Qualitative Case Study of Blending Learning for Emiratis in the Male Campus

Qualitative Case Study of Blending Learning for Emiratis in the Male Campus

Author: 
Lana Hiasat
Program of study: 
Ed.D./ET
Abstract: 
Higher educational leaders in the United Arab Emirates attempted to transform education for their Emirati learners by heavily investing in technology and seeking western accreditations. However, the contextual factors created a problem. The aim of this study was to investigate and describe faculty’s creation of blended learning environments and experiences of their male Emirati students. To this end, two research questions were developed and answered through a descriptive embedded single case study that entailed interviews with 11 faculty, focus group interviews with 36 students, and four relevant institutional documents. Analysis of data indicated that culture and experiential learning were important factors in using educational technology to create an enjoyable and effective blended learning environment. Faculty’s goals were to foster learner autonomy and to increase both engagement and intrinsic motivation. Learners responded to the personal rapport with faculty and valued the continuous connections made outside official work hours. Faculty made purposeful choices of blended learning models and technology tools to address the cultural challenges they faced. Learners responded to faculty’s ability to adapt to their culture. On this basis, it was recommended that faculty could create flexible learning environments based on flex models of blended learning. Emirati students appeared to value independence over collectivist activities, and placed importance on establishing trust with faculty. It was also recommended that leaders establish opportunities for reflective practices to transform education in their context. The main suggestions for future research are a further investigation into a similar context for the female Emirati learners, and for conducting a multiple case study research to allow for a comparative analysis of cases.
Dedication: 
This work is dedicated to my late mom, Meta, who used to call me Doctor and believed that I can achieve what I did not even dare to dream of. This work is dedicated also to my family who were as much part of this journey as I was. I owe them a great deal of thanks for their unconditional support and patience. To Muawieh, my husband, without whom this process would not have been possible. You were my biggest support in this work as in all aspects of my life. You helped me stay focused and showed me what it is to be a good parent through your own example. To my children, Leilani, Serena, Fahed, and Khalid who were patient and encouraging throughout the process and when I had to travel for residencies in Phoenix Arizona. You were also patient with me during the holidays when I needed to complete my assignments. You always help me keep things in perspective. You gave me my most important title, Mommy.
Acknowledgements: 
I want to acknowledge those who made the current study possible. First, I would like to acknowledge my Committee Chair Dr. Laura Brewer, who guided me through this process and made the study possible. Your dedication and encouragement were key in helping stay focused throughout this journey. Thank you also my committee members, Dr. Martin Smith and Dr. Francis Wardle, who both provided me with excellent feedback and support throughout this journey. Thank you Dr. Wolfe for stepping in to help me with providing critical feedback at a moment when I was not sure what to do next. I would like to thank all of the instructors who taught me during this journey.