At the GMA Radio studios, with Radio VP, Mike Enriquez.
By Don Rapadas
Master of Development Communication (2007)
Being a distance learner required of me both discipline and passion. Discipline was required for devoting a sufficient time each day for readings, research, writing, and logging on to my virtual classrooms and being faithful to that schedule, without anyone else nagging you to do it. There was no one to remind me that I should do this and that at this time.
Practically, a distance learner is on his own. Virtual classrooms and classmates, even FICs or tutors are there as support, but the volition and determination to go on and finish every step of the way really depends on the distance learner him/herself.
But although there was the physical separation in the learning environment, I and my batchmates in Devcom, even our good FICs and tutors, were very “cool” and madaldal, so much so that “Kapehan” fora debuted (arguably) on IVLE through the lively and dynamic classrooms of devcom students and faculty. In fact, it was the Kapehan section that received the most number of postings compared to the subject‐related sections.
Anything goes: from kulitan, asaran, kantyawan, and planning of our lakwatsa together. Yes, I think mine was the most travelled batch – in DEVC206 and 208, especially. Our bonding brought us to the offices of Radyo Veritas, Inquirer, GMA 7’s DZBB and WLS‐FM, and in two out‐of‐town F2Fs – UPOU headquarters for DEVC 208, and UPLB College of Devcom for DEVC 263. Kami ang nagpa‐plano lahat nun, kami ang nagre‐request sa mga FICs na ganun ang mga lakad. Ma’am Mel Bandalaria was very supportive.
But our presence on IVLE (wala pang Moodle nung time ko) was also marked by intelligent and critical discussions; I could say our papers were well‐written, and our audio‐visual productions were unique and compelling. Perhaps it was because all of us were challenged and inspired by each other, and by this academic community we endear as UPOU. Even if some of our FICs were not so active in “meeting” us in our IVLE classrooms, they were nevertheless very accessible via email, SMS, or even YM (Yahoo Messenger) for consultation or any inquiry.
And then there was the good opportunity of taking electives in another program, thereby affording me (and the rest) to have other classmates. I took two of my three electives at the National College of Public Administration and Governance, specifically those of Human Resource Development, and Local Government Administration, where I also made good friends and study groups.
Time went so fast and before I knew it, I was already requesting Dr. Madeline Suva and Dr. Alexander Flor to allow me to enroll nine units in my last two semesters. Yes, before the academic year 2006‐2007 came, I have decided to pursue doctoral studies in communication, and have started to inquire for admissions here and abroad. My set time was AY 2007‐2008, and I needed to fast‐track the completion of my Devcom program in just two years. And so while I haven’t officially enrolled yet my subjects on communication research and Special Problem, I was already doing my research paper (e.g. proposal writing, data gathering), and my final semester was devoted to the final stretch of writing.
I can say that such feat was another buzzer‐beating effort. I had the Ph.D. application deadline in mind, and I have programmed my final academic year in OU towards that goal. That worked for me, and it always does – getting challenged by an important goal and being determined to reach it. I did it prior to masteral. I did it again prior to doctoral.
But perhaps I could not have done all that I needed to do if it were not for the unconditional support, trust, and challenge that my professor‐mentors afforded me, and the moral boost I got from my ever‐supportive batchmates.
Masarap maging estudyante ng OU kasi your physical distance from other learners and professors would make you want to get closer to them. Doon nabubuo ang samahan.
I received my Master’s Degree in Development Communication from UPOU in solemn rites held at Cine Adarna in U.P. Diliman on June 9, 2007. A few months later, by the second semester, I was already a Ph.D. student at the U.P. College of Mass Communication. By then, I knew I was very much a U.P. scholar already, having gained ground and support from a dearly‐loved community, my U.P. Open University (This is an excerpt from the full article published in UPOU's centennial commemorative coffeetable book, 100 Narratives).