Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

York, Cindy S.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment


Saudi Arabian students--United States--Attitudes; Women college students--United States--Attitudes; Students; Foreign--United States--Attitudes; Electronic discussion groups; Education; Higher--Computer network resources


This phenomenological case study explored undergraduate Saudi female students' perceptions of using asynchronous online discussion boards (AODB) as a learning tool. In addition, the current study explored factors that helped students learn skills, specifically their language learning. The current study sought to add to knowledge about how asynchronous online discussion forums can benefit undergraduate Saudi female students' development of learning. Data were collected during the Spring 2016 semester through focus group and individual interviews with ten undergraduate students in an online course as well as their narrative reflections and the researcher reflections and notes. Participants were undergraduate Saudi female students at the junior academic year level who were studying English as a second language as a core degree requirement for their business management major. The results showed the three main themes that emerged from the current study included a) students' perceptions of asynchronous online discussion boards, b) learning opportunities offered by AODBs, and c) factors that helped or hindered the participants' learning. Each theme covered some category of students' perceptions toward their experiences of using asynchronous online discussion boards. The first theme of students' perceptions comprised four categories: (a) the value of using AODB, (b) engagement, (c) collaboration, and (d) convenient communication. The second theme, learning opportunities offered by AODB involved two categories: (a) empowerment, and (b) cognitive learning skills. The third theme regarding participants' perceptions of the factors hindered or helped their learning, displayed categories related to: a) challenges of using AODB, b) teacher presence, and c) course structure. Regarding to the current study's findings, dissuasion on participants' perceptions was explored, implications for effective use of AODB along with several recommendations were provided.


Advisors: Cindy York.||Committee members: Jessamine Cooke-Plagwitz; Sharon Smaldino.||Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


ix, 137 pages




Northern Illinois University

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