The unprecedented shift from the traditional classroom-based learning setup to the remote learning mode of delivery of instruction following the COVID-19 pandemic posed some challenges to faculty members on how to deliver instruction to students without compromising desired course outcomes.
These challenges prompted the Teaching and Learning Resource Center (TLRC) of UP Visayas to conduct the training aptly named Teach SMART, a shorthand for “Teaching Strategies, Methods, Approaches, Rudiments, and Theories,” to support faculty members in coming up with effective strategies to improve and accomplish their respective courses’ outcomes, with emphasis on redesigning courses for blended learning.
To give the participants a feel of a blended learning setup, the TLRC conducted the three-day Teach SMART training in a hybrid format with two days held via Zoom and one day offering both online and face-to-face modalities simultaneously, or what is referred to as hybrid flexible or HyFlex format.
Sixty-one faculty members attended the Teach SMART training online held on August 22 and 26, 2022, and five of these faculty members graced the face-to-face session on August 24 held at the Graduate and Continuing Education Building (GCEB) Training Rooms at the UPV Iloilo City Campus synchronous with its online counterpart via Zoom.
The discussions and activities in the training were designed and facilitated by education expert, Dr. Aurora Fe Bautista, who also served as resource speaker and facilitator of the program since the inception of Teach SMART.
The training started with sharing of challenges teachers experienced during the past two years of remote learning modality, which included difficulties in instigating online discussions, developing reasonable and valid learning assessments, and difficulties in delivering instruction, which was echoed in a survey result on teaching difficulties presented by Dr. Bautista.
Dr. Bautista did not shun the perspective of the students as she showed some learning experiences of students who faced challenges during remote learning.
The HyFlex second day focused on sharing factors to consider in redesigning course packs for blended learning, concepts and issues about blended learning, course design processes, and principles grounded on teaching pedagogies and theories, emphasizing the role of teachers as “facilitators of learning.”
Dr. Bautista emphasized two important questions that need to be considered when designing course guides for blended learning: Which activities may be done online independently by the students, and which activities are better done in person?
Staying true to the design of the training, which was to give the participants a feel of how it is to be in a blended learning setup, Dr. Bautista started the third day with an opening gambit which was a True or False activity that also served as a recap of the previous discussions.
The education expert also discussed the interconnectedness of courses’ intended outcomes, assessment regimes, and teaching and learning activities and how the synergy of the three can bring about achievable and effective learning outcomes.
Dr. Bautista, with an inspiring note, ended the training with a video of multi-awarded teacher Joe Ruhl publicized on the video streaming platform Youtube by TEDxLafayette entitled, “Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future” that offered a few interesting insights relevant to the training that simplifies the elements that wire students’ learning process into 5C’s: choice, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.
“Don’t forget that 6th C: caring. That is the most effective, most powerful, most inspiring way of teaching: getting their attention, motivating them, inspiring them… Don’t forget about that 6th C. It’s probably the most important one. Because the greatest of these is love,” Ruhl said in the video. (Mr. Czar Ian Angel Esquivel, TLRC)