Saturday, May 4

Instructure works with The University of Manchester to implement Canvas LMS, improving digital and lifelong learning

 

The University selected the Canvas learning management system to offer a more consistent and modern approach to digital pedagogy, improve flexibility and better management tools for lifelong learning and non-traditional learners.

 


Instructure Holdings, Inc. (Instructure) (NYSE: INST), the leading learning ecosystem and maker of Canvas, announced on May 3, 2024 that The University of Manchester has selected Canvas as a replacement for its legacy learning management system (LMS) to align with the strategic goals and direction that the institution is taking, aiming to make courses more accessible and flexible and to support lifelong learning.

 

“This platform is aimed at improving flexibility, functionality, and capabilities for teaching and learning for all of our learners, including continuing professional development (CPD),” said Professor Danielle George, Associate Vice President Blended and Flexible Learning, The University of Manchester.  “Canvas is praised for its intuitive interface, strong support, flexibility, integration capabilities, and the ability to share content, all of which are in line with the strategic direction of the University. Adopting Canvas by Instructure as our LMS will strengthen our commitment to lifelong learning.”

 

The decision to switch providers came following a thorough evaluation and a series of usability tests of all available solutions. The overarching feedback from faculty and students was that their LMS could be doing more to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and their pedagogical approach to online content creation. The University will go live with courses on Canvas for the academic year 2025/26.

 

The University of Manchester has invested in the full suite of Instructure products for higher education, which includes: Canvas LMS, Canvas Catalog, Canvas Studio, Canvas Credentials and Impact by Instructure a tool that supports change, drives adoption and helps institutions evaluate the impact of its edtech solutions based on data and analytics. Additionally, The University of Manchester will manage the migration of its courses with Instructure’s partner, K16 Solutions, and their automated migration functionality. Using the Canvas Archiving solution, they can also move the data from their former LMS into Canvas and retain years of historical data for accreditation purposes.

 

“As education keeps evolving and is constantly challenged by emerging technologies, we are proud to partner with The University of Manchester to support their efforts and aim to foster a flexible and modern lifelong learning experience not only in the United Kingdom but for thousands of international students around the world,” said Daniel Hill, Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Instructure.

 

The University of Manchester has 44,000 students and 12,000 staff members and is considered one of the most globally diverse universities in the UK, with 550,000 alumni from 190 countries worldwide. It also stands as a key partner in Manchester's citywide lifelong learning initiative, recently acknowledged by UNESCO's designation as a City of Lifelong Learning.

 

The University of Manchester is one of the top higher education institutions in Europe and a member of the prestigious Russell Group.

 

ABOUT INSTRUCTURE

Instructure (NYSE: INST) is an education technology company dedicated to elevating student success, amplifying the power of teaching, and inspiring everyone to learn together. Today the Instructure Learning Platform, comprised of its flagship product Canvas LMS and several products serving K-12, higher education and professional education, supports tens of millions of educators and learners around the world. Learn more at www.instructure.com/en-au

Monday, April 29

Transforming Lives: The Impact of SM Group's KSK Program on Filipino Farmers

 Farming futures


Jayson and Juanito proudly showcase a selection of produce at the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market.



While modern agricultural techniques boost yields for some, there remains a number of Filipino farmers who struggle to keep pace. These experienced hands find themselves falling behind in a market demanding higher production, clinging to familiar yet often inefficient methods passed down through generations.


One farmer from Pampanga, Jayson Garcia, sought to disrupt this prevailing narrative in his family. He knew that he had to chart a new course forward for his farm and innovate to remain competitive within the rapidly evolving landscape of modern agriculture.


“Noon, mahirap ang magtanim,” he recalled their life before joining SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan. “Para bang tsambahan, basta pag itinanim mo ‘yan, hintayin mo na lang mamunga. Mas mahirap pa lalo kapag nagkaroon ng kalamidad,” he added. 


SM Foundation’s training program focused on high-value crop cultivation was the breakthrough Garcia needed to revitalize his farming techniques. These included selecting the best seeds and caring for them as well as strategic planting schedules. 


