Students at the University of the Philippines have been taking advantage of tech tools to enhance their academic life.
Times have changed; things are done differently today. Studying, for example, is no longer limited to classroom lessons, books, pen and paper.
Students can now attend live webcast lectures and download notes posted by their professors online. Projects and other school requirements are submitted via email. Reviewing for a quiz? It’s easy with a mobile device and a reliable internet connection.
At the University of the Philippines Diliman, there’s an online course management system called the University Virtual Learning Environment, or UVLê. It allows instructors to create online spaces for their classes to support and supplement classroom instruction.
“Most of our classes involve online submission,” says Moira Cruz, a 4th year Civil Engineering student. “It’s like online classes.”
Professors post slides and online quizzes on UVLê, adds Gabrielle Seva, who is in 5th year in Industrial Engineering. “So it is important to have a fast and reliable internet connection, especially if you have to email something right away,” she says.
Fortunately, Smart Communications has been upgrading its LTE sites in Metro Manila and other parts of the country to improve customers’ mobile data experience.
Seva notes that Smart LTE has a strong signal anywhere on campus. “Connection is always at full bar…very reliable,” she says.
Other students find it difficult to get a connection on the fourth floor of the College of Engineering building, but not Sellina Sy. The graduating Materials Engineering student reports that her Smart mobile data has never let her down whenever she needs to access the internet – even when she’s at the Engineering Thinking Space, a study area on the fourth floor.
Nicole Tan keeps her mobile data turned on. “I use it everywhere on campus. I use it to access resources and communicate with my friends,” says the 5th year student majoring in Industrial Engineering.
“It is definitely easier for our generation to access information because we have it at the palm of our hands. It’s easy compared to when my parents were studying. They had to go to the library to get information. With mobile data, we can just access it through our phone,” she notes.
In this information generation, students are also able to express their opinions and start campaigns if they want to, according to Sy.
This is exactly what all four Engineering students have been doing, together with other members of the UP Women in Engineering, an organization promoting the interest, competence and leadership of Filipino women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“We noticed that in the Philippines, the STEM field is male-dominated,” says Seva. She adds that she has personal knowledge of cases of discrimination against women in certain courses.
“UP Women in Engineering started last year. We believe that women and men should be given the equal chance to work in the STEM field. It is a matter of empowerment,” adds Sy.
“We started an empowerment series, a career talk for senior high school students to promote the science and engineering field,” says Cruz. The group is trying to correct the notion that STEM is a very tough field and that it is mainly for men.
“Soon we’re going to all-girls schools like Miriam and Poveda,” says Cruz.
They use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to announce events and projects.
Also in the pipeline is the Female Friday project, wherein they would feature a Filipina in the STEM field on their Facebook page every Friday. They hope to reach out to more young Filipinas and inspire them to take up the field,” explains Tan.
The org also recently launched its official brand, I AM. It has its own Facebook page where updates on an incoming product line will be posted.
“It’s mostly merchandise that has empowering words and promotes feminism, ecology and body positivity,” says Cruz.
Having access to mobile data facilitates information dissemination and widens their reach, Tan and Cruz agree.
No other generation of learners has this powerful tool at their disposal, and as these students are discovering, it is a key to success.