Technologies and classroom configurations in gender-separated education in Saudi Arabia: an exploratory mixed methods study



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The purpose of this study is to explore the classroom configurations and technologies used to mediate instruction to female students in gender-separated classrooms at Qassim University and Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia. The study describes the methods used, evaluates and compares the effectiveness of the approaches, and describes the issues and challenges that female students and their male professors face in gender-separated classrooms. The study was conducted using a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design and contains two phases, a qualitative phase and a quantitative phase. Two theoretical frameworks, Community of Inquiry and Technology Acceptance model, were used to guide the data collection in the qualitative component of the study. The results of the qualitative component were then used to develop a survey instrument that was used to collect data from a larger sample of the population. The qualitative phase focused on identifying the approaches used to mediate instruction to female students and explored the experiences of female students and male professors in gender-separated classrooms. A multiple case study design was used for collecting and analyzing the qualitative data. It included observations of five gender-separated classrooms that are equipped with different technologies and classroom configurations in Qassim and Alfaisal universities, focus groups made up of female students, and interviews with the male professors who taught those classes. Based on the themes and findings from the qualitative study, a survey instrument was developed and distributed to a sample of female students and male faculty members who teach female classrooms at Qassim University. The quantitative data enabled the researcher to report findings reflective of a larger and more diverse sample of female students and male professors at Qassim University. In conclusion, the qualitative phase of this study identified five different classroom configurations used in gender-separated classrooms: VCR, CCTV, and VC at Qassim University and Double deck and Partition at Alfaisal University. VCR was found to be the least effective classroom configuration due to the numerous technical problems associated with its use and limited instructional capabilities. CCTV was found to have fewer technical problems but also had limited instructional capabilities. VC also had fewer technical problems and advanced instructional capabilities, making it the most effective classroom configuration observed at Qassim University. At Alfaisal University, Partition classrooms appeared to be the most effective due to the enhanced educational experience provided by face-to-face instruction in the small sized classrooms. Double deck classrooms were found to be less effective. Students reported feeling isolated and disconnected in the classroom.



Saudi higher education, Saudi female education, Classroom technologies in Saudi Arabia, Gender segregation, Gender separated classrooms, Sequential exploratory mixed-methods

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction Programs

Major Professor

Jacqueline D. Spears