- Background of the Study
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become a phenomenon to reckon with in the academic arena as its applications in modern day education have made students not to be confined within the classroom environment, they now explore the vast horizon of knowledge through ICT. ICTs are evolving technologies and are difficult to isolate from academic environment.
Information Communication Technology according to Unagha & Ugocha (2012) includes computer and telecommunication facilities. It is concerned with the technology used in handling, acquiring, processing, storing and dissemination of information. Thus Information Communication Technology is any technology used in producing, organizing and passing information through. Similarly, Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary sees ICT as electronic media used in processing, analyzing, storing and sending out information. Evey et al (2010) observed that ICT is innovative device that can carry out such functions as receiving, storing, computing, analyzing, transmitting and retrieving information presented to them and allowing for one-to-one or group communication among humans.
Similarly, Obashoro (2007) identified ICT infrastructure to include multi-media CD-ROMs, MP3 players, websites, discussion boards, emails, computer-aided assessments, learning management software, blogs, etc. In the same vein, Folorunso, Longe and Ijere (2003) identified ICT infrastructure to include internet, World Wide Web (www), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN), Protocols, Content Management and Meta Data Standard (MDS).
In recent times, there has been intense advocacy both nationally and internationally for the application of ICT in teaching and learning process. Ekpo & Ifreke (2001) observed that the application of ICT in the school subjects is to make learners learn better and teacher to teach well, it is not a hindrance to teacher–student relationship. It rather ensures instructional communication where the teacher manages the students, time and other required resources to make sure that instructional events occur leading to a positive change in performance of students. For example, Olaniyi (2006) observed that internet system, which is a major ICT, gives students access to wide range of information and knowledge about environment, socio-cultural, economic and other aspects of life of the people in various parts of the world – education they cannot afford not to have in the 21st Century.
It is envisaged that educators will see ICT as a major teaching and learning device across all educational institution. With its power of interactivity, multimedia and communication, the computer proves an excellent tool for teaching and learning. The idea is that students will be active “participants” rather than “spectators” in teaching and learning process. With the use of internet in teaching, for example, the role of the teacher changes from that of “gatekeeper” of knowledge to that of “facilitator” and “manager” of the learning environment. The students will become self-directed learners rather than a passive learner (Ryan, Scott & Freeman, 2000). Through the guidance of the teacher, each student/pupil sets priorities and achievable goals and assumes responsibility for reaching the goals. As internet enables the students engage in self-directed learning experiences and activities, that encourages self-expression, co-operative learning and interaction not only with immediate environment or their present curriculum, but with the outside world as well, the students become vast in general knowledge as well as in their academic work (Ekpo & Ifreke, 2001).
The role of the university, both in the academic development of the individual and the society at large, is changing and is, therefore, altering higher education’s core production and delivery process, which brings new challenges to the fore (Ryan, Scott & Freeman, 2000; Loing, 2005). School authorities and lecturers must, therefore, continuously strive to create learning environments and experiences that will enable students to construct their own knowledge rather than embrace the traditional teaching method of knowledge transfer especially through encouraging the development of ICT skills (Van der Schee, 2003). Students need flexible, targeted, and accessible learning methods (Ryan, Scott & Freeman, 2000) and these methods should be thought through very carefully planned programmes that will result in competence of the students to adequately use ICTs for academic purposes.
The use of ICT has increased and broadened the impact and skills of students on how to seek information electronically. Interestingly, acquiring ICT skills have become increasingly important in the pursuance of a degree-level education. This is because how students manipulate these e-learning resources and the way they are used for learning is necessary. ICT skills deal with the application of ICT to specific purposes. It is not just about using software packages or using operating systems, neither is it concerned only with keyboarding skills and student’s ability to copy-type or follow instructions. Rather, ICT skills among undergraduates is about students’ ability to use their knowledge about ICT to find, develop and present information; whether it is text, image or number, or all of these in an integrated task. The means of acquiring these ICT skills must be imbedded in students learning and be part and parcel of their educational experience as to impact on their academic performance and other aspects of their lives. The question then is, in the light of all the factors affecting ICT use, what are the possible impacts of ICT skills and ICT use on the academic performance of undergraduates?
