Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University was established by a group of famous individuals from Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province under the patronage of HRH Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Bin Abdulaziz.
It was inaugurated in October 2008 by Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz who was the then Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General. It is the first private university in the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia having registered its first set of students in September 2006. The institution embraces the cultural as well as religious values of Saudi Arabians.
The university adopts the North American system as well as model of education. Its system was designed by Texas International Educational Consortium and comprises of administrative, financial as well as academic programs.
Inner workings of the organization’s ecommerce activities
Inner working of the institution highly applies the use of ecommerce in various aspects. It is used to manage the university’s important documents and records including student records. It also used to connect with the various departments involved in all the business processes of the university. Ecommerce is also valuable in the university particularly in provision of various services to the school community. This makes it easy for management of administrative, financial and academic activities of the institution.
Current ecommerce activities in PMU
The organization applies e-commerce in various business processes of the institution. The organization advertises its courses and services online and provides for application of the same online. Its other services include support services such transportation various halls of residence. It also advertises its programs and jobs online and provides opportunity for online application.
Ecommerce is applied by the university in offering services to students. Students can access their fee statements as well as academic results online through the university’s website. Students can register online and also pay fee online.
It also offers an online library where its students can access electronic-based learning resources online and also search and book learning materials available in its library online. Its database offers online access to more than 60,000 copyrighted books. It also subscribes to over 33,000 e-books covering various subjects (Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, 2011).
The institution also utilizes the technology in carrying out electronic money transfer between the organization’s account and its suppliers, contractors and students. Students can pay fees through direct funds transfer to its account at the Saudi American Bank.
The university applies ecommerce to order its online books and to make its other purchases. It uses the internet to outsource and connect to suppliers who offer fair prices.
These ecommerce activities and services offered by the university are reliable and enhance learning process. They also facilitate administrative activities as well as outsourcing of services and materials needed in the university. Financial management and operations are more efficient. Financial transactions are fast and reliable.
Some of the university’s activities have not adopted ecommerce and they include distribution of its research articles, journals and its other publications. It does not provide for online purchasing of its published academic materials.
It does not offer e-learning services to potential students. Its external learning services have not adopted e-learning programs. The institution does not provide online lessons to its learners particularly part-time students.
There are also no online examination programs in the institution. All the examinations provided by the institution have to be done on paper and in the particular institutions specified.
Its teaching programmes mainly involve providing instructions through the use of blackboard. It does not provide for video teaching lessons delivered online to students of the particular programmes.
Its research systems do not also involve ecommerce application. Its research system does not provide for online contributions and correspondence from other professionals involved in the same or related research activity.
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University should develop an online library or website where it can sell its published journals, articles, books as well as other learning materials. Online website or library would give consumers across the globe access to published learning materials from the university by purchasing them.
Again, the university needs to implement e-learning programs which will enable it offer degrees, diplomas and certificate courses online to those who would want to acquire certification in various academic levels and courses. It should also adopt virtual reality as well as web casting application programmes to provide its recorded activities and events online. It should also enable other professionals to contribute to its research activities.
SWOT Analysis of the Institution’s Ecommerce
It is the most established private institution of higher learning in the province and therefore attracts many students from the province and across the region. Its online advertisements provide information on all activities, services, resources as well as support services available in the institution therefore attracting many potential students and business partners.
Its weakness mainly lies in its inability to offer e-learning programmes. The number of people who would like to upgrade their educational level and knowledge but have limited time to allow them attend classes are many and are spread worldwide.
The growth of ecommerce application in Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University is boosted by the increasing global internet distribution channels (Hill & Westbrook, 1997). The university is able to communicate and do business and partnerships with corporate institutions and individuals across the globe.
Besides, it recently agreed on a joint partnership with American College of Education to provide ACE-PMU Master of Education and encourage joint e-learning programs which meet both American and Saudi accreditation standards (Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Administration, 2011). Developments and application of ecommerce in the institution is also encouraged by the large number of people across the globes who want to acquire online higher learning education and accreditation.
Its potential competitors such as King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals who are already providing ecommerce and e-learning services across the globe have greater organization reputation as compared to the institution. They have more established systems and programs and therefore most online learners prefer them to new institutions like it.
Expand its ecommerce activities in areas such as provision of online purchasing opportunities for its published learning materials. This will allow access to the materials worldwide through subscription.
Extend its geographical reach of its online library services. Currently, its library services can only be accessed within the institution. Extending the geographical coverage will promote readership and research among students studying at home.
Develop e-learning programmes. This will enable the university to serve people who want to upgrade their educational levels and knowledge from the comfort of their homes. It will also enable the university to build more partnerships with other international institutions.
Build Blackboard/WebCT programmes where students can access previous video-recorded class lessons of their particular course programmes online. Students will use their registration numbers or unit passwords to access the instructions.
Empower other professionals to contribute in its research activities. It should build an interactive research web page that allows for correspondence between the research team and other interest groups.
Hill, T. & Westbrook, R. (1997). SWOT Analysis: It’s time for a product recall. Long Range Planning 30 (1): 46–52. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Administration. (2011). Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University provides e-learning initiatives in Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from http://moodlebasics.com/20110222/moodle-e-learning/prince- mohammad-bin-fahd-university-provides-e-learning-initiatives-in-saudi/902/
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University. (2011). LRC & Library. Retrieved from http://www.pmu.edu.sa/v4/default.asp