Confirmation of candidature - Mohammed Alqarni

UQ research Masters and PhD students progress through a series of milestones. The confirmation process the first of these.

Informal English as Foreign Language Learning Opportunities and the Role of the Internet in Saudi Arabia: An ecological perspective

What happens outside the classroom is crucial in promoting or hindering the second language learning process. In Saudi Arabia, English is a foreign language and opportunities are limited for informal use and practice. The information revolution, especially the internet, has created new learning trajectories that have restructured the conventional ways human beings communicate and interact in today’s world. Current generations were born to the internet, and widespread internet availability seems to be an important reason for a rise in English language literacy in Saudi Arabia. Activities like posting, commenting, sharing links, and subscribing have become part of youths’ everyday life. Most of these activities are taking place in users’ private time and therefore knowledge and skills arising from these activities are contributing to lifelong language learning outside of formal contexts. The study will investigate which dimensions of language learning are experienced by participants in online virtual communities that use English as a Lingua Franca.  The study is theorized in terms of: (i) Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model to capture the complexity of environmental factors that influence online learning; as well as (ii) a sociocultural approach to human agency that draws attention to the way participants’ take-up and resist the affordances of the technologies and virtual communities available through the internet. The study employs a qualitative approach based on an interpretivist paradigm that foregrounds participants’ sense-making and subjectivities.  It will employ semi-structured interviews, observations and records of internet sessions of six to eight university freshmen students. It will also investigate how virtual societies tend to be an ideal context for the English language learning that may replace in-country interaction.

Principal Advisor Dr. Simone Smala
Other advisor/s Prof. Peter Renshaw
Panel Chair Dr. Obaid Hamid
Other panel member/s Dr. Vicente Reyes
Date of confirmation seminar 25 January 2017
Start time 9.30 AM
Location 24-328