Utilizing Google Workspace to Monitor and Update Students’ Onboard Training

Utilizing Google Workspace to Monitor and Update Students’ Onboard Training

3E Bernard M. Sorbito, Jr.
Onboard Training Supervisor

All Maritime Higher Educational Institutions (MHEIs) in the Philippines, including us here in JBLFMU, need to make sure that we are compliant with the Mandates and Orders of these two main entities: (1) CHED, a government agency under the Office of the President of the Philippines which is responsible for regulating and governing all higher education institutions and post-secondary educational programs in the country, and that includes us at JBLFMU, and (2) MARINA, an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Transportation responsible for integrating the development, promotion, and regulation of the maritime industry in the Philippines. On March 7, 2022, these two entities released a Joint Memorandum Circular, the JCMMC No. 1 series of 2022, which took effect 15 days after publication. Annex H of this memorandum circular contains all the Revised Guidelines for Implementing the Approved Onboard Training Program for BSMT and BSME Students.

Section 3.2.3.b of this new memorandum states all the responsibilities of the Onboard Training Supervisor through the Onboard Training Office. Two of the most significant responsibilities of the OBT office are (1) providing all the necessary guidance and thorough orientation/familiarization concerning onboard training requirements of all BSMT and BSME Students who will undergo their onboard training and (2) monitoring the progress of students undergoing onboard training.

For the last five academic years, the institution has produced 1184 Completed Classroom Instructions (CCI) leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and 866 Completed Classroom Instructions (CCI) leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering whom the onboard training office should consistently monitor and update to make sure they can complete the required onboard training to qualify for their Bachelor’s Degree.

The COVID-19 Pandemic that affected the whole world makes it even harder for the OBT office to perform the aforementioned responsibilities. But looking on the brighter side, this pandemic also gave birth to many innovations, especially in the education sector. All institutions were compelled to develop something that could help them continue their work, responsibilities, and routines without compromising their health and safety, thus giving rise to different innovations.

As the leading maritime institution, our university also had a fair share of innovations that enabled us to continue delivering quality education and services to our students. We have JeL, Zoom, MS Teams, and Microsoft Office as effective platforms to carry out our duties to our clients.

Since 2020, students, upon enrolment, were given their official email accounts by the IT office with the domain: @jblfmu.edu.ph to access these innovations made by the university. Utilization of such innovations also helps the onboard training office perform its responsibilities.

But what about the previous batches of graduates? (2020 and below). How can the university, through the Onboard Training Office, ensure that they are updated with new memorandums, that they are being monitored, and that they, too, can access these innovations?

The Onboard Training Office of the JBLCF-Bacolod came up with timely initiatives and upgraded services in monitoring and updating students’ onboard training in compliance with the JCMMC No. 1 Series of 2022 and in ensuring that all CCI for OBT who are yet to process their BS Degrees will have access to important information on their onboard training.

These initiatives are anchored on the Lifelong Learning Theory of Knowles (1980), which suggests that our responsibilities to our students do not end even after they leave our institution’s portals. The OBT office believes that during the three years stay of our students in the university, and even when they leave the portals of our institution to look for companies to finish their required onboard training and come back to process their Bachelor’s Degree, up until they reach the peak of their careers, the school has a responsibility and plays a significant role on the lives of our students/graduates. And it is through the OBT Office that the connection between the institution and the graduates performing onboard training is built and maintained.

The most challenging part of the work processes handled by the OBT Office is the second phase, which requires maximum effort in monitoring all CCI completers, updating them with the latest memorandums on their onboard training, and catering to all their inquiries.

To monitor CCI who are undergoing their onboard training, here is the usual practice done by the onboard training office:

With the availability of many online platforms, the OBT Office innovated and utilized Google Workspace to supplement the existing platforms for monitoring and updating CCI undergoing their Onboard Training. Google Workspace is a collection of cloud computing, productivity, and collaboration tools, software, and products developed and marketed by Google, such as Google Mail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Forms, and Google Classrooms.

Currently, the Onboard Training Office has nine (9) existing Google Classrooms intended to monitor and update students from different batches.

Here are the features of the Google Classrooms made by the Onboard Training Office:

There are 860 CCI completers who are already part of the Google classrooms and have access to all the information and learning materials available. These made the work of the Onboard Training office in monitoring and updating students on their onboard training easier, faster, more accurate, and more efficient. This was also believed to be the main factor for the positive feedback and satisfaction rating students and alumni gave our office.

This innovation of the Onboard Training office is still a work in progress. We are still working on maximizing the full potential of this platform when it comes to monitoring and updating students’ onboard training. Therefore, these are the next steps that our office is set to take:

  1. The office will continuously update/upgrade each Google Classroom by adding the following features:

a. References and Learning Materials. These will contain all reference and learning materials to help graduates answer and perform the tasks on their Training Record Books, Workbook, Sea Projects, and Daily Journals. The Shipboard Training officer can also utilize these as he guides the students with their onboard training.

b. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). All frequently asked questions will be collated and encoded here with accurate answers. Students with questions/inquiries will be directed here to save time answering the same questions from different students.

c. Placement Opportunities. Announcements regarding different Placement Opportunities will be posted here. All shipping companies interested in taking in graduates from our institution can send their minimum qualifications and requirements for cadet selection to the OBT office. These qualifications and requirements will be posted here, and those who qualify can submit photos of their documents here for endorsement to the company increasing the graduates’ chances of getting accepted.

The OBT office will continue to reach out to those CCI Completers who are not yet members of the Onboard Training Google Classrooms and invite them to be part of such innovations.

The OBT office will collaborate with other offices to start integrating the features of the Onboard Training Google Classrooms into applications already utilized by the university, like Jel and MS Teams.

By doing all these, the Onboard Training Office is confident that it can successfully perform its responsibility of Monitoring and Updating students’ onboard training, and no one will be left behind.

I wish to thank and acknowledge the support and inspiration provided by the Administrator of JBLCF-Bacolod, Engr. Roberto Neal S. Sobrejuanite; Dr. Emeliza T. Estimo, Unit Research Coordinator; Dr. John Erll N. Destacamento, OIC Dean of the College of Maritime Education; the Program Heads for BSMT and BSMarE; the Department Heads; and personally, Mr. Mario Panuela, SAS Clerk, for his technical expertise in preparing this presentation.