Using needs analysis as a research methodology, this study attempted to design a 20 hour academic writing (AW) course for Level 2 Foundation Year Saudi EFL students. Needs analysis was based on a diagnostic test, structured questionnaires, and researcher’s observation to obtain information on students’ language and skills needs, profile, levels of motivation, and learning styles and preferences. The results showed that the students did not have the writing proficiency for producing longer compositions and, therefore, the course should focus on appropriate language systems and skills to help learners with writing paragraphs based on two rhetorical strategies: cause and effect; and exemplification. The course content provides for the appropriate language systems and skills as voiced by the students and needed for writing these two types of paragraphs. The study also points to a course evaluation strategy that can be used for validation and future use of the proposed course.
Learners’ readiness for xMOOCs, a variant of MOOCs, mode of teaching-leaning interaction by four categories of university students in Nigeria (Conventional, National Open University of Nigerian, Open Distance learners, and Postgraduate learners) was investigated for possible inequity; using comparative ex post facto research design. Disproportional stratified random sampling was employed to draw a sample of 1200 students for the study. Data were collected with a highly valid (0.721 to 0.891) and reliable (0.832 to 0.880) instrument, dubbed xMOOCs Readiness Indicators. Results demonstrated overwhelming preponderance of Postgraduates’ incomparable superiority over other students across all the eight factors of readiness for xMOOCs (study skills, motivation, self-direction, computer skills, Internet skills, communication skills, self-efficacy, and ICT facilities ownership). There is inequity in Nigeria in terms of university students’ readiness for xMOOCs. While xMOOCs can and should successfully be used for postgraduate programs in Nigeria as the learners are suitably ready for it; the three categories of undergraduate learners’ readiness for xMOOCs demand radical improvement before this swiftly revolutionary educational approach can be adopted optimally fruitfully in the country.
Keywords: Computer Skills, Factor of Readiness, Inequity in Nigeria, Internet skills, MOOCs, Motivation, NOUN, Open Distance Learners, Postgraduate Learners, Readiness for xMOOCs, Study Skills, Undergraduate Learners, xMOOCs