The Influence Of The Internet On Information Acquisition Among Students

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THE INFLUENCE OF THE INTERNET ON INFORMATION ACQUISITION AMONG STUDENTS

 

ABSTRACT

 

 

The use of the Internet in education is gradually gaining prominence in our higher educational institutions. As students are active users of the Internet, it is believed that they utilize the Internet for their academic pursuit. This study explores and investigates the Influence of the Internet on Information Acquisition among Students of Bayero University, Kano during the 2012-2013 Academic Session. However, as the Internet is seen to be a somewhat troublesome media, Social Cognitive Theory underpinned this study giving prominence in understanding how students can self-regulate the use of new media especially the Internet and perform a particular cause of action at a time. Furthermore, the study investigated the extent to which the Internet influences the students of Bayero University, Kano and what use the information from the Internet is put to. The qualitative and quantitative research methods were used in gathering data and conclusions for this study based on frequencies and their equivalent percentages. The sample size for this study was 376, out of which 47 respondents were drawn non-proportionally from 8 sampled departments. Data collected shows that most students have frequent access to the Internet but via Cyber cafes in the institution. Different purposes informed their respective use of the Internet with the greatest number using the Internet for academic purposes. On this basis, the study recommends that universities should provide adequate Internet facilities and an enabling study environment for students at Universities.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Title page – i
Declaration – – ii
Certification – – – iii
Dedication –   – iv
Acknowledgement – – v
Abstract – – vi
Table of content – – vii
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION          
1.0 Background to the Study – -1
1.1 Statement of the Research Problem – – -10
1.2 Aim of the Study – -12
1.3 Objectives of the Study – -12
1.4 Research Questions – -12
1.5 Significance of the Study – -12
1.6 Scope of the Study – -14
1.7 Operational Definition of Terminologies- -14
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW          
2.0 Introduction – -16
2.1 The Internet -16
2.2 Benefits of the Internet – -22
2.3 Influence of the Internet on students -24
2.4 Technological Advancement and the Influence on Communication-29
2.5 The Role of Internet in Education -33
2.6 The Relationship between the Internet and other means of Information Acquisition
  among Students -38
2.7 Theoretical Framework – -42
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY          
3.0 Introduction – -46
3.1 Types of Research – -46
3.2 Qualitative and Quantitative Methodological Approaches –   -47
3.3 Population – -49
3.4 Sample Size -51

 

3.5 Instruments of Data Collection – -52
3.6 Guides for Presentation and Analysis – -54
3.7 Validity and Reliability – -54
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, INTERPRETATION AND ANALYSIS
4.0 Introduction -56
4.1 Response Rate – -56
4.2 Presentation and interpretation of Data – -56
4.3 Implications of Findings -77
CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION            
5.0 Summary -83
5.1 Conclusion -86
5.2 Recommendation -87
5.3 References -89
  Appendixes -96

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

1.0    Background to the Study

 

There is growing concern about the potential effect of Internet use on students. Studies on Internet use and reading variables among students are not commonplace. The rapid growth of the Internet over the years has emerged as the foremost source of disseminating information quickly to a large audience, transcending the limitation of time and space. Basically, one could logically argue that the Internet offers two main benefits: Communication and Information. Information disseminated via the Internet has implications for how it is used in education. Since students are among the popular users of information from the Internet, the development of the Internet would be meaningless if it is not used appropriately in tertiary institutions. However, in spite of the benefits of the Internet for education and learning, there is a growing concern as to whether the increasing number of hours spent by students who surf the Internet, limits the amount of time and effort devoted to the actual reading and studying of the materials obtained from or outside the Internet.

