A Year of COVID-19: Looking back at how the pandemic affected MSU-IIT

A Year of COVID-19: Looking back at how the pandemic affected MSU-IIT

by Michelle Jeanne Caracut, OC/OPI

Exactly one year ago today, MSU-IIT suspended work and classes after Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol issued a memo canceling all face-to-face activities in the campus as a precautionary measure against growing coronavirus concerns in Iligan City.

As classes and work halted; students and employees filed out of the gates; and parking lots emptied; the campus was left uncharacteristically quiet. And this remained the case for the rest of the year as classes were moved online and only a skeleton work crew was maintained by the University. 

While the pandemic kept most everyone away in 2020, many notable things still happened on campus.  Here are some of them:

Innovative Flexible Teaching and Learning Delivery

To ensure that learning continues during the pandemic, the University utilized its Online Learning Environment or MOLE as the primary learning platform. The University made use of MOLÉ 2.0 during the First Semester, AY 2020-2021. By second semester, the University’s Center for Information and Communication Technology (CICT), together with the MSU-IIT Center for eLearning (MICeL), upgraded the system into MOLÉ 3.0, which is also available as a mobile app.

To support research activities during online classes, teachers and students can also access the University’s e-library, curated and maintained by the Office of the Institute Library. 

What used to be done face-to-face, conferences, meetings, and lectures are done virtually through available online platforms like Google Meet and Zoom.

Automation of Processes in the University

The University utilized the MSU-IIT Intelligent Course Adviser (MICA) for online enrollment that was also designed and developed by the CICT. 

A graduation app was also employed so that graduating students can apply online.

A Document Tracking System (DTS), commissioned by the Office of the Chancellor, was developed by CICT and MICeL. Employees can now record, track, and monitor online letter requests, financial and other documents.


MSU-IIT rejoined the ranks of Asia’s top universities in the latest ranking results released on November 25, 2020 by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specializing in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world.

In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings: Asia, MSU-IIT landed in the top 83% of all universities evaluated and held an overall rank of 551 – 600.

The University also ranked 3rd out of 6 Philippine universities in the UI GreenMetric World Rankings 2020. 

Overall, MSU-IIT is 548th out of 912 universities coming from different parts of the world.

New Vision and Mission

The University announced the full adoption of its revised vision, mission, and core values through Special Order No. 01403-IIT, Series of 2020 issued on December 2, 2020.

MSU-IIT’s new Vision and Mission:

Vision: A university committed to the holistic development of the individual and society

Mission: To provide quality education for the development of Mindanao and the country through relevant programs in instruction, research and community engagement

Two new core values were added to the five existing ones: 

Transparency. Accessibility to information and openness across all levels

Participation: Involving everyone in decision-making and policy-making

University Buildings

Two things students can look forward to when they return to the campus are the new University Canteen, located at the old SET Building, and the new, five-storey CASS Academic Building. Both are set to be inaugurated soon. 

Photo credits: Jan Christian Pagarigan, OPI

IITians bag top two spots in the 13th PICPA National Accounting Quiz Showdown

IITians bag top two spots in the 13th PICPA National Accounting Quiz Showdown

by Jacquilyn Avila and Leila Claire Vivien Toribio*, CBAA

Two BS Accountancy students won the top two spots in the recently concluded 13th PICPA National Accounting Quiz Showdown (NAQDown).

Ms. Shania Rose Lozano won first place and Sofia Russel Mae Suico came in second in the virtual competition held via Mentimeter (a site used to exclusively answer the questions) and Zoom (to monitor any cheating attempt) on February 13, 2021.

Jafar E. Muksan of Ateneo de Davao University came in third place; Dorothy M. Muyargas of Western Mindanao University at fourth place; and Claribelle D. Lee of Notre Dame of Marbel University at fifth spot.

The top five winners will proceed to the final round of the competition which will be held during the National Mid Year Convention.

Thirteen regions across the country from four major separate hubs: NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao joined the competition. Twenty-seven participants comprised the Mindanao hub and 13 of it were from Region 10 and CARAGA, including Ms. Lozano and Ms. Suico who are members of the University’s local chapter of the Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (JPIA).

The competition was composed of two rounds, Elimination and Semi-Finals, with questions divided into three categories: easy, average, and difficult.

Ms. Lozano and Ms. Suico received certificates of recognition and were given discounts (100% and 80% respectively) on their registration fees for the National Mid Year Convention.

The National Federation – Junior Philippine Institute of Accountants (NFJPIA) in partnership with SyCip Gorres Velayo and Company (SGV Co.), hosted the National Accounting Quiz Showdown or NAQDown, an annual all-board accounting subject academic competition that promotes academic excellence as well as connections and camaraderie among contestants.

