The Brighter Side of an Uncertain Future: Creative Strategies and Approaches of Academics in Response to COVID-19 Pandem …

April 23, 2020 | 8:19 am

Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Juanito O. Cabanias expresses his deepest gratitude and appreciation to everyone for everything that the Academics has been doing for the Institute especially to the students entrusted to its care. This COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened relationships as members of this wonderful community of learning who value the Lasallian Healing Ministry the most.

Through collective efforts, creative thoughts and proactive moves, Team Academics sees the brighter side in this uncertain future as everyone works on the creative strategies and approaches in response to COVID-19 pandemic worst-case scenarios.


To what extent is the Academics of De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute prepared for this worst-case scenario (COVID-19 Pandemic)? Describe how  DLSMHSI Academics copes with this worst-case scenario.


The DLSMHSI Academic Community has responded positively, creatively and realistically to this COVID-19 pandemic. The colleges and departments have considered all learning platforms to deliver what is expected of the faculty and students, and accept the challenges given this situation and translate these challenges into opportunities.

Classes across colleges including the Special Health Sciences Senior High School continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic through the Home-Based Alternative Learning Modalities (HBALM) (on-line and non-electronic strategies such as printed guides, hand-outs, modules for self-study, cases, etc.) The HBALMs have been used with special considerations and modifications as regards compliance with the learning outcomes and competencies. The academic teaching faculty have been advised to be mindful of realistic deadlines, fair number of tasks to accomplish and possibility of coming up with collaborative output for multiple subjects, in consideration of students who have no or limited internet connection and access to computer or laptop. They have also been requested to communicate their lectures and announcements in advance so students would have ample time to prepare for the class and submit the output, provide supplemental handout or guide during on-line classes and send immediate feedback for on-line assignments. The Colleges and Departments have also been asked to credit the HBALM in lieu of suspended clinical rotations and classes without the need for make-up schedule before the semester ends.

We are prepared in terms of infrastructure because we are almost done with our pilot implementations. We are already transitioning to mainstream implementation before the lockdown. However, we have not yet achieved our goal in terms of the development of blueprint courses per cluster. The blueprint courses are intended to be the model courses for faculty members to help them in their on-line course preparations.

As we look into the SY 2020-2021 and beyond, with a conservative premise that the situation still requires physical/social distancing and face to face teaching-learning modalities that are still not advisable for some security and safety reasons, the Academics has to institute the following creative measures: (1) Continuous implementation of the Home-Based Alternative Learning Modalities (HBALM) (on-line and non-electronic strategies such as printed guides, hand-outs, modules for self-study, cases, etc.); (2) Revision of the Course Syllabi and Learning Designs to meet the demands of the Home-Based Alternative Learning Modalities; (3) Conduct of Web seminars focusing on the delivery of virtual classes using the Learning Management System; and (4) Participation in the COIL – Collaborative On-line International Learning Program: Free Training Course to be conducted by the International Association La Salle Universities (IALU). In the times of this global outbreak we are facing, our challenge is to provide means to continue our international education and collaboration while maintaining the safety of our educational communities.

Moreover, our learning resources are available on-line using OpenAthens and the individual username and passwords. We also have significant number of on-line subscriptions and ebooks complementing the Home-Based Alternative Learning Modalities and Face-to-Face teaching-learning strategies. The Romeo P. Ariniego, MD, AFSC Library plans to increase our OpenAthens accounts so that all students would have an account and integrate it to our LMS for seamless access to resources effective SY2020-2021. User education, faculty training and research support could be delivered on-line via email, social media and virtual meeting platforms.

To ensure accessibility in delivering distance and on-line learning this coming School Year 2020-2021 and in the next months to come, the Academics through the Center for Innovative Education and Technology Integration shall:

  • Ensure that the Learning Management System (LMS) is equipped with the necessary learning tools for the delivery of distance on-line learning;
  • Be in constant communication with our system provider to ensure that the system is running 24/7;
  • Be providing training and other support services to faculty and students;
  • Be conducting studies to provide the Academics with data for decision-making as well as for the creation of an innovative program to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to class delivery;
  • Set-up a one-stop-site to organize our support service for the on-line class. Our chat service enables quick communication between users and the support team.

To address the concern of the students- those without internet connection or limited/slow connection and/or no laptops or computers to use, the faculty members shall be asked to submit a printed copy of the module, hand-outs and other printed materials they have prepared for their on-line classes. Textbooks shall also be distributed ahead of time so students can do advanced reading and through the guided learning activities, the students shall learn at their own pace. Consultations of students with the faculty members through various modalities may be done from time to time (e-mail, phone calls, chats, FB messenger, and the like) for the faculty members to give their feedback and assessments of the outputs accomplished by the students.

Finally, to respond to the challenges relative to the clinical rotations, internships, laboratory and skill-based sessions and activities, the different colleges and departments shall initiate the following:

  • Simulated Learning Experiences
  • On-line or video case discussions, mini CEX via online
  • Provision of supplemental videos on the conduct of experiments
  • Shift to creating skill-based instructional videos of the experiments
  • On-line Mentoring in Clinical Education/Tutorials
  • Data collected through actual laboratory activities shall be provided to the students as hypothetical data. Then the students shall be asked to make the necessary positioning, computations, interpretations, and analyses as necessary for the different laboratory activities
  • Development of hypothetical cases, defense of hypothetical cases thru synchronous on-line case presentations, on-line integrative assessment, and tele-therapy and conduct of webinars for patients, parents and caregivers
  • Collection of data within the family. Students shall document the intervention on the health problem identified within their family which shall maximize the “at home experience” in doing their requirements.
  • Creation of a Virtual Community for the community immersion program
  • Purchase of teaching-learning devices to deliver the on-line classes and examination better


What would Academics do to address working arrangements in the next 12-18 months?


Maximization of the distribution of teaching load for academic teaching faculty (frontloading) plus increase in the number of teaching overload to be given to them. We shall also give the academic service faculty the opportunity to teach based on their expertise and capabilities to handle lessons particularly in General Education and Research-related courses. Following the Department Orders and Advisories of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) have been implemented as one of the coping mechanisms and remedial measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. With impending economic difficulties, FWAs help ensure safety of employees while ensuring business continuity through cost reduction and preservation of jobs. Guided by Article 89 of the Philippine Labor Code, DLSMHSI Management can require any employee to render work as part of the skeletal force. DLSMHSI has adopted other FWAs: telecommuting, reduction of workdays, rotation of workers, and forced leave that must be mutually agreed upon by the immediate heads and their direct reports and duly approved by the Vice Chancellor. These measures shall continuously be implemented, as deemed necessary, subject to review and enhancement following the government advisories. The Academics’ non-teaching personnel may also be redeployed to other offices with consideration on their skills especially when the reporting days are not maximized due to the implementation of on-line classes. They may also be invited to teach depending on their fields of specialization.


“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”-Hellen Keller

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.