 

Communication is today more sophisticated and efficient with the advancement of technological support in the world. Pierce (1972) opines that communication is not the only essence of being human but also a vital property of life: Meanwhile, Fleming (2014) defines Communication as the act of conveying information for the purpose of creating a shared understanding. The word ―communication‖ comes from the Latin word ―communis,‖ meaning ―to share,‖ and it includes verbal, non-verbal and electronic means of human interaction. Humans convey information through a variety of methods: speaking, telephones, email, blogs, Television, art, hand gestures, facial expressions, body language and even social contexts. Communication can occur instantaneously in closed, intimate settings or over great periods of time in large public forums, like the Internet. However, all forms of communication require the same basic elements: a speaker or sender of information, a message, and an audience or recipient. The sender and recipient must also share a common language or means of understanding each other for communication to be successful. This has further helped the human society in solving its numerous problems, especially that of mutual co-existence.

 

Technological advances in communication shape the society and make its members more interdependent. Therefore, when a society identifies its problems and an attempt is made to look for solutions, development is gradually being achieved. The online domain for research and academic purpose has transformed the way students study today. The availability of such opportunities like online journals, blogs, data bases and web sites or portal for use by modern day students has greatly impacted on their research and study capabilities and kept them in pace with modern trends. It is assumed that the number of people, especially students connected to the Internet is increasing at an astonishing rate. Despite the undoubted benefits offered by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), there are notable barriers and effects of their use on the knowledge acquisition culture in developing countries. This current trend in information acquisition is a subjugation of cultures of developing nations by the ‗popular culture‘ (i.e. the Western communication philosophy that every information from them is superior, thus the rest of the world must absorb them hook sinker and line). There is no doubt therefore, that Information Communication Technologies are largely responsible for the transmission of new ideas, practices, philosophies and beliefs.

 

Global Internet usage is reshaping the way we access information and services online. Currently, more than 2.92 billion people worldwide access the Internet. The majority of global Internet users are located in North America, with Europe following in second place. Hurtele (2002) asserts that the Internet which is a borderless network of networks is growing at phenomenal rates of fifteen percent every month and it is changing the way people do business, learn, promote ideas, communicate, shop, manage, exercise hobbies…etc. Currently, more than 11 percent of worldwide Internet users access the web from North America. As at February 2014, China had 354.6 million Internet users, the United States was ranked second, as 194.7 million Americans aged 15 years and above accessed the Internet, India had 80.1 million Internet users, Japan 73 million Internet users, Brazil 68.1 million Internet users, Russian Federation 66.8 million Internet users, Germany 52.6 million Internet users, France 42.4 million Internet users, United Kingdom 39.4 million Internet users, Italy 30.5 million Internet users, Africa having the highest number of 2.5 billion Internet users and Nigerian having 32.5million Internet users (www.Internetworldstats.com/stats.htm).

 

Internet penetration in Africa has seen a 5% growth in the past years and increases from 13% to 18% according to Internet world statistics. This is in comparison to a global Internet penetration of 35% making up 2.5 billion people. It should be noted that Internet data from Africa is limited and hence the growth in Internet penetration in Africa may be greater. Nigeria leads the way with the highest number of Internet users, despite South Africa having higher Internet, and mobile penetration. Despite advances in technological reach and growing digital awareness, statistics shows that Africa still has a long way to go in excelling in International New Media and Communication markets. Out of a total population of 1,125,664,947 people living on the African continent, only 18% are Internet users, 7% are active on social Networks and 67% have active mobile subscriptions. While global Internet usage has grown 35% in the last year, Africa has only seen 5% growth, from 13% to 18%. Regions with the highest growth are North America with 81% and Western Europe with 78%. Though mobile usage in Africa has developed substantially, it is still on the lower end of the global scale at 67% in comparison with Central and Eastern Europe (www.africa‘sdigitalpenetration2014 and www.sreenafrica.com). The mere exposure to a technology does not guarantee its effective usage; as such, the existence of the Internet does

 

 

not assure its use in acquisition of knowledge. Many students and researchers still rely on the traditional means of getting information and gathering materials. Therefore, it seems there is a reluctance to embrace the drastic technological changes with regards to acquisition of knowledge via the Internet (Ibenne & Obi, 2001).

