For the last five years, Miriam College has been the Secretariat of the Asian University Digital Resource Network (AUDRN). Dr Maria Lourdes Quisumbing-Baybay, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences, was appointed the first Director of the network and presided over its expansion to 21 institutions across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. As Dr Maria hands over the Directorship to Silliman University she has shared her experience of growing a network of Universities in the Philippines.
Can you tell us a little more about the network and its main aims?
AUDRN is a Local Knowledge Initiative of the United Board for Christian Higher Education (offices in New York and Hong Kong). The first phase of the program was the establishment of a network of universities in the Philippines through various activities involving conferences, training, workshops and camps on local knowledge and digital tools, the support of research on local knowledge using digital tools, and collaboration through a community website and an ePortfolio.
AUDRN is committed to enhancing the capacity of Asian higher education institutions in rediscovering, documenting, co-creating and sharing local knowledge using digital tools
Our goals are: 1. to advance local knowledge as legitimate content of academic endeavors and recognize local communities as rich sources of this knowledge; 2. To integrate local knowledge in academic instruction, research, extension and service-learning; and 3. To create a community of local knowledge scholars and digital education practitioners
Our vision for AUDRN is a leading network of academic institutions in Asia for advancing local knowledge toward whole person education. It serves as a vital network of support for academic professionals on information exchange and local knowledge management using appropriate digital tools and applications, toward creating sustainable communities in Asia.
How has the network grown from its inception?
We started with 12 pioneer institutions which were chosen for their academic excellence and leadership in their respective geographical region and their expertise in local knowledge and digital tools. They are joined together by their conviction in the importance of integrating local knowledge into the higher education curriculum and in the belief that students need to be rooted in their own culture.
Now AUDRN is composed of 21 institutions spread across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We also helped organize a sister network in Indonesia composed of 11 universities called the University Network for Digital Knowledge, led by Soegijapranata Catholic University.
What challenges is AUDRN currently facing?
The partner schools are occupied with all the internal structural adjustments required by national educational reforms: attending to more frequent training sessions, orientations, and meetings with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education; and preparing for accreditation and certification. The impact of K-12 educational reforms on student enrolment in all AUDRN network schools necessarily led to revisions in fiscal and human management priorities and strategies; thus there was a significant drop in actual participation in AUDRN activities for academic year 2015-2016.
What advice and recommendations do you have for improving collaboration between institutions?
We would recommend more online collaboration such as online classes participated by institutions, offering courses on local knowledge and educational technology. We will also improve and utilize our virtual library so that resources can be stored there and used by our partner schools. United Board has approved a project, to be implemented by Silliman University, the new Secretariat. This project will activate the collaboration of the institutions.
Do join us at EduTECH Philippines 2017 to hear more from Dr Maria Lourdes Quisumbing-Baybay who is eager to share her experience, learn from others and inspire more schools and colleges to join the network and continue the work that has been started.
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