Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

7-1-2016

Abstract

Many Saudi universities recently have used different technologies including a learning management system (LMS) to establish their blended learning systems. Faculty and students are encouraged to use online resources in their courses. I was interested in learning if English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers used Blackboard as a LMS to promote English learning outside the classroom and to extend limited opportunities of using English in Saudi Arabia. This study is important for EFL teaching and learning because it describes how web-based learning platforms are used to promote learning of English. It also sheds light on the teachers' approaches, suggestions, and perceptions as well as on the students' experiences and perceptions. It helps policymakers in Saudi Arabia to understand the role of web-based technologies (WbTs) in students' learning of English outside the classroom. This study is motivated by one main research question: How does the adoption of Blackboard in this university help teachers provide web-based opportunities and employ online resources to support students' English learning outside the classroom? This question is explored through three sub-questions. This qualitative study collects data from EFL teachers and students at a Saudi university through questionnaires, interviews, and follow-up questions. These multiple methods enabled me to find four teachers and nine students who richly experienced the implementation of Blackboard and other WbTs. The data analysis process produces descriptive codes and themes. It shows that the adoption of Blackboard at SSU was a fundamental change that had many consequent changes. The findings reveal that these changes were related and worked together to provide many learning opportunities and to expose students to English in real-life situations. Using WbTs reshapes EFL teaching approaches (Chapelle, 2009) and offers blended learning experiences as optimal learning environments for EFL students to learn by themselves. Participants were enthusiastic, confident, and highly motivated to utilize more WbTs in their course work. Curriculum developers and teachers are encouraged to choose more meaningful activities to meet many students' needs, interests, and learning styles. I conclude by requesting the Saudi policymakers to adopt in the near future LMSs in Saudi educational institutions.

Keywords

web-based technologies in EFL, EFL in Saudi Arabia, Blackboard, Learning management system (LMS), Blended learning, Second language learning, Educational technology, Outside the classroom, Autonomous learning, English as a foriegn language (EFL)

Sponsors

My PhD studies were sponsored and supported from Saudi Arabian government.

Document Type

Dissertation

Language

English

Degree Name

Educational Linguistics

Level of Degree

Doctoral

Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor

Mahn, Holbrook

Second Advisor

Lopez-Leiva, Carlos

First Committee Member (Chair)

Holden, Christopher

Second Committee Member

Deese-Roberts, Susan

Third Committee Member

None

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