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Online vs. Blended Learning : issues and challenges


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The last three decades have witnessed substantial advances and improvements in the application of information technology in the domain of education. These advances have, in their turn, precipitated an evolution in teaching methods which cater specifically to the various forms of computerized education delivery such as online learning, distance learning, electronic learning, virtual learning and blended learning, (i.e. a combination of traditional and computerized teaching / learning techniques) The common denominator for all the aforementioned types of education delivery is the use of some form of information technology to enhance the learning process. In fact, it may be posited that it is the degree of reliance on technology which serves to differentiate these various forms of learning and teaching. It has been intention of number of research studies to scrutinize the application of technology in education either from teachers' perspective or students' perspective.

In this panel session two case studies will be presented in order to compare and contrast the effectiveness of two forms of learning, namely online learning and blended learning. Dr Huda R. Farhan and Mrs Amal Al Mutirat will present their initial findings concerning their investigation into the attitudes and perceptions of PAAET students vis-à-vis the use of an online learning management system in a blended learning environment. Furthermore, these researchers will discuss best practice procedures for designing / re-designing syllabus content in order to optimize educational delivery for a blended (as opposed to traditional) learning environment. In addition to the presentations by Farhan and Al Mutirat, Dr. A. M. Salaz Dr Nicole Johnston will present case studies relating to the Open Access Scholarship Scheme and the observed behaviors of instructors who use teaching methods which are oriented towards online educational delivery. The findings of a phenomenographic study will be presented which has documented the challenges faced by online instructors who regularly use Open Access resources as well as publish in Open Access journals.

Session Chair:

Dr Huda R. Farhan

Assistant professor of library and information science
Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, Kuwait

Dr. Huda holds a PhD from Sheffield University, UK. Her dissertation research focuses on the effectiveness of organizing public documents with users' generated descriptors (folksonmy) with specific focus on e-government. Her research interest focuses on information retrieval, controlled vocabulary; thesauri in particular, children's literature and technology in education. She has published articles on users' generated descriptors, users' satisfaction of organization of information, and evaluation of thesauri. Dr. Farhan is the main author and can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Session Speakers:

Amal M Al-mutairat

Amal M Al-mutairat teacher assistance in library and information science at the Public Authority of Applied Education and Training, Kuwait. Amal holds Bachelor in Computer Science from Kuwait University/ Faculty of Science. Her research interest focuses on using technology in education, web paging and designing . She can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Dr Nicole Johnston

Lecturer in Library and Information Studies at UCL Qatar. She teaches in a range of areas in the MA Library and Information Studies degree including information retrieval, information technology, information literacy and collection management and has current research interests include information behavior, social media, usability studies, open access and professional development for librarians. Dr Johnston holds a PhD from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia and a MLIM from Charles Sturt University in Australia. She has held a number of librarian roles in Ireland, Australia and the UAE and is currently the chair of the professional development committee of the information literacy network of the Gulf region.

Dr. Alicia. M. Salaz

Dr. Alici. M. Salaz is Reference and Instruction Librarian for Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. Holding an EdD from the University of Liverpool and an MLIS from the University of Washington, Dr. Salaz brings over 10 years of cross-national professional and academic experience to the study of faculty members and scholarly communications. She has presented extensively in the areas of information literacy and library services and has been named ACRL Instruction Sections' Teaching Librarian of the Month. She serves as vice-chair of the Information Literacy Network, Gulf Region's Professional Development Committee, and resides in Doha.

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