Students’ Online Engagement and Usage of Discussion Boards on BlackBoard: A Study from the UAE

Laila Mohebi, Zayed University


Academic institutions need to enhance online and virtual learning strategies to ensure student engagement, satisfaction, and feedback in online classrooms. Providing online education has become the need of the hour because it enhances learning without regard for distance or the need to travel to school. The present study conducted a qualitative research design to explore students’ online engagement in Blackboard’s discussion forums. The study aimed to investigate students’ perceived benefits of discussion forums and their views on improving their engagements in the discussion boards. In the current study17 students at a federal university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reflected on their engagement in a discussion forum using SWOT analysis. The thematic data analysis technique was used for the data analysis. This study revealed that students perceived the benefit of discussion forums in a number of areas, including by sharing their experiences, reflecting on other students’ opinions and giving feedback, and improving students’ satisfaction with the course. However, the results indicated that a more technological system could enhance students’ engagement in discussion forums by improving the elearning infrastructures and students’ needs.

Keywords: Students’ engagement, Blackboard forums, online education, SWOT analysis, phenomenology.

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