Investigating Faculty Members' Beliefs About Distance Education: The Case of Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Investigating Faculty Members' Beliefs About Distance Education: The Case of Sultan Qaboos University, Oman

Naifa Eid AI-Saleem (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman) and Mohammed Nasser Al-Suqri (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5631-2.ch002


This research paper aims to investigate the beliefs (perceptions) about distance education(DE) held by the faculty members of Sultan Qaboos Uuniversity (SQU) at the Sultanate of Oman as well as the differences between their beliefs (perceptions) with regards to gender, teaching experience, college academic rank, nationality, etc. This study used a questionnaire as a method of data collection. Findings of the study indicated statistically significant difference in terms of gender. Results show that female faculty members hold positive beliefs (perceptions) about the use of DE in learning and teaching whereas compared to their male colleagues. With regards to nationality, the study found statistically slight differences, wherein the Omani faculty members yielded higher scores on the positive statements and lower at the negative statements.
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2. Problems Of The Study

There are many studies that have been conducted on the subject of general ICT educational uses in higher education in Oman, with emphasis on the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) (e.g., Abdelraheem & Al Musawi, 2003; Al –Hashimi, 2002; Al Khawaldi, 2000; Al Musawi & Abdelraheem, 2004; Al Musawi & Akinyemi, 2002; Al Rawahy, 2001; Al-Senaidi et al., 2009)]. The results of these studies showed that some faculty members have certain internal and external barriers to adopt ICT for education and learning (Akinyemi & Al Musawi, 2002; Al Farsi, 2004; Al –Hashimi, 2002; Al-Saleem, 2006; Al-Senaidi et al., 2009). For example, the Al-Senaidi et al. (2009) study revealed that there are five factors that stand as barriers to prevent faculty members from using ICT in education. These factors are: lack of computing equipment, lack of institutional support, disbelief of technological values and benefits, lack of personal confidence in using technology, and lack of time. In addition, Al Khawaldi (2000) found that unsatisfactory staff skills fail to fulfill the required levels. So, if this is the reality of using ICT by faculty members in teaching and learning at SQU and higher education in Oman, what will be the faculty members' beliefs and perceptions about the use of DE in teaching and learning? Does it require ICT skills? This study is an investigation into the beliefs about DE held by faculty members of SQU in Oman. This study will examine two questions:

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