Online education
the Ateneo way

AteneoBlueCloud will brand not only our virtual campus, but also the vibrant online community of learners and educators that we hope to build. It will be distinguished by the essential markers of Jesuit education, which is designed to transform the whole person into someone imbued with the spirit of magis and cura personalis. This means continuing to educate a person who can think critically, collaboratively, and creatively, and, at the same time, serve and lead with competence and character.

Online or onsite, we shall continue to shape Ateneans who are sharp in mind and large of heart, bearing compassion for others, and drawing inspiration from the love of Christ as mediated by the powerful spirituality of Ignatius Loyola.

—From the 7 May 2020 memo of Fr Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ, President, Ateneo de Manila University

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Ateneo de Manila University offers a distinct type of online Jesuit education.

AteneoBlueCloud defines our approach to online education and articulates our underlying educational philosophy, creating a strong and distinct brand for the university’s high-quality and innovative delivery of online educational services.

It offers our students, faculty, and other stakeholders a virtual campus—a gathering place and a “one-stop go-to space”—where you can find all the information you may need.

AteneoBlueCloud aims to build a vibrant online community of learners and educators, strengthened by shared rituals and practices that may be virtual—but no less meaningful and powerful.

Here are some basic principles of Ateneo’s philosophy for online education:

Well-designed online educational experiences can be as effective as traditional in-person academic and formation programs.

All our online programs will be distinguished by the same rigor and relevance of learning and personal care for every learner that Ateneo de Manila has been known for. This is the standard that we will aim for in the online education that we will offer our students.

An Ateneo de Manila education is rooted in Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy and set apart by the Jesuit trademark of magis and cura personalis.

The essential characteristics of Jesuit educationwith its two-fold commitment to excellence and empathywill remain the distinguishing hallmarks of the education offered on AteneoBlueCloud.

Remote teaching and remote self-study are but two forms of doing online learning and teaching.

They are included in the Ateneo brand of online learning, but by no means do they exhaust AteneoBlueCloud’s goals and repertoire of strategies for online learning and teaching. Through an array of carefully designed virtual environments and personally facilitated virtual experiences, AteneoBlueCloud will offer our students effective online learning and formation build on the solid and longstanding tradition of Jesuit education.

AteneoBlueCloud will model Ignatian pedagogy as well as 21st-century educational principles.

It takes advantage of the wide range of technological tools at its disposal to promote active and interactive learning (“learning by doing”) in contrast to the more traditional passive and one-way teaching (“teaching by telling”). Learner-centeredness will characterize the online courses offered on our ABC campus because of the clear conviction that the end goal is learning and formation, and technology is but a means to it.

Our approach to online education will also be characterized by inclusivity and empathy, as captured respectively by the Jesuit phrase cura personalis.

No learner will be excluded or left behind because of access. Provisions will be provided in both the design and delivery of the courses so that all learners will have adequate–and where possible, equal–opportunities for learning.

We have developed our very own framework for designing learning based on the AteneoBlueCloud philosophy of online education. It is called Adaptive Design for Learning (ADL).

The desired adaptability refers not only to different modes of delivery of our educational services (online, blended, and face-to-face), but also to the course designs themselves that can be repurposed to suit every individual faculty’s style and to respond to every unique learner's unique needs and contexts.

What we mean by online learning

We make a distinction between ONLINE LEARNING on the one hand and Remote Teaching and Remote Self-Study on the other:

  • Remote Teaching: Delivery of live online lectures (or pre-recorded talks) with some synchronous class discussion

  • Remote Self-Study: Posting or emailing of assignments (reading materials, activities, assessments) that learners can accomplish at their own time and pace within a period of time.

  • Online Learning: Designing an array of online learning experiences that include–but is not limited to–Remote Teaching and Distance Learning.

REMOTE TEACHING consists primarily–or only–of delivering real-time online lectures with the additional possibility of: (a) posting content online and (b) conducting Q&As or live discussions among students (Lectures can also be pre-recorded and sent to students). However, especially if sessions are synchronous, there will be questions of access and learner engagement. Remote teaching is far from an ideal response to the situation.

The other extreme, REMOTE SELF-STUDY–entails mostly posting online assignments, where all the teacher does is post (or email) readings and tasks (assignments and assessments), expecting the learner to do most, if not, all of the work. MOOCs (“Massive Open Online Course”) would be good examples of Remote Self-Study.

Proper ONLINE LEARNING offers the learners a wide variety of online experiences and tasks that will engage them not only with the content and the instructor, but with their fellow learners as well. The presentation of content (through text or video, how long, etc.), the intervention of the instructor (when to be present, whether to do Remote Teaching, real-time or not), and interaction with classmates (whether whole-class or in small groups, synchronous or asynchronous)–all these are design decisions that should be made deliberately based primarily on one criterion: Which ones would promote engagement and learning most effectively?

Remote Teaching and Remote Self-Study are acceptable and respectable practices, but for various reasons, should be employed consciously as an educational strategy. For us, online learning and formation can be so much more.

That’s why our faculty members are undergoing intensive training this summer to expand our repertoire of online skills and tools so that we can design and deliver the best possible online Jesuit education for our students. There is nothing remote about the online learning and formation that we are offering our students.

What we mean by adaptive

Courses are designed adaptively in two senses:

  1. The delivery is adaptive: With minimum revision, the same course can be delivered in different ways--fully online, traditional in-person, or blended.

  2. The design itself is adaptive. Faculty can adapt and revise the course depending on their preferred style and strengths, and especially based on the needs of their learners.

To ensure that the kind of education we offer is inclusive, our online courses will also have low-bandwidth versions of the courses (audio or text-only) and available as Learning Packages for those who have problems with Internet access or thumb drives for those who request them.

Our ADL framework is our way of ensuring that the distinctive AteneoBlueCloud brand of online Jesuit education will be embodied in every single academic and formation program that we offer our students.