by Michelle Jeanne Caracut, OC/OPI
ALTHOUGH provisional face-to-face classes may be allowed in areas placed under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) like Iligan City, MSU-IIT is developing alternative learning arrangements – including online learning – to minimize the threat of COVID-19 infections when the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021 opens.
With its issuance earlier this month of Special Order No. 00835-IIT, S. 2020, MSU-IIT promulgated the guidelines for its innovative flexible teaching and learning (InFLex) delivery that will function as a way for teachers and students to have classes without being physically present.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has been pushing for universities and colleges to use alternative learning or flexible learning systems to ensure that learning continues during the quarantine period and beyond.
For the InFLex delivery, MSU-IIT, upon the recommendation of its Committee on Innovative and Flexible Learning, will be utilizing its Online Learning Environment or MOLE as the primary learning platform.
The guidelines, which came into effect when the Special Order was issued on June 9, 2020, included the procedure for the enrollment that will take place for the whole month of July.
The MOLE is a Moodle-based facility that lets faculty members connect to their classrooms virtually at their convenience.
MOLE also helps teachers organize course requirements and supports synchronous and asynchronous activities.
This moodle-based learning management system lets students also monitor their progress in the courses or subjects they are enrolled in.
Moodle is a popular open-source learning management system used for blended learning, distance education, and other e-learning activities in schools that allows the creation of private websites with online courses for teachers and trainers.
With InFLex modality of teaching and learning, classes may be conducted at a specified time for real-time instructions, activities, and presentations at a specific online classroom.
Class instructions, which will be in an online format, may also be given without the teacher and student meeting virtually. Students are given a time frame for participation and may contribute and submit assigned tasks in accordance with course instructions.
To capacitate teachers in the InFLex design and delivery, a six-week virtual MOLE training is provided for them by the MSU-IIT Center for e-Learning (MICeL).
The training covers syllabus preparation, learner’s guide development, fostering engagement, creating a video lecture, and MOLE as support for assessment.
Prior to the training, teachers were given their academic load for the first semester so they can start preparing an InFlex delivery of their assigned subjects to teach.
According to the guidelines, each college is also expected to create an InFlex quality assurance team to ensure the quality of course materials.
Aside from MOLE, the guidelines allow faculty members to also use other available learning tools to support it such as Google classroom, MSU-IIT SMS blast, Facebook, and phone call or video conferencing. Tutorials on the use of the different tools to support learning are made available on the website of MICeL.
To support research activities during classes, teachers and students can also access the Institute’s e-library, curated and maintained by the Office of the Institute Library.
As the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course, higher education institutions like MSU-IIT are implementing certain measures to limit the number of individuals entering the campus.
Some of these measures are the establishment of a skeleton workforce, rotational reporting of employees, and adoption of the work from home arrangement.
The online enrollment and InFLex classes are added measures to control and contain the spread of COVID-19 during the opening of the first semester of the academic year.