The Cultural Aspects of E-Learning and the Effects of Online Communication: A Critical Overview

The Cultural Aspects of E-Learning and the Effects of Online Communication: A Critical Overview

Amani Hamdan (University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-071-2.ch011
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The purpose of this chapter is to build on the insights of educators regarding the relationship between culture and online learning. In this chapter, I shed light on the ways in which culture has a significant influence on online education and vice versa. The chapter is based on primary data drawn from undergraduate female students’ responses regarding how online education is changing their learning culture and how their culture is influencing online education. Sixty undergraduate Saudi female students participated in the survey in order to identify how using the Internet, online education and online discussion forums is challenging cultural norms. The literature in the field of online and distance education is also explored to help answer these questions. Students indicated that online education helped them to challenge some cultural norms, enhance their learning culture and improve their communication skills.
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The Emergence Of Online Education Globally And In Saudi Arabia

Rapid technological advances and the emergence of the global knowledge-oriented economy have not only encouraged governments to provide the infrastructure for web-based instruction but have also necessitated a significant increase of investment in Internet technologies for increasing access to educational resources. Online education and embedded online communication in higher-education courses and programs are no longer considered to be luxuries or mere supplements to learning but, rather, integral parts of higher education in many parts of the world. “Colleges and university students in the USA increasingly view online components of their courses as commonplace as textbooks and other traditional resources” (Wang and Reeves, 2007, p. 2) and this is true not only of North American students but also of students in Saudi Arabia.

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