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Video Conferencing Technology for Distance Learning in Saudi Arabia: Current Problems, Feasible Solutions and Developing an Innovative Interactive Communication System based on Internet and wifi Technology for Communication Enhancement

ALGARNI, ABEER,DHAFER (2014) Video Conferencing Technology for Distance Learning in Saudi Arabia: Current Problems, Feasible Solutions and Developing an Innovative Interactive Communication System based on Internet and wifi Technology for Communication Enhancement. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Context: In Saudi Arabia, distance-learning plays a vital role in the female higher education system. This system is considered unique among all the world’s countries because, for religious reasons, intermixing of the genders is not allowed within most educational settings in Saudi society. This system is currently facing a problem with an overflow of female students in higher educational institutions as these institutions suffer from a lack of female faculty members. To resolve this problem, all universities in Saudi Arabia utilise synchronous distance learning technologies such as video and audio conferences technologies for the delivery of subjects by male faculty members to female students, as this is the only authorised way for male faculty to teach female students. Although this method has been used in Saudi Arabia continuously since 1970, no study has addressed the perceptions of female students, regarding the problems they face whilst studying, through such technologies or proposed any solution for these problems.

Aim: The purpose of this study is to identify the perceptions of female students at King Saud University regarding the difficulties and barriers they encounter in the distance learning classrooms that use video conferencing technology. This study also proposes feasible solutions for the most common problems. It has developed an innovative interactive communication system, CommEasy, based on the internet and Wi-Fi technologies for handheld devices and uses this system to enhance communication and participation in distance learning.

Method: The research questions are answered by applying a mixture of quantitative and qualitative approaches that have been selected according to the nature of the research. A case study research design was chosen to address all the research questions related to KSU. Identifying the perceptions of female students about the problems they encounter in distance learning classrooms was gathered through a questionnaire with five main parts: classroom physical design, classroom physical features, technical support, communication and participation with male instructors and classroom management. Each part used a number of questions to measure the students' perceptions and the students were asked to respond to each question using a five-point Likert scale. Proposing feasible solutions for the problems reported by students required using a mixture of methods, such as observations, structured interviews and surveys. An incremental software development approach was used to develop the CommEasy tool that was used in this thesis and the quasi-experimental method was used to evaluate this tool in the actual learning environment.

Results: The results of the thesis presented the perceptions of students towards the components of the distance-learning classrooms and showed all the satisfactory and unsatisfactory components. It produced a list of strategies for effective designing of the distance-learning classroom that uses video conference technology, produced a new physical design for the distance-learning classrooms that used video conference technologies, provided a set of feasible solutions for the problems identified and finally, showed that the CommEasy system has a positive impact, in supporting communication in the distance-learning classroom, leading to an increased level of student participation with instructors, as well as solving most of the problems students were faced with in this regard.

Conclusions: in summary, the outcome of this thesis should provide both researchers and decision makers with an insight into the problems facing students in distance-learning, as well as providing them with feasible solutions for these problems. This thesis will serve as a basis for further research in this field to be conducted in Saudi Arabia.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Video Conferencing Technology, Saudi Arabia, Interactive Communication Systems.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of (2008-2017)
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Nov 2014 12:04

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