Analytical Personal and Professional Update

Engagement in the Professional Community

          It has been slightly over a year since I presented my plan and my thoughts to the portfolio advisory committee. During this time, there has been a significant change in my professional life. Being surrounded by productive, and collaborative, faculty members and peers, has enriched and enhanced my professional knowledge and experience. However, in order for received knowledge, which is a continual and continuing process, to create value, it must be shared among individuals and groups. I have, therefore, shared my expertise in the field of Instructional Design and Technology (IDT), by providing consultations to several Saudi individuals who have not had the opportunity to study in the United States. I have provided them with advice on the application of digital technologies to enhance teaching, learning, and assessment in educational institutes, as well as making suggestions for their research and projects.

          The advancements in information technology and social media networks has paved the way for this effective and efficient knowledge sharing. In addition to providing consultations, social media networks have allowed me to connect with researchers and academics within the IDT field, and to contribute to a number of discussions concerned with new trends of learning technologies and research in mobile learning. Therefore, connecting with professional communities within different social media platforms, has enriched my professional life, and allowed me to share my expertise by providing links to my research and projects; to easily find and access other researchers’ work; to increase my awareness of current and upcoming academic events; and to engage in relevant discussions related to my research interests.

          In addition to socializing virtually with researchers and professionals in the field of IDT, particularly mobile learning, I regard academic conferences as opportunities to grow my professional network and increase my awareness of new trends in my area of interest. I have submitted a paper to be presented at the EdMedia conference this summer. The paper is entitled, “Designing Constructivist Mobile Learning Environment for Saudi Higher Education Students to Support their Learning.” which shows my DBR plan

          Moreover, I am in the process of reviewing another study, “Evaluation Practices within Instructional System Design Process,” which is to be submitted to the Saudi Journal of Educational Technology Research (SJETR). I chose SJETR because a researcher is required to provide two abstracts, in both Arabic and English, as well as a summary of the study in Arabic. This process will ensure that the Arab world will benefit from research conducted in different languages.

          I am also conducting a pilot study to examine factors that impact student and faculty acceptance, and the adoption of mobile learning at Jazan University. Among the study goals is the aim to validate the translation of study instruments. Thus, I think SJETR will be an appropriate journal for publishing the study results.

Addressing Identified Portfolio I Gaps

          One of the issues identified in the first Portfolio review was my CV. I have since updated it to reflect recent developments in my professional life. I have also followed the APA format when updating my CV, as recommended by the committee.

          I have also been advised to focus on a particular learning experience and context. My EDIT 891 course has helped me satisfy this goal. Conducting a literature review, and proposing a study to examine the factors that impact student and faculty acceptance, and the adoption of mobile learning at Jazan University, will enrich my knowledge of mobile learning practices for participants. In addition, it will enhance my understanding of the research context I am interested in. The findings will also help me take my DBR plan a step further by developing and implementing mobile learning activities based on the preferences and perspectives of participants. This research could help to diversify and improve learning opportunities for individuals in developing countries, and in particular in the Jazan area of Saudi Arabia.

Completed Coursework

          I am happy to say that since my portfolio 1 review, I have completed EDIT 803, “Introduction of Design Based Research,” EDIT 802, “Cognition and Technology: A multidisciplinary Approach,” and six credits of EDIT 891, “Design Research Practicum.” In these courses, I have continued to explore design based research and broadened my understanding of the field of mobile learning and, in a way, solidified the direction of my future research. The final deliverable of EDIT 803 was to devise a research plan articulating specific potential phases of an iterative design research study to an identified learning and/or teaching phenomenon. My plan was to design a constructivist mobile learning environment for Saudi students at Jazan University to support their learning. As I read the description of my DBR plan, I immediately knew that my next steps will be to examine the literature of mobile learning, to enrich my knowledge of the field, and to further explore the context that I am interested in.

          The literature revealed some future recommendations for mobile learning research. According to Kulkuska-Hulme (2009), developers of mobile learning applications must understand the factors that influence stakeholders’ adoption to ensure sustainable success. Moreover, Smith, Salaway and Caruso (2009), and Koszalka and Ntloedibe-Kuswani (2010), point out that research efforts should focus on meeting the challenges of implementing initiatives of mobile learning that balance the diverse perceptions and needs of all skill levels and ages. This indicates a need to understand the various perceptions of mobile learning that exist among users. Although some research has been carried out on factors impacting acceptance and the adoption of mobile learning among Saudi students, no studies have been found that investigate factors impacting both faculty and students in higher education in Saudi Arabia at the same time. Altameem (2011), points out that a successful mobile learning system is utilized by considering perspectives and functions of students and faculty members. Other research indicates that there are multidimensional differences on factors influence acceptance and adoption of mobile learning between faculty members and students (Marss, 2013; Hoskyn-Long, 2009; Williams, 2009; Akour, 2009). Thus, I am in the process of filling this gap in the literature of mobile learning as a part of my EDIT 891.

