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Fri, Nov 2, 10:00 - 10:25, Stoops Ferry     Paper (refereed)
Recommended Citation: Mirza, A A.  Studentsí Perceived Barriers to In-Class Participation in a Distributed and Gender Segregated Educational Environment.  In The Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference 2007, v 24 (Pittsburgh): §2332. ISSN: 1542-7382.
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Studentsí Perceived Barriers to In-Class Participation in a Distributed and Gender Segregated Educational Environment

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Refereed15 pages
Abdulrahman A. Mirza    [a1] [a2]
Information Systems Department
King Saud University    [u1] [u2]
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia    [c1] [c2]

Education in Saudi Arabia has always been segregated based on gender as a result of the close governmental and societal adherence to Islamic traditions. This segregation causes a problem at the level of higher education due to the shortage of female faculty throughout the country. This problem has lead to the adaptation of several techniques by which higher-level education is delivered to female students by male faculty. This paper presents a modern approach for course delivery adopted by a new Saudi University that combines old techniques with modern telecommunications technologies. This approach makes use of smart classrooms in delivering courses by male instructors to both male and female students in separate but adjacent lecture halls. One of the main goals for conducting this study was the authorís perceived low-level in-class participation by female students in one of the courses of the Masters of Health Informatics program offered by the new University. This paper aims to present the perceptions of students regarding this modern approach of education. It also seeks to determine whether the listening-in of students of the opposite gender plays a major role in limiting studentsí level of in-class participation. Findings of this study show that students in general are favorable of the modern course delivery approach, and that the greater barrier to participation had more to do with the technology rather than the presence of members of the opposite sex.

Keywords: IS education, gender issues, segregation, distributed learning environment, smart classrooms, in-class participation, Saudi Arabia, health informatics

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