Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL Number 7. July 2021                       Pp.22-37

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Saudi EFL Students’ Use and Perceptions of Blackboard before and during Online
Learning Amid COVID-19

Zainab Alsuhaibani
College of Languages and Translation
Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University (IMSIU)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Received: 2/25/202                 Accepted: 7/6/2021                Published: 7/26/2021


Online learning becomes the means of education during COVID-19. Blackboard is one of the learning management systems that has been widely used before and during the pandemic. This study focuses on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students’ use and perceptions of Blackboard. It explores and compares EFL students’ use and perceptions of Blackboard considering three phases: before COVID-19 in 2019, during online learning in 2020, and during online learning in 2021. A questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were used to collect the data. A total of  381 Saudi EFL students participated in the study. The results show that there are statistically significant differences in EFL students’ use of Blackboard between the three phases. EFL students’ use of Blackboard increased during online learning in 2020 compared to 2019, especially concerning the frequency of visiting Blackboard and the time students spent using it. Further, EFL students’ use of Blackboard increased significantly during online learning in 2021 compared to 2019 with regard to visit frequencies, time spent, and Blackboard tools used. Considering perceptions, the results indicate that there are statistically significant differences in students’ perceptions of Blackboard in terms of easiness and usefulness between the three phases. Interestingly, students had more positive perceptions of Blackboard before COVID-19 in 2019 and during online learning in 2021. The technical problems that students faced while using Blackboard during 2020 might have affected their perceptions. The study results of students’ use and perceptions of Blackboard are discussed in light of institutional policies and support.
Keywords: Blackboard, COVID-19, challenges, e-learning, EFL, online learning, perceptions, pandemic, Saudi

Cite as:  Alsuhaibani, Z. (2021). Saudi EFL Students’ Use and Perceptions of Blackboard Before and During Online Learning amid COVID-19.
Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL (7). 22-37.


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Received: 2/25/202
Accepted: 7/6/2021 
Published: 7/26/2021

Dr. Zainab Alsuhaibani is an assistant professor of Applied Linguistics at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Saudi Arabia. She gained her PhD with first degree of honor. She has published in different WoS and Scopus indexed journals. Her research interest includes e-learning, foreign language teaching and learning, pragmatic competence and pragmatic instruction, intercultural communication, language learning strategies, consciousness-raising instruction, and corpora. ORCID: