Mapúa at 91: A glimpse into the future

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Mapúa has strategized an advancement of its game plan for the challenges and opportunities in the coming years. In this regard, President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea coined D.R.O.I.D. which refers to Mapúa becoming a Digital, Research-driven, Outcomes-based, International Domain, summarizing Mapúa’s response to globalization and the explosion of knowledge.

Mapúa Institute of Technology, the biggest and premier technological school in the country is looking ahead, preparing to surf the wave of digitalization in the coming years.

At the heart of Mapúa Institute of Technology is a strong aspiration to provide its students a state-of-the-art, cutting-edge education.

With this goal in mind, the Institute has embarked on a journey to develop progressive, innovative approaches that champion the use of technology in honing the students’ skills. Continuing its efforts to bolster the Institute’s world class quality of education, Mapúa has strategized an advancement of its game plan for the challenges and opportunities in the coming years. In this regard, President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea coined D.R.O.I.D. which refers to Mapua becoming a Digital, Research-driven, Outcomes-based, International Domain, summarizing Mapúa’s response to globalization and the explosion of knowledge.

Groundbreaker in digital advancement

To further pursue its goal to become one of the top universities worldwide, the Institute is gearing up for the online degrees that it plans to offer. The implementation of Clicker technology, wherein instructors and professors utilize a clicker device during classroom discussions, has been one of the initiatives.

This implementation is in relation to Mapúa’s Collaborative Learning for Independent and Competitive Knowledge (CLICK) technology, aimed at encouraging class participation among the students.

Another initiative of Mapúa is Blackboard Learn, a learning management system, deployed not only in the Institute, but also in its wholly owned subsidiaries Malayan Colleges Laguna (MCL) and Malayan High School of Science (MHSS).

Blackboard Learn is a virtual learning environment and course management system that catalyzes student learning, facilitating over-all discussions, thus allowing both the students and faculty members to communicate more clearly and systematically. Through Blackboard Learn, students and teachers have an easy and effective way to upload and access course materials, and track, report, and assess student learning and achievements.

It also allows users to create customized communities, library integration, and a centralized content repository with granular control over content objects. According to Center for Teaching and Learning head Professor Mary Christine A. Tomas, the new technology gave way to the standardization of LMS across all programs and departments of the Institute and its subsidiaries.

“For years, we have been using several free LMS, which we cannot maximize in terms of reports needed by the different schools or programs,” Prof. Tomas said. “Blackboard Learn allows students and faculty members to be more functional, and more collaborative because of this ‘faculty-friendly’ LMS platform.”

Prof. Tomas added that with Blackboard Learn, students and faculty members can tailor their Blackboard page according to their class room needs. Additionally, it includes a tool allowing teachers and professors to detect plagiarism, distribute class reading, and conduct online conferences for distance learning.

Internet of Things

The Institute also actively engages in research, design, innovation in the field of Internet of Things (IoT)—the network of smart things via internet, enabling the objects to communicate with one another for the purpose of performing certain tasks.

School of Electrical, Electronics and Computer and Engineering Dean Alejandro H. Ballado, Jr. explained that IoT is currently one of the leading technologies worldwide, and it is expected to progressively develop in the coming years.

According to a Business Insider report, there will be 34 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020, up from 10 billion in 2015, and nearly six trillion dollars will be spent on IoT solutions in the next five years. These facts, according to Engr. Ballado, solidifies the importance of Mapúa’s engagement in the field of IoT through research, design, development, and deployment, acting as a trailblazer in technology research, to stay relevant in the digital age.

“Mapúa’s efforts in the field of IoT will continuously improve the capacity of the personnel of Mapúa to tackle, solve, and innovate recent and relevant issues in the field of engineering and technology,” said Dean Ballado.

Mapúans are employing IoT in their research projects such as the design and development of wireless sensor nodes for structural health monitoring of bridges, sensor nodes embedded in concrete hollow blocks for fire detection and monitoring is also in the works, along with sensor nodes with a cloud server for rice warehouse environment monitoring, agricultural irrigation system, cargo trucking, and monitoring security.

An advocate of research and development

Technology research on the IoT is just the tip of Mapúa’s engagement in research and development.

According to International Linkages on Research and Development officer Dr. Delia B. Senoro, Mapúa has made significant accomplishments on its quest to excel in the field. One of the biggest achievement is the establishment of its own research center, housing various state-of-the-art laboratory equipment to support research needs.

Mapúa is also taking pride in one of its ongoing researches—the membrane technology, a separation process commonly used for the creation of process water from groundwater, surface water or wastewater.

To further research efforts on this technology, Mapúa forged a partnership with the Center for Membrane Technology of Chung Yuan Christian University (CMT-CYCU) for collaborative research, joint publications, shared intellectual property, use of equipment, and exchanges of student and faculty researchers between Mapúa and CMT-CYCU.

Mapúan researchers

Dr. Jacque Lynn Gabayno, a physics professor who completed her post-doctoral research in CYCU, studied the capacity of magnetic nanomaterials (particularly iron oxide or magnetite) for biomedical applications of detecting and removing blood clot right away even when the person is not in the hospital. Another is Ms. Maria Theresa Artuz, who obtained her Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering in Mapúa. She studied about biosorption of metals (copper, lead, and nickel) from waste water as a scholar at Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science (CNU) in Taiwan. Student researcher Irish Suzette Gan, alongside other researchers, is working on a project assessing human error in the aviation industry.

The Institute has also recently established the Geospatial Information and Civil Systems (GICS) laboratory, employing faculty and student researchers. The GICS lab currently houses significant studies on the DOST grant-in-aid project, Mapúa Phil-LiDAR 1 which will help in mapping flood hazards as well as predict the extent of flooding in the provinces of Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon or CABARZON. This will greatly facilitate accurate planning and appropriate disaster and risk reduction and response of local government units in the said areas.

Sustainability research

According to Dr. Vea, sustainability, as a present-day global concern, has been a major theme of the research and development efforts of Mapúa.

“Such a research direction jibes with the desired learning outcome that Mapua graduates should be able to provide solutions to problems that take into account societal, environmental and ethical concerns,” he states.

Graduate research in Mapúa

Directive Research for Innovation and Value Enhancement (DRIVE) Director Jonathan W.L. Salvacion said that universities are expected to do research and development work. He added that this will be achieved through organizing the research works of Mapúa’s graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate research, he said, moves towards pragmatic and programmatic approach leading to long-term programs of application.

“A university is not just about teaching. The modern university, as Mapúa envisions itself, is expected to generate new knowledge, and open new frontiers,” Dr. Salvacion said.

DRIVE had already started to patent the works of students, one of which is a research on the agricultural application of electronics engineering. Another electronics engineering graduate student is developing a device for warning drowsy drivers, while another student is studying the use of GPS in any kind of condition without reliance on satellites.

Making milestones through education reforms

The implementation of the outcomes-based education (OBE) system in Mapúa and MCL yielded positive results that are evident in student progress and board and licensure exam performance. Accrediting bodies ABET and PTC-ACBET granted its programs respective accreditation.

“The attainment of desired learning outcomes is the organizing principle of Mapua education” said Dr. Vea. “These learning outcomes are attuned to global and national needs thus making our graduates highly competitive. In conjunction with the outcomes-based approach we are putting the learner at the center of it all.”

Pioneering international linkages

Mapúa is also aggressively forging international linkages with different institutions, exposing students to a wider perspective in the world of practice, honing their skills on a more advanced level, which serve as their ticket to success.

Admissions and International Programs Dean Eira E. Camus said that the Institute currently has partnerships with close to more than a hundred institutions for all the programs. Meanwhile, Dr. Senoro said that ILRAD established partnerships in almost 20 countries, the most active of which are Sweden and Taiwan.

“Our participation in these linkages, coupled with our international accreditation is definitely helping us to position Mapúa in the international arena,” Engr. Camus said.

Aside from international on-the-job trainings, student/faculty exchanges, plant visits, and summer programs. Mapúa is also opening more networking opportunities for both the students and faculty members.

Future Mapua

Mapúa endeavors to shape a more vivid future for the Institute itself and the students.

In 2018, when the first batch of Grade 12 graduates step out of senior high school, Mapúa will open the doors of a new school in Davao - the Malayan Colleges Mindanao (MCM). According to Dr. Vea, the new institution will employ Mapúa’s high quality of education that aims to equip its students with world class knowledge and skills that are appropriate and needed in the global workforce. Like Mapúa, MCM will have access to state-of-the-art facilities, superb faculty, and an outcomes-based education system, the full-scale implementation of which the Institute pioneered in the Philippines.

The growing competition in the global market also motivates the Institute to scale its efforts up both in the academic and administrative spheres.

“Mapúa is progressively advancing towards its aim to join the ranks of the best schools in the world. We hope to secure this future for Mapua through D.R.O.I.D” concluded Dr. Vea.
This article is part of the Foundation Week Supplement of Mapúa, MHSS, and MCL, published at the Philippine Star last January 25, 2016.