HIGH-tech quality education takes a leap forward with the introduction of the Electronic Learning Access Program (e-LeAP).

A brainchild of the UST Educational Technology Center (Ed-Tech), e-LeAP aims to integrate the media and Information Communication Technology (ICT) into the teaching and learning processes of the University.

It was Blackboard, a Learning Management System used by different schools and universities abroad which is designed to transform the Internet into a powerful environment conducive to learning.

According to Prof. Niña Calaca, project manager of e-LeAP, the Web-Enhanced Courses (WEC) that were piloted last semester will become available when classes open this June.

The courses are Biological Science 102, Biostatistics, College Algebra, English 101b, General Inorganic Chemistry Lecture, Human Resource Management in Education, Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, Plant Design, Principles of Economics, Production and Operation Management, Research Methods in Natural Sciences, and Unit Operations.

Also included in the e-LeAP is the Civic Welfare Training Program (CWTS) component of the National Training Service Program (see related article on page 12) that would give UST the distinction of being the only higher education institution in the country to offer the non-military components of the NSTP online.

Before UST, other universities like the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines have already used an electronic learning system, but only in its post-graduate courses.

Advantages

E-LeAP assistant project director Eric Abrea said one of the major improvements of the e-LeAP is the availability of the lessons online. Therefore, if a student is absent and misses a certain topic, he can easily access it through the Internet.

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E-LeAP has the capability of designing exams that allow the students to randomly view the questions one at a time, but only the teachers have access to them. It also allows verification of grades.

Jale Nonone, e-LeAP technical and infrastructure manager, said that with the program, courses in the University have been standardized to ensure that all topics under a subject are discussed.

Nonone added that e-LeAP is trying to work out an agreement with Internet Cafes near the University to give students discounts.

“If we do not provide access points to the students, either home or here in the University, the program will not be effective,” he explained.

High-tech Education for Free

The program will be free to all e-LeAP users until it becomes available to the entire University, Abrea explained.

By 2006, he said the University hopes that e-LeAP would be able to provide all students with electronic learning access after the gradual processes of piloting the courses and faculty training.

Abrea said the introduction of the program had nothing to do with the tuition increase.

Calaca said they are not asking for additional fees from the students.

She emphasized that the program will not replace the classroom since WEC is designed to enhance the students’ learning and not to replace the classroom interaction of students and instructors.

She admitted that some professors are not open to e-LeAP because they do not see the advantages of the program.

“The more we need the teachers here because the courses online cannot stand by itself alone, the online content depends on what is happening on the classroom,” she said.

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For this semester, e-LeAP’s target is 8,000 students, most of whom will come from the first and second year population in the undergraduate courses.

E-LeAP is expected to improve and bring the quality of education in the University into a higher level, Calaca said.

”This will provide the students with a new and innovative learning experience,” she added. Richard L. Rodriguez

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