          Furthermore, using resources and materials on the topic and theory of affordances that were introduced in EDIT 802, I was able to analyze the affordances of mobile devices, and then align them with the principles of social constructivist theory. In this process, I offered guidance for the design of constructivist mobile learning activities. It was part of my larger DBR plan to gain an understanding of how mobile learning activities could support Saudi students’ learning in higher education in Saudi Arabia.

Current Coursework

          Currently, I am taking three classes, EDIT 895: Emerging Trends in Learning Technologies.” EDRS 821: “Advanced Applications of Quantitative Methods,” and one cycle of EDIT 891: “Design Research Practicum.” In the Emerging Trends in Learning Technologies course, I am investigating the geo-location affordance of mobile learning in order to design a, “Just for me,” learning experience for ESL students by tying learning activities to locations. As for the EDIT 891 research practicum, I am conducting a pilot study to examine the factors that impact faculty and students’ acceptance and adoption of mobile learning at Jazan University. Conducting this study in parallel with the, “Advanced Applications of Quantitative Methods,” course has helped me to select and justify the statistic that is appropriate to test the research hypothesis, to explain what the procedure is accomplishing, and the logic underlying the selected procedure.

The following is a list of my goals and a brief explanation of my contributions in accomplishing them since my first portfolio review:

  • To study, create, use, and manage technology-based learning processes and resources based on theories and models of  Instructional Design and Technology (IDT). Working collaboratively with a team in EDIT 732 and EDIT 752 provided me with an authentic learning experience to design and re-design, produce, collect, evaluate, and analyze data of a technology solution prototype geared toward a specific instructional problem.
  • To attain marked ability, scholarship, and research skills in the field of IDT. This is still an ongoing goal. However, I conducted a qualitative study with Dr. Bannan that examined evaluation practices within an instructional system design process, and will be sharing the findings in the Saudi Journal of Educational Technology Research (SJETR). In addition, studying several advanced research methods (qualitative, quantitative, and DBR), I am now able to initiate research ideas through literature, to formulate research questions, design studies, find possible sources of funding, conduct research, analyze data obtained, interpret results, and share and publish the knowledge.
  • To improve my proficiency as a lecturer in Jazan University, SA, by understanding teaching styles and learning processes, and the use of educational technologies in addition to building a deep understanding of my discipline. The knowledge I have gained from LTDR courses has contributed to the achievement of this goal. However, the Emerging Trends in Learning Technologies course has provided the greatest contribution because it is an eye-opener to a working knowledge of instructional systems design in business, learning, and training.
  • To work effectively, productively and professionally with individuals with different characteristics in a variety of dimensions. All the team projects in my classes positively contributed to the achievement of this goal. They enriched my knowledge and management skills, and opened my eyes to various perspectives in the field of learning technologies.
  • To engage with, and conduct, original research in the field of mobile learning in higher education in Saudi Arabia. This is a long term goal and my work towards reaching this goal includes:
  • Conducting a literature review that provided me with a solid background about the field.
  • Identifying experts in the field and expanding my professional network through the use of social media networks and academic conferences.
  • Designing a study to better understand the research context that I am interested in.
  • To focus more on attending and presenting in specialized conferences and workshops to expand my network and knowledge in learning technologies and mobile learning. This goal will be discussed with Dr. Dabbagh in accordance with the funding regulations of my sponsor.
  • To continue to provide consultations to individuals as well as monitoring and analyzing learning technology businesses in the United States on an ongoing basis to understand their behavior, services, and customer relationships.

 

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References 

Altameem, T. (2011). Contextual mobile learning system for Saudi Arabian universities. International Journal of Computer Applications, 21(4), 21-26.

Akour, H. (2009). Determinants of mobile learning acceptance: an empirical investigation in higher education (Doctoral dissertation, Oklahoma State University).

Hoskyns-Long, G. E. (2009). Trends in mobile learning: A study of the adoption of podcasting as a learning tool at a community college (Doctoral dissertation, Capella University).

Koszalka, T. A., & Ntloedibe‐Kuswani, G. S. (2010). Literature on the safe and disruptive learning potential of mobile technologies. Distance Education, 31(2), 139-157.

Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2009). Conclusions: Future Directions in Researching Mobile Learning. Peter Lang Verlag.

Marrs, K. (2013). An Investigation of the Factors that Influence Faculty and Student Acceptance of Mobile Learning in Online Higher Education. Nova Southeastern University.

Smith, S. D., Salaway, G., & Caruso, J. B. (2009). The ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology, 2009. ECAR, Educause Center for Applied Research.

Williams, P. W. (2009). Assessing mobile learning effectiveness and acceptance (Doctoral dissertation, The George Washington University).