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This study investigated the availability and use of information and communication technology among undergraduate students of the University of Uyo, Akwa lbom State, Nigeria. Five research questions guided the study and a structured questionnaire was
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   Volume 5 No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2223-4985   International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research  ©2015 ICT Journal. All rights reserved http://www.esjournals.org   Availability and Utilization of Information and Communication Technology by Students of University of Uyo, Uyo. Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Ekerete, B. I 1 . ,Ekanem, J. T 2 . 1 Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. 2 Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, Akwa Ibom State University, Nigeria. ABSTRACT This study investigated the availability and use of information and communication technology among undergraduate students of the University of Uyo, Akwa lbom State, Nigeria. Five research questions guided the study and a structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 198 students out of 936 registered undergraduate students using stratified and proportionate sampling techniques. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentage and T-test Analysis. The study revealed that students in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo are mostly females and single. The majority of the students were 25 years and below. Most of the students owned ICT gadgets (81.2%) and were sponsored by their parents (75.8%). Among the ICT facilities considered, mobile phones were available and accessible to all students and was most utilized (mean score = 2.77). The result also revealed that male and female students in the Faculty of Agriculture do not differ in their levels of utilization of ICT facilities. It concludes that the need for the development of ICT used in Nigerian universities for the improvement of teaching and learning for the students cannot be overemphasized. It was recommended among others that students should see the use of ICT as potentially going well beyond the use of the internet to search for resources and the use of email to stay in touch with tutors and fellow students but for greater endeavour like e-conferencing, banking etc. Keywords:    Availability, Utilization, Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), Students . I.   INTRODUCTION   Globally, some nations of the world are considered information- rich societies. Acquisition of knowledge has become the great priority of individual persons; however, the transfer of their knowledge is efficiently obtainable within the scheme of education which could be formal or informal. Access to fast growing knowledge is directly related to new technologies thus quality information and knowledge transfer becomes an invaluable and veritable tool for personal development. According to [1] Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a communication tool used in educational knowledge transfer process especially in tertiary institutions. ICT has the potential to support and improve education across the curriculum and also enhance opportunities for effective communication between teachers and students more than ever before. Reliable information and effective communication are crucial elements in the learning process. Thus, the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is not only emphasised in corporate business and the industrial sector, but it is an essential part of education at all levels [2]. ICT is generally believed to foster cooperative learning, provide more information through simulation and make complex learning experiences easier to understand. Therefore, the use of ICT cannot be ignored either by teachers or the students and its usage in tertiary institutions entails engaging students in ways not previously possible, creating new learning and teaching possibilities, enhancing achievements and extending interactions with local and global communities. The need for the changes in the learning process paved way for Information and Communication Technology use in the teaching and learning process where students are expected to play more active roles than before [3]. This fact is further stressed by [4] who points out that, in relation to the use of ICT for learning, technology holds a promise of improved access to information and increased interactivity and communication between teachers and their students. In the faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, students engage in several learning activities that employ the use of ICT gadgets such as research, assignments, mailing, information processing and storage among others. It is on this thrust that this paper is billed to investigate the constraints to ICT usage by students of this institution in Nigeria. II.   UTILIZATION OF ICT IN EDUCATION [5] says “Beyond the immediate educational goal is the question of how to provide the ‘best education’ to form the next generation of competent leaders from community to the national and global levels, economic planners, scientists, artists, humanists and more generally informed citizens, especially in this fast-paced, technology-prone and globalize world (p.2)” . Thus, to compete favourably   Volume 5 No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2223-4985   International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research  ©2015 ICT Journal. All rights reserved http://www.esjournals.org   in a competitive global economic environment, a highly skilled and educated workforce with aptitude and skills in the application of ICT is very essential. This makes knowledge and use of ICT central to education in the 21st century. According to [6], a rapidly changing world like ours requires basic education as an essential tool for an individual to be able to access and apply information. The Economic Commission for Africa has indicated that the ability to access and use information is no longer a luxury, but a necessity for development. Unfortunately, many developing countries, especially in Africa, are still low in ICT application and use [7]. Studies have further established the roles of ICT in achieving quality education at all levels of the school system. ICT is seen as key tool in acquiring, processing and disseminating knowledge. It offers increasing possibilities for codification of knowledge about teaching activities through being able to deliver learning cognitive activities anywhere, anytime [8]. [9] noted that ICT has impacted on the quality and quantity of teaching, learning and