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Title: The role of the tutors in supporting learners in a higher education distance language learning programme environment in Saudi Arabia
Author: Halabi, Maha
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 9810
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Learning and teaching English language from a distance is considered to be a new initiative in the tertiary level of the education system in Saudi Arabia. This research study was conducted to explore the e-tutors’ perceptions of their roles in a Distance English Language Learning Programme (DLLP) in one of the Saudi universities. It further inquiries how these perceptions in this specific context of teaching and learning may help their learners take control over their learning. To fulfill this aim, I adopted an exploratory case study design to gain an in-depth understanding of the topic. Moreover, the following overarching research question was formulated: What are the perceptions of e-tutors about learning and teaching processes in the context of DLLP? A specific focus of the research was to explore the ways in which the tutors might support their distance learners to be autonomous and attain a level of control over their learning. Three data collection methods were used, namely document analysis, reflective journals,and semi-structured interviews. A sample of 14 e-tutors was purposely selected from one Saudi university. Content analysis was used to identify critical issues in the collected documents while a thematic analysis framework (Braun and Clark, 2006) was adopted to interpret the data from the reflective journals and semi-structured interviews. Emerging themes include some interesting, unexpected issues related to this teaching context, such as the cultural constraints and their impact on e-learning in Saudi universities, and the necessity of the use of L1 by the e-tutors in their teaching of the English language. This study’s findings contributed to developing a framework which helps e-tutors to encourage their distance learners to control and manage their learning of English as a foreign language in this specific DLLP. It is hoped that such a framework will be beneficial for other e-tutors in similar teaching environments.
Supervisor: Lamb, Terry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available