Several faculty members of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) appealed to the UPLB administration to give their primary constituents the adequate academic resources related to the continuation of learning to ensure that learning can be both effective and convenient for the students, in consideration of their socio-economic status.
According to Jonelle Marin, a professor from the Department of Humanities, upon the survey that they conducted by the faculty members, they found out that there are restrictions hampering the students to access online classes such as limited to no presence of gadgets, and unstable to no access in internet connection at all.
“Disadvantageous sa mga relatively underprivilege kasi yung facilities ay kulang para sa requirement ng ganung setup… Mahihirapan yung student if lahat ng classes nila ay online. Hindi lahat ng students ay pantay pantay na may access. May nakasagot pa ngang, very limited ang gadgets nila. Hindi lahat kaya 24/7.” Marin stated.
To give a brief background, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) released Memorandum 2020-31, otherwise known as the ‘Academic Contingency Plan in Light of COVID-19’ of the whole UP system, instructing the faculty members to shift to blended type of learning. This was also seconded by the UPLB Administration through Memorandum No. 46 which states that UPLB and UP Rural High School (UPRHS) will shift to online classes.
Liberty Notarte – Balanquit, a professor from the same department and member-at-large in the All UP Academic Employees Union – Los Banos (AUAEU-LB), also seconded what Marin stated, explaining that there are some students who cannot access the internet if they are outside the campus facilities, and the only way that they can be contacted through SMS or text messages. Older professors are also struggling to the transition.
“ A number of senior faculty lang siguro ang medyo may problema. Kumbaga nasanay na sila sa traditional classroom setup. So ang naging approach ng AA [Academic Affairs] is to sit in a webinar kung saan tuturuan sila paano ang online platform.” she said.
Students also expressed their frustrations and concerns regarding the sudden implementation of online classes.
“Let’s be real here, di sapat ang 2 days na paghahanda for transitioning to online classes. Not blaming my professors but if start na ang online classes bukas, guidelines should have been sent already yet my mailbox is still empty. Sana mas naging realistic ang admin sa date para di kami aligaga kakacheck.” Katherine Cornejo, a BS Development Communication student, stated.
Meanwhile, Patrisha Catapia, a BS Forestry student told [P] that there is no transition period between the professors and the students to explore online learning applications.She also mentioned that several students will experience an impending power interruption and she stated that it will affect those students in these areas.
“Nag-online class kami kanina and sobrang lost ng professors tapos di niya magets bakit struggle kami lahat sa nangyayari. Nawalan pa ng wifi sa forestry kanina, muntik pang bumaba yung isa kong kaklase para lang nakasama sa online class which is manifestation na kahit may wifi sa campus ay di ito reliable” Catapia stated.
Rickson Albez, a BS Chemistry student who went home in their province, aired his frustrations in social media, stating that there are students who don’t have stable internet connection in the provinces.
“People are dying, UPLB. Do you still think we — both the students and the faculty — have the sanity to go on with our normal lives when the reality extinguishes the assumption that we are all just doing okay?” he uttered.
A BS Applied Mathematics student, Daryl Lara, communicated to [P] that online classes are not conducive for learning on their degree program and also uttered his concerns on behalf of those students who are taking up laboratory classes.
“Mahirap mag online class lalo na yung subject ay math. Marami kaming tanong na real time pero di nasasagot ng prof, internet barrier na rin siguro. Lalo lang kaming nasstress kasi dapat guided yung mga ginagawa namin especially sa laboratory math class pero nagiging self-learning na lang talaga yung setup namin ngayon,” he said.
He also manifested that both students and professors are not prepared in situations like this.
Despite the students’ clamor and the suspension of classes by Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez, the university administration stated that there will be no suspension of classes and online classes will still proceed.
Deliver enough acad resources
Since online classes will continue to go further, both professors told [P] that the UPLB administration should give adequate academic resources for both students and faculty members so that effective learning can push through.
Balanquit suggested that the UPLB WiFi should be strengthened so that those people who are staying inside the campus premises should access their online classes smoothly.
Subscription to online learning platforms should also be provided by the admin so that the faculty members can maximize the potential of the platform. She also stated that the admin should give a decent online platform to those students so that they can use it well for the facilitation of learning.
” In terms of interventions, iconsider natin yung thought of. Pagpoprovide ba ng platform. Isang centralized platform is ideal and the best option from the admin. Kunwari, cloud na pang LB lang, materials for Wika 1, materials for ganito. ” Balanquit expressed.
Moreover, Marin also voiced out that the UPLB administration should prioritize and adjust on the students’ needs and capabilities , and her co-faculty members should be considerate in these times.
“Iprovide yung mga kakailanganin talaga ng students. Sa bahagi ng admin kailangan nilang iadjust to provide the facilities na kailangan sa pagshift for this migration. Magserve dapat ito na basis for the faculty for the adjustment, yung mga students na walang access, lalo na if uuwi sila.” she told. [P]