Augmenting the UPOU LMS

Since 2007, the UP Open University (UPOU) has used Moodle, an open source course management system. While the application has allowed the university to deploy all its courses online, Moodle still presents limitations. The compartmentalized nature of courses within the system inhibits the sharing of learning objects and resources across users. Furthermore, while it does have social networking capabilities to a certain degree (by many accounts more so than other learning management systems), Moodle provides little flexibility when it comes to collaborative learning. Technical issues also hampered the performance of a number of built-in functionalities, which in turn gets in the way of the learning experience. These limitations encouraged facilitators and students alike to opt for third party web applications to fulfil course requirements. This research project aimed to address these limitations by expanding upon the functionalities of the system. This was achieved through the installation of modules and plugins within the Moodle itself and the integration of external web applications such as conferencing, blogging, e-portfolios and rich media content management through single sign on (SSO). This expansion brought about a number of achievements. First, learning activities were made available which were either new or improved upon what Moodle had by default. This expanded learning management system was piloted with two courses under the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Studies program, which Moodle has been historically ill-equipped to accommodate on its own. Findings of the study were based on the analysis of performance as well as first hand feedback from users, which in turn is to be used for the continual improvement of UPOU’s online course deployment.




Biomodd is a collaborative art project conceived to challenge presumed notions of opposition between nature and technology in different cultures throughout the world. The project started in 2007 during a residency of Angelo Vermeulen at The Aesthetic Technologies Lab in Athens, Ohio. Since then multiple versions have been built both by the people that originally came up with the idea, and by other communities throughout the world. Biomodd art works have been created and showcased in America, the Asia Pacific, and Europe. I have so far been directly involved in three Biomodd-related projects.


The second iteration of Biomodd was built and put on display in Los Baños, Laguna and Manila in the Philippines from February to October 2009. Its aim was to come up with a locally created art installation that would literally fuse a living ecosystem with a modified computer network. The final result was a monumental wood and glass "sculpture" that contained a system of recycled computers intertwined with an aquaponics system, and a multiplayer art game enabling visitors to directly interact with the piece. Conceived and first launched by Belgian artist Angelo Vermeulen in the USA, the core concept of co-created symbiosis of biology and electronics was adapted and relaunched in the Philippines through a partnership with the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and a range of Filipino partners.



Work on an installation that commemorated Biomodd[LBA2] started at the end of 2009, whose results went on display in the UP Open University from February to July 2010. After further refinement, the installation was then moved to the 3rd Philippine International Flora and Fauna Green Living Expo in the World Trade Center near the end of July. The installation garnered significant attention from the media, visitors and fellow exhibitors representing various organizations.


PIFGEX Exhibit

2010-07-25 cbiomoddphilstar

Newsclip from the July 25, 2010 edition of the Philippine Star


The third major Biomodd project was organized in Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands in the latter half of 2011. Biomodd [TUDelft3] took place in the context of the inaugural speech of professor Frances Brazier of the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. Biomodd coincided with Brazier's work on participatory systems, which referred to how human beings, technological systems and ecosystems participate in each others processes.

UPOU Community Site

This is a pet project which I planned at the start of my career in UPOU. It is supposed to be a content-driven website ideally comprising of faculty, staff, students and alumni posting articles and blogs whose topics, as well as participating in an online forum whose topics don't exactly fit in the official UPOU website and MOODLE. Since the middle of 2008, the community site has attained a certain degree of success in reaching out to several students. It has become a springboard for extra-curricular discussion and activities which are severely lacking in UPOU. The augmentation of the website with social networking tools have further boosted site traffic and has reached more members of the UPOU community than any other online community prior to Facebook.

Unfortunately, the site closed in 2011 as the core group in the community moved on. This highlighted the problem of sustainability. This i perhaps the biggest issue in establishing a viable online community within the university.



Copyright 2018 Al Francis D. Librero © All Rights Reserved.

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