Guide to Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and home to the holy cities of Medina and Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad was born and united various tribes of the Arabian peninsula to found a single Islamic polity. After Muhammad's death in 632, Muslim rule expanded throughout the region and found its center in more developed empires based in Cairo, Baghdad or Istanbul. Saudi Arabia remained a peripheral state until the 18th century, when the Saudi royal family, known as the Al Saud, emerged and allied with religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. In 1902, Abdul Aziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn al-Saud (Ibn Saud) forced religious authorities in modern-day capital Riyadh to swear allegiance to the Al-Sauds, and in 1932 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was officially formed, with Ibn Saud proclaiming himself King of the Hejaz and Sultan of Najd.
Saudi Arabia's development was ensured upon the discovery of oil in the early 1900s, which enabled the government to fund free health care and launch a building boom. The economic importance of Saudi Arabia would escalate when it imposed an oil embargo on the United States in response to U.S. support for Israel, an action that was acclaimed in the region. However, the last decades of the century brought assassinations, riots and death in large parts of the country, destabilising it to some extent. Today, its leaders find themselves with great wealth but under increasing pressure for reform and a need to combat a growing problem of extremist violence.
Capital City: Riyadh has long abandoned its early status as a desert outpost. Today, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with a tripling population and financial growth impulsed by vast oil revenue that has made Riyadh one of the richest cities in the Middle East. In the capital, the contrast between the modernity represented by soaring towers and luxury automobiles on the one hand, and the traditional religious values perpetuated by the mutawa (religious police), which ensures citizens' piety, is striking. Riyadh is a center of culture, a conservative yet daring metropolis.
Government: Saudi Arabia is a monarchy governed according to the Islamic legal system (sharia). King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud has acted as chief of state, king and prime minister since 2005. Every four years, the monarch appoints a Council of Ministers to form the cabinet, which includes many royal family members.
Culture: As the cradle of Islam, the Kingdom's culture is dominated by religious observance, and the predominance of the puritanical Wahhabi form of Islam shapes everyday lifestyle, from the absence of theatres to the prohibition of alcoholic beverages. However, there are cultural spaces outside of religious fundamentalism. Saudis, for example, take pride in their traditional Bedouin hospitality, and everyday behaviour stresses the Islamic principle of hijab (modesty). Sports such as football and windsurfing are very popular, and even though the Islamic religious discourages artistic development, Western influences have arrived in the form of music and dance.
- Al-Riyadh: Riyadh based daily newspaper
- Arab News: Jeddah-based English-language daily newspaper
- Saudi TV: state television network
- Saudi Radio: state run national radio network
Published on 28 Oct 2013
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List on Universities and Colleges in Saudi Arabia
Published on 23 Sep 2013
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Published on 5 Feb 2013
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Past, Present and Future of Online Education Infographic
The evolution of technology and of new learning experiences have always been closely related. As distance learning specialists affirm, the field of distance-learning had three main generations:
- Correspondence study
The Past, Present and Future of Online Education Infographic provides a brief presentation of the history of online education.
A brief timeline of online education
- On March 20, 1728, the Boston Gazette ran an advertisement offering long distance instruction. And so teaching outside the classroom had its beginning.
- 1728: Boston teacher offers instruction through weekly letters to anyone in the country.
- 1892: U. of Chicago is first educational institution to offer correspondence courses.
- 1922: Penn State broadcasts courses over the radio.
- 1953: U. of Houston offers course work on TV.
- 1968: Stanford University creates the Stanford Instructional Television Network.
- 1959: Plato is born, the first internet community. Hatched by two U. of Illinois profs.
- 1968: U. of Alberta (Canada) Dept. of Medicine offers online courses.
- 1984: The Electronic University Network, offers online courses using proprietary software for DOS and Commodore 64 computers.
- 1989: Phoenix rising. The University of Phoenix starts its online program.
- 1996: Duke University begins its Global Executive M.B.A. program which combines online technology and sessions on-campus and at various locations throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
- 1999: Jones University becomes first accredited fully web based university; Learning portals, including HungryMinds, Click2Learn, Learn2, eCollege, Blackboard, and others emerge on the landscape.
- 2000: CourseNotes.com launches with dozens of classes at the University of Texas. The service provides professor web sites, including online course documents, calendars, grades, quizzes and surveys.
- Jan. 1, 2008: The term MOOC is coined by Dave Cormier of the University of Prince Edward Island.
- 2013: The Open University builds its own MOOC platform, Futurelearn, with universities from the UK. More MOOCs: Open2Study in Australia and Iversity in Germany.
3 Types of Online Education
- 80-100% online courses have no face to face interaction with teacher
- 30-80% course delivered online: Traditional courses using web facilitated courses
- Blended or hybrid: Up to 20 percent of content delivered online: otherwise, traditional face to face classroom learning
10 Surprising Facts about Online Students
- 46% of students say their biggest motivation for enrolling in an online course was to advance their current career.
- 37% of online students were the first in their family to attend college.
- 33% of people taking some online course are studying business.
- University of Phoenix has the largest proportion of online students at 15%.
- 39% of online students fall between the ages of 18 to 29.
- 21% of online students pay for their education using personal funds only.
- 70% of virtual learners are female.
- 29% of online graduates earn $85-150k annual income.
- 60% of students taking an online course are employed full-time.
- 37% of online students indicate that they enrolled because of the accelerated courses, which fast-tracks students to a degree.
Top 10 most popular online degrees
- Business Administration/management
- IT (Information Technology)
- Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
- Graphic Design
- Health Care Administration
- Computer Science
- 25 states have state virtual schools operating in 2013-2014.
- 29 states and Washington, DC have statewide full-time online schools operating in 2013-14.
There were an estimated 1,816,400 enrollments in distance-education courses in K-12 school districts in 2009-2010, almost all of which were online courses. 74% of these enrollments were in high schools. Online courses with the highest level of enrollment fall under the categories of credit recovery (62%), dual enrollment (47%), and advanced placement (29%).