Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) 2nd Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges January 2022                  Pp. 216-232

Full Paper PDF 

Transition to Online EFL Teaching in Saudi Arabian Universities during
the COVID-19 Outbreak

Saad Eid Albaqami
English Language Department
Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Albaha University, Saudi Arabia
School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Faculty of Humanities & Social
Sciences, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
Corresponding Author:

Dhaif Alzahrani
English Language Department
King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia


Received:10/5/2021                       Accepted: 12/21/2021                     Published:1/24/2022

As a result of the coronavirus crisis and the new restrictions and mandates set by governments around the globe, many educational institutions decided to suspend in-person classes and replace them with online instruction. Universities in Saudi Arabia shifted their entire delivery of teaching to the online platform and closed their doors. This unprecedented and unexpected online transition had several consequences. The present paper examines how instructors in Saudi universities reflected on this transition and the extent to which they were ready for such an unforeseen change. The current study is significant for helping instructors rise to the challenges resulting from the wholescale and ongling transition to online teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19 and the subsequent suspension of face-to-face instruction. In addition, this study seeks to examine the attitudes and readiness of participants from eight universities in Saudi Arabia in the broader context. The results revealed that instructors have positive attitudes towards utilising online tools and were knowledgeable of the significant advantages of integrating online tools and content into their teaching of English language as a foreign language. (EFL); however, they reported that they were not adequately prepared and that they experienced distress and suffered due to the obligation to acquire new digital skills within a very short period.
Keywords: instructors’ attitudes, instructors’ readiness, COVID-19, online transition, Saudi
universities, English language teaching

Cite as:  Albaqami, S. E., & Alzahrani, D. (2022). Transition to Online EFL Teaching in Saudi Arabian Universities during the COVID-19 Outbreak. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) 2nd Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges (2) 216-232.


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Received: 10/5/2021
Accepted: 21/21/2021   
Published: 1/24/2022

Saad Eid Albaqami is a lecturer in the Department of English at Albaha University, Saudi Arabia. His research merges the fields of applied linguistics and educational technology and focuses on the implementation of language instruction, pedagogical practices and vocabulary acquisition. ORCID:

Dhaif Alzahrani is a Ph.D. candidate in educational and applied linguistics at Newcastle University, UK. He is a lecturer at English language department, King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia. His research focuses on the impacts of mediational means on L2 collaborative writing. He is interested in technology-enhanced language learning and multimodal communication in L2 classrooms.  ORCID: