With the widespread use of social media and advancements in networking technologies, it is no surprise that modern educators have resorted to the internet to supplement their teaching methods. Technologies such as Google Classroom, Instructure Canvas, and Edmodo have risen to supply teachers with online tools to meet their class, distribute course materials, and grade student outputs without meeting physically. These features are some of the advantages of and opportunities in DLSU’s Sakai System.
The system can be accessed through visiting mycourses.dlsu.edu.ph/portal and logging in the respective ID number and password similarly used in the My.LaSalle system.
The Sakai System
According to Academic Support for Instructional Services and Technology (ASIST) Senior Programmer Terrence Esguerra, Sakai is the official learning management system of DLSU. “ learning management system is basically like Facebook; you use it for learning. It’s like Google Classroom, Canvas, those kinds of software,” he shares.
Sakai allows professors to meet their classes in online classrooms and perform various class activities similar to a regular classroom setting. “[In Sakai], puwede kayong mag-klase online,” Esguerra adds. “If meron kayong repository materials, puwede niyong gamitin iyon.”
The system also supports online chat rooms, scheduling systems, and lesson boards. “Puwede kayong mag-chat sa chatroom ng Sakai. Puwedeng mag-post ng lessons yung teacher niyo sa Sakai. Announcements and scheduling—all of those things, puwede sa Sakai,” Esguerra adds.
ASIST Director Dr. Miguel Rapatan shares that the Sakai system has been in use for three years now since the University acquired it in 2013. “Before Sakai, we had a learning management system called IVLE,” he shares. “We had that around 2012, but it was outdated so we replaced it with Sakai come 2013.”
Trends of usage
Sakai is free for all professors to use. However, it is not required for professors to use the system for their classes. “Professors aren’t really required to use the system,” Dr. Rapatan says. “[However], sa case ng COB, they are required by the dean.”
Dr. Rapatan explains that most of the users of Sakai are from the Colleges of Business, Liberal Arts, and Education. “There are also other colleges such as [College of Engineering] and [College of Science], but for some [colleges] like [College of Computer Studies], there is only one professor using it,” he adds.
Students and professors from various degrees and positions use Sakai. “Basically, students and professors use it, including masters and graduate studies,” Dr. Rapatan reveals. However, he reiterates that using the system is not compulsory and still depends at the discretion of professors.
Hybrid classes and Sakai trainings
Before professors may utilize the system for their classes, they first have to undergo trainings in the ASIST office. Dr. Rapatan emphasizes that training is crucial before a professor uses the system, especially when hybrid classes become an option after the professor gains access to Sakai.
“We [also] have something we call hybrid classes,” he shares. “Basically, 50 percent of the term, you meet face to face with your professors, while the other half will be spent online.” Although hybrid classes become one of the many options professors gain from using Sakai, it is not compulsory to hold one. Not all professors use Sakai for hybrid classes. However, Dr. Rapatan reveals that there are currently around 36 hybrid classes.
Asked if the System is widely in use across the University, Esguerra answers that it is being used, albeit not widely. “There are 139 professors in La Salle [using the system] tapos may 36 pa na dumagdag kasi may training dito,” he shares.
Testimonials from professors
According to Associate Professional Lecturer Dr. Dennis Berino from the Decision Sciences and Innovation Department, Sakai has improved the engagement of students, and it has allowed for higher participation and involvement in his classes. He shares that it is also very easy to use, and recommends it to other professors.
Moreover, Professor Regina Yujuico from the Psychology Department shares that Sakai has done a lot to improve her classes and in organizing resource materials. “My personal favorite is [the] test and quizzes [section], as it makes my life easier,” she shares. Yujuico also reveals that one of her students said that “everything is already in one place,” referring to the system.
Atty. Jason Ramos of the Commercial Law Department, on the other hand, points out that the use of Sakai challenged him to look for new materials and even create YouTube videos in order to be more engaging to the students.
Atty. Ramos also shares that his favorite tool from the system is the lesson tool because it allows him to organize his resources, videos, links, and assessments in one module. “The use of Sakai is not just for the convenience of the professor, but I believe that it is the next step in improving content delivery to the students,” he concludes.
On the awareness of the system
In terms of promoting the usage of the system, Dr. Rapatan expressed that their only way of promotion is through the actual usage of the professors. “For awareness, our only means of promoting the system is really through the teachers,” he shares. “Kapag ginamit ng professors yung Sakai, gagamitin na rin ng students,” Dr. Rapatan adds. He also notes that all the deans know of the system, but it is on their prerogative if using it will be made compulsory. Dr. Rapatan concludes that the training project under the Sakai System was the initiative of the University to further its faculty’s professional development. This way, professors will not need to attend trainings and seminars outside DLSU.