The effects and usefulness of blending asynchronous online discussion with face-to-face classes on students’ reading comprehension, participation and learning at first year of secondary school in Saudi Arabia

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

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Yahya Ali Qenaey

PhD thesis, conferred 2014

This study examined the effects and usefulness of blending asynchronous online discussion (AOD) with face-to-face (FTF) reading classes on first-year Saudi Arabian secondary school students’ Arabic reading comprehension, participation, interaction and learning processes.

A sequential mixed methodology approach was applied, including quantitative and qualitative research data collection and analysis. Two teachers and 64 students participated. The first part involved a quasi-experimental quantitative design with two groups to examine the impact of BL on students’ comprehension scores. In the control group, 32 students participated in traditional FTF learning only. In contrast, 32 students in the experimental group participated in both FTF and AOD learning via 12 online group discussions over six weeks. Both groups were given the same pre-and post-comprehension tests. The second part involved qualitative semi-structured interviews with 16 students from the experimental, blended group and the two teachers. The third part involved quantitative and qualitative analysis of the AODs.

The main finding of this study was that students in the experimental BL group did not improve significantly more than those in the FTF group in overall comprehension post-test scores, or literal, inferential and evaluative comprehension sub-levels. However a comparison within groups revealed that the experimental BL group demonstrated a significant improvement in test scores for overall and all sub-levels of comprehension while students in the control, FTF group only improved significantly in overall and literal comprehension.

Overall, this study concludes that although there was no significant effect of blending AOD with FTF reading classes in terms of students’ reading comprehension compared to FTF learning, the integration of AOD design has the potential to benefit students’ participation, learning about comprehension strategies, and interaction. However, there were some challenges that must be considered. A number of recommendations are provided for designing effective AOD activities to support teaching and learning in Arabic reading classes.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Alyson Simpson