Attitudes of King Saud University faculty toward development and implication of a telecommunications-based distance education program as an alternative to conventional teaching
Sara Abraheem Al-Erieni, George Mason University, United States
George Mason University . Awarded
Today, institutions of higher education in Saudi Arabia are faced with the problems of overcrowded enrollment and lack of sufficient facilities to provide appropriate educational services to the country's qualified students. Many students do not have access to higher education because they live in remote areas and do not have any means of transportation to attend on-campus programs. Many others would like to participate in college or university programs, but are not able to do so due to a number of personal problems such as commitment to their families, their jobs, and lack of necessary programs suitable to their future needs.
During the past few years, Saudi higher education institutions have been debating the feasibility of implementing distance education programs as an alternative to regular classroom instruction. King Saud University has recently taken the issue more seriously and is seeking an immediate solution to the problem. For such reason, this study was conducted to investigate faculty attitudes toward development and implementation of a telecommunications-based distance education program suitable to the needs of Saudi students. The resulting analyses of the data led to the following conclusions and implications. (1) Although a vast majority of the participating faculty members had little knowledge of using a computer, most of them demonstrated positive attitudes toward the feasibility of facilitating students with distance education programs as an alternative to traditional on-campus classroom instruction. (2) A majority of the faculty members believe that the success of a distance education program is ultimately dependent on a number of institutional strategies, including sound policies and procedures, compatibility, quality assurance, adequate course offering, appropriate faculty training, necessary staff and administrative support reasonable faculty workload, and satisfactory faculty promotion and rewards. (3) Certain personal and professional characteristics of the faculty members were found to be influential in their attitudes toward the use of computers and communication networking facilities for distance education.
Finally, the study concludes with several recommendations to Saudi institutions of higher education and other interested groups as well as a number of suggestions for future research on the issue of distance education.
Al-Erieni, S.A. Attitudes of King Saud University faculty toward development and implication of a telecommunications-based distance education program as an alternative to conventional teaching. Ph.D. thesis, George Mason University.
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