Jayson attends the SM City Clark’s Weekend Market to observe best practices and gain insights into new agricultural techniques.



The livelihood program also gave way for him to discover alternative sales channels that enhanced his earning potential while extending fair prices to his customers. The knowledge and confidence he gained led him to expand his farm, and in effect, increased his monthly income to more than Php25,000.


Aside from directly selling his harvests, he is now planting a variety of vegetables–on his farm, including lemongrass, malunggay, and madre de cacao, which he sells online to small businesses that process the produce into other products. 



Embracing new techniques


Sharing the same story of hope is another KSK farmer from Pampanga, Juanito Dela Cruz. Despite his age, he actively pursued and adopted modern farming techniques. Building on his current success, he shared the importance of adaptability for farmers, calling for others to try and explore new practices. 


From a modest monthly income of Php10,000, Juanito experienced an upsurge in his earnings, notably through participation in the Weekend Market at SM City Clark, yielding around Php30,000 weekly. “Kailangan maging bukas tayo sa makabagong pamamaraan ng pagsasaka para makahabol tayo sa demands ng panahon ngayon—ito ang itinuo sa akin ng SM Foundation-KSK,” he said. 



Juanito, alongside his wife, actively participates in the SM City Clark Weekend Market. They credit the market with contributing to their increased profitability.



The SM Group’s KSK program has changed the lives of roughly 30,000 Filipino farmers, including Jayson and Juanito. Through its initiatives, farmers who once lost hope have been able to embrace modern farming techniques, leading to adaptability in the face of the evolving agricultural landscape. 


The SM Group, through SM Foundation, remains steadfast in its commitment to spreading social good. This dedication extends to SM’s forthcoming endeavors to be led by its future smart city property development – with focus on enhancing positive social impact in the communities where SM operates.


A 15-Minute Tropical City in Pasay

 All within 15 minutes: Urban planning concept city to rise in Pasay


For the modern urban dweller, 15 minutes is a lot of time. 


A lot of productive things can be done – a high-intensity, interval training (HITT) workout or run a 1.5-kilometer route, clearing your emails, meditating, catching up on the news, or preparing a quick smoothie – all within 15 minutes. 


But for the Metro Manila commuter, 15 minutes is barely enough to get from point A to point B. During rush hour, it is most likely that within this time, you still haven’t moved an inch.

 

Ever heard of the 15-minute city? It’s a modern urban planning concept that puts people and the planet first. The term was coined by Paris-based urbanist and Sorbonne University professor Carlos Moreno wherein he said that the ideal neighborhood or city is built in such a way where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities can be easily accessed within 15 minutes, whether by foot or by using a bike. 



An artist’s render of a 15-minute city, where work, food, housing, education and cultural activities are easily within reach.

Pasay City, in its forward-looking 360-hectare smart city development, aims to create an innovative tropical 15-minute city for over 300,000 residents. 

Situated at the edge of a densely-packed and overpopulated metropolis perpetually in a traffic gridlock, this city will provide respite to its residents and visitors with sustainable, inclusive, safe, and healthy living where all their needs can be accessed within reach. 

Among its intended features, the project is envisioned to have low carbon and safe mobility networks with multimodal public transport services and enhanced infrastructure that prioritizes active mobility like walking and biking. There will be parking lots equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, dedicated bike lanes, easily accessible public transport hubs, and unimpeded pedestrian walkways.

An artist’s rendition of a soon-to-rise 15-minute city in Pasay

This assures lower transportation costs, less carbon emissions, and most importantly, healthier and happier people. No more long and tiring queues at the EDSA bus carousel or sitting hours on end in the middle of EDSA traffic. 

The project has been thoughtfully planned and designed for many years, and finally it has received the green light by government to proceed. In fact, no less than Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda highlighted how the Pasay-led project is expected to earn billions in real estate assets for the government. 

Revenues from the project will generate a massive multiplier effect on our gross domestic product (GDP) and an estimated 300,000 new jobs from 2027 to 2040. By 2035, it is projected to employ 4% of the National Capital Region’s (NCR) total work force.

