Saudi college students' preferences for synchronous and asynchronous web-based courses: An exploratory study
Abdullah Al-Jabri, Indiana State University, United States
Indiana State University . Awarded
Technology has become an essential component of the teaching-learning process, and online learning, in particular, has captivated the interest of many educational institutions throughout the world. Web-based learning has provided both students and teachers with new and unique ways of communicating with each other. As a result, many studies have been conducted to investigate factors affecting the establishment of productive communications in web-based settings. Likewise, the focus of this study is how the number of courses completed and the participants' perception of their English language competence impacted their preferences for synchronous and asynchronous web-based learning in English instruction and in Arabic instruction.
The sample consisted of 82 Saudi undergraduate students enrolled at Indiana State University during the spring of 2011. The study used a hard copy modified version of a survey that was designed by Burton (2009) containing 27 items, which were divided into three parts. A four-point Likert scale was utilized to gain an overall score of students' preferences for synchronous and asynchronous web-based courses. Descriptive statistics (frequencies, means, and standard deviations, skewness, and kurtosis), one-way ANOVA tests, and repeated measures test (paired samples t-test) were utilized to answer the questions presented in this study.
The results revealed that there was no significant difference in student preferences for synchronous web-based courses delivered in English or Arabic on the basis of grade level or the learners' perceptions of their level of English language proficiency. There were also no significant differences between preferences for synchronous learning in English (L2) and preferences for synchronous learning in Arabic (L1). The results also showed that the participants had greater preferences for synchronous online courses over asynchronous online courses. These findings mirror those found in earlier studies. The descriptive statistics revealed that learners had a strong preference for having direct conversations with the teacher, having more flexibility, studying on their own, and learning new materials through discussions with others or through having someone explain it to them.
Al-Jabri, A. Saudi college students' preferences for synchronous and asynchronous web-based courses: An exploratory study. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana State University.
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