Student developers from the University of the Philippines win big in the global Google Developer Student Clubs’ (DSC) 2021 Solution Challenge for their application called “Project Island Response and Intervention for Systematic Evacuation (i-RISE)” which aims to bridge the information gap between local government units, disaster risk management offices, and the island communities of Tubigon, Bohol using Google products.

The University of the Philippines Open University’s Faculty of Management and Development Studies’ (FMDS) Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN) program in collaboration with the Gerontology Nurses Association of the Philippines (GNAP) conducted a Let’s Talk it Over (LTiO) webinar entitled “Caring for the Older Person amidst COVID-19 Pandemic” on 28 October 2020 via UPOU Networks.

The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) Research and Publication Committee (RPC) held its first online Research Forum live-streamed via the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Networks on 22 October 2020, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. 

The Research Forum featured selected studies of students from the different programs of UPOU FMDS. The studies cover a wide range of topics from student mobility in the ASEAN region, nursing work environment, public green spaces, health promotion, and status of research in higher education institutions (HEIs). 

What happens when plastics and pandemics collide? In a Let’s Talk it Over (LTiO) webinar, the Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) program led a discussion on the double whammy problem of the COVID-19 pandemic and plastic pollution. The webinar was live-streamed on 30 September 2020 via the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Networks, UPOU Multimedia Center Facebook page, and UPOU YouTube channel.

Is wildlife a friend or a foe in the COVID-19 pandemic? This is what the Master of Environment and Natural Resources Management (MENRM) program discussed during the Let’s Talk it Over (LTiO) Lecture Series on 17 September 2020 and live-streamed via the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Networks.

Dr. Consuelo Dl. Habito, Chair of the MENRM program, opened the webinar with the introduction of the three speakers. The first was Prof. Phillip Alviola, associate professor and bat ecologist at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and curator at the UPLB Museum of Natural History. Prof. Alviola discussed current knowledge about potential zoonotic viruses carried by Philippine bats, where he shared results of bat virus research conducted by UPLB and University of Tokyo from 2007 to 2020. Their published results on viruses from Philippine bats include coronavirus, hantavirus, reston ebolavirus, gammaherpesvirus, and pteropine orthoreovirus.

Alviola_2
The second session was led by Mr. Emerson Sy, herpetologist and consultant at TRAFFIC – a non-governmental organization on wildlife trade. Mr. Sy focused on pangolin consumption, where he narrated instances of pangolin trade and trafficking, and its link to COVID-19.

“Despite legal protection accorded to pangolins, poaching and trafficking occur on a huge scale globally [with] an estimated 895,000 pangolins trafficked globally in the last two decades,” shared Mr. Sy in his presentation.

He pointed out that animal abuse and mishandling have caused zoonotic diseases, such as SARS-COV-1 in 2002 and MERS-CoV in 2012. According to Mr. Sy, although studies have shown that Sunda pangolin is likely an intermediate or direct host of COVID-19, coronaviruses are known to have multiple intermediate hosts.

Sy_3
The last lecture was delivered by Dr. Juan Carlos Gonzalez, professor at UPLB and 11th director of the UPLB Museum of Natural History. Dr. Gonzalez discussed pandemics and wildlife in the anthropocene, where he related the first two lectures to emphasize the role of humans in pandemics.

“It’s easy to blame a bat, but is our wanton destruction of nature and the traditional habitats of species responsible for the pandemic gripping the world right now? Experts concur that the loss of biodiversity, mainly because of humans, is directly connected to the spread of deadly diseases like COVID-19,” shared Dr. Gonzalez as he quoted John Vidal, journalist, author, and former environment editor of The Guardian newspaper.

Dr. Gonzalez also talked about anthropogenic transfer of zoonotic diseases and its impacts on an already restricted-range, small population of threatened endemic wildlife.

Gonzalez_5
An open forum moderated by Dr. Habito was held on the last part of the LTiO. Viewers’ questions were raised via UPOU Networks chat box, YouTube comment section, and Facebook comments section. A total of 2,883 views in the three platforms were recorded during the webinar.

The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) continues with its bi-monthly episode of the “Edu-Hack: Navigating a Turbulent Educational Landscape.” The first episode for August will tackle “K-12 Blended Learning Interactions: What’s Working? How and Why?” Teachers and school administrators of K-12 educational institutions are expected to benefit from this event. 

Beginning on 03 August 2020, the College of Science hosted an 8-day webinar series that focuses on Online/Flexible Teaching and Learning.

With the current global situation, many institutions are fast-tracking their transition to online or distance learning models, and there is no better expert than UP Open University.

The series invited professors from UP Open University, primarily known as a distance learning institution.