Attitudes, barriers and incentives of Saudi college instructors and administrators toward implementation of online instruction

Al-Ghonaim, Hamad Saleh Abdulaziz, Ph.D., The University of Kansas, 2005.

Abstract


The government of Saudi Arabia has a great interest in advancing its educational programs in ways that will benefit the countries social and economic development. Online instruction offers the potential to significantly expanding access to educational programs throughout Saudi Arabia. Are the conditions sufficient for online instruction to become viable in Saudi Arabia? To explore this question it is critical to understand the attitudes toward online instruction held by the instructors and administrators in Saudi Arabia.

This study investigated the instructors and administrators' attitudes, barriers, and incentives toward the implementation of online instruction. The difference between instructors and administrators' attitudes was also considered, as well as how their past experiences with the Internet and the computer are related to their attitudes toward the implementation of online instruction. Six research questions were addressed to solicit the information. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information about the participants, including their academic background, and to determine the level of their attitudes toward the implementation of online instruction, major perceived barriers, and major perceived incentives that, respectively, prevent and enhance the adoption of online instruction. Different statistical procedures were applied to answer the research questions.

One hundred and twenty-three instructors (73%) and administrators (27%) at Buraidah College of Technology responded to the questionnaire. Among the interesting findings of this study, was the fact that in this sample of 123 participants, the instructors' and administrators' attitudes toward the implementation of online instruction were positive (M = 3.72, SD = .48), which indicates a readiness to adopt online instruction. The scale of attitude ranged from one (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). For instructors, among four independent variables--age, major, country of graduation, and experience with information technology--using the Internet and computers were the only significant predictors of their attitude toward online instruction. Also, for administrators, none of these four independent variables was a significant predictor of their attitudes.

This study found no significant differences between instructors and administrators in their attitudes toward the implementation of online instruction (t = .63 6, p = .526). The three major perceived barriers that prevent the implementation of online instruction at Buraidah College of Technology, as identified by participating instructors and administrators were lack of equipment and infrastructure (72%), lack of effective training for online instruction (69%), and lack of technical support (60%).

The four major perceived incentives chosen by the participating instructors and administrators were: Students will benefit from online instruction, reduced class assignments, increased flexibility for both instructors and students, and extra pay for additional assignment, with percentages of 84%, 83%, 82%, and 74%, respectively.

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that instructors and administrators are ready to adopt online instruction in their institute. However, more attention should be paid to the infrastructure in order to facilitate the implementation of online instruction. Also, training and technical support should be provided. While the participants felt that increase pay for doing extra work involved in preparing for online instruction would be an incentive, they did not weigh this as important of an incentive as the value that would come from the flexibility that online instruction offers both instructors and students. Recommendations were made for practice and encouraging the implementation of online instruction at Buraidah College of Technology.