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DLSU-Manila pilots virtual literature classroom

Faculty members of the Departamento ng Literatura at Wikang Filipino (DLWF) are currently discovering the benefits of integrating information technology and teaching, following the initial success of a web-based classroom for first-year students of humanities last term.

DWLF faculty are taking the cue from Frances Sangil, who developed a virtual site for her Art Appreciation (ARTAPRE) classes last June. The web site (http://www.yahoo.com/clubs/artapre) allows the students to follow up discussions outside their regular class hours. Among its main features are a chat room, a photo gallery, and a bulletin board.

Brother Scubilion Rousseau, FSC
Feast Day, September 27
Brother Scubilion Rousseau, FSC
Jean-Bernard Rousseau, (Brother Scubilion), was born on March 21, 1797 in the Burgundy country of France. 
On Christmas eve of 1822, Jean-Bernard Rousseau became Brother Scubilion and began his novitiate in Paris. Brother Scubilion taught religion to the local people, children and adults alike. Through him, Christ came to be loved and glorified by the poor and the outcasts.
Brother Scubilion died on April 13, 1867 in Ste. Marie on the island of Reunion. He was beatified in Reunion by John Paul II on May 2,1989. His feast is kept on September 27th. In Reunion, his feast is kept on December 20th, a national holiday commemorating the abolition of slavery.

The pioneering batch of the ARTAPRE virtual club responded positively to the introduction of this new teaching tool. Students held active discussions, checked their assignments and posted messages regularly on the site.
According to Sangil, the students were at first apprehensive. “Some really protested even if they still had to visit the site. So I told them, check it out first before giving any comment,” she noted. The students would later affirm that the virtual club would have many advantages.

Sangil noted that for the first term, the club accommodated three classes. Students who were normally quiet in the actual classroom setting were encouraged to share their ideas during online discussions. Now on its second term, the ARTAPRE site still gets messages from former students who have requested not to be deleted from the club.

Currently enrolled in the hyper-narrative class in the Communication Arts Department, Sangil admitted that the virtual class has its limitations. For instance, most of the computers available to students are yet to feature sound capability. She also pointed out that managing the site would entail more discipline and hard work, especially because of the increasing number of members.

For her, however, the advantages are worth the effort. The site was able to hook the interest of her students in the arts. At the same time, literature faculty are also studying teaching strategies with the use of IT tools.

“Some students complain, but here in our school , we have computer laboratories and cybernooks. We have the facilities so we should take advantage of what we have,” she said.

DLWF Chair Dr. Isagani Cruz, for his part, said although there are no evaluations being made at present, the main benefit of using IT to teach literature to students is the marked increase of student participation. Although the project has its limitations, he said that the La Salle community should put this in a positive light considering that our students are more technically-savvy and spend more time surfing the net.

He assured that the department would continue to enhance the teaching of literature by becoming pro-technology and being open and supportive of new innovations in IT.

At present, the faculty are given training on IT under the Center for Educational Multimedia (CREM). Top-of-the-line computers are also provided for the faculty’s exclusive use. Literature majors, though numbering less than a hundred, are also given access to the department’s computers.

In addition, core courses in Filipino are internet-enhanced. Cruz pointed out that DLSU-Manila’s literature and language department is the most advance in terms of teaching literature with the use of state-of-the-art technology.

Inside NEWS

Cruz revealed plans to set up a network that will service other La Salle campuses, such as University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, De La Salle-Unified School Lipa, and the De La Salle Catholic University of Manado. 


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