by Amado C. Guinto, Jr.

The Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology is now ready to offer graduate programs in Mathematics, Statistics, Biology, English, Engineering, Information Technology, History, Filipino, and Sociology for higher education institutions in Region XIII using the offshore mode of delivery — a manner of instruction wherein the students of a certain region don’t have to leave their place to study in IIT, rather the faculty will travel to the host institution to conduct classes instead.

This offering was launched after the Institute entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Commission on Higher Education – Caraga on September 3 in Butuan City, aimed at strengthening the faculty force of the said region through the offering of appropriate graduate degree programs for teachers wanting to pursue master and/or doctorate degrees.

The Institute’s Offshore Program coordinator, Dr. Gaudencio Petalcorin Jr. enthusiastically elaborated about the program in an interview.

“This offshore program was born out of the CHED Higher Education Development Fund – Faculty Development Program, in which scholarships are given to (faculty members of) higher education institutions in the Philippines to pursue graduate degrees,” he said. He also added that the CHED HEDP FDP memorandum stated that the delivery of these programs will be in any of these modes: on-campus, through distance learning, through a consortium type, or through offshore delivery.

“We establish base areas where offshore programs are being given,” Petalcorin explained further. “For the moment, we have one in Zamboanga City offering Master of Engineering, Master of Information Technology, and Master of Applied Statistics,” he continued.

The offshore mode of delivery is said to be a hybrid kind. Petalcorin explained that this is a combination of face-to-face mode or teacher-student actual interaction and an online component. Hence, “Out of 54 hours (of instruction) in a semester, 36 hours is devoted for the actual interaction and 18 hours is allocated for online classes,” he said.

For the online classes, the teachers in IIT will just upload modules for specific topics which can be accessed by the students in their respective areas.

In IIT, we have the MSU-IIT Online Learning Environment (MOLE), a platform for virtual classrooms that also allows “feedback mechanism for students so they can ask questions online”, explained Petalcorin. “The MSU-IIT Center for e-Learning (MICeL) provides the facility for our faculty to conduct feedback sessions through the net or net sessions,” he added.

Petalcorin also emphasized that as an additional attraction for the IIT offshore programs in Zamboanga City, and soon in Butuan City, CHED is giving scholarships to deserving applicants which include full tuition fees, book allowances, and even transportation allowances.

“And of course, if the degree requires a thesis or a dissertation, funds are also allocated for the students to help in their expenses in course of their writing,” he clarified.

It is also interesting to note that CHED does not just give the delivery of offshore programs to any institution.

“CHED is careful enough to choose which universities can deliver,” said Petalcorin.

The MOU between MSU-IIT and CHED – Caraga highlighted MSU-IIT’s milestones as a respected academic institution, making it highly qualified to offer offshore programs in any place in the Mindanao and Visayas region.

“Luckily, IIT was able to comply with all the CHED requirements and thus we are chosen,” he continued.

The Institute has been awarded by CHED as Centers of Excellence in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Teacher Education. The Institute is also a Center of Development for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology and Centers of Development for Ceramics Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Material Science Engineering, and in Filipino and other Languages.

Moreover, the Institute has attained Level 3 accreditation in the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in all programs of the College of Arts and Social Sciences and in all Teacher Education Programs of the College of Education. The College of Business Administration and Accountancy has also attained AACCUP reaccreditation level 2.

MSU-IIT is also one of only three universities in the Philippines accepted for membership in the ASEAN University Network. OC-OPI

Topics : international conference