It cannot be denied that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for living across the world; impacting on individuals, families, companies and whole industries. According to the Philippines’ Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), individuals 21 to 59 years of age comprise the population segment that may leave their place of residence. This guideline, therefore, curtails the movement of majority of learners since they must remain within the safety of home. In response to this deterrent, Our Lady of Fatima University remains loyal to its vision of “improving man as man” and breaks down the invisible walls of the pandemic through its battle cry, “Go, FLEX!”
FLEX means the Fatima Learning Experience which introduces an interplay of online and offline formats of distance learning, and where health conditions will permit, an infusion of on-campus learning, as well. Fatimanians began FLEX-ing in June through the Special Online Summer Term (SOST), with the latter yielding a fertile foundation of discoveries and realizations.
As OLFU nears the opening of the First Semester of SY 2020-2021 this August, it is initiating activities meant to better prepare the faculty, learners and parents for what has been coined as The New Normal in the education sector. One such effort was the June 8th series of Facebook Live/ Zoom Seminars, “i-FLEX mo na!” which students (and their parents) from the Basic Education Department, Senior High School and College tuned in on.
During the said sessions, University officials walked attendees through FLEX and its various learning approaches such as the synchronous and asynchronous learning modalities. As discussed, synchronous learning sessions are purely online, using appropriate virtual learning tools (e.g., Canvas, Zoom, Google Meet, BigBlueButton, YouTube, Messenger Rooms). Class meetings will be scheduled by teachers in advance, and will utilize the mentioned platforms and its features for discussions, readings, and assessment tasks like quizzes & exams. On the other hand, asynchronous learning sessions are self-directed by the learners themselves, and activities are carried out independently. This approach will depend on the students’ own pace in accomplishing academic tasks but will still be bound by a timeline set by their teachers. Activities, modules, references, and course rubrics will be given ahead of time and can also be accessed through, Canvas—OLFU’s Learning Management System. Finally, and only when health conditions permit, OLFU may slowly integrate face-to-face, on-campus classes to the said mix.
The live forum was also an avenue to discuss online enrolment procedures using Google Forms; online payment methods through Metrobank, Dragonpay, and UnionBank, and online virtual service counters for the request of school documents and scholarship applications. At the end of the session, an open forum was also facilitated to respond to queries from participants. These included clarifications on the online procedures; what students can expect when classes start, and the relevance of online services such as guidance and library services. School officials coming from Admissions, the Registrar, and Campus leadership were present and earnestly responded to the questions.