Research Conversation

Research Conversations featured Dr. Don Passey, Visiting Professor from Lancaster University, and Dr. Diego Maranan, Assistant Professor from the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies at UP Open University, in A Conversation on Interdisciplinary Studies last 23 February 2018.

On one hand, Dr. Passey talked about concepts on and forms of interdisciplinarity and gave examples of interdisciplinary research based on his experience in the field. On the other, Dr. Maranan also shared his experience during his doctorate in CogNovo where the focus is on transdisciplinarity studies in arts, humanities, sciences, and technology.


by: MRBSanBuenaventura

A special Research Conversations was held last 12 February 2018 featuring Dr. Don Passey, FEd’s Visiting Professor from Lancaster University, United Kingdom at UPOU’s AVR where he talked about Publication: an Editor’s Perspective.

Dr. Melinda Lumanta opened the conversation with sharing what Research Conversations is. Research Conversations is OVCAA’s initiative that serves as a “venue for [UPOU faculty and staff] to come together in a very relaxed atmosphere to talk about research interests”. It happens every Friday at the Sandbox, CCDL. The idea behind holding Research Conversations at the Sandbox came from the image of children playing in a sandbox, creativity sparks as they make something out of nothing and exchange ideas in free-flowing conversation.

Chancellor Melinda Bandalaria introduced the speaker in a more personal manner, sharing the story behind Dr. Passey’s visit at UPOU. As a visiting scholar of Lancaster University last June 2017, she was instrumental for Dr. Passey’s arrival at UPOU and a possible partnership between UPOU and Lancaster University. This year, Dr. Passey participated in UPOU’s Visiting Professor Program to immerse into the open and distance e-Learning (ODeL) setting.

Dr. Don Passey sharing the thought processes of publication editors.

Dr. Don Passey is a professor of Technology Enhance Learning from the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, UK. He finished his bachelor’s degree from the University of Birmingham, master’s and doctorate degrees from Lancaster University. He is a member of various government and non-government organizations such as Department of Education in Northern Ireland, International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), British Educational Research Association, among many other commitments. He designs, develops, convenes, and teaches modules and courses on technology, instruction, and education since 2009.

To begin the conversation, Dr. Passey first identified the different kinds of editors depending on their involvement, namely editor of a journal who is someone who has a position across a number of years, has an experience on a particular field, and is affiliated to that particular journal; guest editor of a journal who is in charge of an issue, has a particular idea for a theme from which the issue will come out of, and works on at most 20 papers across a year; editor of a book who is looking at chapters to put together into a book; and editor of post conference proceedings who compiles conference proceedings and papers into a book.

He then proceeds to discuss the responsibilities of an editor, such as take on board the reviews from at least 2 reviewers which are selected by the editor on the basis of the content of the paper or chapter; look across the reviewer recommendations from 3 reviewers, especially in the event of contradicting reviews; consider the role and remit of the journal or book and determine if the submission fits journal or book; and consider the aims of a particular journal issue, grouping papers together that have some sort of relationship.

As an editor with experience on all the aforementioned kinds of editors, he shared the points that he considers when accepting submissions in chronological order. He hopes that these serve as a guide for authors when submitting to a publication.

  1. Does this fit/match the aims and remit of the journal or book?
  2. What are the reviewer/s comments and are they amendable or are they grounds for rejection?
  3. What are the paper’s/chapter’s contribution to the journal and/or to the field? Is the study contributing a new idea, theory or practice that has not been done before or an argument with other research that has been done before? Is the study contributing something in terms of context?
  4. Does the study present robustness and rigor in terms of methodology and data analysis? Is the study over-generalized?
  5. What kind support (i.e., feedback and recommendation) can be given to the author?

As parting words, Dr. Passey suggests to have an idea of who the editor is, determine role of editor in publication, carefully read the aims and remits of the journal/book, be clear about the paper’s or chapter’s contribution, be honest in stating the robustness and rigor of the study, attend conferences and see where it goes from there, and collaborate with other people to ensure the paper’s or chapter’s acceptance.