The Pasay 360 Project will be a city that nurtures lives and livelihood, is expected to revitalize the economy, and hone the next generation of Filipino leaders. It can be a source of pride for Filipinos as we push towards the 22nd century. 


Venue Infrastructure Challenges Concert Experience in the Philippines

Countries with better, bigger, and more competitive concert venues have reaped economic benefits, especially with the massive and significant influence of popular international acts like pop superstar Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour and Coldplay’s World Tour in consumer behavior and spending. 


Driving tens of thousands of ‘Swifties’ and concert enthusiasts, the success of these concerts was an economic stimulus for countries worldwide, including Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan.  Filipino fans alike had to spend big and travel miles to watch the exclusive performance of superstar Swift in Singapore’s National Stadium while others went to Japan’s Tokyo Dome and Sydney’s Accor Stadium in Australia. The massive concert gigs boosted the respective country’s economies, benefitting entertainment, hospitality, retail, and transport industries significantly.




While Singapore’s strategy for a Southeast Asia exclusive Swift performance piqued interest and likewise piqued its neighboring countries, the strategic move sparked conversations and brought to light what the Philippines can improve on in terms of concert venues.

1. Location is key

The Philippines doesn’t lack in big venues. In fact, it boasts of venues that can rival Singapore’s National Stadium and Japan’s Tokyo Dome. Accessibility to the location as well as public transportation and nearby commercial establishments are key.


2. Concert Experience

Photo credit to Stanley Quek. An empty Singapore National Stadium, viewed from the front stage.


Singapore’s pride, the National Stadium, has innovative features such as the world’s largest free-spanning dome, a retractable roof and comfort cooling technology for spectators’ convenience. Its innovation, strategic location, and efficiency bring positive and immersive experiences for enthusiasts and concert fans, making it a magnet for entertainment acts from all over the world. A similar concert venue and experience is something that Filipino concertgoers are hoping the country can replicate. 

3. World-class concert amenities and facilities


Accessing the venue's amenities and facilities should offer a premium music experience for concert enthusiasts or convenience in a sporting event.

Architectural “Eyecon” SM Mall of Asia Arena prides itself on having exceptional world-class amenities unique in the Southeast Asia region. –Photo from SM MOA Arena official website


FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 held in SM Mall of Asia Arena – Photo from SM MOA Arena official website

Take for example the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena – a flexible indoor arena developed in 2012 by leading integrated property developer SM Prime – that has been a top-of-mind venue for all sorts of events and offers a unique concert experience. With a full house seating capacity of 20,000, it has been a haven for thrilling sports events, remarkable OPM shows, and unforgettable international superstar performances. 


Meanwhile, the SMDC Festival Grounds in Parañaque City is likewise an enormous outdoor venue that can accommodate at least 50,000 people. Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour and Rivermaya The Reunion were among the performers that have graced the stage recently.


4. Achieving Filipinos’ concert dreams

One of the most forward-looking plans of SM Prime is its 360-hectare smart city development which is envisioned to bring in a centerpiece to the country’s entertainment and sporting events – larger in capacity and a more enhanced venue infrastructure that would attract legendary icons in the entertainment scene and compete against Southeast Asia and the world’s best. It will feature an estimated 70,000-capacity stadium and concert arena connected to one of the island’s main destination paradises called Central Park. The sizable arena is envisioned to be the Philippines’ biggest concert venue, with world-class facilities and sustainable features, comparable to other big concert venues worldwide. Once that’s built, Filipinos won’t have to fly overseas because they can watch top-tier performances right from the comfort of their home country.


An artist’s render, visual sketch of the proposed concert venue at Pasay 360 project.


A crowd of people on a stage with bright lights

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Without a doubt, Pinoys live and breathe entertainment shows. In fact, Filipinos are the 4th top concert spenders in Asia-Pacific according to digital payments company Visa, proof of how passionate we are about concerts. By investing in the development of modern, smart, and accessible concert venues, Filipino concert enthusiasts can continue to embrace and celebrate live performances with the convenience, comfort, and enjoyment they deserve. Beyond entertainment, well-curated, smart, and innovative concert facilities can further drive economic benefits to the Philippines’ national and local economies, including ancillary local spending in retail, tourism, and hospitality.


