Perceived Online Education Barriers Through The Voices Of Administrators And Faculty At a U.S. University In Lebanon

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El Turk, Sahar
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In this digital era, online education has become an important tool for traditional and non-traditional students. Every day, students face obstacles to continue their education. Work and family responsibilities, distance from campus, disabilities, finances or other personal issues make it difficult to attend classes. Online courses may be a good solution for many students. However, Lebanon does not incorporate online education in its educational institutions. The purpose of this study was to reveal the perceived barriers obstructing the implementation of online education by administrators and faculty at the School of Arts and Sciences at a U.S. university located in Lebanon using an online survey instrument. The aim of this study was to create a solution to the most important perceived barriers to online education, and to offer a solution that informs administrative decisions concerning the appropriate form of online learning to be implemented at the university. The exploratory factor analysis identified the 8 factors of thirty-five perceived barriers to online education. The factors were: cost-effectiveness analysis barriers, interpersonal barriers, pedagogical barriers, technical barriers, cultural barriers, epistemological barriers, psychological barriers, and structural barriers. Faculty and administrators perceived the structural barriers and the pedagogical barriers as very important. Faculty also perceived the technical barriers as very important. Role, status, and working experience affected administrators’ perceptions of the cultural barriers, the structural barriers, and the epistemological barriers. Age and rank affected faculty’s perceptions of the technical barriers and the psychological barriers. The qualitative data showed five themes emerging from the administrators’ data set and six themes emerging from the faculty’s data set through the grounded theory approach. The quantitative and qualitative results were integrated to explain the perceptions of participants. The findings might serve in informing stakeholders about the ways that allow the effective incorporation of online courses in Lebanon. As a first step, the university could offer blended online education only for suitable courses at the School of Arts and Sciences as a trial to explore the degree of success or failure of online education. The findings of this research may be beneficial for other universities in Lebanon considering the implementation of online education in their curricula.|Keywords: perceived barriers of online courses, online education, exploratory factor analysis, faculty, administrators, transformative design, mixed methodology, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, Lebanon
Creighton University
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