BSU Signs MOU with 2 Universities for eParticipation 2.1 Project

Benguet State University, represented by President Dr. Felipe Salaing Comila, Bicol University (BU), represented by Dr. Lany L. Maceda, and National University (NU), represented by Dr. Mideth B. Abisado signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project, eParticipation 2.1: Harnessing Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Community Participation at the RDC Hall on February 1, 2023. 

The eParticipation 2.1 is a collaborative project between BU, NU, and the Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Maceda and Dr. Abisado are the lead proponents of the said project. 

The project aims to utilize machine learning, specifically Natural Language Processing, to enhance progress in areas; such as community participation and government policies on Disaster Risk Reduction-Climate Adaptation and Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education. It also aims to deploy the Kalahok toolkit in different communities through selected higher education institutions. According to Dr. Maceda, Kalahok is an inclusive, deliberative, and multilingual eParticipation toolkit with a more efficient and user-friendly interface to engage in, which creates real-time data analytics for users to find on-the-spot meaning and value in their participation.Kalahok  introduces a web app and a mobile app. 

Through the MOU, BSU and the two universities formally agreed that BU and NU serve as trainers for the Artificial Intelligence-NLP capacity building, deploy the eParticipation 2.1 Project’s toolkit to gather responses from BSU’s constituents, collaborate with BSU, and engage in a multi-domain Machine Learning research undertaking, and sponsor relevant research publication as co-author. Further, BSU, as a partner, will provide the venue, logistics, and participants for the training, provides shared documentation of the event and serves as target respondents of the Kalahok Toolkit. 

The MOU signing was witnessed by Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Samuel Salay Poliden, College of Information Sciences (CIS) Dean Dr. Russell B. Dolendo, Office for Research Services Director Dr. Gretchen Gaye C. Ablaza, Department of Information Technology Chairperson Maria Teresa T. Cachero and other DIT faculty members. 

A kick-off meeting with partner institutions and collection of the Kalahok dataset was held after the MOU signing.//EMBawayan