June 14, 2022

Innovative Ways to Engage Students in Digital Learning: United Board grants generate creative delivery of learning


In celebration of our Centennial, the United Board has launched initiatives to support new and innovative approaches to higher education among our network institutions.

One of those Centennial Initiatives, the Digital Content Development Grant Initiative, encourages our network institutions to develop digital educational content to deliver knowledge that is central to whole person education. In particular, grants are designed to fund digital content that expresses complex and challenging issues in simple and engaging ways.

In July 2021, our first call for grant submissions resulted in the United Board awarding funding to five projects from three institutions.

Fr. Mars P. Tan,
Xavier University President

In January 2022, Xavier University hosted a virtual soft launch to discuss their two projects that received funding. The event drew approximately 100 attendees, including Fr. Mars P. Tan, President of Xavier University; Dr. Juliet Dalagan, Vice President of Higher Education and former United Board Fellow; Dr. Freddie T. Bernal, Regional Director of the Commission on Higher Education; Andre Robert Daba, Central Student Government President; and a host of faculty, students, project collaborators, and other guests.

Mr. Kevin Henderson,
Director of Digital Content and Programming at the United Board

Fr. Mars P. Tan, Xavier University President, said, “As the COVID pandemic continues to restrict us, our classes, and other activities for almost two years now, we have also learned to get by creatively and successfully in certain ways. […] With the current online teaching and learning platform, Xavier Ateneo sees the importance in helping our students understand self-directed learning and develop in them better appreciation of data privacy and ethics through videos and games.”

Mr. Kevin Henderson, Director of Digital Content and Programming at the United Board, gave welcome remarks and an overview of the grant initiative and its objectives. Then, the leaders of the two projects spoke about how their work helps educate students on different elements of learning in a virtual environment.

Dr. Kathleen Morales presented an engaging and visually appealing series of videos to help students better understand self-directed learning (SDL). To support retention of the video content, the project team used storyboard animation and a memorable song to introduce and tie the videos together.

Dr. Meldie Apag presented the Xyberium project, which developed a game to improve students’ understanding of data privacy and enhance the quality and enjoyability of the teaching and learning process.

The session wrapped up with Dr. Bernal expressing his enthusiasm about the projects and his willingness to endorse the projects to the national office for possible future funded partnerships with the Commission on Higher Education.

Details of the next round of the Digital Content Development Grant applications will be announced in July 2022. Content from all completed projects, together with the United Board’s own digital content (such as webinars, lectures and courses), will be used to form an open-access platform for teaching and learning materials.