While other universities in Cagayan de Oro are still in the process of preparing for modified learning this school year, Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan already started classes last July 6.
Xavier Ateneo, following CHED COVID19 Advisory No. 7 dated 24, May 2020, opened SY 2020-2021 for Higher Education Colleges and Basic Education (Grade School, Junior High and Senior High) last 06 July 2020 (03 August 2020 for Law and Medicine) using full online education and will implement Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning, if and when government allows.
Despite radical changes, XU’s enrolment rate was better than expected among its various pre-COVID 19 projections.
In an online conference broadcast live to the university social media accounts, outgoing XU President Fr Roberto C. Yap SJ assured parents: “I thank you for continuing to believe in Xavier Ateneo. We are really in an extraordinary time and extraordinary times call for creative and flexible moves so that we can continue to deliver quality Jesuit education to all our learners. We have really tried to provide the best possible mode and program under this pandemic. Xavier Ateneo is ready and we will do our best so that our students will truly experience excellence.”
Flexible Learning is a seamless combination of Home-based Learning and Cautious Return to On-Campus Learning that aims to minimize learning interruption, ensure learning continuity, and guarantee that minimum standards of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) are met.
To begin the school year, Xavier Ateneo starts with Home-Based Learning. Xavier Ateneo has emphasized it is not rushing to implement the Return to On-Campus Learning in so far as public health and safety are concerned.
Home-based Learning features synchronous (real-time) classes held over the internet. This is allowed by DepEd and CHED provided (1) it is agreed upon by the students, (2) attendance is not required, and (3) classes are recorded for students who are unable to participate.
Xavier Ateneo recognizes the challenges posed by online learning and will utilize traditional instructional materials such as “low-tech” soft- and hard-copy learning packets for students to pick up or access over the internet when available.
Asynchronous (self-paced) learning will also be available for students through recorded classes. All requirements for both synchronous and asynchronous mode of learning are to be submitted online. Learn more about Flexible Learning by viewing this video.
Before starting the school year, Xavier Ateneo faculty underwent rigorous training and retooling to properly facilitate live online classes.
For learning platform uniformity, the Basic Education Cluster (Grade School, Junior High School, and Senior High School) uses Microsoft Teams.
Xavier Ateneo’s online classroom, XU eLearn, is utilized by the Higher Education Cluster (College, Graduate School, and Professional Schools of Law and Medicine).
While there is no definite date on the resumption of on-campus classes, Xavier Ateneo is already preparing for its eventuality by planning for the necessary and critical infrastructure adjustments for all four of its campuses (Divisoria, Pueblo, Macasandig, and Manresa).
No Tuition Fee Increase
To help parents cope with the present crisis, the university has opted not to increase tuition fees, matriculation and laboratory fees. Miscellaneous fees have also been reduced, if not entirely omitted, from the yearly billing. Future adjustments will be made accordingly should there face-to-face learning not be possible within the school year.
Xavier Ateneo Treasurer Lennie Ong said the reduction in fees have been made possible by operational changes for the school year such as reduced academic loads and class sizes.
Perks and Partnerships
Xavier Ateneo has been striking partnerships with various companies to help the XU community adjust to the new normal.
Parasat HD, in partnership with Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, is now offering Study-at-Home discounted internet plans to help XU employees and students cope with the New Normal.
XU is in partnership with EO-Executive Optical for a 10% discount on their anti-radiation and multi-coated lenses, perfect for Flexible Learning which necessitates students to spend hours in front of their computer screens.
Various gadget sellers (Interpace Computer Systems, Power Mac Center, Acer, Samsung), and internet providers (Globe, Smart, Parasat HD) have also been tapped for discounts in their products and services.
XU students may also avail of various productivity applications available from Microsoft Office 365 for free.
Online Freshmen Orientation
Xavier Ateneo finished its first virtual freshmen orientation seminar on July 3.
Xavier Ateneans made #ORSEMOneBearHug, #eLearn, and #XavierAteneo trend in the Philippine Twitter space.
Like past orientations, a mass presided over by Fr Bobby was live-streamed in the official Facebook account of Xavier Ateneo.
The two-day event ended with a talent expo and a tribute to Fr Bobby who is set to become the next president of Ateneo de Manila University by August this year.
Despite being away from the familiar walls of the classroom, students were thanked by incoming XU President Fr Mars P Tan for continuing to study in Xavier Ateneo. “This is the new normal and we have to live with it.”
“We expect that under this new mode, you really have to push back your comfort zones.” Fr. Yap added.
“We will do our best to help and assist you to adjust, learn, and make the most out of the quality, holistic, Jesuit education which Xavier Ateneo will offer you under the new flexible mode of learning.” (RMB)
Cover photo courtesy of Tom Udasco Photography.