Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Ke Zhang


The use of mobile technology in teaching and learning has become a worldwide phenomenon. Many university instructors in Saudi Arabia have also started using their own mobile technology in their teaching and for communication with students. But there is limited research on Saudi Arabian university faculty’s experiences of using mobile technology in their teaching practices. This mixed-method study adapted the R2D2 (Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing) model (Bonk & Zhang, 2006, 2008) to investigate faculty’s uses of mobile technology in Saudi Arabian universities, including both instructors’ own teaching and learners’ activities.

An online survey, with both Likert-scale items and open-ended questions, was conducted to collect data on university instructors’ (a) general experiences in integrating mobile technology in their teaching practices as well as for learner activities, (b) their attitudes toward mobile learning, (c) the specific learning activities in different categories as per the R2D2 model, in and out of class and for communication with students. A total of 372 instructors participated the survey, 241 of them completed the entire survey. Participants represented the 25 public universities in Saudi Arabia, with a highly diverse profile in terms of age, gender, academic major, geographic location, and years of teaching experiences. In-depth interviews were conducted with six selected participants, representing different age groups, academic majors and teaching experiences to further investigate instructors’ experiences and contributing factors to their uses of mobile technology for teaching and learning in Saudi Arabian universities.

The results of this mixed-method research study (Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and used) concluded that the majority of instructors showed their eagerness and willingness to use mobile technology in their teaching practices. Many instructors were already using them in their teaching and for communication with their students. A number of universities already had the appropriate tools and applications that helped students and instructors to use their mobile technology for content delivery, assignment submission, communication, and more. Some university instructors expressed specific concerns regarding the use of mobile technology by their students, together with the needs for training and professional development to better understand the possibilities that mobile technology can bring to the class and to the university environment. The research has practical implications for university administration and policy-makers for better integration of mobile technology and better applications of mobile learning into the different courses and disciplines.

The R2D2 four categories (Reading, reflecting, displaying, and doing) cover many learning activities that may be conducted online and through the use of mobile technologies. Although this model focuses on all categories evenly, this research found that university instructors focused on the learning activities from the reading and displaying categories more than the learning activities from the reflecting or doing categories.

Instructors nowadays are considered more as facilitators for their learners’ acquisition of knowledge rather than giving and feeding them with the information. And this R2D2 model is a great framework for university instructors to consider, compare, choose and apply different learning activities via mobile devices, when they facilitate and moderate the new ways of teaching. Similarly, this model may be help students where they can take the steps on their own to follow and complete the wide range of mobile learning activities. The adaption of the R2D2 model and its four categories of varied learning activities, together with the key instructional considerations (Bonk & Zhang, 2008) opens new avenues for university instructors to integrate mobile technologies in their courses, for teaching and for students learning activities. The resources and technologies available to instructors differ from one university to another, and from one country to another, so instructors should select the most suitable learning activities from the four R2D2 categories. As Cartner and Hallas (2009) have found that “the (R2D2) model has been easy to use as the cyclical learning process is one that occurs naturally in everyday life” (p. 114). This study sheds light on future research on mobile learning, as well as mobile learning practices for university instructors, higher education administrators and national policy makers.