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Title: The opportunities and constraints experienced by students and teachers using online systems for learning English at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Author: Kutubkhanah Alsaeid, Hanan I.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 2937
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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This case study used a mixed method approach to explore the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language through the medium of a new online synchronous programme (CentrEM) at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. Information was collected using questionnaires (240 students) personal interviews (8 students and 4 teachers) and observations (30 online classes). A case was identified in which technology supported a restricted approach to online English language learning based mainly on grammar, listening, reading, and writing. Female learners were disadvantaged because they were not encouraged to speak in English. The Internet was used mainly as a platform for instruction and to provide access to limited learning materials (mainly the online course book). Most participants expressed optimism for the potential opportunities of e-learning; however, student attendance was relatively low and active participation was limited. Encouraging student participation was a major issue. The teachers used numerous affective strategies to persuade the students to participate; however, technological difficulties intruded at regular intervals, disrupting the flow of communication and preventing the teachers from knowing who was present. Some students were less skilled in computing and English language than others, further disrupting the classes. A traditional teacher-centred face-to-face classroom strategy was adapted for online instruction. The flow of information was mainly from the teacher to the student, with emphasis on low level recall, encouraged by prompts. The students did not engage in deep learning. There were few opportunities for the students to enter into extensive dialogues with the teachers or to be reflective. The teachers did not use feedback adaptively to plan a differentiated approach. The curriculum was not flexible enough take into account the different abilities, learning styles, and preferences of each individual student. Recommendations are provided for learners, teachers, and the institution to help develop the online programme in the future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LB2300 Higher Education ; PE English