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ASSESSMENT OF THE UTILIZATION OF ONLINE RESOURCES BY UNDERGRADUATE RADIOGRAPHY STUDENTS
1.1 Background of the study
One of the major functions of a university is conservation of existing knowledge. The university library plays a role in this regard by ensuring that the right information resources are acquired. The use of online resources in university libraries is aimed at “broadening the range of available information resources within the library and adding value to the content by making them accessible through digital means so that students, researchers, and the entire members of the university community can access them anytime and anywhere” (Daramola 2016: 366).
Daramola further states that the library within the university systems provides the infrastructures and internet facilities to enhance student’s accessibility of online resources. The availability of online resources has changed what students actually read and use (Renwick, 2005; Daramola, 2016). These resources now come in different forms such as e-book, e-journal, e-dictionaries, emagazines, online databases and internet resources.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka, commonly referred to as UNN, is a federal university located in Nsukka, Enugu state, Nigeria. It was founded in 1955 and formally opened on 7th October 1960. The University of Nigeria, Nsukka has four campuses – Nsukka, Enugu and Ituku-Ozalla – located in Enugu state and one in Aba, Abia state, Nigeria. As the first full-fledged indigenous and first autonomous university in Nigeria modeled upon the American educational system, UNN is the first land-grant university in Africa and one of the five elite universities in the country. It has 15 faculties and 102 academic departments and offers 82 undergraduate programs and 211 postgraduate programs. The university library provides information resources in different formats to support the academic programmes of the university.
There are different categories of students found in the university, they include: diploma students, undergraduate students, graduate and post graduate (masters) students and PhD students. This research focused on the undergraduate students. These students need information for social and academic reasons. This information can come from virtually anywhere – text books, media, library catalogues, blogs, personal experiences, journals and magazine articles, expert opinions, encyclopedias, and web pages – which provide information one needs depending on the question one is trying to answer. But in this research work, the researchers were primarily interested in the information gotten from the web pages (i.e., online information resources). The web allows one to access most types of information on the Internet through a browser. One of the main features of the web is the ability to quickly link to other related information. The web contains information in a variety formats such as texts, sounds, images, and videos. This web information is now referred to as online information resources. Online information resources, according to Tsakonas et al (2006) are information sources provided in electronic form, and they include resources available on the Internet such as research guides by subject, online indexes, electronic books and texts, electronic journals, library catalog, online reference sources, sound recordings, and image databases.
The emergence of online information resources has tremendously transformed information management in university environment in Nigeria (Ani and Ahiazu, 2008). In explaining this proposition, Ani and Ahiazu (2008) further state that some of the university library services and operations have been automated. Many university libraries in Nigeria are providing online reference services as well as training users on advanced online searching. Some of these libraries are providing services to support e-learning programmes of their parent institutions. Besides, library resources are being expanded to include both print and online resources to support learning, teaching and research. However, university libraries are greatly under pressure to provide these resources to students due to poor funding. Quite a number of initiatives are now in place in some universities to facilitate the development, training and use of online information resources. These initiates include the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs acting on behalf of MacArthur Foundation to support selected university libraries in Nigeria, the
Electronic Information for Libraries’ Network (eiFL.Net) and the Universities’ Connect MTN Foundation.
As part of its corporate social responsibility, the MTN Foundation through its Universities’ Connect Initiative built a virtual library for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and provided access to a number of full-text online databases. This initiative was launched in 2006 for use by both staff and students of the University. On its own part, the University Administration has successfully provided a ubiquitous wireless access to internet-based resources on campus. This means that both the virtual library and the wireless internet access on campus are intended to increase students’ use of online resources for digital scholarship. This study, therefore, intends to find out how the undergraduate students use these resources in terms of the challenges of this use and then articulate the implications of these challenges for electronic resources development, training and use in the university.
Online information resources are powerful teaching and learning tools in higher education. They are efficient for activating students, and they provide tools for life-long learning. Internet provides the platform for global information accessibility and allows students to have access to huge amounts of information and a number of free applications software. It enables teachers and students to communicate through e-mail, course home pages and virtual discussion groups, and provides opportunities for distance education in tertiary institutions. Students can find information themselves to a larger extent than before, though they still need their teachers’ supervision in the learning process because most of the information resources found on the internet were not peer reviewed.
Limited access to online information resources in this information age will greatly affect the students in different ways. For instance, they will find it difficult to do research and even write some of their assignments. They would be limited to only the information their lecturers have to offer alone. And even if they graduate, they may soon forget what they learnt because they have not learnt how to learn i.e. they have not developed the ability for life-long learning.
The study by Adomi et al (2004) reveals that online information resources have not been used extensively by undergraduate students in Nigeria. In a similar study conducted in a typical federal university in Nigeria, Daramola (2016) found that male students visited the e-resources more than the female students. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence and the researchers’ personal experiences have revealed that majority of the undergraduate students made little or no use of electronic resources provided by the university library despite the high cost of these resources. Generally, the attitude of the students seemed lukewarm. It does appear that the students are having challenges with the use of online information resources. This means that any policy or practical interventions that aim to address this situation ought to be well informed by drawing from empirical evidence. This paper, therefore, seeks to investigate the challenges the undergraduate students of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka are having with the use of electronic resources so as to proffer policy and practical interventions to improve access and use of these resources which the university library provides.
1.3Objectives of the study
H0: There is no relationship between utilization of online resources and academic performance of undergraduate radiography students
H1: There is a relationship between utilization of online resources and academic performance of undergraduate radiography students
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