Benefits, barriers, and attitudes of Saudi female faculty and students toward online learning in higher education.

Alaugab, Abdullah Mohammad, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2007

Abstract


This study sought to explore female faculty and student attitudes toward adopting online instruction, the benefits of implementing online instruction, as well as the most important barriers that might prevent effective implementation of online instruction. Three hundred ten female faculty and students in two female institutions of higher education in Saudi Arabia participated in the study. A descriptive study was used to accomplish the objectives of the study and data were collected through survey questions. The findings revealed that faculty and students have positive attitudes toward online instruction (M = 3.80, SD = 0.98); female faculty and students received the greatest benefits of online instruction (M = 4.00, SD = 0.93); and students had a significantly better positive attitude towards online instruction than faculty t(308) = 2.146, p = 0.033. The results indicated that students' access to a home computer was significantly correlated with students' attitudes toward online instruction (r = 0.184, p = 0.004). Similarly, if the students had home Internet access, they were more willing to take courses online (r = 0.196, p = 0.002), and the better the students' English language skills were, the more willing they were to take courses online (r = 0.145, p = 0.022).

This study found that experience in using educational technology did not significantly predict attitudes of faculty toward online instruction (p = 0.162). In contrast, experience in using Microsoft Office, imaging devices, online course support, threaded discussions, and the computer in general, did significantly influence students' attitudes towards online instruction (p < 0.001). The study also discovered that female faculty and students combined agreed that there were several barriers preventing implementation of online instruction (M = 3.91, SD = 1.19). The open-ended questions explored what both faculty and students considered were some advantages and disadvantages of online instruction, and they corresponded to the findings in the survey study. Conclusions that have been drawn from this study are that female faculty are willing to teach online courses and female students are willing to take courses online once the environment of online instruction is available. This study concludes with some recommendations for institutions, faculty, and community as well as suggestions for future research.