Research Conversation

Flagship Program: PLAZA at Research Conversations

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

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