Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number4   December 2021                                          Pp. 19-36

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Digital Platforms in the Emergency Remote Education: the Students’ Preferences 

Mishal H. Al Shammari
English Language and Translation Department
College of Languages and Transaltion
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Received:  8/18/2021              Accepted: 10/4/2021               Published:  12/15/2021


One positive side of the Covid-19 pandemic is the unprecedented opportunity it has offered to the Higher Education Institutions to experience digital learning like never before. During the pandemic, Distant Learning platforms, including Learning Management Systems and Video Conferencing Platforms, have been ubiquitous, and no single institution survived without them during the pandemic. Hence, one of the critical lessons that should be learned is the students’ experiences with these platforms. This study aims to investigate the digital platform preferences of English major students in the College of Language and Translation at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia during the Emergency Remote Education due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Its significance lies in the fact that it underscores and addresses students’ needs and preferences with regard to the digital platforms to be used for language learning, a pragmatic examination of which has been carried out in the following pages. It focuses on reasons for the preferences of the two leading digital platforms used in King Saud University: Blackboard and Zoom. A Survey with open-ended and closed-ended questions was designed to answer the questions of the study: which digital platforms do students prefer to use during Emergency Remote Education, and what were the reasons behind students’ preferences?  A total of 300 students from both male and female campuses at different levels of study participated in the study. The results showed that students preferred the Zoom to Blackboard. Reasons of preferences were mainly the ease of use, followed by supporting smartphones, then having an app for smartphones. The thematic analysis of the open-ended question showed that technical problems and connection latency were the main reasons behind students’ preferences of the Zoom. The findings also indicated gender differences in reasons of preferences.
Keywords: Blackboard, digital platforms, Covid 19, emergency remote education, Higher Education Institutions,
learning management system, video conferencing platform, Zoom platform

Cite as:   Al Shammari, M. H. (2021). Digital Platforms in the Emergency Remote Education: the Students’ Preferences .
Arab World English Journal, 12 (4) 19-36



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Received: 8/18/2021
Accepted: 10/4/2021  
Published: 12/15/2021

Dr. Mishal H. Al Shammari is an assistant professor at the English and Translation Department at the College of Languages and Translation at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. His research interests include Computer-Assisted Language Learning, digital learning, digital transformation, and curriculum development.