Arabian Gulf students' response to English language course management systems: a case study

Alan Weber



The use of Course Management System (CMS) software that assists blended and independent online learning or e-learning, has increased dramatically in the Gulf region since 2000. The most popular products include Blackboard, Moodle and Angel.  In spring 2009, research was conducted at Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar (WCMC-Q) on native Arabic speakers’ (9 Arabic speakers, 4 controls) satisfaction with and ease of use of English language versions of Blackboard, Moodle, and Angel in the main areas of CMS functionality, including synchronous chat, email, electronic peer editing, electronic quizzes, bulletin board and course document downloading. A large corpus of anecdotal data and end-of-semester questionnaire indicated that native Arabic speakers did not prefer any particular CMS. Arabic speaking students overwhelmingly indicated that CMSs were valuable to their education, and that online activities, particularly chat, online quizzes, document downloading, and bulletin board, could augment traditional and paper-based classroom activities, but should not entirely replace traditional methods.  Females demonstrated less favorable outcomes with using CMSs and gender differences in online learning and CMSs should be a future area of research.


Course Management System; Blackboard; Moodle; Angel; Arabic speakers; e-learning; Arabian Gulf

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