INTERNET USE AND ACADEMIC STAFF PERFORMANCE IN BABCOCK UNIVERSITY AND OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY (2008 – 2015)
1:1 Background to the Study
Development in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made a tremendous impact in the 21st Century and as such, travel around the globe just in a matter of seconds making communication easy and affordable. This is achievable through ICT hardware like computers, scanners, and digital cameras as well as software like standard office and specialist applications. These ICT resources in the teaching and learning environment have been found to be very central to access, spreading, and dissemination of information on education and thus widely used by academic staff and students of tertiary institutions all over the world (Bede & Joy, 2014)
According to Joginder and Satya (2013), the internet is a worldwide system of computer networks, a network of networks in which users at any computer can if they have permission get information from any other computer (and sometimes talk directly to the user at other computers). It is a network of millions of computers linked together through telephone lines and satellites all over the world. The Internet began in 1969 as Advanced Research Project Agency Network (ARPANET) by the US Department of Defense to share military intelligence and research with university resources (Adomi, 2005). Later it was discovered that ARPANet was inadequate in the WANs (Wide Area Networks). This led to another research in 1973 to develop a suite of protocols for use. The outcome of that research effort gave birth to what is known as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).
The internet use and accessibility got to Nigeria in 1991 when the e-mail services of the internet were introduced through dial-up to few users. Access to the internet then was through Cyber Cafés connected to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) (Oluwaseyitanfunmi; Oluwasesin & Ebenezer, 2009). In 1995, the Regional Information Network for Africa (RINAF) commenced internet services at the computer science department of Yaba College of Technology, and through the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), in a collaborative effort with Rose Clayton Nigeria Limited (Adomi, 2005). The World Wide Web (WWW) became available in 1996 and its full access became obvious in 1998.
Before 1991, scholars were making use of library materials. Research at that time was difficult for the academic staff (Alfred, 2008; Young 1990). Researchers were faced with obstacles such as inadequate access to materials, insufficient time to search for materials, etc. since the advent of the internet in Nigeria, it has played a vital role in the teaching and learning environment as well as widen educational opportunities becoming the most powerful vehicle for accessing information (Kaur, 2006). This has therefore become a tool for interactive learning between the teacher and the student as well as conducting various forms of research which had aided performance in the output of these academics (Kamba, 2007).
All along, the slogan “publish or perish” is popular and reality among academics. This idea has encouraged academics to engage in serious research and search for scientific, correct, and up-to-date information through the internet or visit the library that is capable of providing access to various data resources and online journals for their various users (Ogunrewo & Odusina, 2010). On this note, scholars have been exposed to the use of the Internet right from their secondary school to tertiary institutions. Some of the knowledge acquired during the period has been helpful for academic activities. Among available search-engines for the purpose of academic work are Yahoo, Google, Opera mini, Alta vista, Netscape among others.
In this era of Internet usage, nearly all the universities are making use of the internet to facilitate teaching, research and get connected with other activities in other universities and the outside world (Ogunrewo & Odusina, 2010). This research is a comparative study of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University. These two institutions are not left out in acknowledging the importance of ICT, therefore, this research will investigate the extent to which ICT has aided academic development between 2008 to 2015.
1:2 Statement of the Problem
The influence of internet facilities to facilitate academic performance cannot be overemphasized. Despite the numerous benefits of internet facility like easy access of related information for teaching and learning, exchange of study materials between researchers, and easy sending and receiving of mails, not just for academic staff, this facility is also used by other members of the university community. This internet facility also seems to pose certain challenges to users at all levels such as problems of finding relevant information needed, slow access speed, an overload of information, and power outage. The introduction of social media platforms and the availability of sites that promote anti-social behaviors and social vices have also contributed to the problems, aside from this, interruption of signals are of major concern.
Based on this, the study intends to investigate the effect of the internet on the performance of the academic staff of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University.
1:3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of Internet use on the performance of the academic staff of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University. The specific objectives are to:
1. determine the role of the Internet in promoting teaching and learning in Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University;
2. investigate the frequency of faculty in the utilization of ICT in carrying out research in the two universities;
3. assess the role of the university administration in promoting ICT usage in these universities;
4. compare the usage of the Internet by academic staff of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University;
5. identify the factors that impede the usage of the Internet by academic staff of the universities under investigation.
1:4 Research Question
1. What are the roles of ICT in promoting teaching and learning at Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University?
2. How frequently do the faculty members of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University make use of ICT in carrying out their research?
3. How do university administration promote ICT in universities?
4. What is the level at which the Internet is being used by the academic staff of Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University?
5. What are the factors that impede the usage of the Internet by academic staff of the universities under investigation?
1:5 Justification for the Study
Effects of the Internet on the performance of academic staff members were identified and also the factors that hinder the usage of the Internet in an academic environment were also identified.
Academic staff in various disciplines, educational planners and administrators, students/ scholars, and researchers will benefit from it. If there is concrete and reliable information on its use and the problem of providing its services in the education sector, all the stakeholders would know what to do to maximize the benefits of the internet technology. This study also adds to the existing literature on Internet use.
The hypothesis was tested at a 0.05 level of significance.
H1: There is a relationship between internet use and academic performance
1:7 Scope of the Study
In this study, Internet use and academic staff performance in Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University, the focus is on the use of the Internet in academic activities such as research networking, book/journals, teaching/ learning, seminars/conferences. The study will cover the period of 2008 to 2015. Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University are selected for this study because they are the first private and public Universities to get connected to the Internet.
1: 8 Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms have been operationally used for a quick understanding of the study. They are:
Internet: This is a computing device, a computer system that allows people to exchange ideas on the information.
Use The act of using.
Academic staff: The group of people in an academic environment that impart knowledge to the students.
Performance: This is a measure of the results achieved.
TCP/IP: Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol. A combined set of protocols that perform the transfer of data between computers.
WWW: World Wide Web. An internet hypertext system for information distribution and retrieval. It links documents, File Transfer Protocol sites (FTP), gophers, and talent and integrates files into text, graphics, sound, and other formats..