(UPDATED) Hybrid learning to be a permanent set-up in UST, says academic affairs chief

Peralta: University seeking to increase the number of face-to-face hours based on different programs' outcomes
UST Main Building. File photo.
Editor’s note: Updated as of 7:56 p.m. 

WHILE THE Philippines has lifted the pandemic-induced restrictions, the hybrid mode of instruction is here to stay as UST seeks to take advantage of available technologies to enhance the students’ learning experience.

“Yes. We’ll always be a combination of online and onsite,” Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs Prof. Cheryl Peralta told The Flame in an interview on Tuesday, March 19, when asked if the hybrid learning would be a permanent setup in the University.

Peralta said the hybrid setup, although not yet perfect, would allow the University to maximize available technologies.

“We’re still hybrid. Because, you know, if we’re purely onsite, we won’t be able to do that (maximize technology in delivering instructions)… (We) acknowledge that it’s not perfect… We have to find the areas for improvement. We have to understand what areas we need to address. And we’ve done that in several meetings of the deans that has been raised already,” she said.

“And definitely, we’re finding ways to really harmonize our implementation so that it becomes more seamless.”

‘Best mix’ 

Peralta revealed that the University is seeking to increase the number of face-to-face hours based on the outcomes of different programs to find the “best mix” of online and onsite modalities.

“Now, even with that, because we are keeping the online component, we are still giving our students the opportunity to explore all these technologies and use them appropriate to your respective disciplines,” she said.

Peralta gave an assurance that efforts are being made to maximize the benefits of technology on education. UST’s setup and integration of digital tools would prepare students for hybrid workplaces, she added.

“That (maximizing technology) will be very difficult to do if we’re purely onsite, if we totally let go of the technologies that we have already been using before,” she said.

UST adopted the enriched virtual mode of instruction during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

In February last year, the University said it would use UST Cloud Campus and other technology tools to enhance its instruction through hybrid classes.

The move was in line with the Commission on Higher Education’s Memorandum Order No. 4, Series of 2023, which stated that using technology in flexible learning would upskill the students, faculty, and staff, a condition that the agency said was “necessary” in the digital environment.

“While the resumption of onsite learning is highly desirable, it must also be noted that hybrid learning is here to stay, especially that [HEIs] have already made strides in upgrading facilities, learning tools, and materials,” the commission’s order read.

During the transition to hybrid mode, UST changed its learning management to Canvas after using Blackboard for two decades, a move that administrators said would improve the efficiency of content-sharing and achieve learning outcomes. An integrated version of the MyUSTe portal has also been launched to provide users with all-in-one access to UST’s online services and applications via one centralized web directory.

“Digital competencies is really part of the requirements…If it is part of the competency, how can you teach it purely onsite?” Peralta said.

“We have to keep on learning…which among these technologies we can use for our respective disciplines because we can no longer get away from it.” F – reports from Barbra Althea Gavilan and Ma. Alyanna Selda

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