The idea of distance education at the UP College of Nursing was conceptualized as early as 1982 during a five-year development program workshop by the faculty. Since then, relentless efforts have been exerted to make the program feasible. In 1992, more concrete steps were taken through seminars conducted by distance education experts from other countries. However, it was not until 1994, when the political will and all-out administrative support were institutionalized, that Open University for M.A. in Nursing Degree (UPOU) was concretized.
UPOU is no different from the M.A. program in the residential mode. It has exactly the same objectives, admission criteria, specializations, courses, unit loads, and grade and graduation requirements. Unique to distance education, however, are the following features:
- Students shall study at their own time, place and pace within the prescribed period.
- Teaching and learning shall be mainly through printed modules.
- There shall be scheduled sessions at the UPCN for group work, tutorials, discussions/interactions and other learning experiences and at the PGH for the clinical experience.
- Students shall communicate with the faculty/tutors through various strategies, e.g., correspondence, telephone, computer, FAX, E-mail, one-on-one meetings, etc.
- The curriculum shall allow for a shift in programs between residential and distance modes.
Currently, the M.A. (Nursing) distance education mode is being offered by UP Open University with UPCN faculty members as affiliate faculty.