 

To consider today‘s role and use of the Internet and the print library raises the question of its place in the modern Nigerian setting and particularly in tertiary institutions. Forecasts of the demise of the printed books and the associated changes in the academic library have fostered valid questions about the continuing place of reading in tertiary institutions which according to Deekle (1995), highlights the increasing interest paid to information technology by higher education and the competition from radio, television, motion pictures, video and a changing campus culture. He recognizes a nearly universal expectation among information searchers and users of immediate gratification of a need for answers rather than in-depth understanding of issues that may surround the answers.

 

Reading is an attempt to absorb the thought of an author and know what the author is conveying (Leedy, 1956 as cited in Unoh, 1968): Meanwhile, according to Allington (2014), reading is the process of extracting meaning from written or printed text. Many activities of ordinary life require the ability to read and acquire knowledge. It is mostly through reading intellectual books that people obtain knowledge. The library is an institution for collection of books and other informational materials made available to people for reading, studying or referencing. The print library is provided to enrich students‘ understanding of how language is used thereby improving their spoken and written ability. It also enriches readers‘ intellectual abilities and provides insight into human problems. This of course depends on reading the right type of books.

 

Today, the role and the use of the Internet among Nigerians, especially students in tertiary institutions continue to generate divergent opinion among scholars and analysts either in the negative or positive form. Liman, (2014) and Idongesit, (2014) are good examples of the academic studies in this regard. Modern societies stretch further and further across space and time using mass media and interactive media. The world is seen as a ―global village‖. Globalization can be defined as the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa (Giddens; 1990). Globalization has encompassed many norms that govern our lives, including thousands of technical standards and universal human rights.

 

The Internet has been integrated into New Media in some fields of study such as mass communication. As a result of the evolution of New Media technology like the Internet, globalization occurs. Globalization is generally stated as ‗more than expansion of activities beyond the boundaries of a particular nation state‘. Globalization shortens the distance between people all over the world by the electronic communication (e-mail) (Thompson, 1995). On the other hand, cultural globalization which refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values across national borders seems to be a necessary distraction to students. This process is marked by the common consumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture, and international travel. Cultural globalization involves the formation of shared norms and knowledge with which people associate their individual and collective cultural identities and increase interconnectedness among different populations and cultures. With respect to the emergence of any new medium, one can at least recognize the Internet as a medium in its own rights on the basis of its extensive diffusion reach. It began primarily as a non-commercial means of inter-communication and data exchange between professionals. Though the term ‗Internet and World Wide Web‘ are usually used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing (Alexis, 2003). The Internet is described as the ―Mother of Networks‖ according to Baran (1999). The World Wide Web is a network of computerized information. It is the multimedia part of the Internet. Multimedia documents are documents that contain a combination of texts, photos, audio and videos. Baran (1999) says that the World Wide Web (www) is the fastest growing part of the Internet. With the advent of the ‗www‘ the Internet has made available a world of information, much of which is freely accessible and available 24 hours daily. The Information may be of varying quality, but the diversity of available information is extraordinary, spanning across different subjects and areas of today‘s modern world.

Students are among the top users who surf the Internet for information and research materials. Today, it is almost required that students should use the Internet for research, for the purpose of gathering materials. The Internet has become one of the biggest sources of research, as it is one of the most common things that the Internet is used for. With the introduction of search engines in 1990, almost any subject can be searched with varying results made available (Alexis, 2003). Its more recent rapid advance has been fuelled by its potential as a purveyor of goods as well as alternative to other means of interpersonal communication. The rate of adoption of the Internet exceeds that of all technologies before it as it is used for communication, publishing and research. Internet has impacted many sectors in the society ranging from commerce and industry, sports, agriculture, politics, health, mass communication and education, amongst others.

 

Alexis (2003) opines that the evolution of the Internet in the educational system created a big impact and learning progress for students. It also provides greater access to education, improves curriculum, quality of instructions and increases productivity of academic publications. The Internet technology has created a new education domain, because it serves as a multipurpose and it is interactive in nature. The hyper text browser which serves as a learning environment extends beyond the wall of traditional classrooms. The Internet unlimited resources such as the electronic mail is a powerful tool which can propagate to multiple recipients, transfer graphics, execute computer programmes and download pre-recorded audio. The Internet also provides a fascinating spectrum of study sites, where students acquire skills, knowledge, experience assets. Students are becoming increasingly less skeptical about the benefits of Internet learning activities. Yet, there is greater need for deeper understanding of its implication for current use for education purposes.

