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The study aimed at determining possible teaching and assessment practices in a general education course to better address a range of distance education learners’ needs based on a thematic analysis of their graded learning activity reports on students’ perception of success submitted by 147 learners of a general education course offered in an open education institution in the Philippines.
Analysis of data revealed that a huge majority (70%) of the students perceive success as the ability to “combine academic and non-academic life well,” while manifesting the following traits, “disciplined, great at time management, can apply what was learned in the classroom to real-life situations, an all-rounder, good character, and good social life.” Almost half of the students (49%) assessed themselves as not successful. Based on the students’ impression, majority (68%) of their parents define success as “excelling academically in a prestigious university and getting a high-paying job;” while most (68%) of their friends perceive success as the “ability to combine academic and non-academic initiatives well.” Almost all (95%) of the students said they were challenged by the views of their parents on student success.
Based on the results, the following teaching and assessment practices are recommended: (1) FICs should provide more engagement avenues to encourage socialization or interaction, e.g., conducting F2F synchronous interaction even on a limited basis, and should respond to emails or portal chats as soon as possible to help students strike a good balance between academic and non-academic achievements, their most popular definition of students’ success; (2) Learning assessments can be made more practical as these should prepare the learner to use classroom knowledge at work or can be applied in their daily lives; (3) Learning assessments can be made more doable and within a realistic time frame to help students fulfill course requirements; and (4) Module topics can be reexamined to assess if they can be streamlined for a more efficient and/or effective conduct of the course’s learning outcomes.