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Title: Understanding contradictions in technology integration : a case study of expatriate business faculty in Saudi Arabia
Author: Heneine, Lama Borhaneddine
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 2768
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The integration of technology in educational settings has been found to elicit contradictions within and between contextual factors. From an activity theory perspective, these contradictions are viewed as springboards for development, yet little has been written about the extent to which they come close to bringing about change. Through a multiple case study, this study aimed to identify the systemic contradictions that expatriate faculty in Saudi Arabia perceived in their integration of ICT in teaching. The expansion of the Saudi higher education system outpaced the availability of a sufficient number of qualified national academic staff and increased reliance on expatriate faculty. Many of these faculty staff come from neighbouring countries, work on short-term academic appointments and constitute a large proportion of the academic workforce in the kingdom. Accustomed to a variety of traditions and academic cultures in their home countries, many of these expatriates face considerable social, cultural and professional challenges in teaching in the Saudi context. Activity theory was used as a theoretical framework to identify these challenges and interactions with the contextual factors. Literature on conceptions of teaching with ICT and on factors influencing faculty pedagogical reasoning were reviewed to understand the social, cultural and historical dimensions of the faculty teaching context. Engeström and Sannino's (2011) discursive methodological framework was used to identify and analyse different types of discursive manifestations of contradictions. Data analysis was informed by activity theory analytical lens and Mwanza's eight-step model (2002). The case studies took place in two Saudi Arabian universities, a public and a private one, known for hosting a large population of expatriate faculty staff. Data collection methods included faculty surveys and semi-structured interviews, class observations and students' focus groups. The analysis revealed several types of contradictions in expatriate faculty activity systems, varying between dilemmas, critical conflicts and double binds. Dilemmas were triggered by day-to-day practices, critical conflicts shed light on work-related problems whereas double binds revealed deeply-rooted structural problems. Dilemmas reflected the contradictions within faculty conceptions of teaching with ICT and also between the various potentials for ICT to widen learning resources and the reduction of these resources. Critical conflicts were found between the historically established role of faculty and the role of ICT in technology-mediated teaching and learning contexts as well as between faculty staff's willingness to integrate ICT and the limited ICT reliability and IT Support personnel competence. Double binds were found between the institutional cultures and the object of the activity, and between these cultures and faculty staff's conceptions of teaching. However, not all contradictions lead to change: among those found, only critical conflicts and double binds reflect a crisis that "unavoidably demands transformative action and radical redesign" (Yrjö Engeström, 2016, p. 5).
Supervisor: Webb, Mary Elizabeth ; Hatzipanagos, Stylianos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available