EdTech Center partners with Google to expand eLearning opportunities

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THE EDUCATIONAL Technology Center (EdTech) collaborated with Internet giant Google, setting up applications to expand the existing digital learning initiatives of the University through its eLearning Access Program.

The University was one of the first institutions to adapt “Google apps for Education” since its introduction in the Philippines in 2014.

Anna Cherryle Ramos, Director of the EdTech Center, said the move “was on trial and testing in two colleges with tech-savvy students specifically at the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering.”

Google apps for Education now serve as the login credential for accessing all e-Learning course sites under the e-Learning Access Program (eLeAP).

The program aims to enhance the communication and collaboration among the Thomasian academic community and enrich teaching and learning practices from technology-mediated activities.

Students and faculty members had been certified to use a personal Google Cloud platform account via Gmail, Google’s email program. The Web-based word processing program possesses unlimited storage for Gmail accounts and all files in Google Drive. It also provides an easy access to hundreds of free Google Apps for Education.

Ramos said that this program will allow uncomplicated submission of papers using Google generated URL via eLeAP course sites without uploading physical files into the eLearning management system.

“All enrolled students are eligible for the Google Apps for Education account issuance and enrollment to eLearning course sites. The term of its usage is based on the enrollment record from the registrar’s office.  After the degree completion or term of employment, these email addresses shall be functional within a period of six months to allow the user to archive the important communication history.”

Faculty members will be allowed to share collaborative documents in one repository, inside the Learning Management Systems, as opposed to having their personal drives shared via an email message.

EdTech superintended the implementation of the program across the University. Phillipe Jose Hernandez, the University’s Social Media Bureau, said that EdTech coordinators have undergone a training program to be“ Google Certified Educators,” a Google-sponsored accreditation for teachers who are proficient in using online tools in the classroom.

Integration

For several years, EdTech has been using the eLearning Access Program (eLeAP) as the primary platform for teachers and students to be engaged in digital learning.

Ramos said that the successful migration of the eLearning Access Program to a cloud-hosted virtual environment has been timely. Right after the successful trial validation run on Google, the need for E-mail addresses became a requirement.

Consequently, to comply with the demand of this situation, eLeaP had made an adjustment. From then on, the partnership of the University with Google apps for Education became fully integrated.

In addition, eLeAP has a similar “cloud base infrastructure” with Google. Although, powered by Blackboard Learning, its partnership with the University became extremely successful.

Furthermore, EdTech conducts regular orientation to students and faculty members through the appointed eLearning specialists per college in accessing their Google for Education and eLearning Access Program Accounts.

Faculty members were given “Access Cards” which allows them to carry a handy reference with login instructions and information about the functions of the Google Core Apps for Education.

Since the start of organizing teachers into Google for Educators Group (GEG), members of the EdTech have been invited as panel experts in the regular gathering of these GEG chapters in the Philippines.

They are scheduled to join the upcoming Convergence: GEG Educator’s Summit 2016 on November 12 with teachers from GEG Kalayaan, GEG Manila South, GEG Mandaluyong, GEG Ortigas and GEG Makati.

Aside from its Google for Education partnership, the EdTech is now being identified as a training and certification center for those teachers wanting to be recognized as Google Certified Educator and Innovator.

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