Discussion chapter ( Attitude and preceived usefulness)

  • Category:
    Education
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Masters
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    1597

Further, faculty members’ attitude towards the use or adoption of a technology is affected by the perceived usefulness of that technology (Wichadee, 2015).

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Also, the perceived usefulness of a technology has an impact on faculty members’ attitudes towards the use or adoption of that technology (Wichadee, 2015).

This is supported by the point that more than 50 % of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I believe Blackboard is the future of higher-education” Table 21, section 4.3.3. What this means that the participants were of the view that Blackboard will have to be used more and more in higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia in the future.

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This is supported by the point that more than 50 % of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I believe Blackboard is the future of higher-education” Table 21, section 4.3.3. What this means that the participants were of the view that Blackboard will have to be used more and more in higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia in the future.

Then same trend can be seen with regard to the responses that were given by the research participants in regard to the open-ended questions. In particular, the participants gave opinions such as Blackboard being an important tool to use in teaching and a modern learning approach. This is reflected through a number of responses. The first in is that “I think it is important to use new technology in teaching”. The second one is that “I think it is important to use new technology in teaching”. Another response was that Blackboard offers “…modern learning strategies and technical environment around us and which has become a necessary part of education”. See section 4.4.1.4.

Turning to the interview results, it can also be seen that the research participants who were interviewed believed that Blackboard is a necessary part of higher education. This can be noted from the responses that were given in relation to participants’ attitudes towards the use of Blackboard. These include “the electronic learning and Blackboard are so great actually” and “I enjoyed using Blackboard; I would like to reach a higher level” (section 4.5.4).

All the findings related to participants’ attitudes towards the use of Blackboard imply that the participants in the research believe that it is necessary to use Blackboard since the technology is vital for the success of higher education. This is in agreement with the results of a related research in which it was found that 90.6 percent of academic participants believed that the use of learning management systems has a promising future in higher education in Saudi Arabia (Alshammari, 2015). In the same study, 88.2 percent of the participants believed that learning management systems need to be spread throughout higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia (Alshammari, 2015).

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Some studies have established that elearning and elearning technologies are vital part of and future of higher education in Saudi Arabia. For instance, according to Aljabre (2012), educational technology has transformed the manner in which instructors convey information to learners. The same author adds that ‘Distance learning opens a world of possibilities for higher educational institutes, as is the situation happening in Saudi Arabia” (p. 136). Similarly, in a research by Alshammari (2015), it is reported that 90.6 percent of academic participants who were involved in the research believed that the use of LMSs has a promising future Saudi Arabia’s higher education.
In the same study, 88.2 percent of the participants were of the view that the use of LMSs needs to be expanded across higher education institutions in the country (Alshammari, 2015).

As well, Unnisa (2014) notes that people in Saudi Arabia are yet to reap the full benefits of educational technologies, “but the present level of use is encouraging and there is hope for improvement and brighter future” (p. 155). This means that educational technology is likely be used more in higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia in the future.

As well, Unnisa (2014) noted that the use of elearning technology in higher education in Saudi Arabia is encouraging and the future looks bright. This supports the view by some of the participants in the current research that technologies like Blackboard are the future of higher education in the country.

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This is reflected through the wide support for the statement “I believe Blackboard is the future of higher-education” in the closed-needed questions. The responses given to the open-ended questions and those obtained from the interviews with some participants also support this view. These include “I think it is important to use new technology in teaching” and “the electronic learning and Blackboard are so great actually”. Combined, these results show that members of the faculty who participated in the research believed that the use of Blackboard is not only important but also a necessary component of the higher education of Saudi Arabia in the future. As noted above, similar sentiments were expressed in a number of studies (Aljabre, 2012; Alshammari, 2015; Unnisa, 2014).

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This section presents an analysis of the findings about the research participants’ views in regard to the perceived usefulness of Blackboard. The analysis relates to the second research question of the study (How do internal factors (such as beliefs and attitudes) support and/or limit the adoption and use of LMS by female academic staff in KSA universities?). The analysis will compare how perceived usefulness of a technology affects faculty members’ attitudes towards the use or adoption of that technology as observed in the current research in similar studies as noted in the review of literature. The discussion comprises a brief overview of the findings pertaining to the participants’ views regarding the perceived usefulness of Blackboard and an analysis of the main message that can be noted from the findings.

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Brief overview

Looking at the results obtained from the closed-ended section of the survey questionnaire, it can be noted that the research participants were of the view that Blackboard is useful because it was helping them in the courses of subjects that they teach. This can be seen for instance based on the responses the statement “I believe that Blackboard is appropriate for my courses/subjects” (Table 20, section 4.3.2). As well, some participants were of the view that Blackboard is useful because students find it useful. In regard to the open-ended questions in the survey, participants identified the perceived usefulness of Blackboard in relation to how LMS helps improve the teaching activity and delivery of information. This is seen through responses such as ability to use Blackboard “to post homework for students”; “view lesson materials” and “to use additional educational materials such as YouTube and PowerPoint” (section 4.4.1.1). A lot of emphasis in relation to perceived usefulness was also put on how Blackboard helps members of faculty, for instance:

(Blackboard)… helps in organizing the various aspects of the course by allowing me to post instructions on the conduction of the activities, and allowing online submission of requirements and establishing deadlines. Makes conducting of quizzes and exams easier, faster, and more organized

Turning to the interview findings, the participants identified a number of reasons that make them to perceive Blackboard as useful. These include the point that Blackboard makes it possible for female students to access education and educational materials such as course content, Blackboard makes it easy to communicate with students, and that Blackboard makes it possible for faculty member to improve their level of instruction delivery to students (see section 4.5.5).

Key message

The key message that arises from the area of perceived usefulness of Blackboard is that the research participants deemed that the LMS was useful because of the manner in which it helps them and their students in the courses or subjects that the participants teach. This is in regard to both delivery of instruction and provision of other learning materials such as lecture notes, quizzes, videos. As well, it can be noted that Blackboard is useful because it enables both lecturers and students to share or submit different course materials online, monitor deadlines and process examinations and quizzes much faster. In essence, these findings show that the perceived usefulness of Blackboard is related to the benefits that accrue to both faculty members and students with respect to the handling of different course materials.

In the review of literature, there many points were identified which support the views expressed by participants in this research. For instance, according Wichadee (2015), some of the features that are useful as part of elearning technologies include audio recordings, music, text, video, sequencing and interactivity. Similarly, it was noted that faculty members can update course content, integrate multimedia applications (such as YouTube and blogs), conduct discussions, and initiate or participate in real-time chats with their students using learning technology (Seechaliao, 2015). The various beneficial aspects of elearning technologies demonstrate how technology helps faculty members in the courses or subjects that they teach as noted by the participants in the current research, and hence the perceived usefulness of Blackboard. Such views were expressed greatly in the survey questionnaire responses as well as in the interviews.

Another area of the perceived usefulness of Blackboard is related to making it easy fro female students to access educational materials from members of faculty, as was expressed in an interview response. Blackboard can increase female students’ access to higher education in Saudi Arabia because it reduces limitations that may be created by large student numbers, distance and limited resources (Macharia & Nyakwende, 2010), especially given that female students are separated from male students in higher education institutions in Saudi Arabia.