Only very little is known about Online Distance Learning in the Philippines. For some schools that adopted Blended Learning as an alternative modality of learning delivery, the use of Learning Management Systems is not anymore new to them. Colleges and universities that employ open systems for post-graduate studies, ODL has been their approach.
For the past seven years, Aralinks pioneer schools have been using CLE Online. This is the Aralinks LMS, which was accessible via the internet through the school’s local server. To the teachers and school leaders that have maximized this Aralinks feature, there have been few or no adjustments at all with ODL. This, however, is just the smallest fraction of the country’s need for online learning.
In the “new normal” where schools set up for this kind of learning modality, how have teachers coped and prepared themselves for the unknown? Well, at least for those that never tried online submissions or video conferences, and perhaps those that have some online connectivity issues.
The next lines include some stories and testimonials that show the experiences and challenges of Aralinks partners in preparing for the opening of the new school year. Read on and find some comparison between their stories and yours.
Pre-School Coordinator Mrs. Alma Bella Flores and Administrative & General Services Coordinator Mrs. Mary Grace Montenegro of Don Bosco School (Salesian Sisters), Inc. shared how both teachers and students have coped with Online Distance Learning. “Since DBS has been collaborating with Aralinks or using NGS for quite some time, the parents are already confident that we, teachers are really tech competent. Aralinks NGS has provided us variety of pertinent activities and some teachers can even create additional activities. This also helps us for easy communication and collaboration with parents and students especially in this new normal situation. The long-time familiarity of the Bosconians and the teachers in using the NGS makes the transition from face-to-face classes to distance learning smoother and less difficult.”
In St. Paul University Quezon City, Principal Sr. Cecilia Sto. Tomas remarks how partnering with Aralinks has been a “Big, big help! Lucky to have you as partners even before the pandemic. Teachers, students, and parents feel at ease and confident doing online lessons.” Meanwhile, Subject Team Leader Ms. Arlene Baasis also from SPUQC highlighted “what makes Aralinks more useful are the tutorials and the ever willing, reliable, and competent facilitators like Johvane who walk us through in our continuous production of materials that even outside office hours, they would entertain our calls/texts just to provide assistance.”
Teachers of Colegio San Agustin – Makati have a list of shared experiences before the opening of SY 2020-2021:
(1) Phoenix Aralinks has provided several seminars that taught us how to create materials that we can use for distance learning.
The Integration Facilitators in our school has been really helpful. They respond as quickly as possible and very much willing to give assistance whenever we have questions or concerns. The LMS is also very helpful because it doesn’t crash and it’s easy to access it.
(2) Aralinks gave valuable webinars to help the teachers cope with the demands of online teaching. It has upgraded itself to accommodate and to provide varied learning experiences of the students.
The support and help extended by Aralinks is not only felt during the first week of classes. The staff are very accommodating, and they continue to answer questions and requests by students and teachers.
(3) As always, I feel ALAGANG PHOENIX ARALINKS prepared my head, heart, and hands in this new mode of delivery. With the many webinars given to us, even the “sugnay na di nakapag-iisa” learned to be quite independent. With the hands-on experience in creating modules/activities for each lesson, I became more logical and creative. On top of this, ARALINKS tells me that “connection” matters; more than technology is pedagogy. And I am still the most important technology there is in this new mode of learning delivery.
University of Santo Tomas – Legazpi also have teachers who now feel at ease with the teaching and learning set up in the new normal. Program Chair of their Languages Department, Ms. Caroline Drace Montas, is confident with “the (self-learning) modules and worksheets are being uploaded on Aralinks LMS are beneficial to both students and teachers because of easy access and hassle free learning and instruction.” Sir John Paulo Alcantara of SHS Science Area likes the fact that Aralinks LMS “presents an organized process of online learning… Through Aralinks, activities that can be done in a classroom setting are made possible in online (distance learning).”
There have been a few more stories in the teaching-learning department in this new set up. Some are at the highs and a few at the lows. But one thing is certain: these experiences and challenges, which arrive in different levels, are fruits of collaborative partnerships. Phoenix Aralinks continues to supports its partners in innovative teaching and effective online learning.