Research paper on how students’ experience of higher education enhanced or limited by their skills and knowledge in Information and Communications Technology
This research aims at ascertaining how information communication technology impacts university and college students’ skills and knowledge with regard to academics. A sample size of 50 students was selected. The use of ICT in the institutions of higher learning has had varying impacts, with the students being the main users of this technology. The sample of randomly 50 randomly selected students was subjected to interviews and was also requested to fill in the questionnaire. Randomness eliminates subjective bias in an experiment, and, therefore, the sample used in this research was fairly free from subjective bias.
Different researchers have differed on the real effects of ICT on students’ skills, academic performance, and overall behavior while in school. Some authors assert that ICT has had significant impacts on the overall performance of students in the institutions of higher learning while others simply thing ICT has nothing to do student performance and behavior. Questionnaires and interviews were the main tools of data collection in this research. In order to collect large volumes, the researcher used interviews and questionnaires. In the analysis, there are various factors that come up as the students interact with ICT are critically examined. Most students in the sample preferred impersonal relationships with their teachers, family, and peers. In conclusion, the researcher deduced that ICT has had significant effects on the skills, performance, and overall behavior of the students in the institutions of higher learning.
A research paper on how students’ experience of higher education enhanced or limited by their skills and knowledge in Information and Communications Technology
The introduction of modern technology, especially the information communication technology, has impacted the modern society in varied ways. The transformation had been rapid from the early 1990s when only numeric pagers and personal phones were available. In the present day, mobile phones with installed internet have enabled users to access internet as convenient as they would wish to. Advanced information gathering techniques, specialized software, and fast computers characterize the society today. Computers enable users to manipulate data and information at remarkably high speeds besides providing an array of many other applications (Brown, Liedholm, 2002).
Learning institutions have in the recent past, adopted ICT in an effort to curb the many educational challenges including the need for interactive learning by students. The main point of interest is the intersection between ICT and student performance in various aspects at school. Researchers have critically examined this phenomenon with an aim of establishing a correlation between these variables. Some researchers agree that information communication technology has impacted student behavior and performance to a large extent. Students have established bonds between them and the internet in general, with several social networks and online games. These activities have changed the behavioral patterns of these students and consequently, affected their performance in school (Brown, Liedholm, 2002).
However, some researchers believe that there exists no intersection between the use of ICT and performance of students in the institutions of higher learning. Still, some researchers assert that ICT has, in fact, had negative impacts on the performance of students in the institutions of higher learning. Such students are supposedly too preoccupied with other technological applications on the computer and mobile phones to do their homework. While other researchers believe that ICT brings students closer to information and, therefore, enables them perform better some believe that ICT has absolutely nothing to do with academic performance.
However, the learners have received ICT in a different way. Students seldom use ICT for academic research; instead they prefer playing video games, connecting on social networks, among other social interactions. With highly capable mobile phones, students can access the internet at any time in a spur of a moment. The fact that students have not utilized these technological advances to further their academic proficiency indicates that, there exists a chance that this would have some significant effects on their academic performance. Many students in the institutions of higher learning prefer impersonal relationships; most of them would rather communicate electronically (Brown, Liedholm, 2002).
- How often do students use ICT in academic research and exploration?
- How is the students’ attitude towards information communication and technology?
In an effort to answer the research questions, the researcher came up a tentative answer to these questions. The tentative answer (hypothesis) is as follows:
H0=the use of ICT has had significant impacts on the experiences and academic performance of students in the institutions of higher learning.
H1=the introduction and use of ICT has had nothing to do with the experiences and academic performance of students in the institutions of higher learning.
Use of ICT in higher learning facilities like college and universities has varying impact on skills of students. Such skills include grasping concepts, memorizing and remembering relevant answers in exams, concentration, in class, and physical exercise among others. In this section, the researcher will cross reference research conducted previously which supported or refuted the claims of the research question; whether ICT had any impact on student skills or none at all. The researcher will also examine the impact was realized if any. In a survey conducted by Coates et al (2004) on the Test of Understanding College Level Economics (TUCE) exam, face to face examinees performed better than students who took the test online. Students who took face to face exam had an average performance that was 15% higher than those who sat for the exam online. This showed that the use of ICT had an impact on students’ skills, which affected them negatively.
Fuchs and Woessman (2004) assessed the relationship between the use of ICT and students’ performance in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The researchers found out there was certainly a positive bivariate correlation relationship. However, the correlation coefficient significantly reduced with the introduction of other variables. This simply means that ICT was found to have some impact on student skills, but with the introduction of factors other than the use of ICT in learning would affect the relationship towards the negative side. Factors such as use of the internet to chat, PC computers and laptops to watch movies, downloading and uploading information on social networks and many others contributed to drop in positive impacts of ICT on education.
Brown and Liedholm (2002) conducted a research to observe students’ learning skills by focusing on their exam results in a Principles of Economics class. The class consisted of face to face learners and online students. Through a regression table, face to face learners had a performance that was six percent higher. The impact was positive concluding that ICT has negative effects on learning skills of students. Sosin et al (2004) assessed the performance of 3986 students enrolled in an economics class. The 67 courses covered were mostly introduced. With 30 instructors across 15 higher learning institutions, the results in the database created were found to indicate a weak correlation relationship between online learning (use of computers and internet) and positive performance. It also showed that certain forms of ICT had a positive impact while other forms did not.
Leuven et al (2004) came to the conclusion that there is no relationship at all between the use of ICT and student skills in higher learning facilities. The research compiled a report to say that, in fact, there was marginal or no significant relationship between the use of ICT and other achievements by students. Students in colleges and universities mostly used ICT gadgets for leisure, amusement, fun and distraction. Online gaming, social networks and blogs, did not necessarily mean improvement in learning skills. On average, students perform relatively better with the use of ICT according to Kulik (1994). The researcher performed a meta-analysis study which showed students who did not use computer based instructions did not perform as well as those who used computer based guidelines.
