Online Classes: The MWF Model
BLEACHER TALK - Rico S. Navarro (The Freeman) - May 24, 2020 - 12:00am

I won’t mince words. I’m biased about this. I was one of its facilitators. I ran the Facebook Page. And I enjoyed and loved every moment of it. And I’ll boast to all that it’s one the best models for online education. Gain Insights. Seek Wisdon. Create a Plan of Action. It’s the MWF online series of sports talks that was initiated by the virus-like influencer Coach Noli Ayo, the Athletic Director of Ateneo de Davao and Convenor of the Mindanao Peace Games (MPG). We started on March 30 and ended on May 15, just right for the ECQ period nationwide.

With the advent of distance learning, online education will be the standard to replace the four walls of a classroom. The MWF Forum served as a perfect model, taking the lead in handling online-real-time talks on sport topics that were relevant/essential, casual (not boring), interactive and learning-guaranteed. But ironically, it wasn’t designed to be this way at the start. Ayo bared that “the goal initially was to create a sense of routine for my ADDU sports office to have during the GCQ. Then in the course of talking with a young colleague and teaching her some perspectives on Leadership, I saw the opportunity to do it for a bigger group outside my office.” The audience and speakers then leap-frogged from Davao to the entire globe, with respected speakers (and audience) from Europe and the U.S. No, they weren’t speakers with “superstar” status or are legends of the sport. All were simple, down-to-earth, no-nonsense speakers with a passion to share their love for sports to the audience.

A typical talk ran between two to two and a half hours, usually 10AM to 12:30noon. It was broken down to five parts instead of the traditional one loooong lecture. After an opening prayer and flashing of the house rules, time was spent to meet and greet others in the forum. Breakout rooms were established at random with four to five people assigned automatically by zoom. Two meet-and-greet sessions were held before the guest speaker gave Part 1 of his/her talk which lasted for 30 minutes. A guest reactor then came on board to share his/her thoughts on the talk. The forum then had breakout groups where everyone shared their “QRTR”: questions, thoughts, reactions and reflections; managed by a facilitator. “I realized that people became extra generous sharing their time online. I took that opportunity to invite them in the Zoom forums. I chose Zoom because of its breakout rooms. I can put participants in situations where they can Express themselves and share stories - both I saw as very important to do as individuals during the time of Quarantine.” Ayo said. Ayo should be paid by zoom for saying this.

Everybody re-convened for Part 2 of the guest speaker’s talk and a second reactor shared his/her thoughts. Wrap-up breakout sessions were held again where participants shared what they learned from the forum. We all then re-convened for one last time for the closing and the standard class picture/screen shot. As Coach Noli would say, “If it isn’t on Facebook, it didn’t happen.” Comments, reactions, “TY” messages and pictures hit FB instantly and an FB Page was set up (better late than never). Although two hours seemed long, it was “bitin.” The strategic way the forum was broken up to the different segments; made it short, sweet and definitely not boring.

The talks brought together an impressive mix of sports personalities from popular faces from the big city to us “promdi”: officials, coaches and students. Who showed up? PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, Coach Jong Uichico, Akiko Thomson Guevara, Atty. Vic Africa, Jeff Cariaso, Topex Robinson, Rebo Saguisag, Oliver Almadro, Sandy Arespacohaga, Gabby Severino, Cholo Villanueva, Geraldine Go Bernardo, Haydee Ong, Ada Milby (rugby), Vince Santos, Anto Gonzales, Robbie De Vera, Nicole Tiamzon, Mario Villanueva, Gang Badoy Capati, Jed Diamante, Kat Quimpo, Dale Evangelista and many more. Not to be outdone were Cebu’s Cris Mejarito, Cathy Vestil, Jean Marie Cando, Britt Reroma and Arnel Salado. Barangay MPG was obviously always present. Coach Noli was supported by a facilitators team of Airnel Abarra (in Hungary), Azlie Guro (EAC), Belay Fernando (PFF), Coach O, Sandy, Gianne de la Cruz (ADZU), this bleacher bum, and the ADDU crew of Bemi Garcia, Will Gonzales, Mary Baang, Jill Echon and Tolits Yap. My apologies if I missed someone’s name.

The guest speakers were Bernardo, Almadro, Ong, Santos, Saguisag, Paul Supan, Coach Jong, Marissa Guinto, Pearl Managuelod, Brianna Leverenz (USA), Marc Dagenais (Canada), Johnny Harris (in Vietnam), Keti Murisidze (Georgia), Russel Raypon (USA), Hernando Planells (USA), Rudiger Harksen (Germany), Italian Christian Narciso (in Denmark) and Brit Owen Southgate (in Sweden).

“I learned that good things happen if the right people are in the room. Hence, I opted to keep the forum small and away from the webinar format where only the speaker and moderator take the center stage. The MWF forum provided everyone with a piece of that stage. A piece of the spotlight. A piece of time to share themselves and be reaffirmed of their value. I realized that it mattered so much for all of us during those seven weeks - for the speaker, for the facilitators and for the participants whom I saw many returning to our forums.” Good things indeed happened.

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