MSU-IIT has joined NAQDown since 2019.

*Jacquilyn Avila is a junior student at the College of Business Administration and Accountancy taking up BS in Accountancy. Her interests include broadcasting, geography, and general facts. She is currently an undersecretary of the Training and Development Committee of the CBAA Executive Board. 

Leila Toribio isa junior student at the College of Business Administration and Accountancy taking up BS in Accountancy. She is into writing and was part of the editorial team in their school newspaper back in her junior high school years. Presently, she is serving as the deputy of the Training and Development Committee of the CBAA Executive Board.

DTTE conducts Webinar Series on Technical-Vocational Education

DTTE conducts Webinar Series on Technical-Vocational Education

by J-Roel Semilla

To provide relevant and timely information on teaching in an Innovative and Flexible (InFlex) modality, the Department of Technology Teacher Education (DTTE) conducts webinar series on technical-vocational education in collaboration with partner universities and TESDA on November 18, 23, 24 and December 4, 2020.

Delivered through Google Meet and Zoom platforms, the department invited competent speakers to share their expertise in skills transfer, competency-based instruction, and research. It was also simultaneously aired in Youtube so that the majority of the participants could attend.

In the first session, Dr. Romeo S. Ebonite, the speaker from Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) Manila, talked about How the Pandemic has Impacted Technology Teacher Education in the Philippines pointing out the main challenges of administrators and teachers such as professional development, resistance to change, new schooling models, delivering informal learning, failures, and personalized learning.

To adapt to these challenges, the speakers told the participants to use the three As: Adapt to the new normal; Adopt strategies most appropriate to the current situation; and, Adept under strategies technologies of modes of teaching and learning deliveries.

The next webinar was about The Teaching of Technology Education Subjects in the Time of Pandemic. Dr. Gaspar S. Gayona, a resource speaker from TESDA Regional Office VI, described an effective educator of the 21st century who is a collaborator, visionary, and one who is culturally-sensitive to provide equity in order to create a highly engaged classroom. She said “Good teachers create an environment of students working together as active learners. Hence, powerful learning demands a well-prepared teachers in and out of the cyberspace.”

Moreover, Dr. Gayona also pushed to infuse the thinking process into the curriculum by utilizing higher-order learning outcomes, increasing the use of project work and in-course assessment, and incorporating a large-scale real-world case study to integrate content, thinking, and other process skills across the curriculum.

For session 3, the topic was about The Role of TESDA on Skills Transfer Among Technology Education Students in the Time of Pandemic with Dir. El Cid H. Castillo. The speaker from TESDA Bukidnon Provincial Office underscored the United Nations sustainable goals which are no poverty, zero hunger, quality education, and decent work and economic growth which are aligned with the long-term vision of the Philippines by 2040.

As a government agency which manages and supervises technical education and skills development in the country, the primary goal of TESDA is expressed in the slogan Abot Lahat. Dr. Castillo said, “We must win the hearts and minds of the people through TVET as a solution in stamping out the cause of poverty, what TESDA does directly impacts on the lives of the people.”

The speaker also promoted the e-TESDA open educational resource and encouraged the participants to avail such a program. The TESDA Online Program (TOP) aims to make technical education more accessible to Filipino citizens through the use of information and communication technologies. It provides an effective and efficient way to deliver technical education and skills development services to a wide range of users at a lesser cost.

In the fourth session, Dr. Paulito C. Nisperos, from Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, discussed Competency Based Instruction in Remote Teaching and Learning. He explained that competency-based instruction is a framework that reconsiders time, space, appraisal, and other central components of training to guarantee all students build up the abilities they need to succeed. Competency-based learning or CBL is custom-made to meet diverse learning capacities and prompt more productive results.

Dr. Nisperos reminded the school-leaders that “as we embark on this journey toward embracing online learning, the school leaders and decision-makers should not forget the students and families who may be put at a disadvantage because of the current problems on equitable access to education and lack of funding.”

He further noted that every child has the right to high-quality education, so the decision to move online should not make high-quality education a privilege only for those students who can access the internet. As educators, his role is to break down barriers that prevent students from accessing and enjoying high-quality education. In this new normal, to uphold the right to high-quality education is to provide multiple pathways to learning that can accommodate every student.

The fifth session was about Design Thinking in Technology Education with Dr. Sasiteph Pitiporntapin, a speaker from Kasetsart University, Bankok, Thailand. Before the fifth session took place, the DTTE department together with the CED Dean, Dr. Amelia T. Buan organized a 2-day consultation with the resource speaker.

