AN EXAMINATION OF THE USAGE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF OF AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA, NIGERIA

AN EXAMINATION OF THE USAGE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF OF AHMADU BELLO UNIVERSITY, ZARIA, NIGERIA

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Abstract

The study examined usage of basic computer applicationsand awareness, access and utilizationof academic e-resources, as well as the challenges encountered in the process, by the academic staff of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. The study was anchored on the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT). A survey method of communication research was employed with questionnaire as the instrument of data collection. A sample of 330 lecturers was drawn from the twelve faculties of the University using stratified probability sampling technique. The results showed that majority of the respondents across all the faculties use basically five computer applications; Microsoft word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Reader and SPSS. Also, there is high awareness with variation in access and utilization of various academic e-resources according to disciplines. However, academic e-resources that offer multidisciplinary resources and as well open access like Google Scholar, Research Gate, African journal online,Science Direct andDirectory of Open Access Journalsare mostly accessed and used by lecturers from the Faculties of Human Medicine, Veterinary medicine, Science, Agriculture and Pharmaceutical Sciences than their counterparts in the Faculties of Law, Education, Social Sciences, Arts, Environmental Design, Engineering and Administration. Lecturers who have low access and utilization levels of various computer applications and academic e-resources are largely challenged by low ICT skills, excess workload, technophobia and lack of reliable institutional internet facility and subscription to academic e-resources in the faculties. The study recommends improved ICT training for academic staff, complete Wi-Fi and LAN networking of the faculties and committed subscription to academic e-resources by the University. This should be backed up by a policy that emphasizes the use of e-platforms for research delivery, teaching and seminars by the academic staff.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

1.1. Background to the Study

The term Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) refers to the technologies that

are used to transmit, process, store, retrieve, create, display, share or exchange information by

electronic means. This broad definition of ICTs includes such technologies as radio, television,

video, DVD, telephone (both fixed line and mobile phones), satellite systems, and computer and

network hardware and software, as well as the equipment and services associated with these

technologies, such as video-conferencing, e-mail and blogs (UNESCO, 2007).

Howell and Lundall (2000) view ICTs as encompassing all forms of technologies used to create,

store, process and use information in its various forms (data, voice, image, multi-media

presentations and other forms, including those not yet conceived) and which enable, facilitate

and support communication. Most especially ICTs include telephone, mobile phone, private

automatic box exchange (PABX), photocopier, scanners, fax machines, close circuit television

sets, cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), conventional digital camera, microwave link

systems and very small aperture terminal (V-Sat), computer, magnetic tape, CD-ROMs, DVDs

and the Internet.

According to Iahad, Madar, Oye& Rahim (2012),ICT is an umbrella term that includes any

communication device or application encompassing radio, cellular phones, hardware and

software, smartboard, computer and network, satellite, etc. These can be used to enhance and

support face to face or mediated communication. Information and Communication Technologies

(ICTs) are often described as technologies which comprise computers and telecommunication

devices that are used for information gathering/acquisition, processing, storage, retrieval and

dissemination by users.

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The revolution in ICTs is sweeping across the world and even in developing countries

like Nigeria. Information and communication technologies have led to the introduction of new

methods of teaching and enhancing the conduct of research and learning (Sansanwal, 2009).

University administrations in Nigeriaconsider information and communication technologies as

necessary facilities in the process of learning and teaching (Nwachukwu&Ason, 2015).ICTs

have become a driving force in the academia as they provide a platform where academics can

generate, store, retrieve, preserve and transmit information.ICTs encompasses all the

technologies that facilitates the processing, transfer and exchange of information and

communication services. In principle, ICTs have always been available since the advent of the

printing press,the only difference is that from the late twentieth century there has been rapid

advancement in communication technology and this has changed the traditional ways by which

information was processed; communications conducted, and services made available (Adu,

2002).

Kaplan (2001) is of the view that technological advancements have changed business operations

especially in the media business and also the way people communicate. One would even imagine

replacing the term "Post-industrial Society" with “Information Society", that is a society where

the ability to access, search, use, create and exchange information is the key to individual and

collective well-being.

In the academia, the information and communication technologies are seen as advances in

technologies that provide rich global resources and collaborative environment for the

dissemination of ICT literacy materials and interactive discussions, sharing research information

and international exchange of ideas which are critical for advancing meaningful educational

initiatives, training high skilled educators and understanding issues relating to academic

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development. ICTs have the potential for increasing access to and improving the relevance and

quality of education. They represent potentially equalizing strategies for developing countries.

ICTs greatly facilitate the acquisition and ab


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