Siritongthaworn et al (2006) came to a conclusion that skills of learning and communication for students in higher learning facilities did not vary with the use of ICT. The study conducted in Thailand where school administrations encouraged students and lecturers to use e-learning materials revealed that most students were used to the traditional way of learning. Therefore, learning with the aid of ICT did not have much impact on their studies. The variation in opinion amongst researchers on whether using ICT has an impact or no impact, and the impact (to what extent) was realized, as a result, in varying capacities to which ICT was used. Researchers who concentrated on computer based learning programs most likely realized a positive impact on the skills of the students. When considering other applications of technology, the impact was found to be negative on skills of students (Coates et al, 2004).
The participants in this research were 50 university students. Recruitment of and choice of participants involved a visit to the institution and randomly selecting 50 willing participants using simple random sampling. Randomness was necessary in the sample selection to minimize chances of subjective bias. Simple random sampling involved obtaining a representation of the whole university population. This representation was a list of 1000 students. Using the random, a sample of 50 students was selected from the 1000 student population representation.
The use of questionnaires and interviews enabled the researcher to collect mainly quantitative data. This means that most of the collected data was primary quantitative data. The use of linear regression using excel computer package was the tool the researcher used to analyze and correlate quantitative data. The SPSS statistical package was also used to generate one way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) table that attempted to make comparisons between the use of ICT and performance in science subjects. Questionnaire administration and conducting of interviews was done in such a way to obtain accurate quantitative data. The choice of questionnaires as a method of data collection is because of the nature of the data involved in the study. The data would be analyzed at 95% confidence interval (Coates, Humphreys et al, 2004).
This researcher required several materials in order to effectively complete the data collecting process. The materials include written materials, voice or audio recorders, a laptop, questionnaires, and any device that could access the internet like an iPhone or a simple mobile phone. A combination of these materials would see to it that the researcher not only collects the data but also records it in preparation for analysis.
After the selection of the sample, the researcher distributed the questionnaire to the respondents while simultaneously conducting oral interviews. The respondents were reminded about the importance of honest responses and guided through interviews and filling of questionnaire. The researcher also did follow up to investigate and find out the performance of the respondents in science subjects. This information was then recorded against each respondent’s name. The researcher intended to compare the academic performance with the extent of interaction with ICT to facilitate the assessment of the impacts of ICT on overall academic performance.
The research gathered data displayed in tables in the appendix section. The following is output as generated is by excel computer package. It shows the distribution of the extents to which students use ICT.
The table below is an excel output showing an ICT source/medium and the degree of accessibility.
The scatter plot below and the regression line were generated by excel. The researcher was regressing the average performance in science subjects over the degree of accessibility to ICT gadgets. The Pearson moment correlation coefficient is 0.554640354.
Pearson moment correlation coefficient= 0.554640354
The ANOVA table was generated using the SPSS statistical package with accessibility to ICT as the dependent variable. A sig. value of .253 was obtained as shown in the table.
Analysis and Conclusion
The use of ICT by students in the institutions of higher learning has shown a constant increase. Many of the students in the universities can access all the ICT gadgets including phone, computers, and tablets, among others. From the excel output on the relationship between accessibility to ICT gadgets and average performance in science subjects, a regression line of Y=5192x+21.801 and a product correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.3076 was obtained. The product correlation coefficient (R2) tests the goodness of fit, meaning the model from this experiment is 0.3076 fit. A Pearson moment correlation coefficient of 0.554640354 was also obtained while comparing these two variables. A Pearson moment correlation coefficient of 0.554640354 indicates a fairly strong positive correlation between accessibility to ICT and performance n science subjects. This means that ICT has a positive contribution to the student performance (Coates, Humphreys et al, 2004).
The ANOVA table is an output of SPSS. The sig. according to the SPSS analysis is .253. Considering the fact that the analysis was performed at 95% confidence interval, our critical value would be the level of significance, α=.05. Since the sig. value=.253 < α=.05, the researcher fails to reject the null hypothesis and concludes that the use of ICT has had significant impacts on the experiences and academic performance of students in the institutions of higher learning. This null hypothesis is further supported by a positive Pearson moment correlation coefficient between accessibility to ICT and average performance in science subjects (Coates, Humphreys et al, 2004).
Brown, B. w.; Liedholm, C. E. (2002). “Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics?”. American Economic Review. Vol. 92, no. 2, pp 444-448.
Coates, D.; Humphreys, B. R. [et al.] (2004). “’No Significant Distance’ between Face-to-face and Online Instruction: Evidence from Principles of Economics”. Economics of Education Review. Vol. 23, no. 6, pp 533-546.
Fuchs, T.; Woessmann, L. (2004). “Computers and Student Learning: Bivariate and Multivariate Evidence on the Availability and Use of Computers at Home and at School”, CESifo Working Paper. No. 1321. November. Munich.
Kulik, J. A. (1994). “Meta-analysis Study of Findings on Computer-based Instruction”. In: e. l. Baker; h. f. O’neil. Technology Assessment in Education and Training. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Is your participation in this research voluntary? .YES/NO
Do you know what ICT means? .. YES/NO
Do you use computers? YES/NO
If NO, Why?
If YES, How often do you use computers when doing your school assignments?
How often do you use computers when studying?
How often do you use computers when studying without a lecturer?
How often do you use computers?
How often do you use computers when doing other things besides learning?
How often do you use computers to email your lecturer and/or doing distance learning?
How easily or often do you access all the mediums of ICT (cable TV, internet, mobile, computers, and radio, resource DVD or CD?)
Table 2: Source of ICT, accessibility of source and average performance