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Personal Statement and Goals

When I came to Northern Illinois University, my initial goal was to enhance scientific

research in the field of education by researching curriculum developments in Saudi Arabia.

There is a gap in research on the education field in Saudi Arabia which I hoped to try to fill by

using theories of best practices. I came to Northern Illinois University also wanting to enrich my

skills using quantitative data as well as data software. My background prior to coming to NIU

was based more in using qualitative methods or mixed methods. I found that I am good in

observation, but wanted to become stronger in terms of tabulating raw numbers to tell a story.

What I benefited from in the middle of my time at Northern Illinois University (NIU) was

that I learned more research methods and data software.in addition, I had a real opportunity to

participated in collaborative research work when I worked with classmates on research papers

and projects. My goal became for me to become more proficient in SPSS, and using data samples

such as histograms, standard deviation, and bar graphs to tell the story of my research. I

published a paper with my classmate which was titled The Benefits and Barriers of E-learning

in Higher Education. This experience showed me the possibilities of publishing material, which

is something I had never done before. Due to this, my goal expanded to include a desire to

publish more material in the future and eventually publish individually. I feel as if I have more

confidence in presenting my work to the public. Another goal that I developed in the middle of

my studies, was to become better at presenting arguments in English, since it is my secondary

language. When I first came to NIU, I was not as comfortable speaking in English whereas I had

less problems writing it. Verbal English was a different matter altogether, and I became better

are verbal English by doing classroom presentations and posters in conferences like the one I did
in ETR540 which was an online presentation and also in ETR522 where I made a physical poster

presentation. These two experiences showed me how to use multimedia tools to present work

and gather feedback from others, while making me more excited to lecture in the instructional

technology research field in the future. I also became a board member for a publication journal

titled the Saudi Journal of Educational Technology Research (http://www.sjetra.org), in which I

am currently the public relations officer.

Near the end of my program, I learned the importance of conducting program

evaluations, critiques, and research designs that are relevant to the specific research question.

The question should guide the design and not the other way around, also the research question

must be a topic that benefits others besides the researcher and contributes to the field of

education as a whole. I took the ETR501 prosiminar course which focuses on creating research

tools and attending conferences. I chose to do a poster in this course and I attended a conference

to gain out of classroom experience to evaluate myself. I believe that going to this conference

will allow me to synthesize the knowledge that I have gained in previous classes due to the fact

that I have created a survey tool, used SPSS to visualize and analyse the data, and then I will be

forced to present it to the public.

My plans in the future include taking the knowledge I have used and implementing it in

the field of educational technology, first by completing my research on motivational factors in

online professional development. I also intend to return to Saudi Arabia to help further the

development of online learning in the country, by giving lectures and publishing more material

on the subject. I also would like to become a full-tenure research professor.

The artifacts that I have chosen show my growth over time and ability to use research
methods effectively. Most of the work presented here deals with the subject of online

professional development using both quantitative and qualitative methods though quantitative

methods make up the majority of the work. I believe that using both shows my range of abilities.

I have also used SPSS at great lengths to tabulate, analyzes, and visualize my data both for

myself and my audience. You will find histograms, multiple regressions, graphs, t- test samples,

and other statistic models to reflect my work. Most of the research focuses on educational

technology related problems, while looking for best practices to implement based on previous

research. I also discuss my experience attending conferences, which was a dissertation critique.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the faculty and staff of Northern Illinois for pushing me to

further my knowledge, ability, and confidence to conduct research.