Abdul-Ilah AlAbasi

- How did you use e-learning facilities in KKU?
Today, we live an age of technology; whatsoever takes place in this age is speedy, interactive, and can occur ubiquitously. Education had a share of technology which made it accessible at a distance to keep up with the pace of life and the developments in technology. E-learning has revolutionalised the educational process; it impacted teachers, learners, resources of learning – even libraries have become digitized. These new e-learning sources have made the learning process more handy and efficient than traditional modes of educational delivery. The e-learning deanship of KKU is prominent amongst other deanships in the university locally and nationally; their efforts have provided a quality shift in educational progress in KKU and as compared to other Saudi universities nationwide.The deanship includes an elite staff and faculty members renowned for their good manners, erudition, patience, and instant helpfulness; they are redy to support students and staff members as well as faculty at anytime, anywhere in the country.The best about our e-learning initiative in KKU is the variety of educational activities that have become digitized; the variety of modes of delivery and presentation had made education more interesting, more exciting and more motivating for teachers and students alike. Such digitized interactive curriculum can easily be developed or upgraded quickly and efficiently. There are other benefits I could detect about the e-learning system in KKU:
Teaching methods varied with the advancement of e-learning technology;
Attending classes can take place synchronously and asynchronously in virtual space with fast and effectively;
Free communication with faculty and peers via course email and discussion boards and chat rooms available through Blackboard;
Multi-modal in presentation, Blackboard could provide learning content in visual, audio, or audio-visual and text fashions that suit a variety of learning styles of students;
Virtual classrooms are marvelous facilities on the Blackboard; the facility makes it accessible for faculty and students to communicate easily in audio or audio-video modes; other tools and facilities are richly available through Blackboard;
Teachers can be accessible on campus and off campus at any time of the day, even on off days;
Students can express their views easily and freely as never before; they can access knowledge in fashions more efficient than ever before in traditional classrooms;
Continual interactions between peers and with teachers are characteristic of this new learning environment.

- What advantages did you seize with e-learning systems in KKU?
- ICT facilitates learning potentials in students;
- E-learning is rich in a variety of learning sources and methods never available in traditional learning;
- Teaching methods available via e-learning are tactile enough to pander to the varied learning needs and anticipations of students;
- Promoting learning skills and aptitudes as well as attitudes of learners;
- Fostering self-development;
- Enabling self-reliance in learning and activating self-directed learning as well as developing learning potentials of students inasmuch as academic achievement is concerned;
- Providing equal opportunities for learning;
- Enabling students to express themselves and their ideas as well as fostering enquiry-based learning in a fashion more useful to them than it is in traditional methods of instruction.

- What are the problems that were overcome by e-learning systems?
- Time and place problems
- Testing and evaluation errors have been nearly done away with in e-testing;
- Flexible communications are more available than ever before;
- Tutorials are available for downloads to be reloaded and replayed if need be at anytime, synchronously and asynchronously;
- Time and effort are more saved in assignment uploading and marking procedures;
- Time and effort are more saved with educational innovations when everything can be available through e-bulletins, discussion boards, chat rooms, course material and tutorials all accessibly available online.

- What do you think the difference is between e-learning and traditional learning?
In traditional learning,
The classroom is teacher-centred, with the teacher being the primary source of knowledge and learning;
The student is better seen as a recipient of knowledge in a uni-directional educational process from teachers to students;
Individual differences are ignored, and one teaching method is there for all students no matter what their aptitudes, attitudes, or learning styles may be;
Students receive one primary training, and a follow-up training is only resorted to if need be;
A distinguished student is recognized and is later given more learning opportunities by teachers, whereas slow learners are ignored;
Learning resources remain the same for years without undergoing developmental upgrading;
Traditional learning is memory training, and is grounded in inculcation; it emphasizes the cognitive needs of students to the disadvantage of other aspects of the psychomotor dimensions of learning, such as skill development, problem-solving development, critical thinking and creative thinking skill development, enquiry-based learning, and attitudes, value systems, motivational aspects of learning, In e-learning,
The teacher is only a facilitator, a guide and counselor for students as to how to make best use of learning resources;Students learn by trial and error, by enquiry and exploration;
Individual variations are attended to, and needs are satisfied idiosyncratically;
Students are constantly learning, with a primary training via the system that initiates a life-long learning attitude;
Students have access to learning resources and to knowledge with no time or location impediments for a life;
Resources of learning are upgradable electronically to keep up with the latest developments in knowledge disciplines;The method is problem-based solving which fosters the creative and critical powers of students.

- What was your role in disseminating e-learning in KKU or your local community?
First of all, I joined a student team to support e-learning in KKU – a team that is affiliated to the e-learning deanship in KKU;Then, I organized training sessions for my colleagues in the college of medicine to train them on how to use Blackboard. And finally, I offer technical assistance to whoever requires it in my local community.

-What motivated you to support the e-learning endeavour in KKU?
E-learning is a modern instructional trend that offers immense services for students, and it has prominently been a widely used mode of learning worldwide. Since ours is an age of accruing ICT when technology and informatics have invaded our life ubiquitously, I feel motivated to spread it in my community and I do support it in KKU.

- How do you envision the future of e-learning in KKU?
It is a bright future, I anticipate, especially now that it is strongly consolidated by Dr. Abdullah AlWaleedi, the dean of e-learning and other e-learning specialists and experts in this wonderful deanship.