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The pandemic gave us an experience of how a virus can cause unexpected upheavals in our society. The changes wrought have resulted in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world. When the COVID 19 pandemic ends, there will still be wars, upheavals, and unprecedented manufactured and natural calamities. These struggles will continue demanding from each intelligence, knowledge, insight, commitment, sacrifice, and cooperation for a shared common good. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity will be no different with future pandemics or crises. 

Given all these, Ateneo de Davao University is gearing up for future-proof education through the Hybrid Implementation Strategy using a FLEXible modality or HISFlex of blended learning. This blended learning method will strengthen critical thinking, creativity, communication skills, and collaboration. Through HISFlex, students will learn to satisfy their curiosity; exercise initiative, leadership, and socio-cultural awareness; develop grit and persistence, and adapt to change.

The old face-to-face learning confines those who are physically present in the same time and place (e.g., classroom or laboratory). At the other end of the spectrum is fully online instruction, which allows students to study or work from anywhere (e.g., at home, in a coffee shop, etc.) via online platforms or learning environments (e.g., Daigler, Moodle, Google Classroom). Students “check-in” with a course teacher and engage in online communication when more explanation is needed. What is shaping to be the best of both worlds is HISFlex. This alternative school setting allows students to attend in-person, on-campus classes or opt for virtual classes, based on their learning activities. It does not limit students to learning within the four walls of the classroom. In this pandemic, flexible learning is the most suitable modality, considering the students’ health risk levels and attendance concerns. 

The University has upscaled and is moving forward to master new learning technologies that will enable the community to best engage with others in a VUCA and interconnected world. Thus, starting School Year 2022-2023, Ateneo de Davao University is adopting HISFlex. 

 HISFlex in Ateneo de Davao University

HISFlex welcomes both face-to-face and virtual Ateneo learners into a new learning environment. It makes possible real-time participation of students onsite and online. Our technologically-enhanced HISFlex classrooms accommodate 20 students onsite while HISFlex laboratories seat 15 students who attend sessions on campus. Other students participate virtually via Zoom or Google Meet. 

Fifty classrooms and 29 laboratories have been retrofitted for uniquely HISFlex classes. Wall displays in the HISFlex classrooms and laboratories bring together those attending virtually with those who are physically in the classrooms. Class discussions intermingle physical and virtual presences in the same space, enriching the learning experience. This blended setup allows the University to offer select courses and programs to students who reside outside Davao City. It lends itself well to others who prefer virtual classes over in-person on-campus classes.

HISFlex enhances students’ learning outcomes in ways that the traditional instruction approach (face-to-face) cannot. Training our students to master new learning technologies maximizes borderless education. It also allows teachers to use the most appropriate medium for their course content, and students can learn in practical, social, and solitary ways. Hence, we have redesigned the traditional classroom setup where the teacher dominates their students’ learning experience.

Studying or working from anywhere, interacting with peers residing in different provinces/cities, and learning and collaborating with students or internationally-known experts from foreign countries are now being practiced. With HISFlex modality, students can minimize missing their classes as it effortlessly combines onsite learning or training with those who opt to participate virtually.  Learning content is also easily accessed through our digital platforms. Students can return to their course content to deliver more impressive results over time. Professionals with hectic schedules can also advance their careers or enhance their competencies through fully online or hybrid learning. 

The HISFlex principle is applied not only to instruction but also to all other aspects of University life. University administration, students, faculty, and staff will continue building up one another through online or hybrid encounters in formation, research, and community engagement.

Our future-proof education provides hybrid opportunities to equip students with 21st-century skills to respond to the challenges of today and whatever the future may bring.

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