Distance Education (DE)
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The UP Open University or UPOU is the fifth autonomous university of the UP System. It was established through in 1995 to provide wider access to quality higher education through distance education.

The university envisions to develop in students the discipline and capability to become lifelong learners who are at home in today’s knowledge society.

The UPOU has been declared by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) as the National Center of Excellence in Open Learning and Distance Education in recognition of its achievements in this field and its vital role in pushing the frontiers of learning in service to the Filipino nation.

Visit the UPOU website for more information about UPOU.

An open university espouses a philosophy of open learning which differs in degree and dimension from institution to institution. For the UPOU, its philosophy of open learning is evolving. Its emphasis at present is on widening access to quality higher education.

Distance education (DE) is any of the various forms of study which is not under the continuous, immediate supervision of teachers present with their students in lecture/classrooms. It favors an independent self-learning style which takes place outside a formal classroom.

Despite the physical separation between the learner and the teacher, this does not mean that students are left on their own. Teaching and learning is mediated through the use of technology like print, audio, video, and the internet.

Studying through the distance education mode offers the following benefits:

  • Inclusivity;
  • No need to take leave from one’s job;
  • No need to be separated from one’s family;
  • Can immediately apply what has been learned to one’s work;
  • Access to institutionally developed learning modules.

UPOU students are expected to perform the usual learning activities and course requirements performed by students in traditional classes. Unlike in face-to-face classes, the course materials are usually the starting point for study.

Course materials may come in the form of print modules, online articles and exercises, videos, and audio recordings. Interaction between the teacher and students also takes place through the internet.

UPOU espouses Open and Distance e-Learning (ODeL) – a worldview that combines the philosophy of open learning, the pedagogies of distance education, and the technology of eLearning. This worldview guides UPOU’s mode of teaching. The key features of DE as practiced at UPOU are:

  • Students and teachers at UPOU are separated from each other by space and time. They do not meet face-to-face in a physical classroom to conduct regular classes.
  • Students partake in an asynchronous learning. They undertake guided independent study using the learning package especially designed by the faculty in charge. The learning package includes course materials, course guide, activity guides, resources and other information a student needs for learning.
  • UPOU utilizes an open source learning management system (LMS) as its virtual classroom. This is other otherwise known as MyPortal.
  • To enhance interaction and discussion, the faculty in charge uses various online collaboration and communication tools available today.
  • Final examinations are conducted either face to face at designated learning and testing centers, or online.

If traditional universities have classrooms and lecture halls, UPOU has course sites or “virtual classrooms” where students and teachers log in to discuss the lessons as well as do other learning activities.

Academic interactions, submission of course requirements, online quizzes, chats and other online activities can be done in the course site. The class interactions/schedules will depend on the Faculty-in-Charge (FIC) of the course. Some may have weekly interactions, others may have open interactions that happen throughout the term and the rest may follow an entirely different schedule within the term.

Almost all courses are taught online, which means that you can study any course wherever you are. Around 15 per cent of UPOU students are based abroad.

Some subjects require pre-scheduled face-to-face meetings (e.g., laboratory work or field practice).

Yes, students normally need to take examinations. The students sit for supervised examinations through either of these means:

  1. at pre-identified examination venues;
  2. at a Philippine embassy/consulate or any academic institution/credible organization abroad under the supervision of a qualified proctor in the area; or
  3. online.

Examination Services is a program under the Office of Student Affairs that is responsible for the overall administration and delivery of academic examinations done at a UPOU designated examination venue. Academic examinations include midterm, make-up exam, removal/completion, final exam, comprehensive exam and admission test.