UPOU from A to Z (26 Things to Know about UPOU)

by Moireen Nicola Antoinette Espinosa

2021 — the 26th anniversary of the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU). Indeed, it is an eventful year for everyone to celebrate. The ongoing pandemic has shaken the lives of many, yet the institution and its community still remain– strong and persevering. Here is a listicle of the 26 things to know about UPOU. Enjoy reading! 

A – Asynchronous.  Most classes at UPOU are of the asynchronous format. Asynchronous learning allows flexibility since students can access pre-developed course materials such as course packages, pre-recorded multimedia lectures,  and other digital learning  materials, and interact with teachers and fellow learners through discussion boards and collaborative documents at their own pace and time. For more information about this format, you may watch this UPOU Institutional video.

B – Blog. OpenUPConnect.com is the official blog of UPOU, relaunched in January 2018. OpenUPConnect.com is an initiative aligned with UPOU’s Flagship Programs @ccesssUP, which generally seeks to make UPOU programs more accessible and within reach, and UPOU Connected, which provides a venue for public discussion of critical social issues, participate in social mobilization and disseminate research results and knowledge products. Contributions to the blog from UPOU faculty, staff members, students, and alumni are welcome. Interested parties may send contributions to inquiries@upou.edu.ph.

C – Chatbot. UPOU has chatbots named IskOU and Iska. The inspiration behind this is the concept of online chatting. The chatbot is accessible via the UPOU Facebook page and through the UPOU website where it functions as a regular chatbox but specific to UPOU related queries. To chat with IskOU and Iska, go to https://askou.upou.edu.ph/. 

D –  Donation Drives. To help students cope with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, UPOU has launched the UPOU-Kaagapay+, an expansion of the Kaagapay sa Pag-aaral ng Iskolar ng Bayan or #KaagapayUP launched by the UP System. To know more about this initiative, go to this link. 

E – e-Learning. UPOU is one of the earliest adopters of e-learning in the country. Even in its early stage, UPOU made use of tele tutorials and video conferencing as well as audio-visual materials to supplement printed modules. In 2001 with the advancement in the Internet, UPOU started offering its courses online via the Integrated Virtual Learning Environment (IVLE), and in 2007 started offering its courses fully online via the Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle). 

F – Free Online Courses. Did you know that the UPOU offers a wide range of online courses for FREE? The Massive Open Distance e-Learning (MODeL) is UPOU’s customized platform for its Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which is open to the public for free, and designed for unlimited learner participation. There are many interesting MOOC topics lined up for the year 2021.  Know more about MOOCs and the calendar of topics through this link. 

G – UP Gmail / UP Mail. This is an email service available to all currently enrolled UP students and employed faculty and staff (whether regular, contractual, or COS ( Contract of Service), and offices in partnership with Google. For more information on how to access your UP Gmail and other perks, you may visit this link. 

H – Helpdesk. To provide more effective and timely support services to applicants and students, the UPOU has developed the UPOU Helpdesk. The UPOU Helpdesk is a system that provides information and support to its stakeholders. All relevant information about UPOU such as admission to programs, enrollment/registration, academic procedures, and other matters related to studying with the university can be accessed through the knowledge base in the helpdesk or through a ticketing system. 

I – Inclusivity. As the leading online learning and distance education institution in the country, UPOU is aimed towards inclusivity in providing access to quality education, including those who are marginalized. No one gets left behind means providing inclusive, quality education for all. How does UPOU achieve sustainable development alongside inclusive education? As the University of the Future, UPOU’s projects are aligned with sustainable development number 4: which is quality education for all. 

J – Journals. Part of UPOU’s research efforts are journal publications such as the ASEAN Journal of Open and Distance Learning, the International Journal on Open and Distance e-Learning, and the Journal of Management and Development Studies. You may subscribe to and submit research materials to these publications. 

K – Knowledge  Generation. As part of the goal to provide scholarship to the world and nation, UPOU offers undergraduate, graduate certificate, graduate diploma, masters, and doctorate programs that are critical to knowledge generation and national development. For complete details regarding these programs, you may visit the UPOU website.

L – Learning styles. Yes, students have different learning styles. The effectiveness of online distance learning has a lot of factors to consider; and in UPOU, an independent learning style is a must.  Independent learning style means a learner taking responsibility for his/her learning. 