Since design thinking is commonly applied in Science and Mathematics, the consultation was done to establish the relevance of applying design thinking concepts in the field of Technology Education through product design and development. A questionnaire was sent to determine the needs, perception and acceptance of the participants about Design Thinking as an approach in the classroom and as a research methodology.

During the webinar proper, Dr. Pitiporntapin defined design thinking as a creative problem-solving process, to create meaningful solutions to prototype, solve complex problems, and understand the users and designer’s tool kit to integrate the needs of people.

He said further that “Since we have experiences when it comes to designs in terms of chairs, toilet, room numbers and even a nonstick frying pan, design thinking is very significant to overcome these problems by allowing us to think outside the box.”

In the final session, Dr. Sarah O. Namoco, a speaker from the University of Science and Technology of Science and Technology – Cagayan de Oro, talked about Research in Technology Education in the New Normal. The discussion went to quantitative and qualitative forms of research. Research objectives and questions must fill in the gap which is the discrepancy between what is known, what should know, and what to answer.

She stressed that the next time when we look at the research, we should not look at it as a puzzle that is difficult to decipher, but instead a problem that needs an immediate solution. Although the time was very limited, her talk was clear and comprehensive.

Overall through this webinar series, DTTE aims to strengthen it collaboration with other higher educational institutions, TESDA, and other stakeholders for future endeavor particularly in instruction, research and extension.

College of Education’s Engagement in a Mapping Study on TEIs Serving BARMM

College of Education’s Engagement in a Mapping Study on TEIs Serving BARMM

by Asst. Prof. Juliet Tero

The College of Education of MSU-IIT, along with the commitment of Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol, serves the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) by conducting a research project entitled “Mapping Study of TEIs serving the BARMM”. The project aims to explore the quality of pre-service programs and teacher education graduates of TEIs in the BARMM. It also seeks to identify the development and support for pre-service teacher education, for a better understanding of the status of basic education in Mindanao.

In collaboration with the Philippine National Research Center for Teacher Quality (RCTQ), Philippine Normal University (PNU), and the University of New England Australia, this research undertaking is also supported by the Australian Government. The Mindanao State University and the Western Mindanao State University are also partners in this project.

Dr. Rizalina G. Gomez, faculty member from the College of Education represents MSU-IIT as the field Researcher tasked to facilitate interviews and surveys. Series of trainings, orientations, and briefings, required before the conduct of online survey, in-depth interviews, and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) started in October 2020 and commenced in December 2020, with a number of faculty members and alumni from Teacher Education Institutions serving the BARMM.

Economy sees signs of recovery from pandemic impact – NEDA Usec

Economy sees signs of recovery from pandemic impact – NEDA Usec

by  Safa D. Manala-o, CBAA

As quarantine restrictions ease across the Philippines, economic indicators are expected to gradually increase, according to Undersecretary Mercedita A. Sombilla of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) during an MSU-IIT-organized online economic forum held on January 8, 2021 through Zoom teleconferencing.

The labor market is showing signs of recovery especially within the sectors of trade, agriculture, and construction, said Sombilla who discussed the pre-pandemic economic condition of the Philippines and NEDA’s growth projections as well as initiatives to build economic resiliency for 2021 and onwards.

In the forum organized by the College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA) and the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), the NEDA Undersecretary explained that the Philippines had an impressive economic growth of 6.6%, low inflation, strong fiscal position, low debt-to-GDP ratio, and lowest unemployment and poverty incidence prior to the COVID19 pandemic. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is the total value of all goods and services produced within the country, was at a competitive level of 5 to 6% throughout 2019 before it began to significantly decline in 2020.

The second quarter of 2020 was reported to have the lowest GDP growth rate of -16.9% for the year due to a near-total economic shutdown and massive loss of employment as the country grappled with the initial spread of the virus. The overall 2020 GDP growth rate was between -8.5% to -9.5%, said Sombilla.

Sombilla said that risks will have to be properly managed instead of completely avoided to achieve economic recovery targets for 2021. Government efforts will continue to ensure that inflation remains low and stable particularly for basic commodities.

This will be done by continuing to enforce minimum public health and safety protocols such as hand washing, wearing of face shields and face masks, and observing physical distancing. 

She also mentioned the full restarting of public transportation, relaxing of age group restrictions, avoiding reversal to stricter quarantines and undertaking of face-to-face learning in low-risk areas as some measures to safely reopen the economy. 

It was forecasted that GDP growth rates in 2021 will be 6.5% to 7.5%, and 8% to 10% by 2022.

Screenshots by Pamela F. Resurreccion, CBAA and Romel Sencio, CASS

Topics : NEDA  economy  Covid-19 pandemic