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LPU-L & LPU-SC adapts LFH Scheme amidst COVID-19 outbreak

Written by:
Jezabel Alves, Armeen Kaur —
Lyceum of the Philippines-Laguna (LPU-Laguna) and LPU-St. Cabrini School of Health Sciences (LPU-SC) implemented the Learn from Home (LFH) program effective April 15, 2020 until the end of its current term to facilitate continuous learning despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LFH program is an approach in learning that takes advantage of technology. As face-to-face classes are highly discouraged nowadays, professors and students are maximizing virtual online learning spaces where they can interact through virtual meetings, online conversations, and document sharing in the comforts of their own home.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said that the decision of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on preparation of available flexible learning and other alternative mode of delivery in lieu of in-campus learning should continue if they have the resources to do so. They also stressed that the decision must be reasonable, transparent, and outcomes-based validated.
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Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Flora V. Javier of LPU-Laguna explained that the institution implemented the Learn from Home scheme to address the needs of the students during the enhanced community quarantine.
“In consideration of the different capabilities of students, as well as teachers, specifically in terms of accessibility to internet and availability of gadgets, the Learn from Home program sought to meet required instructional competencies of the various programs,” added Dr. Javier.
Different responses from the students emerged as the newly adapted scheme took effect. One of their primary concern is the limitation in terms of internet connectivity and resources.
“Even though we have an internet connection. I don’t have unlimited access to gadgets like laptop,” said CBA student Kristine Dana Labaguis.
CITHM student Jericho Panganiban Platon explained that his place usually loses power and internet connectivity is inconsistent.
Some students also had a tough time adjusting to the Learn from Home setup since they are used to face-to-face discussions while some worry if they are actually learning.
CAS student Jerome dela Rosa rhetorically asked if he really learned something and if he is ready for the next school year.
“Same quality of education ba ang natatanggap ko sa LFH?” asked dela Rosa.
“For other students, maybe applicable sa kanila iyong ‘learn from home scheme,’ pero for other students like me mahihirapan akong mag-adjust since nasanay akong face-to-face ang discussion,” mentioned COECS student Andrea Nicole Roxas.
Since their houses are now the new learning environment of the students, they experience inconvenience brought by their surroundings in terms of accomplishing their requirements. Distractions are rampant as they also need to carry other responsibilities they have in their homes.
Hindi lang naman din kasi ito ‘yong responsibilities ko at home, marami ring iba pang ginagawa,” stated CAM student Elizza Marie Arcilla.
Ang problema ko is wala akong drive para mag-aral at saka gumawa ng mga seatworks or activities not because I don’t want to but because hindi ako comfortable sa environment ko,” explained Roxas.
Some students are also confused on why some professors set deadlines even though the institution already released guidelines affirming that student requirements are due on June 7, 2020.
Kasi meron pa rin silang sine-set na deadline given na may memo nang nilabas,” added Arcilla.
Despite the strife, there are also students that see the benefit of the Learn from Home scheme.
“I think the concept of Learning from Home is for you to learn comfortably and to continue to give quality education despite this pandemic,” Labaguis stated.
“Students can attend courses anytime and anywhere as long as they have the internet access,” mentioned Platon.
“One thing that I appreciate in this ‘Learn from Home scheme’ is that I realize that I should have taken advantage of the time na nakakapag-aral ako nang face-to-face discussion with my profs,” Roxas explained.
Their teachers’ determination is also appreciated by the students as they continue to impart their knowledge and give considerations despite the pandemic.
“For our professors, thank you for your considerations at sana hindi pa rin magsawang intindihin kami. Hoping for your safety and health,” said Roxas.
“I really appreciate the effort they put in for us to continue learning and their willingness to extend their help for their dear students. I’m very thankful to them, they are heroes,” added Labaguis.
The teachers from different departments are also experiencing different challenges from the implementation of the LFH scheme.
Some of them worry about their students’ internet connectivity and mentioned that some miss online interactions.
“Majority of the students miss online interaction,” Chef Palacol from CITHM stated.
“For those with no internet or crazy net connections like mine, it’s a source of stress,” stated CAS faculty Mr. Enrico Garcia.
“Not all students have internet connection. This is definitely the major concern of students and even teachers,” stated Medical Laboratory Science Program Chair Dr. Leah Quinto.
One of their major setbacks is the assessment if students really understand the concepts and techniques presented to them.
“I encounter difficulties in assessing my students if they really learn the concepts and techniques since virtual meetings are discouraged,” explained COECS teacher Engr. Glenn Christopher Lambino.
Despite the challenges of the professors, they recognize their students’ concerns and ensure that they will still provide continuous learning and assistance to their students through different strategies and adjustments.
Mr. Garcia is in constant communication with his students and encourages the culture of kumustahan.
“We have a Facebook group. I also initiate the kumustahan scheme; reaching out to students in my ‘no show list.’ That’s the only way I encourage them to access their LMS and share with others the content, so no one is left behind,” said Mr. Garcia.
