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Professional Overview

I came to the University of North Texas (UNT) full of hope that I would
gain knowledge from their highly reputed faculty to share with my
educational community when I return to Saudi Arabia after graduating with
my Ph.D. in Educational Computing. Indeed, after three years of hard work
and study in my doctoral courses, I am progressing in my ability to
demonstrate my concepts and ideas in my research projects. Through my
experience with UNTs doctoral residency courses based on a hybrid style of
learning, for the first time, I adapted myself to studying and interacting with
my instructor and other students online. I have learned how to use some
kinds of learning management systems (such as Canvas, Moodle and
Blackboard). Using this hybrid style of learning, I have gained many
academic skills I had never had before through reading, writing, discussions,
reflection, argument, collaboration, and relating with students and faculty
that I have done as a part of these courses.
I worked closely with students with disabilities for many years in my
home country, and this has been the focus of my interests and research
during my doctoral candidacy. My particular area of interest is how
technologies can be integrated effectively for students with disabilities. My
personal experience with students with autism prompted me to compare the
teachers attitudes toward students with autism in the United States and
Saudi Arabia as my first research project, in collaboration with my chair
adviser, Dr. Tandra Tyler-Wood. Through my courses, I have learned about

theories and models of learning technologies that I can implement, in

particular for students with a disability, who are a part of every society. My
second project research, which is also my dissertation, was focused on
studying the interaction relationship between students with disabilities who
use online learning environments and their instructors. My main reason for
choosing this topic, besides my personal interest, is my hope to expand the
educational opportunities for students with disabilities in Saudi Arabia.
Although the government of Saudi Arabia established the first electronic
university three years ago, it does not include online learning for students
with disabilities as a part of its offerings; therefore, I would like to be part of
establishing this practice in my country. I am also interested, as an
instructional designer, in how currently effective models and frameworks can
be implemented with special needs students. In particular, I am interested in
the framework of Universal Design Learning (UDL) and Technological
Pedagogical Content Knowledge.
I successfully completed a 45-hour introductory course in the
framework of UDL in the summer of 2015 in order to implement it in my
dissertation research. Little research has been done on instructional design
in the special education field. As an instructional designer, I believe there is a
need to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of new pedagogical trends
and models with special needs students, especially those involving such
concepts as the flipped classroom, gamification, video games, transmedia,
virtual reality, wearable devices, and Massive Open Online Courses. My long-

term goal is to continue to pursue this topic as a connection point between

instructional design and special education in order to serve the science of
education and to directly benefit students with disabilities. Also, one of my
priorities is to translate beneficial information into my language and share
this knowledge with my educational community. Further, I have participated
with my student colleagues in doing classwork projects in our field. Hence, I
have learned how to work not only academically in collaboration with others
but also cross-culturally. For a researcher, these are important skills. For
instance, I learned the methods and approaches to quantitative, qualitative,
and mixed method research studies, as well as how to deal with data and
interpret them. I have learned how to submit an article to a scholarly journal
in hopes that they will publish it, including how to match topic scope to the
appropriate journal, how to contact journal editors, and how to deal with peer
reviewers. Moreover, I have learned how to participate in a conference,
starting with submitting an appropriate proposal, and not only how to
present, but also how to join a special interest group and to build
relationships with scholars.