Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Instructional Technology

First Advisor

James L. Moseley


Dissertation Abstract


Bandar A. Alshihri

March, 2017

Advisor: Dr. James L. Moseley

Major: Learning Design and Technology

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Cloud computing is a recent computing paradigm that has been integrated into the educational system. It provides numerous opportunities for delivering a variety of computing services in a way that has not been experienced before. The Google Company is among the top business companies that afford their cloud services by launching a number of business and educational Apps. Google runs these Apps for free to be used for educational purposes, which saves a huge amount of expense for institutions and allows them to direct scarce financial resources to other areas of need. King Khalid University (KKU) was the first and only Saudi university since 2012 that officially offered Google Apps to its faculty members, staff, and students.

The University of Bisha, a new independent university that was separated from KKU, became the second university that owns Google Apps as part of its academic services. This gives The UoB a distinctive opportunity and a unique reason for using Google products and learning from the experience. This research focuses on how The UoB faculty members take advantage of these Apps’ benefits in terms of improving their academic and professional knowledge in their discipline as well as improving their teaching expertise within the Constructivist philosophy, methodologies, and traditions. The literature review provides an overview of the essential sources which support this research.

The research focused on The UoB academic instructors in order to study their behavior and potential problems and issues they experience in employing Google Apps to improve teaching, organization, academic collaboration, self-education, and other educational purposes. Precisely, it addresses the following questions:

• In what way are the instructors’ views at The UoB about using Google Apps influencing subject matter and teaching improvement?

• What issues - positive or negative- do The UoB faculty members have regarding the varieties of Cloud computing and, specifically, Google Academic Applications?

• What are The UoB instructors’ experiences in using Google Academic Apps in higher education?

The instrument in both English and Arabic was sent to 673 members. Only 131 contributors participated fully. The instrument consists 44 questions in five sections; both closed and open-ended questions were used. The instrument was piloted by eight experts and it has both face and content validity.

The study showed that multiple and various levels of knowledge and specific skills may significantly affect the ability of the members of the faculty and academic staff to apply the benefits of using Google services/ tools in their professional activities. Lacks of experience, tool awareness and effectiveness in using Google services may result in lower confidence and trust in Google products, as well as disappointment, and the formation of biased negative opinion regarding usefulness of these applications for academic users within the university environment.

There are limitations to this study. For example, a lengthy instrument; unclear meaning of some questions because of dual English and Arabic translations; distribution of survey during exam time; fear some faculty in smaller departments being disciplined for the answers they provide, among others.

The results point out the need of disseminate the awareness of modern teaching methods and theories between faculty more often; training and faculty workshops in the use of Google Apps; team development activities in collaborative teaching; and designing an online course in Arabic Language and make it available for both members and students 24/7; integrating Google suite into academic meetings and other services in order to increase faculty’s collaboration and productivity. Finally, the study provides related recommendations for future research.