 

Furthermore, Cliff Missen (1990) states that the Internet has created learning environment which is redesigned to provide wealth of information which are neither time nor place bound. Degrees are being offered via the Internet; classes are held anywhere, anytime as long as the individual is connected to the Internet. New collaborative capabilities abound for students‘ communication, group discussion (chat rooms and online conference), team work, links with the outside experts and professionals and obtaining ―real world skill‖. Students‘ accessibility to the Internet continues to increase their sense of human thinking and enables them to become collaborative and co-operative in their society. However, the purpose for its use and materials available on the Internet has brought about ease in information dissemination and gathering in the last couple of years, going by the current information flow in higher institutions. This is basically the reason for this study that students of Bayero University, Kano (BUK) could possibly be using the Internet for acquisition of academic knowledge effectively.

 

Most people claim that the Internet exposes individuals to new and innovative ideas. Everett M Rogers in his book Diffusion of Innovation (1962) defined innovation as an idea, practice or object that is perceived as new by an individual or other unit of adoption. He also

 

 

gave four main elements that influence the spread of a new idea which are the innovation itself, communication channels, time and a social system which functions in five stages which are knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation stages. From the above, it is obvious that the spread and the adoption of innovation will be through the communication channels over a period of time among members of a social system. Hence, the social system could be schools, a firm, an association, a community or a society at large.

 

As an academic institution, within the purview of Rogers‘ definition, Bayero University, Kano (BUK) provides an orientation programme for new students every session to enhance the communication activities within offices and members of the university. After the establishment of BUK in 1976, the Centre for Information Technology was established over two decades ago with the aim of providing computing services to the University (another advanced form of communication). The Center has a pivotal role to play in promoting the academic and research programmes undertaken by the University in robust and effective communication atmosphere; and as a result, staff and students are now able to use the wireless network for both academic and social interaction but more of the former. Thus, as the Information Technology (IT) revolution rapidly unfolds, this role is likely to become even more complex and important for all forms of communication by students.

 

Contemporary knowledge and education is greatly affected in negative and positive ways by the Internet exposure. This is due to its wide range boundaries, which is the basis of this research. Internet has been perhaps the most outstanding innovation in the field of communication in the history of mankind. As with every single innovation, the Internet has been mankind‘s greatest means of communication yet, newer innovations are only making it faster and more reliable (Pakhare, 2013). The Internet creates new ways for people to communicate, congregate and share information of social nature. It is obvious that the Internet exposures have and will continue to change the way we live. This view has since

 

 

been asserted by Alexis 2003 which has also been built upon by Pakhare 2013. There is therefore, a need to find out the level of exposure and utilization of the Internet on information acquisition culture for academic knowledge of Bayero University students.

 

Brief History on Bayero University Library and Center for Information Technology

 

(CIT)

 

The central part of Bayero University, Kano, came into being in January 1960 when Ahmadu Bello College was established and located at the school of Arabic studies (close to the palace of the Emir of Kano). In October 1962, the first university to be established in northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University, was founded in Zaria. This made a change of name for the Ahmadu Bello College in Kano to Abdullahi Bayero College necessary to avoid confusion. In January 1964, the collage moved to a temporary site at the old Kano Airport Hotel with its first set of ten students admitted for a B.A. degree programme of Ahmadu Bello University. At the time of Alhaji Hamidu Alkali‘s (second provost of the college) arrival, the library complex which up to 1999 was the main library of the university was at the foundation. He supervised the building of the library and other buildings. In March 1968, the Abdullahi Bayero College moved to its permanent site due to the civil war that started in July 1967 and the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Sir David Hunt, commissioned the library complex on 26th April 1969.