M – Mega Learning Hubs. UPOU has three Mega Learning Hubs: (1) Diliman, Quezon City (Luzon); (2) Cebu City (Visayas); and (3) Davao (Mindanao). An evolution of what used to be the Learning Center of the UPOU, these Mega Learning Hubs are virtual and physical spaces where students and faculty members can collaborate and become co-creators of knowledge. 

N – National University. UPOU is the 5th Constituent Unit of the UP System, the Philippines’ national university. UPOU’s mission is to provide Filipinos everywhere access to quality higher education through innovative methods of teaching and learning that are designed to be responsive to their needs as well as to national development priorities.

O – Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with intellectual property licenses that facilitate the free use, adaptation, and distribution of resources (UNESCO). Anyone can access UPOU’s OERs via the UPOU Networks.

P –  MyPortal is the way! The MyPortal or UPOU’s virtual classroom, is the open-source learning management system , powered by Moodle. More often than not, distance learners  feel isolated due to being physically separated from their peers. Add to it are the requirements needed in order to complete the courses. It’s all about time-management. And of course, the online platforms are used to keep the connection alive among peers. What’s nice about MyPortal is the discussion boards that help keep the conversations alive in every course  taken by the students in their respective programs. 

Q – Qualifications. What are the qualifications to get into UPOU? Any person seeking admission into a program must satisfy the minimum admission requirements specified in the program applied for and must not be a current student (enrolled, on residency, LOA, AWOL) of another university or college. You may read more about the different qualifications and requirements via this weblink

R – Republic Act 10650 (Open Distance Learning Law). RA 10650 has tasked UPOU to assist relevant national agencies, higher education institutions, and technical and vocational institutions in developing their distance education programs through training, technical assistance, research, and other academic programs.

S – #SablayGoals. This is the hashtag used in social media by students who are faced with challenges in their studies and need to remind themselves about graduation. What is a sablay? The Sablay is the official academic costume of the University, replacing upon its introduction in 1990 and its official adoption in 2000, the traditional mortarboard (cap) and toga. 

T – Technology as a friendly medium! Despite the physical separation between the learner and the teacher, this does not mean that students are left on their own. Teaching and learning are mediated through the use of technology like print, audio, video, and the internet. Read more about Distance Education via this web link

U – University of the Future. Now more than ever, UPOU’s efforts are centered on it being a University of the Future, where there is a  continuing conversation about how the university can shape the direction of the future of universities. Read more about UPOU’s own articulation of the University of the Future as well as the continuing conversation about how the university can shape the direction of the future of universities via this link

V – Virtual Campus Tour. Take a virtual tour of the UPOU’s campus located at its Headquarters in  Los Baños, Laguna. Although UPOU offers its courses via distance learning, the physical campus is where its faculty members and support staff report for work. More often than not, UPOU students get to see the campus only during graduation. This virtual tour will give you a glimpse of UPOU’s physical campus.  

W – Webinars. UPOU has free webinars. These are open to unlimited interested participants unless otherwise specified. Know more about how to access the UPOU webinars by reading this FAQ page.

X – Exams. How does UPOU ensure academic integrity during examinations?  There are established mechanisms for ensuring the integrity of the examination process such as online proctoring, sit-down proctored exams, and other mechanisms to maintain academic integrity. 

Y – YouTube account. Aside from the official social media pages of UPOU (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and  Linkedin), the university also has its YouTube channel which contains a number of video lectures on various subject matters.

Z  – Zoom. The official video conferencing platform of UPOU is Zoom, which faculty, staff and students can use with their UPOU email. Here is an instructional video on how you can use the Zoom App for online meeting/online video conferencing.

We hope this listicle helped you know more about UPOU and change the perspective of some “myths” about online distance learning. 

References: 

Jenn. (2021, February 19). Generation z in the classroom. Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://www.studentcenteredworld.com/teaching-generation-z/

Public service. (2021, January 18). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://www.upou.edu.ph/public-service/ 

Tatak upou [Video file]. (2020, March 04). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://youtu.be/-4eKdr6_WZY

UPOU in the Digital Age (2007-2009). (2021, January 20). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://networks.upou.edu.ph/30074/upou-in-the-digital-age-2007-2009/

Vlog about how I pursue my master’s degree in UPOU [Video file]. (2020, May 28). Retrieved March 09, 2021, from https://youtu.be/mheV63jNz2o

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