UP eyes 'black boxes' broadcast for distance learning


Posted at Nov 27 2020 12:08 PM

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MANILA - The University of the Philippines (UP) is exploring satellite television to aid distance learning as classes shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said Friday.

The UP Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute is developing a black box for a satellite-based delivery of educational content to areas where ground-based network is not available, UP Vice-President for Public Affairs Elena Pernia told ANC.

"When you're talking about technological development, our triple E (Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute) under the Philippine Space Agency director-general Joel Marciano, is developing a box which can work on satellite broadcast," she said.

Pernia said the black box would allow a 2-way communication between the students and teachers but could not elaborate further as the technology was still under development.

"If need be, the university can look for ways na puwede isama 'yon sa academic needs ng mga estudyante (that it can be included in the academic needs of students)," she said, adding they were trying to make the black box compatible with the existing technology and affordable.

Pernia said they were also in talks with some TV stations for a possible use of digital television in delivering courses to its students.

The university is also constantly evaluating the students' learning outcomes to reduce their burden amid the global crisis.

"Kung minsan, ang dami-daming readings. Para saan ba 'yong reading na 'yon? They're important readings to expand knowledge but at this time, what we're looking at, how do they directly relate to the learning outcomes," she said.

(Sometimes, there are too many readings. What's its use?...)

"So trim down para hindi rin masyadong ma-burden ang ating mga estudyante, plus ang ating faculty."

(So we'll trim down to not overburden our students and also our faculty.)

In mid-November, dozens of faculty members and students called on the university administration to end the semester due to remote learning woes.