MANILA — The University of the Philippines (UP) has announced it would shift to blended learning beginning in the next academic year, more than 2 years since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school to implement a largely remote learning setup.
In a June 20 memorandum, which was made public only recently, the UP Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs said the state university was “preparing for the reopening of UP campuses” for Academic Year 2022-2023, following “improvements in the [COVID-19] vaccination status of the Filipino population.”
But UP said it would adopt blended learning, a combination of the traditional in-person schooling and “modern learning methods” using digital platforms. It described the approach as “the ideal learning delivery mode for the post-pandemic era.”
“The ‘thoughtful fusion’ of instructional modalities and methods improves learning outcomes and provides flexibility for teachers and learners,” UP said.
The university said it would follow 3 “models” of blended learning.
Under the first model, classes will remain “fully online, combining asynchronous online learning using a learning management system and synchronous online learning using web conferencing applications.”
The second model, dubbed “blended block learning,” combines independent online study with “intensive” face-to-face sessions.
“For example, in a laboratory class with geographically dispersed students, in-person sessions in the laboratory can be blocked and scheduled at a particular point in the semester, and online learning takes place in the periods before and after the blocked [face-to-face] sessions,” it explained.
The third model or “classic blended learning” alternates in-person classes with asynchronous online learning, wherein “students study the learning content at home… then do guided practice and group work during the [face-to-face] sessions,” according to UP.
The office advised UP faculty to “think through which learning activities are best done [through face-to-face] and online, and which activities should be done online synchronously and asynchronously, to foster learner interaction with the content, the teacher, and other learners.”
Other higher education institutions have adopted a similar approach, blending limited in-person classes with remote learning modalities.
Last year, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera said “there is no going back to the traditional, full-packed face-to-face classrooms” following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In basic education, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recently announced plans to resume in-person classes at full capacity by November.