Higher Education and Information Literacy: A Case Study of Tai Solarin University of Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

Universities prepare people for professional careers. This enables individuals to participate with greater understanding in community affairs. The 21st century has brought enormous change in higher education throughout the world as a result of new information and technological developments.

Rader and Allan (2006) observe that these changes affect every segment of society and all levels of education. New learning centres are evolving based on the concepts of resource-based teaching and lifelong learning. Students need high levels of literacy in every phase of their education. Given the complex information and communication technology environment and the increasing global interactions, students must attain excellent communication and information skills to function productively in the work force of the future.

Higher education is undergoing major changes globally. Stallings (1997) states that legislators, funding agencies and consumers of higher education are demanding approximate learning outcomes and graduates prepared to function successfully within the global economy. The effect of technology on libraries has been especially noteworthy during the past decade. Many consider the library less important since they believe that the Internet is the world's library, yet libraries are one of the most important components of the information age, dealing successfully with technological advances. Accordingly, librarians are helping society understand the value and contributions of libraries, particularly in organizing, preserving, and providing access to information.

Statement of the Problem

The use of information for research is an important basis for academic progress. In light of this, this study explores students' use of information and communication technology (ICT) for research and the reason for choosing ICT as a tool.

Objectives of the Study

Determine:

* Students' proficiency in using ICT

* The extent to which ICT solves their research problems.

* Source of Internet connection

* Type of information sought

* Preference for Internet over library resources.

* Problems in using the library.

* Problems in using the Internet.

Research Questions

* What kinds of information do users look for?

* Which Internet sources fulfill their research needs?

* What are the major constraints on their Internet use?

* What are the benefits of using the Internet?

Methodology

The study uses a questionnaire to collect data. A total of 150 questionnaires were distributed to both library users and the users of e-library and e-learning. One hundred questionnaires were returned.

Background

Tai Solarin University of Education, located in Ijagun, Ijebu-ode, Ogun State Nigeria, was established in the late 1970s years ago as a college of education. The institution became a university of education in February 2005. It is the premier university of education in Nigeria with a student population of 18,114 and staff strength of about 1,050. The institution offers degree programmes in science, social science, arts and vocational education. It has an e-learning centre that provides Internet and other services to the academic community.

Furthermore, the university library is centralized and the collection is being upgraded. The collection has just under 17,000 volumes, with a library building that provides study space and work areas.

Literature Review

Information technology, as defined by Oketunji (2002), is the application of computer and communication technology to information handling. The use of these technologies requires training, which brings about information literacy. Information literacy includes library literacy, media literacy, computer literacy, research literacy, and critical thinking skills. …