Extent of Faculty Members' Use of Internet in the University of Benin, Nigeria

Article excerpt

This study investigated the extent faculty members in the University of Benin, Benin City. Nigeria, use internet services for instructional purposes. The study set out to find out the most popular areas of internet usage among faculty members and to determine the role of gender in such usage. A questionnaire made up of 18 Likert-type items, were distributed to 300 faculty members and 258 usable copies of the questionnaire were returned and used for the study. Results revealed that 13 of the items were significant as the most recurring internet usages among faculty members. The most popular internet uses were in writing and publication of journal articles. word processing, searching for relevant instructional materials, accessing of reference materials and the use of internet in courses. The data did not find any significant difference between male and female in internet usage.

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There is a universal recognition of the need to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in education in this era of globalization where the free flow of information via satellite and the internet holds sway in the global information dissemination of knowledge. Integrating ICT into teaching and learning is quite daunting, complex and tasking. On the other hand, the National University Commission (NUC), the regulatory body for Nigeria's University System, took a step further sometime ago towards making the ivory towers computer literate. The NUC made it clear that Nigeria's educational system, particularly the universities, must embrace ICT to make them competitive in the international global systems. In a workshop on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) organized for ICT managers from the universities across the country in December 2003, the chairman, House of Representative Committee on Education made it clear that Nigerian universities have no alternative than to embrace ICT in order to assert themselves and maintain global competitiveness. He said:

   Like their counterparts in the western
   world, they should embark on massive
   implementation and commissioning of
   campus-wide local area networks, digitization
   of library materials, computerization
   of Management Information system,
   aggressive e-learning programme and
   enabled internet connectivity, which
   is the only physical evidence of your
   membership of global knowledge society
   (The Guardian: 45).

There is no doubt that ICT can play significant role in the orderly development and management of Universities. It is in realization of this fact that the University of Benin has invested heavily in acquiring ICT in the past five years to support teaching and learning. During this period, the university has initiated several IT projects such as UB Technologies which has extended internet services to the immediate university community. Also, the university has computerized several of its operations such as students enrolment, course registration, payroll and widespread used of information and technology in teaching and learning. In fact, most of the offices of academic staff in the university are linked to the internet and lecturers are embracing the culture of ICT revolution in order to assert themselves and maintain global competitiveness.

The research described in this paper set out to find and examine how ICT use was permeating a whole university and being implemented as a tool used by lecturers for teaching and learning across the curriculum. The reports in this paper focused on a single case of a university, where ICT is used for teaching and learning in all the faculties. Applications of Information and Communication Technologies need to be evaluated so that stakeholders, potential users and decision makers can be fully informed. Research on the application of the internet in teaching and learning is growing and its contribution to the promotion of knowledge in the educational setting can fully be ascertained through adequate research. …