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Mapúa, MCL, leaders in implementation of OBE in PH, hold confab

Live web interactive conference between the two campuses a success

Mapúa Institute of Technology and Malayan Colleges Laguna (MCL) held their very first conference on the outcomes-based education (OBE) system last January 23 as the two schools remain in the lead in the implementation of the learner-centered approach to education in the Philippines.

Top officials and faculty members from both schools gathered for the conference, titled “OBE 2013: Best Practices in Course Assessment and Evaluation,” so they could learn from each other’s teaching-learning methods.

Mapúa and MCL’s executives and faculty were at their campuses in Intramuros, Manila and Cabuyao, Laguna, respectively, and they conferred through video conference. A live streaming of the conference was also provided on the OBE website, allowing the school communities to listen in and participate in the discussions.

“This is the first of what would be an annual conference of both faculties on the subject of OBE. It is hoped that by such sharing everyone gets uplifted and both schools are better able to maintain their leading positions in the implementation of OBE in the Philippines,” Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, Mapúa and MCL’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), said in his welcome remarks.

Six professors from different fields of engineering, language and information technology were chosen to present their respective courses, learning outcomes and assessment tools. An open forum was held immediately after each presentation.

"This conference is meant to give a yearly nudge to the forward momentum, to build a body of knowledge that will become a most valuable intellectual resource for years to come, and to serve as an opportunity for continuous quality improvement," Dr. Vea said.

The first speaker was Prof. Aristides R. Mapua of the School of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Mapúa. His study, which was co-authored by Prof. Aileen D. Nieva and Engr. Dante P. Bernabe, focused on using film as a medium to understand an engineer’s role in sustainable development and other changes in the society.

Attention shifted to MCL as Prof. Jhona Niem, a faculty and English coordinator at the College of Arts and Science, discussed the importance of MCL’s English Language Development Program in producing technically trained professionals.

Dr. Dante L. Silva of the Department of Mathematics at Mapúa then presented his research study on the influence of a four-stage learning cycle approach in his students’ problem-solving performance in differential equations.

He was followed by Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy’s lecture on evaluating a capstone project using the triangulation technique, a form of outcomes-based assessment. Dr. Uy is the dean of the School of Civil, Environmental and Geological Engineering (CEGE) at Mapúa. MCL’s associate dean of the College of Information Technology (CIT), Prof. Khristian G. Kikuchi, then took the stage as he discussed CIT’s best OBE practices in assessing and evaluating selected IT core courses.

Lastly, Prof. Rex Aurelius Robielos, dean of the School of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IE-EMG) at Mapúa, presented his and Dr. Bonifacio T. Doma's study on using a competency-based assessment in courses involving Operations Research and Separation Processes.

Dr. Doma is Mapúa’s executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

In his synthesis, Engr. Dennis H. Tablante, MCL’s vice president for Academic Affairs, stressed that student learning should always be the main priority of any teaching method. “Let our brand of OBE be known for being learner-centered, engaging, authentic in assessment, reliable in evaluation and innovative.”

The basic principle of OBE is like thinking with the end in mind. Outcomes - or competencies that the students must have at the end of their programs - are first set before a school develops and designs the curriculum, methods of instruction, and assessment. Each academic program has a unique list of outcomes that are based on industry needs, among others.

Course assessment and evaluation are an indispensible part of the OBE system since these are used to determine if the outcomes are achieved.

Under the OBE system, Mapúa scored a major feat after receiving the ABET accreditation of its 10 engineering and computing programs. The Institute and MCL, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mapúa, are among the few schools in the country to adopt OBE, with Mapúa being the first academic institution in the Philippines to fully do so.

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