SM Waste Free Future

 SM Prime Embarks on a Unified Waste Management Program 

for an #SMWasteFreeFuture  



SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), one of the leading integrated property developers in Southeast Asia, is embarking on a unified waste management and segregation campaign in response to the growing global crises on waste. SM Prime aims to bring all its property groups and stakeholders toward an #SMWasteFreeFuture


According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), humanity generates more than 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, of which 45 percent is mismanaged. Without urgent action, municipal solid waste will double to almost 4 billion tons each year by 2050. On December 14, 2022, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 30 as the International Day of Zero Waste.


The following year, UNEP inaugurated the First International Day of Zero Waste, to bolster actions to address the global pollution crisis. It aims to encourage global action and bring the world’s attention to zero waste. 



Strong foundations 


SM Prime’s founding leader, Henry Sy, believed that “business growth and social development must go hand in hand.” The company follows this guiding principle and has formed a sustainability policy that commits to the following: Resource Conservation and Efficiency, Disaster Resilience, Climate Advocacy, Social Integration, and Transparent Reporting. 


Anchored on these sustainability commitments are the SM Supermalls’ Environmental Programs on Waste Management. Through its corporate social responsibility arm, SM Cares, SM Supermalls has pioneered longstanding programs such as the Trash to Cash recycling market, and provided support to the annual International Coastal Clean Up, among other national events.

(Photo caption) The largest haul and biggest participation to-date: The 38th International Coastal Clean-up had 17,000 volunteers across 15 SM Malls in 12 locations nationwide. It is an annual community-driven partnership between SM Supermalls, SM Cares, the DENR, LGU’s and the volunteers from the SM community. 








(Photo caption) Scaled to perfection: One of the first recycling markets the country, Trash-to-Cash’s valuable example that waste can have monetary benefits. The recycling market is held every first Friday and Saturday of the month in all SM Supermalls to encourage waste segregation and recycling among SM customers, tenants, and the community. The recycling market is open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.



In the hotel and tourism sector, SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation (SMHCC) has taken the lead in mitigating global food waste by implementing sustainable initiatives across its properties in the Philippines. Their key initiatives include the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Sustainable Diner Program, that aims to transform and help the food service sector minimize its impact on the environment thru resource efficiency, plastic refusal and food waste management and contribute to the world’s future food security. 





(Photo caption) Closing the loop: SMHCC’s sustainability efforts are anchored on the 7Gs or Seven Green Goals, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). The overall thrust for sustainability is cascaded to the rest of properties, ensuring that it is embedded at every step of the hotel’s operations, ensured by property Sustainability Champions.


To support these programs, SM Prime also recently unveiled its waste-to-fuel partnership with GUUN Co. Ltd. (GUNN) to implement the Japanese technique of reducing landfill impact. The technology converts non-recyclable and hard-to recycle packaging into alternative fuel. 








(Photo caption) No time to waste: Sorting through the amount of trash at the GUUN Facility in Cebu. Unfit for recycling and reuse, the waste material recovered avoids the landfill and is then reconverted to fuel resource. 



A Vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture 


To mark the International Day of Zero Waste on March 30, 2024, SM Prime is releasing its vision for an #SMWasteFreeFuture. “As a community, we strongly believe in our ability to contribute to solving today's waste issues,” said Hans “Chico” Sy, Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD) and SM sustainability champion. 


SM Prime’s announcement of its vision of an #SMWasteFreeFuture demonstrates the company’s strong commitment and sustainability stewardship, by inviting its stakeholders to engage in activities that will help spread zero-waste awareness and work for a sustainable and environmentally responsible approach on waste management.


“We understand that this may seem like a daunting challenge to overcome However, by joining forces, we can create a world that our future generations truly deserve – if we have the courage to take on this journey together,” said Sy. 


