NEWS | Survey: Course Packs, effective for remote learning?

A portion of the seven-page OVPAA Memorandum №2020–68. The full copy of this memo can be found here

Part of the remote learning set-up this academic year 2020–2021 is the University of the Philippines’ (UP) mandate of distributing course packs this first semester, which was first announced through the UP Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) Memorandum №2020–68. However, the implementation of this plan raised concerns over the quality of the said course packs. The Manila Collegian surveyed and interviewed several faculty members regarding these issues.

Not of the best quality

The said memo was only released last June 19 and the original deadline for the course packs was dated September 1. It was later moved to October 16 but there were questions of whether this was enough time to make quality course packs. Although some faculty believe that it was feasible to create course packs in that short amount of time, other faculty members expressed otherwise.

“Parang hindi. Kasi ang regular faculty naghahawak ng 12 units so that’s approximately four subjects. Sa pinag-uusapan natin, September to December. So apat na subjects, what if iba-iba ‘yong apat na ‘yon? Edi apat na ‘yon, apat na course packs. Okay sana kung pare-pareho ‘yong apat, iisang course pack ‘di ba? Eh hindi naman lahat may 12 units, paano ‘yong mga 16? 18?” a faculty member explained.

“Pero kasi ang pinapagawa nilang entire sem, September to December, mahirap ‘yan. Lalo na kung ‘yong course pack is designed for students na walang internet. Ako kasi ‘pag gagawa ako ng course pack sa mga estudyanteng walang internet access ay talagang marami akong ilalagay ‘dun,” the member added.

Faculty members also expressed concerns whether the materials they provided would effectively allow students to learn their courses. With the limited interaction they’ll have with professors, students are essentially left to their own devices.

Issues of Intellectual Property Rights

Numerous faculty member’s concerns are connected to the Intellectual Property Rights that need to be observed in the creation of these course packs. As stated in the OVPAA Memorandum №2020–99, faculty members may coordinate with respective University Libraries regarding the matter but the sufficiency of this assistance is questionable.

“Totoo yang sinabi mo tungkol sa intellectual property. Kunwari maglalagay kami ng litrato, video, o kaya kukuha ako ng references, hindi namin alam yung legalidad kung puwede namin gawin yon, baka puwede kaming kasuhan. Ang ginawa naming technique sa [redacted], naglagay kami ng free para talagang iwasan namin yung legal issues,” stated by a faculty member.

Furthermore, they mentioned that while there are a lot of free materials that can be found online for hard sciences, the case for social sciences are the exact opposite.

Better allocation of honorarium

Next issue raised was the honorarium per course pack as Memorandum No. OVPAA 2020–92 disclosed that it will be pro-rated based on the number of faculty who collaborated. The total honorarium of each course pack should not exceed ‎₱ 15,000, with each faculty member receiving not less than ‎₱ 3,000.

When asked if this is enough, there were mixed reactions. A faculty member said no, especially if the contributions in making the course packs were not equal, but explained that they have the option of dividing it amongst themselves.

“Pero yung pananaw ko diyan sa honorarium, hindi lang ako, pati yung ibang faculty, ba’t ‘di na lang kaya ibigay ‘yan doon sa students? Kung kaya pala maglabas ni UP ng pera, ‘di ba ang laki noong 15 thousand per subject… Sana yung honorarium binigay na lang talaga sa students, in that way may internet lahat, [baka] hindi na rin namin kailangan gumawa ng course packs,” a faculty member suggested.

Finally, when asked about other issues regarding UP’s remote learning set-up, they revealed that there are no updates on the status of these course packs.

The faculty remain clueless whether or not the course packs they prepared have actually been printed and sent to the students who needed them.

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The Manila Collegian

The Manila Collegian

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The Official Student Publication of the University of the Philippines Manila. Magna est veritas et prevaelebit.