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Volume 18 Number 3, Autumn 2021, Pages 745-1070   

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Online Learning of English Language Courses via Blackboard at Saudi Universities During Covid-19: Challenges and Difficulties

    Hind Aljuaid

The outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic resulted in a temporary interruption of learning activities across the world. In Saudi Arabia, there was a sudden and quick shift from face-to-face learning mode to online learning in efforts to save the educational process from non-continuity in many universities. As a result, the use of various e-learning platforms such as Blackboard applications was key to facilitating the learning of different academic courses including the English language. However, the widespread uptake and implementation of Blackboard learning are still in nascent phases in terms of facilitating English language learning. The objective of this study was to investigate the challenges and difficulties encountered in online learning of English language courses via Blackboard at Saudi universities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Desktop research was used in this study where secondary resources were collected from various academic databases including Google Scholar, Science Direct, EBSCOhost, and Semantic Scholar. Results showed that the use of Blackboard application in online learning of English courses had some potential advantages including improved interactivity, communication, enhanced language proficiency, discussion forums, improved writing quality, learning flexibility, and enhanced grammar and vocabulary acquisition. However, there were potential challenges including students' negative attitude, lack of tutor training, poor technical support, difficulty accessing curriculum content or tests, concerns about safety or privacy, slow internet connection, students' lack of computers, and reliable internet. In conclusion, despite the positive outcomes of using Blackboard in English learning, adequate measures need to be implemented to address identified challenges.

Keywords: English language learning, blackboard, covid-19, English language teaching