SM Prime remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people. SM Prime is pursuing the next horizon on integrated property development and onward to building sustainable cities of the future.  


Thursday, April 25

New Urban Developments Are Driving Employment Growth

 Jobs on the Rise: New Urban Developments Are Driving Employment Growth




Photo credit to Anamul Rezwan. Construction jobs are generated from new urban developments.



Cities worldwide, while diverse in demographics and culture, share a common pursuit of progress through new urban developments. These projects not only enhance convenience amid urban congestion but also stimulate local economies and communities through various socio-economic activities like job creation.



Whether in the form of public transportation, cutting-edge business districts, or towering residential communities, a single new development requires a whole host of jobs from pre-construction, to construction, and completion. These range from real estate developers and planners to construction workers and suppliers – all requiring extensive collaboration for successful project development.





Hudson Yards: Direct and indirect employment opportunities

 


Photo credit to Following NYC. Featuring ‘Vessel’, a honeycomb-like structure and visitor attraction in the Hudson Yards Development in Manhattan, New York City.



The cycle of job creation doesn’t stop after completion. A new development also drives indirect employment opportunities generated from industries attracted or related to the development. 



Such is the case for Hudson Yards, New York City’s 28-acre mixed-use development and considerably the United States’ biggest megadevelopment in history. It had created thousands of construction jobs that resulted in transforming Manhattan’s iconic skyline and becoming home to diverse shops, offices, cultural institutions, and hotels and residences. Ongoing operations and management of these facilities are expected to contribute to its large-scale economy, such as hosting over 55,752 workers daily and about $19 billion annually to the city’s GDP. 




Dubai and Songdo IBD: Creating economic opportunities afresh



Meanwhile, cities like Dubai and Songdo International Business District (IBD) generate jobs by creating economic opportunities from the ground up. They used land reclamation as an urban development strategy to address land scarcity and high population density challenges.




Photo credit to Kadir Avşar. A closer aerial view of the Palm Islands.



Dubai's ambitious projects, including the Palm Islands, the World Islands, and Burj Al Arab, have turned it into an ultramodern metropolis for commerce and tourism. In 2023, it drew over 30,000 new businesses, driving demand for talent in finance, legal, and digital technology sectors.



The Songdo IBD is an ongoing smart city built on reclaimed land in Incheon, South Korea. It’s designed to be an international business and residential hub with sustainable features. As of 2020, the 1,500-acre development hosts about 30,000 residents, 33,000 jobs, and 70% fewer emissions than any other development.




SM’s Integrated City Developments: Empowering local communities and residents


SM Prime contributed photo. An aerial view of SM Mall of Asia (MOA) featuring its iconic Globamaze and thriving network of retail, business, residential, and hotel developments.



The SM Group, a leading conglomerate in the Philippines, has an ecosystem of interests spanning retail, banking, property, and mall developments across the country, making it the largest employer with over 140,000 employees.


For every SM mall development by SM Prime Holdings, the integrated property developer of the Group, the local economy is invigorated because of the opportunities created by supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that comprise about 68% of its mall tenants. For instance, SM City Bataan, SM Supermalls’ 83rd mall, employs about 96% of its mall administration staff who are residents called Bataeños, including two in leadership roles. It also proudly showcases local industries by partnering with homegrown businesses like family-owned brands and locally managed franchises. 



Job security, stable income, and tax revenues contribute to the local workforce’s quality of life; and SM Prime ensures to manifest these waves of progress in its developments, especially in its future plans for smart cities in the Philippines to be spearheaded by its ongoing 360-hectare development in Pasay City.



New urban developments are catalysts for growth, innovation, and avenues for increased prosperity, shaping local economies through job creation and improved lives. The success of these city centers requires a network of opportunities – from its pre-construction supply chain to empowering businesses for individuals to thrive and contribute to the communities.


Instructure works with The University of Manchester to implement Canvas LMS, improving digital and lifelong learning

  The University selected the Canvas learning management system to offer a more consistent and modern approach to digital pedagogy, improve ...