Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information and Communication Technology Adoption and Use among Students of A Nigerian University for Distance Learning

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information and Communication Technology Adoption and Use among Students of A Nigerian University for Distance Learning

Article excerpt

Introduction

Wikipedia defines distance education as a method of teaching and learning in which the learners are not required to be physically present at a specific location during the term (Wikipedia 2005). Most often, regular mail is used to send written materials, videos, audiotapes and CD-ROMs to the learners and to turn in their exercises. At this point in time, e-mail, the web and video conferencing over broadband network connections are also used. Students are required to come to meetings at specified locations on specific periods for revision and to write exams. A fundamental characteristic of distance education is that it is learner centered. A learner centered educational process is a departure from the conventional teaching and learning method that employs a wide range of tools to effect learning outcomes. These tools are designed for selflearning. They include printed course units, tutor and computer marked assignment and feedback systems, radio and television broadcast, audio and videotapes and electronic mail among others. In a developing country like Nigeria, delivering instruction through the distance mode presents a significant challenge to educators. In a country where the concern of most people is meeting their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, access to information and communication technologies (ICT) especially the modem ones is very low on priority lists and oftentimes, not considered a priority at all. Distance education is not a new concept in Nigeria. In the 1930's some Nigerians passed different examinations and earned various qualifications from universities all over the world especially British Universities, and other examination bodies through distance education while staying at home. Omolewa, (1981) revealed that correspondence education was the earliest manifestation of distance education in Nigeria and it afforded those who could not travel abroad the opportunity to access various forms of higher education until the establishment of the University College, Ibadan in 1948.

The impacts of information and communication technology (ICT) on all spheres of human endeavors have been tremendous. Most remarkable is education sector which has been transformed by the use of ICT. Where ICT are used for learning, evidences suggests that they are chiefly used to present and disseminate information as tools for presentation rather than the often cited promotion of 21st century skills. Librero (2006) observed that conventional universities and other educational institutions are now using ICT to achieve blended learning environments which blend traditional face-to-face classroom delivery with distance delivery.

ICT use in education especially distance learning is also re-shaping Universities entire organizational structures. Westbrook (2001) observed that the introduction of ICT in education has resulted in changes in four core areas of education such as curriculum, role of teachers and students, organizational structure and, learning environment. Given that a growing number of transactions now take place on-line at a distance, appropriately automated systems for recording these transactions, tracking them, keeping and retrieving students records and so forth must be supported by holistic policies and procedures that take into account all academic related activities. Obviously, ICT has made the culture of learning to shift from the culture of students passively listening in a classroom where attendance matters, to the culture of pro-active reading, encoding and decoding anytime, anywhere. There are wide variations of ICT used in various distance learning institutions around the world. Further specific applications and combinations of these applications are very much shaped by the context of their target user populations.

Quality of distance learning has always been contentious. Those against distance education somehow equate quality of distance education with that of the physical face-to-face traditional education in the classrooms. …

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