“LMS helped us deliver our lectures and other instructional materials using asynchronous type of online classes. We provide modules and lectures hoping that our students can understand the topics. If there’s any question or further discussion, we try to reach out to them through other social media platforms,” stated Dr. Quinto.
With the innovative ways that professors have been doing to reach out to their students in the LFH scheme, they see the positive response of their students to the activities and lectures presented to them.
“They are okay with it naman since wala namang deadline iyong submissions nila,” said Engr. Lambino.
“Majority of my students comply with the requirements. So far, I am satisfied with the quality of outputs they submitted,” mentioned Mr. Garcia.
However, the decrease of the number of students submitting their outputs is also observed.
“When we introduced the Learn from Home scheme which is self-paced, it was expected that the number of students submitting decreased,” explained Chef Palacol.
As how professors see the responses of their students to the LFH scheme, they also clearly see the advantages of the newly implemented scheme.
Some said that it delivers convenience, less expenses, and students can achieve excellent grades in each assessment.
“We have the freedom to use our time unlike in traditional learning or face-to-face instruction that we have to follow a fixed schedule,” Dr. Quinto said.
“You can manage your time well, less stressful in commuting going back and forth to school, more practical because you can save on daily allowance for transportation and meals,” mentioned CBA Program Chair Dr. Leonore Alusen.
“They have the time to master the content of the modules and at the same time, to achieve excellent grades in each assessment (the answer is all in the web),” added Sir Garcia.
Professors reached out to their students and told them to stay safe. They understand that there are difficulties introducing a new normal in the education system, but they encourage them to not stop from learning as this is the time to learn and educate everyone.
“This is a ground for all the students to have more patience, be resourceful and resilient,” encouraged Dr. Alusen.
“Take full responsibility on how to take good care of yourself. In the academic setup, chances are freely given during trying times, grab it!” stated Mr. Garcia.
The LPU-L and LPU-SC administration acknowledges that their professors and students were skeptical about the effectiveness of full online classes, given that LPU-Laguna is adapting a blended approach during pre-ECQ.
They also said that all mentioned concerns were factors that LPU-Laguna had to consider to further fine-tune the internal rules and regulations (IRR) of the previous online delivery, as they continually listen to the challenges of students and teachers during in this pandemic.
“Our students were quite assertive to voice out their sentiments using different channels, which is something we take as one positive trait. While some comments against the Learn from Home scheme were quite harsh, the management has maintained maximum tolerance, as we sincerely understand the anxiety that everyone is facing right now,” explained Dr. Javier.
“Teachers too felt a little disorientation during the inevitable migration to full online delivery. We are so blessed to have teachers who managed their routine and resources to this new learning environment,” added Dr. Javier.
LPU-L and LPU-SC do recognize that the Learn from Home scheme is far from being fool-proof. However, the management said that they have done interventions like constant consultations with school officials, temporary suspension of payments, and modifications of other class requirements.
“We have met the school officials through various councils and committees (Zoom meetings) to thresh out alternative measures that may be given to the students to help them comply with curricular assignments,”
“For the internship classes, special projects were given by internship coordinators in coordination with the college to replace the lacking hours for practicum,”
“In other subjects, the Deans have been instructed to be creative and resourceful so that they could think of alternative activities to make up for the missed lectures/laboratory hours. However, for subjects that really need behavioral competencies, students will be given No-Grade-Yet (NGY) marks, but will be allowed to complete required skills activities within one year upon resumption of classes,” explained Dr. Javier.
CHED Chairperson De Vera III said last April 30 that universities and colleges implementing flexible learning may start school year 2020-2021 in August. He explained that flexible learning for HEIs involve a combination of digital and non-digital technology and does not necessarily require connectivity. While those HEIs using residential or a face-to-face setup can start classes in September.
Meanwhile, LPU-L and LPU-SC administration is confident in utilizing the flexible learning approach.
“We in LPU-Laguna and LPU-Saint Cabrini have made considerable advances in this area and we are confident that we are capable and ready to start the Academic year 2020-2021 in August utilizing flexible learning,” stated Dr. Javier
The administration appeals to their students to continue having an open line of communication to the academic offices using official channels so that specific issues are identified and addressed.
“This is an unprecedented time of serious disruption and while we recognize the difficult conditions of learning at this point, we encourage the use of free time to continue learning thru readings, assignments, resources, and materials that are available,” added Dr. Javier.

“We are in a very difficult and challenging time. No nation was prepared for this. The whole world was taken by surprise. But we have to move on,” – Dr. Flora Javier

The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has drastically changed many aspects in our everyday lives. The education sector is not an exemption as the academe shifts to a new learning paradigm.
The world was taken aback but the earth never stopped rotating. While adjustments are crucial in the early phase as we move towards the new normal, there is no other way but to go on.
Article Contributors: Mary Joice Barrion, Ron Jacobe Yutuc

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