Alternative instructional approaches for effective teaching and learning

Delailah B Valencia and Luisa Aquino
University of Saint Louis College of Tuguegarao
Tuguegarao City, Philippines

In pursuit of its vision as a beacon of excellence, the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao has been vigorously undertaking programmes to enhance the delivery of learning. As early as the late 1980s, with the advent of personal computers, computer literacy programmes were designed for all its faculty and staff. The faculty members utilized their word processing skills in preparing course syllabi and test questions and their spreadsheet skills for their class records and grades. With the boom of the Internet and multimedia technology in the late 1990s, similar training programmes were designed to keep the faculty and staff abreast of these technologies. This paved the way for the use of the Internet for enriching subject or course contents and of PowerPoint presentations in classroom teaching. The use of technology in teaching in the University varies but its facilities have promptly addressed the growing needs. The College computer faculty members spearheaded all these efforts, the latest of which is the development of a Learning Management System (LMS) using Dokeos, an open source learning and knowledge management system, where online lessons, assignments and assessments are posted. To start the process, the LMS was pilot-run with computer-related courses.

Initial evaluation showed promising results, with the faculty members who piloted the use of the LMS being actively involved in training other faculty members to expand its coverage to other courses. To foster wide utilization of this e-learning strategy, the University established the Center for Alternative Learning to cater for staff needs in the appropriate application of the LMS in the teaching-learning process. At the basic education level, focus is placed on the INTEL Teach program, where unit modules are being designed for use by teachers in grade schools and high schools. For the college and graduate levels, the goal is to intensify the use of teacher-designed interactive e-learning modules to complement the traditional teaching strategies which will also be strengthened. The conventional approaches will remain the main delivery system to 'humanize the technology' and develop the other domains of learning, especially values formation which, as a Catholic institution, is the mantle of the University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao. Hence, a 'bimodal delivery system' of instruction will be adopted.

The implementation of the LMS in the different academic programmes will be gradual until it reaches optimum utilization, and its effects on teaching and learning will be assessed annually. Its impact on the on the teaching-learning process is expected to vary by level and academic programme, and by the characteristics of the faculty members and students involved.