ALL PROGRAMS under the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) will deliver at least half of their classes onsite for the first term of the upcoming academic year, class schedules released by the dean’s office showed.
The class schedules are in line with the general guidelines issued by the Office of Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs’ (OVRAA) last February, which stated that no courses would be held purely online or onsite for the academic year 2023-2024.
UST is not yet returning to full face-to-face classes despite the continuous decrease in COVID-19 cases and the easing of pandemic-induced restrictions and protocols.
In an email interview with The Flame, AB Acting Dean Jacqueline Lopez-Kaw said the increase of onsite hours would depend on factors like the OVRAA mandate and the availability of facilities.
“We also understand that our academic staff may also schedule more [onsite] classes to cover topics whose learning outcomes are best attained using [onsite] engagements,” Kaw said.
For philosophy freshmen and sophomores, as well as second-year students of the legal management and sociology programs, 60% of classes will be held onsite as some courses will only be delivered once a week. Details of the mode of instruction for the courses of third and fourth year students have yet to be released but Kaw said at least half of their classes would also be conducted onsite.
Some incoming AB society leaders expressed approval of the faculty’s learning setup, saying the class schedule would be more convenient for students compared to that of the previous academic year.
“I personally think it’s not a matter of when full onsite classes will return but more of how UST will balance out the number of onsite and online classes, hence I find their decision (to remain hybrid) reasonable,” creative writing senior and UST MaKatha Circle president Jericho Christian Lopez told The Flame.
This was echoed by UST Communication Arts Students’ Association president Ranch Ramas, who said that the ratio of onsite to online classes is “already sufficient” to meet the students’ academic needs.
“I believe that what is best for the students (is the one that considers) their safety and well-being. If the current hybrid setup helps this cause, then I believe it is reasonable as we are still in a pandemic,” the fourth-year communication student said.
UST Legal Management Society president Mike Roper Cobarrubias said that his society is pushing for the return of full onsite classes, believing that the current setup is not effective.
“We do not learn by simply reading our learning materials but also by interacting with one another not with our screens,” the legal management junior said.
“If the University can cater to crowds as big as these events (Welcome Walk, Paskuhan, and Baccalaureate Mass), then I believe they can find a solution in ensuring that our students are safe even if they are going onsite.”
Last May, the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced schools to shift to distance learning, is no longer a global health emergency, citing the downward trend in infections. Earlier this month, Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said the resolution lifting the COVID health emergency in the Philippines would be issued soon.
The Faculty of Arts and Letters will run its online enrollment for the upcoming academic year on July 26 to 31, while regular classes for all colleges will start on August 9. F – Trisha Tamio, Shayne Lee Macaraeg and Bianca Ysabel Abrencillo