 

There are other branches of the library which include: the law library, medical library and old campus library which now takes care of science, law and medical students. One of the services of the university library is that, at the beginning of each session, an orientation programme for new students is arranged. The library also maintains a reference section to help the students in providing ready reference and information services. Readers using branch libraries are also free to use facilities of the main library because the main university library maintains a union of catalogue of all books located at different units of the library system.

 

 

In 1977, the federal government of Nigeria made all the university colleges in the country full-fledged Universities. This made Abdullahi Bayero College to become simply ―Bayero University‖, with Dr. Mahmud Tukur as the first vice-Chancellor of Bayero University. Together with a dedicated team, Dr. Tukur shouldered the responsibility of establishing the foundation of the University.

 

Quite early after the establishment of Bayero University Kano in 1976, the need was felt for a computer centre that would provide computing services to the university community. The establishment of the center for information technology took a turn for the better in September 1999, when the then new vice-chancellor, Professor Musa Abdullahi, had the vision that Bayero University deserved a befitting computer center. The major role played by the centre for information technology is in promoting the academic and research programmes undertaken by the university. Bayero University, which started as a College and a Faculty of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has developed in the last four decades into a full-fledged University with eight faculties and four centers located on it two campuses (old and new campuses) and outside. Provost and vice-chancellors who headed the institution to date, together with staff (both academic and non academic) and students, laid the foundation and consolidated the physical and academic development of the university into one of the most respected universities in Nigeria today (Bayero University, Kano Students HandBook, 2012/2013).

 

1.1    Statement of the Research Problem

 

In trying to discover the influence of the Internet and the way it is pervading every aspect of our lives, it is important to note its effect on education and its influence on information acquisition. The Internet and the social media have dramatically changed both teaching and learning. In fact, most students‘ (an incredible 93 percent) first instinct, when confronted with a research problem, turn to Google or Bing to get information rather than going to the library (either print or electronic library), and despite the efforts made to discourage its excessive and inappropriate use, Wikipedia tends to make browsing for information very easy. However, it is not only students that are turning to the web, but also researchers and scholars, one can logically conclude that the Internet has had a strong influence on the how, where, and what students are studying.

The standard of education is falling drastically and part of the fall is attributed to lack of books and up-to-date information in our Nigerian libraries (most especially libraries in higher institutions). Now, with the advent of ICT, there is a rapid revolution and breakthrough in learning but this does not come without its attendant problem of computer literacy, access to Internet facilities, conducive learning environment, access to computers etc. Even with online learning being as widespread as it is, it is believed that not all students seize the opportunity to acquire knowledge. Though, one in three academic scholars considers the Internet to be inferior to face-to-face instruction or teaching. However as the Internet revolution rapidly unfolds, time will tell whether the Internet education or the information retrieved from the Internet can compete with traditional learning models.

 

It is pretty obvious that the Internet has had a huge impact on education, but just how has the Internet changed education most especially in information acquisition? Even though most undergraduate students can pride themselves as being computer literate, the fact remains that some are yet to know how the Internet works. Irrespective of their status, the need for them to exploit the Internet for one purpose or the other cannot be underemphasized. Against this backdrop, the researcher intends to establish the extent to which students use the Internet to acquire information, the specific purposes students use the Internet, its influence on them, and what the information gotten from the Internet are used for.

 

1.2 Aim of the Study

 

This study is primarily aimed at examining the influence of the Internet on information acquisition among undergraduate students of some chosen Departments in Bayero University, Kano and its implications for their studies.

 

1.3 Objectives of the Study

 

The specific objectives are:

 

  • To determine how often students use the Internet.

 

  • To reveal why students use the Internet.

 

  • To establish the relationship between students‘ use of the Internet for information

 

acquisition and their academic performance.

 

(iv)To suggest ways in which the negative use of the Internet if any, can be mitigated as the Internet has become an ―information superhighway‖.

 

1.4         Research Questions

 

This study shall be guided by the following research questions:

 

  • What is the level of Internet exposure among students of BUK?

 

  • For what purpose do students use the Internet most?

 

  • Is there any relationship between students‘ use of the Internet for information acquisition and their academic performance?

