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Title: Participants' perceptions of MOOCs in Saudi Arabia
Author: Almuhanna, Manal
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 2493
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are typically short courses offered free to anyone with Internet access, provide opportunities for online education regardless of participants’ gender, professional status, qualifications, age or location. Since the international introduction of MOOCs in 2008 in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, they have attracted public attention and online learning researchers have already made headway in investigating their essence. However, although MOOCs were introduced to Saudi Arabia in 2013 and have gained the attention of Saudi government sectors such as the Ministry of Labour, little research has been published on the effects of MOOCs in the country. Therefore, this research, to the best of my knowledge, is the first to explore Saudi participants’ perceptions of MOOCs. As a Saudi teaching assistant at King Saud University in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), I can see a clear trend in Saudi education towards online learning. The use of online learning is perhaps one of the most important current developments in the education system (Algahtani, 2011) and it would be difficult to dispense with this kind of learning now. Therefore, after consulting with several Saudi professors in educational technology, I concluded that investigating Saudi participants’ perceptions of MOOCs could make a significant contribution to the evolution of Saudi education generally and online learning in particular, thus contributing to improving Saudi people’s culture. This study aimed to explore the cultural implications of MOOCs for Saudi participants with the main objective being to identify Saudi participants’ perceptions of MOOCs, specifically the impact of MOOCs on participants’ lives, their pedagogy and learning design, and their social environment. The data was collected using mixed methods through conducting surveys, observation, and interviews with participants. Consequently, participants’ perceptions are linked to the literature review and discussed in detail in relation to the Saudi Arabian context. Furthermore, recommendations are offered on how to maximise the potential of MOOCs alongside suggestions for further research. The conclusion of this study asserts that MOOCs are widely used by Saudi participants, especially women, due to MOOC flexibility and their contribution to the development of educational cultures. MOOCs contributed to improving participants’ knowledge and personalities, as well as developing their educational and professional lives; however, the study revealed that the benefits participants gained from MOOCs varied depending on their positions and aims. In addition, the findings showed that participants’ views regarding the effectiveness of the pedagogy and learning design of MOOCs differed. Moreover, the study highlighted several factors that affected participants’ learning in terms of course design and the rules of participation, and some insights are provided that could address the concerns participants raised. MOOCs can contribute to attaining Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 by providing courses that focus on educating Saudis and imparting the skills required for future employment and for effectively carrying out the jobs recently allocated to citizens.
Supervisor: Davies, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available