(MRBSanBuenaventura, OVCAA)

The UP Open University (UPOU) Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (OVCAA) kicked off Research Conversations 2018 on 26 January at the Sandbox, CCDL, UPOU Headquarters, Los Banos, Laguna.

Dr. Melinda Lumanta, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, opened the conversation by re-emphasizing Research Conversations’ intentions and purpose. As an equivalent to the scientific community’s research laboratories, Research Conversations is OVCAA’s initiative in upholding a participatory quality research culture in the university. Dr. Lumanta also introduced OVCAA’s next publication project that discusses teaching models in open and distance eLearning (ODeL), opening the invitation to UPOU faculty members that teach research, theory, skills, and practicum courses to participate in the discussions.

The kick-off activity featured two UPOU faculty members who imparted tips and advice in research and publication. Asst. Prof. Al-Francis Librero, faculty member of the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies (FICS) and Director of the UPOU Information and Communication Technology Development Office (ICTDO), shared his experience in winning 2nd Place for Best Paper Award at the 2nd International Conference on Open and Distance e-Learning (ICODeL) back in 2014. His advice include finding your motivation and carrying out the research with dedication and rigor; minding the way you carry yourself; knowing the ins and outs of the conference that you are attending; finding a passion project then see where it takes you; noting the trends; and taking time to rest.

As the Managing Editor of the Journal of Nature Studies and the Director of both the UPOU Information Office and Multimedia Center, Dr. Joane Serrano also shared some tips for publishing papers in journals. According to Dr. Serrano, great benefit will come from studying the scope of the journal, following the required format, doing a comprehensive study on which journal the research paper would fit, and practicing proper indexing. She emphasized that authors should be careful of predatory journals. To determine if a journal is predatory, the author/s should note its publishers, cost of publishing, preservation of papers, and growth in number of articles.

Research Conversations are held every Friday the whole year-round, serving as the venue where UPOU faculty, REPS, research assistants, and everyone else can come together and talk about research and other academic matters. Speakers are also invited to talk about their field of expertise and/or studies to facilitate conversation and come up with other researchable areas. Concerns and suggestions from everyone are also very much welcome. Write ups of the Research Conversations sessions are found in the OVCAA microsite (

(MRSanBuenaventura, OVCAA)

To contextualize the program, Dr. Serrano discussed the roots of plaza as an intentionally-built, multipurpose, open space that is accessible to the public as a center for interaction. From the Greeks’ agora and the Romans’ forum, plaza have been understood as a public place for gathering; athletic, artistic, and spiritual pursuits; and processions, elections, and gladiatorial matches. In the Philippines, plazas are likewise centers for public activities such as sports, local trade and the like.

Dr. Joane Serrano discussing and facilitating conversation on Flagship Program: PLAZA

In this regard, Flagship Program: PLAZA is a venue for interaction between and among UPOU stakeholders (faculty, staff, and communities). It places UPOU in position as one of the leaders in promoting critical digital literacy nationwide. UNESCO promotes Media and Information Literacy (MIL) which emphasizes a critical approach to literacy which is recognizing that people do not only learn in the classroom but also outside of the classroom through information, media, and technological platforms. It enables people to question critically what they have read, heard, and learned.

The primary objective of PLAZA is to provide digital opportunities to the community and venues for discussion of relevant issues in the community/society. Some of the strategies discussed were: 1) Establish information hubs which are contact points where the general public, students, and alumni can get in touch with UPOU, 2) Set up training programs at learning hubs where the priority is the marginalized sectors, students, and the general public, 3) Improve digital library systems and services in collaboration with the library and academicians to be able to develop programs in line with PLAZA, improve library collection, and improve research support, 4) Establish partnerships with other institutions such as LGUs, NGOs, telecomms, DOST, and the like.

Dr. Joane also presented recommendations for the design and management of a public space which focuses on 4 major points: uses and activities, comfort and image, access and linkages, and sociability. A public space must create a focal point where stakeholders gather to develop strategies for community-oriented programs. It must have practical amenities, increased security, upgraded maintenance, and established community-policing program. The space must also be accessible and accommodating of vehicles that the participants will bring.

