We would like to thank everyone—students, faculty, and staff—for the special effort put in to complete the second semester despite the adversities we all faced. To be able to continue learning and avoid delays in graduation while coping with the challenges imposed by the lockdown, we have had to resort to an emergency response. This included special arrangements designed to avoid putting anyone at a disadvantage, including the relaxation of deadlines, no failing marks, IPR grades, and no published DL/PL, among others.
The experience gained in the past semester and the settling down of the pandemic concerns, albeit there is still much uncertainty, make us better prepared to handle blended learning in the coming months. We have ensured that faculty handling the midyear courses have undergone the Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) training program. Most of the student support services are now online as well. We would like to clarify that, with this return to some normalcy, the above-mentioned special arrangements for the second semester will not apply beyond that semester.
Nevertheless, as emphasized in our online teaching training course, due consideration will be given to both student and faculty circumstances in planning and delivering each course to maximize opportunities for learning. There is preference for asynchronous sessions, but synchronous ones may be held as long as they are feasible, and those who cannot participate for valid reasons will not be penalized. Both faculty and students will have to work together to achieve the best results.
We expect the ongoing midyear courses to be a better representation of what blended learning is. The rest of our faculty are currently undergoing the LTTO and we have very good reason to hope that the upcoming first semester will be even better. We are also working with various parties to help address the connectivity and equipment needs of students and faculty. We expect to have everything in place for the opening of the new school year.
To help everyone cope with the challenges of blended learning, we have divided the semester into two mini-terms lasting 9 weeks each. This means having to attend to only around 4 subjects instead of 8 at any given time. Formative assessments will be distributed throughout the term so that students may know how they are progressing. Final assessments will be made and grades submitted before proceeding to the next mini-term. The academic calendar has been revised to reflect this. Enlistment will still be only at the beginning of the semester and all courses (for the two mini-terms) will be enlisted. This division does not apply to programs that follow a different structure, e.g., some standalone graduate programs.
Understandably there will be no strict scheduling for blended courses especially since most sessions will be asynchronous. However, there will still be some form of scheduling so that synchronous sessions and consultations do not conflict with one another.