research in traditional and distance education institutions through provision of dynamic, interactive and engaging content and providing real opportunities for individualized instruction. It has the potential to accelerate, enrich and deepen skills, motivate and engage students in learning; help to relate school experiences to work practices, contribute to radical changes in the schools and provide opportunities for connection between the school and the real world [10]. Other researchers; [11] and [12] have also argued that ICT have the potential to transform learning environments and improve the quality of learning, by making learning more situated [13], providing access to richer environment [14], increasing opportunities for active learning, interconnectivity and feedback [15], [16], enhancing motivation to learn [17], offering varieties of new possibilities to learners [18] and having a positive effect on students’ achievement in differe nt subject areas [19]. However, the use of information and communication technologies in the educative process has been divided into two broad categories: ICTs for Education and ICTs in Education. ICTs for education refers to the development of information and communications technology specifically for teaching/learning purposes, while the ICTs in Education involves the adoption of general components of information and communication technologies in the teaching learning process [20]. Generally, the educational relevance of computers and other components of information technology cannot be overemphasized. From the period when skinner applied programmed instructions to teaching machines, through Brunner’s experiment with computers in instruction, to the current wave of information transmission and exchange via the worldwide web, we have seen different applications of ICTs in enhancing cognitive development [20]. Utilization of ICT in Tertiary Education in Nigeria [21] stated that the National Universities Commission (NUC) the government agency responsible for registering and regulating universities in Nigeria has recommended one computer to every four students, one to every two lecturers below the grade of Lecturer 1, one per Senior Lecturer, and one notebook per Professor/Reader. However, some universities have made giant strides in campus-wide area networking and e-learning course deliveries. One of such university is the Obafémi Awolowo University (OAU) with its own VSAT access to the Internet and a campus-wide internet. OAU has embarked on the progressive application of ICT to all its functions and services  –   academic, research and administrative. The OAU has more than 6,000 users on more than 1,000 computers distributed in 15 computer laboratories across the campus. Closely followed by the University of Jos (UNIJOS). UNIJOS, in collaboration with AVOIR (African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources) and the Carnegie Corporation (USA), has developed e -learning programmes for several departments. One notable achievement is the medicine by e-learning Web site of the Department of Anatomy of UNIJOS that permits students to undertake virtual electronic dissections  –   a phenomenon believed to be the first of its kind in medical training worldwide. Under a collaborative programme, lecturers from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have facilitated courses as part of the ICT initiative sponsored by A.G. Leventis [21]. The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), established in 2002, has created 27 study centres across the country. Each NOUN’s study centre is a computer laboratory/cyber café equipped with a minimum of 25 computers in a local area network (LAN) configuration. The centres are yet to be connected to NOUN’s Repository, Reproduction, Distribution and Administration Headquarters (REPRODAHQ) through a wide area network (WAN) to enable the mainstreaming of the following activities: training and learning; Assessment and testing; Interactive sessions; Communications (e-mail, chat, forums); Internet access; Access to virtual library; and Other computer applications [21]. NOUN uses the WAN to deliver distance learning courses to all the study centres. Each study centre has facilitators (instructional and tutorial) and student counsellors responsible for guidance and counselling services to the learners. The facilitators and counsellors are drawn from within the community or nearby communities. NOUN’s ICT applications presently cover:   Volume 5 No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2223-4985   International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research  ©2015 ICT Journal. All rights reserved http://www.esjournals.org   Management of student records (on-line application, admission, registration, and exam procedures); Learner management system (e-learning and the virtual library); Communication (e-mail, SMS, video-conferencing, and Internet); and delivery of the human resource and finance courses. [21]. It is against this background that the study seeks to determine availability and Usage of information and communication technology by Students of Tertiary Institutions in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Specifically to, identify the socio-economic characteristics of students in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo, examine the ICT facilities available and accessible to students and determine the extent to which the available ICT facilities are being utilized by the students. The hypothesis tested in this study tested whether there was no significant difference between male and female students in their level of ICTs utilization in the faculty of agriculture, university of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. III.   METHODOLOGY The study area is the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) community (figure 1) UNIUYO is a Federal Tertiary Institution located in the heart of Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. The institution operates from two temporary campuses and a Permanent Campus: the Town Campus which accommodates the, Faculties of Arts, Education, Social Sciences, Natural and Applied Sciences, Pharmacy and the Post Graduate school; Annex Campus, home for the Faculties of Agriculture, Business Administration, Law, Environmental Studies and General Studies; and the Permanent Campus with the Central Administration, Faculties of Engineering and Natural & Applied Sciences. Figure 1: Map of the Town Campuses of the Study Area The population of the study consisted of all the registered undergraduate degree students of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo in 2013/2014 academic session. There were Nine Hundred and Thirty Six students in the eight departments of the Faculty of Agriculture,Universityof Uyo. Sampling Procedure and Sample Size A stratified sampling technique was used to take care of the different student populations making up the eight departments of the Faculty of Agriculture afterwhich a proportionate sampling was used to select 10% of the students as actual respondents for the study. Thus, the study sample comprised of 198 registered undergraduate degree students in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo. This value accounts for 20 % of the study population. The distribution of sampled students from the Eight Departments in the Faculty of Agriculture is presented in the sampling frame in Table 1.   