Getting help

If you have a question related to a course you are taking, try the following in order before contacting the tutor or the FIC for the course:

  1. Look through the MyPortal site for the course. Check out the discussion forums or the announcement forum in particular as your question might already have been asked and answered. MyPortal has a search function that you can access by clicking the magnifying glass on the upper right hand side of the screen.
  2. Try  one of UPOU's helpdesk knowledge bases, including this BAMS Helpdesk and the UPOU Helpdesk. 
  3. Search the UPOU's official websites, such as those of the Office of the Registrar or your Faculty office (e.g., the Faculty of Information and Communication Studies). Here's a useful tip: if you use Google and, say, you want information about change of matriculation,type the following in 
    change of matriculation
    This will direct Google to search for pages matching your search term (change of matriculation) but only on the website of Office of the Registrar. 
  4. Post your question on the relevant discussion forum. Your FIC might have created a discussion forum for the course where you can talk about anything (sometimes called the 'kapihan' forum), or perhaps they might have created a discussion forum specifically for getting help.
  5. Contacting your FIC or your tutor can be your last resort. UPOU classes can be very large (up to 300 students), and it can be challenging for your FIC or tutor if they received personal requests for information from every student. 

Giving help

However, one of the things that makes learning at UPOU work is when you help your fellow students. For instance, perhaps you come across a classmate asking on a discussion forum on how to open a password-protected PDF file. However, you know the password because the FIC had already previously posted it. Can you guess which of the four options listed below I would recommend you do?

  1. Ignore your classmate's question
  2. Email them the password
  3. Post the password on the discussion forum thread where your classmate asked the question
  4. Post the link to the page where the FIC had listed the password on the discussion forum thread where your classmate asked the question 

If you guessed option 4, you would be correct! In fact, the answers I gave here were listed in order of increasing preference. Option 4 is the best for two reasons: first, other members of the class can benefit from the answer you give; second, you are helping the asker of the question develop knowledge about how to seek out answers to their questions on their own. As that hoary saying goes, "Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime." Telling your classmate where to find the answer is better than telling them what the answer itself is.

Of course, there are limits to how much help you can actually give before you run the danger of academic dishonesty! I once taught a class where one student shared the answer to an assignment to all his classmates, who then copied his solution. Sure, they tried to change their own answers a bit, tried to hide the fact that they copied from each other. But it was easy to see through the deception, and as a result I failed the entire class. 

Another way you can give help is to report errors in the course to the FIC, such as broken links or glaringly inaccurate content. This will help improve everyone's experience of the course. 

See also