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Education made more accessible in the Philippines through the UPOU Networks

Education made more accessible in the Philippines through the UPOU Networks

An announcement
made by the University of the Philippines
(UP) highlighted how the UPOU Networks
provided a collection of UP-created educational content online paving the way
for Philippine education in the digital age.

UP Open
University
(UPOU) Networks is a University-produced online repository of
multimedia learning materials, both open and proprietary.

UPOU Chancellor Melinda Bandalaria said,
“This is not just an index or listing of links to learning materials, which is
quite common. This is a collection of UP-created content which we are
disseminating online and sharing with everyone.”

A diverse selection of content will welcome
anyone who accesses UPOU Networks. They are:

(1)   
UPOU Live – contains events
that the University broadcasts in real time like lectures, symposia, research
presentations, and seminars.

(2)   
UPOU on Record – contains a collection
of podcasts and other audio materials.

(3)   
UPOU Commons – contains the
Open Educational Resources (OERs) under a Creative Commons license.

(4)   
UPOU Mix – contains learning
objects on numerous topics in diverse formats.

OERs have contributed to the improvement of
access to quality education, which was recognised by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) .This encapsulates the UN Sustainable
Development Goal 4 which states, “To ensure inclusive and equitable quality
education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

The Open
and Distance Learning Act
has recognised the efforts of UPOU in pioneering
the OER movement in the Philippines.

The Open and Distance Learning Act is the
policy of the State to expand and further democratise access to quality
tertiary education through the promotion and application of open learning as a
philosophy of access to educational services, and the use of distance education
as an appropriate, efficient and effective system of delivering quality higher
and technical educational services in the country.

UPOU Information Office Director Joanne
Serrano shared, “Not many people in the Philippines know about OERs, which is
why the University needs to work even harder for this revolutionary education
movement to take root and prosper.”

One of the main issues concerning quality
education is accessibility. UPOU embarked on a mission to widen access to its
resources with the Universal and Inclusive Accessibility Program. The objective
of the program is to adhere to UNESCO’s Guidelines on the Inclusion of Learners
with Disabilities in Open and Distance Learning.

In order to meet this guideline, UPOU
Networks should consider readability across different devices and browsers as
well as varying availability of computer peripherals.

Mr Edison Sevilla, an information systems
researcher at the UPOU Multimedia Centre, explains that readability requires
design flexibility, which means that a website conforms to the size of the
screen, may it be a computer monitor, a tablet, or a smartphone.

He adds that among other accessibility
solutions, they are also exploring text-to-speech options for those who are
visually impaired.

To further expand access to the online
repository, the UPOU Networks mobile application was recently released. “It
really needed to be user-friendly with just a few clicks or taps and fewer
swipes, etc.,” Mr Sevilla says.

The UP led open and distance education in
the country with the establishment of UPOU in 1995. Developments in technology
have improved how teaching and learning are done as well as how information is
imparted. UPOU Networks is paving the way for the Philippine education in the
digital age.