DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Malayan Colleges Mindanao ready to provide flexible online learning amidst Covid-19

(left to right) Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Engr. Dodjie Maestrecampo, Malayan Colleges Mindanao, College of Arts and Science, Faculty, Asst. Prof. Denie Forton, Malayan Colleges Mindanao, Former Dean, College of Arts and Science and Director of Learning Environments and Innovations, Prof. Abigail Joy Rodelas-Angelia and Blackboard, Chief Client Officer Mr. Tim Atkin.

Malayan Colleges Mindanao, a Mapúa School is all geared up for the upcoming school year amidst the Coronavirus-2019 pandemic as they utilize their established flexible learning system. 

In 2018, Malayan Colleges Mindanao pioneered blended learning in Davao City, inheriting this system from its sister-school Mapúa University. Transitioning to a flexible online curriculum amidst enhanced community quarantine is fairly uncomplicated as MCM has been accustomed to employing such practices through its Digital Learning Days – days in which students can remotely accomplish tasks and academic requirements through the school’s online digital platforms. The aforementioned practice was also previously employed during the successive earthquakes in 2019 when students and faculty had to be temporarily distanced from the institution to ensure their safety.

“Blending online with on-site learning enabled us to cater to a wider spectrum of learners. Those who encounter difficulty in learning during classes have the chance to go over the lessons in the comfort of their homes and catch up with the rest of class. It provides our students with more avenues for learning and varied ways to demonstrate their learning outcomes. Online learning also helped us cope with the harsh realities of life – earthquakes, storms, and now the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our system makes up for the learners who have the resources and the desire to continue learning remotely without compromising their safety and health.” shares Engr. Dodjie Maestrecampo, Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations of Malayan Colleges Mindanao on the institution’s use of blended-learning and its benefits.

MCM’s digital platforms are managed by a Learning Management System known as Blackboard Learn which the MCM Community has become very familiar with. MCM has been utilizing and developing this system since its establishment and was awarded the 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Optimizing the Student Experience at the Blackboard’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference in Singapore which honors institutions whose educational and administrative innovations have markedly improved the total learner experience.

“MCM was intentionally  built for 21st century learners.  Their learning habits, interests, motivations, and challenges were carefully considered in crafting the different modalities where learning can be implemented. Some prefer the traditional face-to-face classroom sessions where they can personally interact with their professors and classmates, while some are more active in a virtual classroom set-up. MCM provides both.” says Engr. Dodjie Maestrecampo.

Learning management system is utilized by the institution to bridge the gaps between students and teachers in the digital realm.
“Not only does it (MCM) welcome traditional learners, but it also welcomes digital learners. May you be a student who is used to reading books or a student who is used to utilizing digital platforms… Students are able to utilize technology for their education, to communicate with your teachers and classmates through the app where we are able to gain new information and download our power-points that we discussed in our face-to-face sessions… MCM is very brave to be able to incorporate this new technology into our traditional learning.” shares Franchesco Laquinario Lu, BS Industrial Engineering Student of Malayan Colleges Mindanao, on MCM’s blended-learning system.

Students accessing online lessons through MCM’s Learning Management System

“The one thing that made my student life so great at Malayan Colleges Mindanao is the fact that we have a half-day schedule. Having this type of schedule, coupled with our Blackboard Learn, gave me more control over my time. I was able to balance my academics and social life without sacrificing either. I believe that with this kind of training, the school is priming us to have better time management for the future.” says Uean Carlo Bacsal, Grade 12 Senior High School Student of Malayan Colleges Mindanao, on the benefits of his half-day schedule along with Blackboard Learn.

This system along with the digital contents from the world’s leading publishers like Wiley and Cengage and Elsevier—with more than 12,000 e-books and courseware and hundreds of thousands of e-journal articles—helps combine online and on-site learning. These and other digital learning tools have helped the students of Malayan Colleges Mindanao achieve their academic goals since 2018. For the upcoming school year, MCM students will be provided with unlimited access to 3,600+ courses and specializations and certifications from 190+ leading universities and companies through Coursera, as Malayan Colleges Mindanao through Mapúa University has partnered with the world-class online learning platform to provide its students with transformative learning free of charge.

For students and teachers without stable internet connection, Engr. Dodjie Maestrecampo shares that they are now in talks with both SMART communications and Globe Telecom to address this issue.

“Under normal circumstances, some of our students with no stable connections go to the campus to connect. MCM provides high-speed wifi connection inside the campus. We understand that connectivity is a huge challenge for some of our students during this crisis. MCM is now in talks with both SMART communications and Globe Telecom to address this issue through issuance of prepaid Wi-Fi routers with broadband plans specially designed to cater to students’ data consumption in accessing online learning tools.” says Engr. Dodjie Maestrecampo.

MCM will continue to provide alternatives to in-campus learning should the need arise.

On a different note, MCM is taking heed of its students and teachers who might be experiencing mental or emotional stress. The Center for Guidance and Counseling recently expanded their services by offering counselling through phones, emails, and messaging apps for the students and teachers to access even during community quarantine. 

MCM has also partnered with a 24/7 telemedicine company, KonsultaMD, to provide its students and employees with apt services from licensed and experienced Filipino doctors.

The enrollment process has as well been transitioned to fully online transactions. Illustrated in MCM’s official website and social media pages, a student may now enroll for their classes in the upcoming term online through their phones or laptops. Payments may be made through online banking or fund transfer to MCM’s bank account or through other remote payment channels.

Malayan Colleges Mindanao’s Senior High School and College programs will begin classes for the next academic year in July 2020, fully equipped with the best physical and digital learning infrastructure to provide the best flexible learning system for the students of Davao City.