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Title: Quality of distance e-learning at Saudi universities : students' perceptions
Author: Alhathlol, Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 2822
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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One key tool for promoting social justice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SA) is to ensure the growth and improvement of Distance e-Learning (DeL). This research study investigates DeL from the perspective of one key group of stakeholders, the students who are currently enrolled in DeL. Their views are presented on the importance and application of a set of standards regarding quality, while exploration of the study setting and context highlights the specificity of the education system in SA. A conception of quality in DeL is then explicated through a reading of the history of Distance Education (DE), the usage of quality in education today and the most significant current models of pedagogy and culture. This research hence provides the basis for a pragmatic methodology to analyse the perceptions of students regarding selected standards of quality. A total of 591 students were surveyed in a mixed methods approach comprised of a questionnaire and a focus group. The data gathered from surveying perceptions of students is also used to construct a picture of the strengths and weaknesses of DeL in SA, as well as the barriers and enhancements to learning resulting from its introduction. Here, culture is found to be a major influence on the perceptions of the students, while DeL exists within a wider, behaviourist educational tradition. If they are to be effective, the introduction of Western DeL practices should therefore serve to negotiate the gap between the need for globalised skills and the local culture and traditions. This thesis identifies manifold issues arising from the student’s experiences that contribute to the obstruction of their expectations about quality; notably, a lack of staff training, large class sizes and a failure to employ technology (including Web2.0) adequately. Many of the problems raised in this study reflect the rapid pace and unplanned nature of DeL’s introduction in SA. The recommendations subsequently made about strategic and institutional improvement suggest that quality is created through both progressive and planned change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available