7 0 36 I E 7 0 58 I E 5 0 02 I 20 II  5 0 27 I 38 II N 5 0 02 I 20 II  5 0 27 I 38 II  7 0 36 I E 7 0 58 I E   Volume 5 No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2223-4985   International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research  ©2015 ICT Journal. All rights reserved http://www.esjournals.org   Table1: Sampling frame for distribution of students in the faculty of Agriculture S/N Department Population of Students Sample of Respondents (20%) 1 Agricultural Economics and Extension 178 38 2 Animal Science 152 32 3 Crop Science 77 16 4 Food Science and Technology 247 52 5 Forestry and Wildlife 62 13 6 Fisheries and Aquaculture 85 18 7 Human Ecology, Nutrition and Dietetics 46 10 8 Soil Science and Land Resource Management 89 19 Total 936 198 Data collected from the field were analysed using both inferential and descriptive statistical tools such as frequency, percentages, means and standard deviation. The hypothesis was analysed using t-test statistics.   IV.   RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 1. Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Respondents: The socio-economic characteristics of the respondents considered were sex, marital status, age, department, ownership of ICT gadget and sponsorship. These were analysed and presented in Table 2. Sex of Respondents The results presented in Table 2 reveals that 57.1% of the respondents were female while male were 42.9%. This implies that there are more females in the Faculty of Agriculture than their male counterparts. Naturally women are more attracted to the program than their male counterparts. This result corroborates that of [22] who also reported more female involvement in Agricultural related courses in their study area. Marital status of Respondents Result in Table 2 shows that majority (92.9%) of the students were single and only 7.1% were married. From this result, it is imperative that most students prefer to get married after school so as to be able to give sufficient time for marital demands which may be difficult during school days. This is because education is highly demanding. This is in consonance with the findings of [23] who proposed that participation in educational activities is highly affected by socioeconomic class and affiliations such as marital status. Age of Respondents Table 2 again reveals that majority (60.6%) of the respondents was within the age bracket of 20 to 25 years and the mean age of the students was 25.5 years. This agrees with the findings of [22] who reported the age bracket of 18-28 (52%) years in their findings from the Niger Delta University.The implication of this is that the students in the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Uyo are young and within the age limits possible for the National Youth Service Corps. This is a very active age of adverture, and as such their usage of ICT facilities is expected to be on the increase due to the increasing important roles ICTs play in development strive. Ownership of ICT gadget by Respondents The results in Table 2 also indicate that majority of the respondents were owners (81.8%) of ICT gadgets while only 18.2% claim non-ownership of ICT gadget. However, the assertion of those who do not own ICT gadgets is the misconception of terminology since all of the students owned at least a mobile phone (whether in good or bad condition). This implies that the students in the Faculty of Agriculture own ICT facilities and gadgets. Sponsorship of Respondents The result of findings on sponsorship reveals that majority of the students are sponsored by their parents (75.8%). Only 1.52% of them were on scholarship. This is because for instance the NNPC/ CHEVRON national university scholarship awards is highly competitive across the nation and currently it is restricted to year two students, so the students of agriculture hardly takes advantage of it.   Volume 5 No. 10, October 2015 ISSN 2223-4985   International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research  ©2015 ICT Journal. All rights reserved http://www.esjournals.org   Table 2: Socioeconomic characteristics of Students Demographic Variable   Item   Frequency   Percentage     Mean  Sex Male 85 42.9 Female 113 57.1 198   100  Marital Status Single 184 92.9 Married 14 7.1 198   100  Age (years) 15  –   20 Years 33 16.7 21  –   25 Years 120 60.6 26  –   30 Years 36 18.2 25.5 31 - 35 Years 9 4.5 198   100  Department Agric. Economics/Extension 40 20.2 Animal Science 32 16 Crop Science 15 7.6 Food Science and Technology 52 26.3 Forestry and Wildlife 12 6.1 Fisheries and Aquaculture 18 9.1 Human Ecology and Dietetics 10 5.1 Soil Science 19 9.6 198   100  Ownership of ICT gadget Yes 162 81.8 No 36 18.2 198   100  Sponsor Self 38 19.2 Parents 150 75.8 Scholarship 3 1.5 Relative 4 2 Spouse 3 1.5 198   100   (Source: Field Survey, 2014) 2. Availability of ICT Facilities to Students of the Faculty of Agriculture The results in Table 3 show the order of availability of ICTs facilities to the respondents. Mobile Phone (100%), internet facilities (79.3%), computer/accessories (73.2%), E-resource centres (59.1%), lpad/Tablets (50.5%), and digital camera (42.9%). Mobiles phones were available to all respondents because it has become a veritable tool in communication. This is in line with the findings of [24], [25] and [26] that the mobile phone technology has provided connectivity and offer benefits such as mobility and security to owners. The students find this ICT facility as the most easily reached which can be utilized for several operations in the educational setting beside its primary purpose of aiding communication. This findings contradict that of [22] which data showed that ICTs facilities are not readily available to undergraduate students of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State. The summary of respondents’ responses on the availability of ICT facilities are presented in Table 3 below.
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