On March 17, 2020, the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) took effect in Luzon, suspending classes and all school activities. At the time, the third trimester of SY2019-2020 was wrapping up, with examinations scheduled in March and April. The ECQ also impacted the upcoming SY2020-2021.
From the start, the BU administration ensured that all of the decisions made in response to the pandemic were in the best interest of the university’s stakeholders in terms of education, economics, health and safety, and security. With “Alagang BU” as their guiding principle, BU management and academic heads carefully reviewed and recalibrated the university’s systems, procedures, policies and standards to ensure education service and learning continuity.
A major component of the continuity plan is the University Learning Alternative Platform (ULAP), BU’s cloud-based and technology-enabled mode of delivering instruction, and the umbrella which covers the following Learning Management Systems (LMS): Campus Cloud for Kinder to Grade 10 and CANVAS for senior high school, college and graduate school.
BU has had CANVAS since 2017 as a step towards its digital transformation initiative. It was used by faculty and students as a tool for integrating technology into the learning experience, but the pandemic spurred its full utilization.
The transition to ULAP involved a promotional and onboarding process that cut across faculty and students to ensure adoption. Aside from leveraging the school’s official Facebook page to promote and provide information on ULAP, BU provided training for faculty members on the use of the LMS to empower them to effectively teach their students in the virtual environment.
Conducted by the Center for Academic Development and Assessment (CADA) in collaboration with Computer Laboratory & Technology Services (CLTS), the trainings and seminars offered a faculty development course in CANVAS that covered several topics, including module development and mapping blended learning sessions, as well as online etiquette. A similar training was given by Campus Cloud’s provider for Kinder to Grade 10 staff.
With ULAP in place, BU adopted a learning approach that involves full online classes with synchronous sessions (via Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams) and asynchronous learning where students can access course materials online throughout the term. Students can also access University Library services through ULAP. Additionally, at the college level, ULAP allowed for the recalibration of on-the-job trainings into other forms of output, such as virtual activities, reports and projects.
Apart from academic support, BU also provides help for their mental well-being through the Center for Career, Counseling and Student Welfare (CCCSW) programs and services available via CANVAS, Campus Cloud and Facebook Messenger.
As the pandemic evolves, BU continues to review its approach in accordance with government guidelines—and the spirit of “Alagang BU.”