- Statement of the Problem
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills remains a necessity for undergraduate students to be able to participate successfully in today’s global information society. In this technology-intensive society, students are required to be proficient in ICT especially computers. On the contrary, observation by the researcher has shown that many undergraduate students lack the wherewithal, rudiments needed to make effective use of ICT to meet their educational requirements. For example, some undergraduates cannot effectively use the internet without calling for assistance. It has also been revealed that many undergraduates always seek for assistance in one way or the other while using ICT facilities such as the computer.
In developed countries, students are required to demonstrate computer proficiency early in their educational experience by means of passing an assessment test. However, this is hardly obtainable in our part of the world. Consequently, most undergraduates may lack ICT skills. In view of the foregoing, the present study intends to investigate the impact of ICT skills on the academic performance of undergraduates in the Department of Library and Information Science in selected universities in Edo State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The overall objective of this research is to study the impact of ICT skills on the increase in undergraduates’ academic performance. The specific objectives are:
- To determine the availability of ICTs for use by LIS undergraduates in universities in Edo State.
- To examine the level of ICT skills possessed by LIS undergraduates in Ambrose Alli universities in Edo State.
- To determine the effects of ICT skills on LIS undergraduates use of ICT in universities.
- To find out the effects of ICT use by LIS undergraduates on their academic performance.
- To identify the challenges facing the development of ICT skills by LIS undergraduates in universities in Edo State.
- To identify the challenges facing the use of ICTs for academic purposes by LIS undergraduates in universities in Edo State.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the available ICTs used by LIS undergraduates in universities in Edo State?
- What are the ICT skills possessed by LIS undergraduates in universities in Edo State?
- What is the effect of ICT skills on LIS undergraduates’ use of ICT in universities?
- What are the effects of ICT use on LIS undergraduates’ academic performance in universities?
- What are the challenges facing the development of ICT skills by LIS undergraduates in Universities.
- What are the challenges facing the use of ICTs for academic purposes by LIS undergraduates in universities?
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study will focus on the impact of ICT skills on the academic performance of LIS undergraduate students in Nigeria. Undergraduate students of Library and Information Science in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma and University of Benin, Benin City will be used for the study. Undergraduates from other departments will be excluded from this study.
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the findings of this study will be significant in that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skill is a factor which not only affects university students’ social affairs but also influence the their academic performance when properly utilized for that purpose. Therefore, it is hoped that findings from this present work will expose the challenges undergraduates face as regards the acquisition in access to information. It is also hoped that the present study will highlight the hindrances bedeviling students’ access to and use of ICT facilities.
It is believed that this study will establish a practical basis for increased training of university undergraduates on the use of ICTs beyond the performance of basic functions of the computer as it aims to draw attention to the need for the possession of ICT literacy in the 21st century. That is, it will benefit both the government as an information resource on the basis of which policies can be formulated. The benefits for librarians will be immense also, as the putting into practice, the recommendations from this study will make their jobs easier and run smoothly when their patrons have ICT skills with which to access electronic-based documents and other services. The benefits for the student will be in the form of encouragement to develop ICT skills that will be use to them and positively impact on their academics. Finally, it is hoped that this research work will be of benefit to researchers carrying out similar or related study, serving as a source of information.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
- Academic performance: The outcome of education — the extent to which a student or institution has achieved their educational goals.
- ICT Skill: The ability to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for performing functions with ICTs, carry out information retrieval and the accomplishment of simple, ICT-based basic tasks.
- Impact: The marked effect or influence of one thing on another; Measure of the tangible and intangible effects (consequences) of one thing’s or entity’s action or influence upon another.
- Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – This is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them in the collection, processing and dissemination of information
- Skill: The ability to do something well; expertise. An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or job functions.
- Undergraduate: A university student who has not yet obtained a first degree.
- Universities: High-level educational institutions in which student study for degrees, and academic research is done.
- Library: A building or room containing collection of books, periodicals, and sometimes films are recorded music for use or borrowing by the public or the members of an institution.
- Information: Facts provided or learned about something or someone, which is conveyed or represented by a particular arrangement or sequence of things.
- Science: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
- Library and Information Science: The profession devoted to applying theory and technology to the creation, selection, organization, management, preservation, dissemination and utilization of collections of information in all formats.
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