering which resulted to a better quality of information contributed. The other participants were also more happy sharing their opinions and point of views. The barriers between fields and expertise are broken and all participants became researchers — eager to share and able to contribute.
According to Asst. Prof. Myra Oruga, OVCAA’s Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Research, ResCon for 2018 will feature topics such as qualitative and quantitative research, parts of a research paper, data analysis, journal submissions and paper presentations, prospective funders, paper critiquing, among many others. She also welcomes those who would want to talk about their studies, rehearse their presentations, and even consult peers. There were also suggestions in using Research Conversations as a venue for mentoring and even opening the activity to UPOU students. Currently, ResCons are web streamed over networks.upou.edu.ph to allow the participation of as many people as possible without the need to be physically present in the Rescon venue.
Besides helping the UPOU constituents explore research ideas, move on with their research writing and finding the perfect journal to target publication of their research, ResCon also targets gathering data for UPOU’s next publications. One of the soonest to be released will be a book that discusses teaching models in open and distance eLearning (ODeL). Faculty members that teach research, theory, skills, and practicum courses will be invited to participate in discussion as a convenor facilitates the conversation. The discussion seeks to involve its viewers on a personal level to reach a deeper level of understanding. Its advantage lies on its ability to give you a different point of view on how you do your research. They will showcase the lens of other researchers to display how do they think, how did they encounter those challenges and what did they do to overcome it.
Concerns and suggestions from everyone are also very much welcome. Write ups of the Research Conversations sessions are found in the UPOU Website.
(MRSanBuenaventura and ACLlamas)