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Student engagement in online and blended learning in a higher education institution in the Middle East: Challenges and solutions

Fazza, H; Mahgoub, M; (2021) Student engagement in online and blended learning in a higher education institution in the Middle East: Challenges and solutions. Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning , 2 (1) pp. 417-431. 10.21428/8c225f6e.5bcbd385. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper aims to identify challenges to students’ engagement in online learning at the Qatar branch campus of America’s Georgetown University, and to propose solutions. Specifically, it: 1) identifies challenges and solutions from students’ perspectives; 2) provides recommendations for developing instructional policies to maximise student engagement in synchronous learning contexts; and 3) aims to contribute to the literature on the engagement of Arabic as a Foreign Language (AFL) learners and Arabic Heritage Learners (AHLs) in online learning in higher education (HE) in the Middle East. It did so by collecting qualitative data, using an open-ended questionnaire from 13 Arabic as a Foreign Language and Arab Heritage learners. We investigate these learners’ perceptions and experiences of student engagement in online learning within the social presence dimension of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. In addition to presenting a set of challenges that our students experienced in their online learning, especially under the unprecedented health, social and mental constraints created by Covid-19, we highlight their solutions to these challenges. We conclude by offering a set of recommendations that we hope AFL and Arabic Heritage (AH) programmes and institutions will find useful.

Type: Article
Title: Student engagement in online and blended learning in a higher education institution in the Middle East: Challenges and solutions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.21428/8c225f6e.5bcbd385
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.21428/8c225f6e.5bcbd385
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: student engagement; online learning; community of inquiry; social presence; Arabic as a foreign language; Arabic heritage learners
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127069
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