INTERNET USAGE PATTERN AMONG ACADEMICS IN FEDERAL UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH EAST NIGERIA

Author: Ukwueze Cornelius Aghadiegwu
Department: Mass Communication
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Internet recently is useful to academics in the areas of accessing wide range of information and teaching materials, research and publication and serve as measurement matrix for universities’ webometrics but the usage pattern, seem to vary from institution to institution. This study investigates the Internet usage pattern of the academics in the federal universities in South East Nigeria in terms of exposure, skill, access, impact, and availability, search engines in use, frequency and purpose of use. It also identifies the challenges faced by the academics while using the Internet and the possible strategies to curb them as well as the relationships between the usage pattern and their demographics like age, rank and length of service. The study is anchored on the Uses and Gratifications Theory which explains what people do with any emerging media and the Technological Determinism Theory which states that culture changes with any new technology in the society. The study adopts a triangulated methodology i.e. a mixture of quantitative and qualitative approaches like Survey, In-depth Interviews and Observation. In survey, questionnaire was distributed to a sample size of 400 academics obtained through Taro Yamane formula while In-depth Interview was carried out among 12 lecturers and 8 relevant officers of the universities’ managements. Unobtrusive Observation was conducted across offices, faculties and relevant points in the universities. The findings are that the usage pattern is regular and lecturers use the Internet for teaching, research and publication and that there exist some Internet facilities in the universities but they are not sustainable thereby making the academics to resort to the use of USB Modem. The frequency of use of the Internet was found to be significantly related to the age, rank, length of service and educational qualification of the academics while the use had impacted on them in the areas of web visibility, boost in research and publication and their universities’ webometric ranking. The problems of power supply, insufficient funding and lack of skills etc were identified while the study recommends added interventions, maintenance culture and attitude changes by the academics. The study is significant as it provided comprehensive data on the condition of Internet in the federal universities in South East Nigeria.

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