Saudi Arabia Looking to Online Education, Female Faculty


A partnership between the Open Education Consortium and the National e-Learning Center of Saudi Arabia has been forged to announce for the creation of a year-long eLearning Pioneers Program.

The program hopes to prepare female faculty and university leaders in Saudi Arabia for online and blended learning using the principles of online learning observed across the United States.  Teachers who participate will be able to incorporate the pedagogy and strategies learned in the program to offer a better education to girls and women in the country.

Saudi Arabian male and female students are currently educated separately.

“Higher education has not yet fully embraced all the opportunities that the digital information age provides to students and faculty,” said Manal Al-Dahash of the National Center for eLearning and Distance Education. The eLearning Pioneers program will help our female faculty and university leaders embrace technology-enhanced education, which will better prepare our students for the 21st century.”

Participants will have the opportunity to specialize in either Leadership or Instructional Excellence.  The goal of the two tracks is to aid in faculty’s efforts to use a variety of approaches in their e-learning approaches to enhance student outcomes and increase the tools and knowledge at the disposal of teachers to increase professional development goals, among others.

“The impetus to bring Saudi Arabian female teachers to the U.S. to learn our teaching strategies is strong. For the first time in history, we can give woman teachers the opportunity and the edge that they need to lead education practices in Saudi Arabia. The OEC is proud to bring together some of the top U.S. institutions of education in the world to provide these renowned, top-tier programs to this well-skilled set of faculty members and teachers,” said Mary Lou Forward, executive director, Open Education Consortium.

Forward went on to say that the program was considered to be more of an exchange of ideas rather than a classical “training” program, adding that participants will discover how to incorporate eLearning to reach instructional as well as institutional goals, writes Jamaal Abdul-Alim for Diverse Education.

Placements will be made at a variety of universities across the United States.  Saudi faculty will have the opportunity to meet with US faculty members to discuss strategies to use technology to help students better learn in their own schools.  In addition, faculty will learn about faculty development and student-centered pedagogy while participating in workshops pertaining to various teaching methods.