Preparing learners for online distance education: Outcomes of an online DE readiness course

Patricia B Arinto and Sheila R Bonito
University of the Philippines Open University

Los Baños, the Philippines

An online course was designed to prepare new students at the Philippines’ Open University for online learning at a distance. The short course has a two aims: (1) to introduce students to key elements, principles and processes of online distance learning; and (2) to assess student readiness for online learning, particularly in terms of their reading comprehension and writing skills, and their technology literacy skills. Equally important, the course was designed to enable students to experience online distance education and thus be able to gauge for themselves their readiness for this mode of study. This paper reports the outcomes of the implementation of the online DE readiness course from the academic year 2011/2012 to the present. The course components are described in terms of the pedagogical rationale for their inclusion, their essential features, how the learners utilized each element, learner performance per component, and the degree of usefulness and issues or challenges in the use or deployment of each component. The results of the end-of-course learner evaluation are presented, as well as recommendations for course administration and the utilization of results in monitoring student progress and support systems to enable students to become effective online distance and lifelong learners.