Aspectual Analysis of Digital Transformation and New Academic Professionals: A Case of Saudi Arabia

Aspectual Analysis of Digital Transformation and New Academic Professionals: A Case of Saudi Arabia

Alaa Abdulrhman Alamoudi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4846-2.ch008
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Higher education institutions (HEIs) are currently developing a significant research interest in transferring from traditional to novel practices in teaching and learning through the use of modern technological tools and platforms. The integration of digital technologies in higher education has tended to focus on improving academic professionals in developing countries like Saudi Arabia. This chapter was driven by a desire to understand ICT implementation in higher education institutions (HEIs) by professionals using digital transformation in Saudi Arabia. This chapter discusses the implementation of digital transformation in teaching and learning at HEIs in Saudi Arabia. This aim is achieved throughout several objectives, beginning by reviewing the related literature and presenting theoretical frameworks. The literature review will provide the possibility of identifying the focal trends related to the topic.
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Literature Review

Overview of Technology Integration in Saudi Arabia

With an increasing attention to higher education in Saudi Arabia, higher education institutions and universities rely on technologies to provide a high-quality of learning and teaching experience. Among the technological tools used in HEIs in KSA, there are collaborative eLearning, ICTs (information and Communication Technologies), and CTS (Correspondence Tracking System) for monitoring student enrolment at universities and administrative procedures. The modern learning and teaching trends are mandatory to support faculty members with IT skills to overcome the new challenges. With the Kingdom’s 2030 vision, Saudi Arabia implements the National Plan for Information Technology (NPIT) to empower Saudi with e-learning in lifelong education. To this end, the Kingdom established the National Centre for E-Learning & Distance Learning (NCeDL) in Riyadh (Mirza, 2007).

The use of computers at universities in Saudi Arabia began in the 1996. The Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) established the Computer and Information Centre (CIC) that provided ICT services for educational institutions. MOHE started the project in 2000 that sought to provide schools in KSA with e-content to facilitate learning and teaching (Oyaid, 2009). This project was followed by the establishment of WATANI Schools’ Net project in 2001, to connect educational directorates and schools KSA-wide with the wide area network (WAN). With the partnership of Intel, Semanoor – a local software company – created an electronic curriculum, Semanoor browser, e-classroom systems, digital library for all government K-12 public and private schools.

In addition, Al-Khalifa (2009) points out other projects such as Obeikan Education with the web platform “Skoool” for over 250 interactive lessons for K-12 students. The Jehazi project targets at enhancement of teachers’ technological competence in KSA and provision of teachers with laptops. In 2008, MOHE in Saudi Arabia launched the initiative of Google Educational Program which equipped 1,200 schools and 20,000 teachers with personal emails to access office applications programs and personal websites. Moreover, MOHE along with Intel and Microsoft launched various educational, training and e-learning projects for Saudi students and teachers. Consequently, KSA became the largest ICT market in the Middle East, with a special focus on science and mathematics (Al-Asmari, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Aspectual Analysis: A multi-aspectual analysis technique that promotes black and white thinking of a given system.

Cloud Computing: An innovation of ubiquitous and simplified access to data.

E-Learning: Learning via online applications and technologies.

Personal Development: The process of improving individual skills, knowledge and experiences to meet a common goal (e.g., better job prospects).

Digital Transformation: Using digital technologies to develop new or modify existing business processes to meet the changing needs of an organisation.

Higher Education: Universities in which tertiary level courses are taught.

Dooyeweerd Model: The model of aspectual analysis which covers 15 unique aspects to analyse a system or process.

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