Internet Use Behavior and Attitude of College Students: A Survey of Leadership Colleges' Network

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Internet is an inseparable part of today's educational system. The academic increasingly depends on the Internet for educational purposes. A majority of academic and research institutions provide Internet service to students, teachers, and researchers (Kaur, 2008). In recent years, use of the Internet has also increased in Pakistan. Policymakers in Pakistan have given top priority to the information and communication industry and have taken a number of favorable steps such as establishing IT policy and investment in IT infrastructure, fiber optic access, software technology, human resource development, and launching of e-government projects. Internet access is available in 1,700 cities and towns in Pakistan (Bashir, 2006).

In developed countries, a lot has been written on information seeking behavior. Such research is required for users in Pakistan. This study is an attempt to investigate the Internet use behavior and attitude of intermediate and bachelor's level students of the Leadership Colleges network in Punjab.

Objectives of this study:

1. The frequency of Internet use by college students

2. Computer and Internet availability at home

3. Most-used Internet resources and services

4. Reasons for using the Internet

5. Availability of help in using the Internet

6. Attitude of students towards the Internet

Literature Review

Developed countries have made huge investments in this industry with a profit-earning motive (Madan, 1987). Gulzar (2001) observes that the Internet is growing well in Pakistan but there is a need to provide this important service to working people. He says that there are 300 million Internet subscribers in Pakistan with 100 percent growth every year. Users with access to the Internet were linked with universities, research institutes, or government bodies, as students, researchers, or officials. After a revolutionary change in the world of telecommunication, the Government of Pakistan has defined the following objectives for this sector:

1. The improvement in the infrastructure of the telecom for the betterment of economic, social, and cultural development in Pakistan.

2. The encouragement of new private sector initiatives committed to improve the telecom sector

3. The protection of consumer interests

4. Facilitation of investment and competition

Sturges (2002) believes that it is impossible to count the networks which are linked to the Internet. Internet tools for communication and the exchange of information include email, usenet, bulletin boards, forums, and mobile technology (Branscomb, 1998). In a survey of the most popular search engines among librarians, students, and consumers Brazin (2004) enlisted Achoo Healthcare Online, Dogpile, Google, Health on the Net (HON) Foundation, etc.

College students are a unique population of Internet users. Students were the first group in USA who used the Internet for communication, recreation, and file sharing. College students and their teachers find the Internet convenient and useful for educational activities (Jones, 2002). Kubey, Lavin, and Barrows (2001) found that 68 percent of parents and 69 percent of teachers said that they have seen higher grades because of Internet use. Purposes for Internet use have appeared in many studies, and include educational, business, browsing, appointments, and entertainment. Fallows (2004) and Kaur (2006) found that the portion of Internet use for entertainment was 69 percent. Laurence and Miller (2000) indicate that scholars use the Internet for quick communication. Winship and McNab (1999) found a growing range of services offering to post, fax, or email full text journal articles, course outlines, and sources by colleges and universities.

Behavioral studies of the Internet indicate that it makes life easy, creates links between different communities and cultures, is a good way to connect people and find educational resources (Aydin, 2007; D'Esposito & Gardner, 1999). …