The Utilisation of information and communication technologies by distance education students and lecturers at the University of Zambia
Makunka, Humphrey Katye
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The delivery of distance education depends on Information and Communication Technologies, namely, print, telephone, audio, video conferencing and radio, video and computer-based technology. Against this background, this study looked at the utilisation of information and communication technologies in distance education at the University of Zambia. The objectives of the study were to: (i) to assess the level of knowledge on information and communication technologies among lecturers and students; (ii) to determine the extent of distant learners access to learning materials through ICTs; (iii) identify the most commonly utilised ICTs by students and lecturers; (iv) establish the measures the University of Zambia‘s Institute of Distance Education put in place to increase ICTs and lastly (v) investigate the main challenges faced in integrating ICTs in the delivery of the curriculum content. The study employed descriptive survey design. Information was collected from students, lecturers and administrators. Multi-stage combined with systematic technique was used to select students, and purposive sampling was used to select lecturers and administrators. Data was collected using interview guide for administrators from IDE and questionnaires for both lecturers and students. Data was analysed in this manner; Qualitative data employed content analysis and generation of themes; Quantitative data employed simple quantitative analysis techniques such as: the generation of frequency tables, cumulative percentages and graphs. The study found that the awareness from both lecturers and students on ICTs was high. The majority of students indicated that they received their course materials via posted mail and it took a lot of time to reach them. With regard to utilisation, this study found that there was low utilisation of internet and other ICT gadgets, such as the camera but relatively high utilisation of some computer programme such as Microsoft word. It was found that the majority of students and lecturers had never done any kind of training in ICT; hence they had limited skills to use ICTs. Very few students were able to take a photo on a digital camera and include it in an assignment or research work. The extent to which distance students accessed learning materials through ICTs was little. The efforts put in place for distance students to access ICTs have not been much. The introduction of email addresses for all students has not been put to good use, 95.2 per cent of students had never received assignments by email. vii In conclusion this study basically shows that utilisation of ICTs by both students and lecturers was low. The skills to operate some ICTs programmes especially on the computer were also limited. Management did not supplement print materials with audio, audio visual or internet-based. The Institute of Distance Education at the University of Zambia should make compulsory training in information communication technology for all first year students or attaining a certificate in ICT before joining the institution. IDE should also train the lecturers in the relevant ICTs such as Microsoft word, use of the internet and power point presentations. The University of Zambia should increase funding for ICT expansion in distance education so that the institution can also compliment print materials with audio tapes, DVDs and uploading information on the internet such as modules. Future researches should carry out studies to determine utilisation of ICTs following the setting up of computer laboratories in provincial capitals of Zambia.
The University of Zambia
SubjectEducation, Higher--Zambia--Computer-assisted instruction.
- Education