Higher Education and Information Literacy: A Case Study of Tai Solarin University of Education
Universities prepare people for professional careers. This enables individuals to participate with greater understanding in community affairs. The 21st century has brought enormous change in higher education throughout the world as a result of new information and technological developments.
Rader and Allan (2006) observe that these changes affect every segment of society and all levels of education. New learning centres are evolving based on the concepts of resource-based teaching and lifelong learning. Students need high levels of literacy in every phase of their education. Given the complex information and communication technology environment and the increasing global interactions, students must attain excellent communication and information skills to function productively in the work force of the future.
Higher education is undergoing major changes globally. Stallings (1997) states that legislators, funding agencies and consumers of higher education are demanding approximate learning outcomes and graduates prepared to function successfully within the global economy. The effect of technology on libraries has been especially noteworthy during the past decade. Many consider the library less important since they believe that the Internet is the world's library, yet libraries are one of the most important components of the information age, dealing successfully with technological advances. Accordingly, librarians are helping society understand the value and contributions of libraries, particularly in organizing, preserving, and providing access to information.
Statement of the Problem
The use of information for research is an important basis for academic progress. In light of this, this study explores students' use of information and communication technology (ICT) for research and the reason for choosing ICT as a tool.
Objectives of the Study
The study uses a questionnaire to collect data. A total of 150 questionnaires were distributed to both library users and the users of e-library and e-learning. One hundred questionnaires were returned.
Tai Solarin University of Education, located in Ijagun, Ijebu-ode, Ogun State Nigeria, was established in the late 1970s years ago as a college of education. The institution became a university of education in February 2005. It is the premier university of education in Nigeria with a student population of 18,114 and staff strength of about 1,050. The institution offers degree programmes in science, social science, arts and vocational education. It has an e-learning centre that provides Internet and other services to the academic community.
Furthermore, the university library is centralized and the collection is being upgraded. The collection has just under 17,000 volumes, with a library building that provides study space and work areas.
Information technology, as defined by Oketunji (2002), is the application of computer and communication technology to information handling. The use of these technologies requires training, which brings about information literacy. Information literacy includes library literacy, media literacy, computer literacy, research literacy, and critical thinking skills. Information literacy, as viewed by Bruce and Candy (2006), is a global issue, with particularly strong efforts and examples in North America, Australia, South Africa, and Northern Europe.
Teachers, librarians, and others are working to integrate information skills instruction into the curriculum to achieve relevant learning outcomes. The era of mass higher education has led to the challenge of increasingly divergent student study skills. The need to use a mix of print and electronic resources, and the explosion of materials freely available on the web, has made the search for information seem easier to do and more complex to manage (Godwin, 2006). Bruce (1999) emphasizes the importance of critical thinking, an awareness of personal and professional ethics, information evaluation, organizing information, interacting with information professionals, and making effective use of problem solving, decision making, and research skills. Resource-based education encourages better use of information resources and services.
Information literacy is a cumulative process, which must be adapted to the requirements of each learner. Barriers to the development of information skills are identified by Godwin (2006) and include lack of appreciation and ignorance shown by teaching staff:
Universities provide the foundation for continued growth throughout students' careers as well as in students' rights as informed citizens. Goad (2002) advocates information literacy as an essential workplace skill appropriate to today's knowledge-driven workplace. Consequently, Naghshineh (2006) argues that the success of information literacy depends on the following:
A number of studies of Internet use have been done by African authors. Jagboro (2003) as quoted by Omotayo (2006) reports that majority of postgraduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University ranked fourth on the use of Internet. A study by Omotayo (2006) observes that undergraduates learn the use of Internet through their friends. Badu and Makwei (2005) looked at awareness and use of the Internet in Ghana.
Discussion of Findings
Cosmas - College of Management Sciences
COSIT - College of Science & Information Technology
COHUM - College of Humanities
COAVOET College of Applied Education & Vocational Technology
Table 1: Frequency of use by Colleges
The data indicates that those in College of Applied Education make more use of information resources than other colleges.
Table II: Use of Information Resources by Gender
There were somewhat more male respondents than female.
Table III: Proficiency in the use of ICT
Just under one third of respondents rated their ICT proficiency as "good."
Table IV: Where knowledge of computers was acquired
Nearly two thirds of respondents learned about computers outside the University, while one third got their knowledge from "no particular place," and just 3% acquired their knowledge through university programmes.
Table V: Information sources
The response is a clear indication of a preference for web resources over library resources.
Table VI: Types of Information
More than half of respondents' information seeking is for academic purposes.
Table VII: Web searching
Google is overwhelmingly popular as a search engine
Table VIII: Source of Internet connection
Nearly three quarters of respondents access the Internet at a cybercafé.
Table IX : Computer education part of University Curriculum.
More than three quarters of respondent use computers as part of the university curriculum.
Problems Using the Library and the Internet
Respondents outlined problems encountered when looking for information from the library and the e-learning centre.
Information literacy has gained importance as we become more immersed in the information age. The ability to access, evaluate, and use information is a prerequisite for lifelong learning and education. Information literacy is about finding, evaluating, using, and subsequently communicating information effectively to solve problems. Wherever it comes from, the Internet, the library, or any other source, the most important thing is the ability to understand and evaluate information.
Information literacy is a critical component of higher education. It is however, desirable for educators to work collaboratively to ensure that students graduating from higher education courses can recognize and solve information problems. The university should integrate information literacy into all their programmes with college members and librarians working together.
Moreover, the university should work on the e-learning bandwidth to enable fast and easy access to search engines to satisfy the information needs of users. A new library has just been commissioned for students. Air conditioning should be provided to make the environment conducive to reading and research, and the e-library section should be equipped with more computers and additional databases. Noise is also an issue, and steps should be taken to reduce it. The library collection needs further enhancement, especially in lean areas such as home economics, the sciences, and vocational texts.
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