 

  • In what ways can students‘ negative use of the Internet be addressed and reduced?

 

1.5 Significance of the Study

 

With the provision of wired and wireless connections, if properly used, the Internet can effectively serve students by improving their knowledge about events happening around them, improve their study culture, improve readership with students utilizing the e-library and various search engines made available via the Internet. Students are active participants of Internet applications; it could be via their mobile phones or laptops.

 

Similarly, with mobile technologies going a step further in providing Internet applications and with students being active participants, there are bound to be changes in the area of networking which is the norm for many students these days. The social networking sites such as ‗Face book‘, ‗Twitter‘, ‗2go‘, ‗Skype‘, ‗Whatsapp‘, etc. and the ‗taunt‘ that go with it is becoming a cause of concern because of the numerous atrocities that are committed through these networks such as the case of Cynthia Osokogu who was lured by her ‗Facebook‘ friend to Lagos where she was drugged, raped, robbed and finally killed; the opening of fake ‗Facebook‘ account are just a few and not forgetting the gradual addiction of students to these social networks (Idongesit, 2014). The buzz and beep sounds as chat messages, text messages enter these devices makes students restless and distracted even to the extent of student chatting during lectures. Digital technologies are like the ―breath that students take‘; they make it their everyday companion. An individual does not have to own a very expensive phone to be connected 24/7 to the Internet; with the provision of data plan, provided by network providers such as Etisalat, MTN, GLO, Airtel etc., the point of concern is how much time is spent on the digital device browsing relevant and irrelevant contents.

 

The data and information gathered in the course of this research will help the following bodies: the ministries of education, policy makers in the education industries as well as research institutes, administrative management of educational institutions, university libraries, centers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), lecturers/staff of educational institutions and also parents and students at all levels. It will serve them by providing them with information on Internet usage and its influence on acquiring information and why there is a need for easily accessible Internet links on-line. It will also provide more enlightenment to students and social members at large on the opportunities the Internet interactivity offers in the quest for information acquisition.

 

This study will also benefit the above mentioned bodies in academic planning and provision of quality and updated facilities for students learning; and also in understanding the potential impact of the use of the Internet in improving the literacy level of Nigeria students. It will reflect a capacity to create required knowledge support for the implementation policies for intellectual development in the society. Finally, the study will be of immense benefit to students and scholars from diverse disciplines.

 

1.6    Scope of the Study

 

This study deals with the influence of the Internet on the information acquisition among students of BUK in the 2013/2014 academic session. The departments in the University were randomly selected using the systematic sampling technique criteria. Thus, the scope of this study was drawn from the undergraduate students of eight (8) departments within six (6) Faculties, namely: Faculty of Education, Agriculture, Arts and Islamic Studies, Law, Technology, and Medicine in the University and as such, inferences will be drawn from the 2013/2014 session of the academic calendar of undergraduate students. The reason for this choice is to be able to generalize findings in the university since it has many departments and also to provide an intensive and close study of small units in selected departments.

 

1.8 Operational Definition of Terminologies

 

(1) Internet

 

Internet is a computer-based global information system. It is composed of many interconnected computer networks. Each network may link tens, hundreds, or even thousands of computers, enabling them to share information.

 

  • Technology

 

It refers to the collection of tools, including machinery, modifications, arrangements and procedures used by humans. Engineering is the discipline that seeks to study and design new technologies. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species’ ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology and information technology

 

(3) Information Acquisition

 

Information acquisition typically refers to the process of acquiring, processing, understanding, and recalling information through one of a number of methods. But for the purpose of this work, the phrase ‗Information Acquisition‘ is defined as the way students acquire information in order to meet their academic needs via the Internet. Information acquisition typically details how people acquire new information, how that information is used, and for what purpose that information was retrieved.

 

(4) Influence

 

In the context of this work, ‗Influence‘ refers to the power to sway somebody from his/her primary reason for doing something (e.g using the Internet for academic research). The effect of influence could be positive or negative.

 

THE INFLUENCE OF THE INTERNET ON INFORMATION ACQUISITION AMONG STUDENTS 

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