She also enumerated the existing research-public service initiatives that are anchored on the concepts of digital literacy, open spaces, and leadership.

  1. NCODeL
  2. UPOU virtual space
  3. Open Lib
  4. ISMTP
  5. Y4IRT
  6. Cascading Best Practices Program
  7. Infoteach
  9. Knowledge sharing thorugh LTIO/Field Visit
  10. EDUKussion

Research ideas and/or researchable areas, suggestions, and sharing from the session’s group are as follows:

  1. Dealing with public through presentation in national and international conferences
  2. Use of social media platform to encourage research among staff
  3. Linkedin-type interaction among UPOU staff
  4. Use the Faculty portal to engage in research conversations about OERs and to foster the open culture
  5. Orientation to high school and college students on OERs; collaborate with other libraries all over the Philippines; take advantage of the network of Chancellor
  6. Participants of the NCODeL – can be part of Plaza
  7. Learning center vs learning hub
  8. Earth ambassadors (we conducted a research forum grades 5-6, they were asked to present their research and oriented them with the blended learning mode)
  9. Public initiatives through lecture series and international symposium; use social media to encourage more participation in the upcoming ASEANALE; use of Google drive
  10. Researchgate-type for internal purposes so UPOU community can have access to these; microsite where students can share their artworks, poems, etc
  11. Research Conversations as venue to practice presentation
  12. To increase engagement, existing sites (faculty, networks) link all these to main platform and share these to the public; sites have chat functions, so people can engage with us through that functionality
  13. Engagement by partnering with SUCs; go to SUCs in other areas, orientation about use and functions of the platform (helping people around us to become digitally literate; and others to experience to be connected digitally through webstreaming) e.g. MPM experience
  14. Engagement – UPOU blog (platform not just to promote flagship programs but venue for students); not too formal but more interactive approach
  15. FMDS blog – tips for students for taking comprehensive exam, etc
  16. FMDS Facebook page for each programs, DR&DM – Facebook group for alumni where they engage with graduate students
  17. Diverse groups of people can talk about anything (organic market every last Friday of the month); good venue to promote the university; talk about the environment etc); come up with digital materials
  18. Study on the psychological interaction of those who go organic market; what motivates them to attend; identify behavior of people who interact with other people
  19. Lunch and Learn
  20. Digital materials played in TV
  21. Culture of participating in Research Conversations
  22. Invite teachers in the learning center where they can attend the Edukkasyon
  23. Venue for people to comments (i.e. chat functionality)

by Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura


Research Conversations' featured speaker for the InnovaTE Flagship Program is Dr. Sheila R Bonito.

InnovaTE promotes the adoption and/or adaption of innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies in support of effective learning. Its performance indicators were enumerated as such: (1) innovative technology-supported teaching methodologies; (2) enhanced capacity in effective online teaching among the faculty; and (3) reduced attrition and improved graduation rates among students. Its initial components consist of: (1) online teaching toolkit available in the Faculty Portal website; (2) faculty seminar-workshop/webinar series; (3) online teaching skills certification program; and (4) FIC and Tutor Congress.

Dr. Sheila expounded on the Faculty Portal website, noting that it is still under development but is already up and running. The website is designed to house modules for FICs and Open Educational Resources (OERs) as an effort to collate, organize, and present available content. However, at the moment, only modules for course authors are available and can already be retrieved at Webinars and workshops on open educational practices, OER in Education, extent of use of OER in UPOU, and OER in Health have been conducted with many more to come. Dr. Sheila provided websites such as and as sample resources on OERs and open education studies, data sets, etc.

By the end of the conversation, a call for continued research on open education and OERs and for other research topic suggestions was raised. The audience also voiced out their concerns on how resources such as student theses repository and data sets can be made accessible for everyone. It comes as existing policies like the Data Privacy Act limits practitioners to make their work available for all.

by Ma. Rosette B. San Buenaventura

Watch the recording of the conversation at YouTube

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