The study examined the extent of availability and utilization of web-based tools in Nigerian Universities. A descriptive cross section survey research design was used for the study. Nine research questions were posed and six hypotheses formulated to guide the study. The population of the study consists of 35,680 lecturers and students in federal, state, and private universities in the study area. The sample is 395 lecturers and students, a proportionate stratified sampling technique was used to group the respondents into departments after which simple random sampling was used to draw the sample from the strata. The instruments for data collection were a checklist and questionnaires which were validated and internal consistency reliability coefficients determined using cronbach alpha technique; Data were analyzed using the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 2.0. Percentage, mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions, while ANOVA was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. It was found that Web-based tools are more available for effective delivery of instruction in State and Private Universities than Federal Universities in Nigerian; resources such as internet services, web-based learning software, personal laptops, scanners, smart boards, on-line library are available to a high extent. There was a significant difference in the mean ratings of lecturers and students in federal, state, and private universities on the extent of availability of resources that aid web-based tools for effective delivery of instruction. There is a high extent of utilization of web-based tools for effective delivery of instruction by lecturers and students in State and Private Universities in Nigerian. Female lecturers utilize web-based tools more than their counterparts in Nigerian Universities, both male and students utilize web-based tools to a less extent in content accessibility. Major implications of the findings are; there is a less extent in the use of web-based tools in e-assessment of students by lecturers in Nigerian Universities, that there is a less extent to which students utilize web-based tools in content accessibility. Based on these findings and implications, it was recommended that universities should include web-based learning in their teaching programmes and source grants to promote the use of web instruction at all levels, all university lecturers must as a matter of compulsion be made to acquire ICT skills, Courses on application of web-based tools for teaching and learning should be mounted in all faculties and departments to produce specialists that will man the units established for providing web-based support services in our universities.
Background of the Study
Education is the enabler of social and economic change. It is a continuous process of shaping and modifying behaviours of an individual for adequate adjustments in the society. According to Akubue and Okolo (2008), education is a process of acculturation through which the individual is helped to sustain the development of his potentialities, and maximum activation when necessary thereby achieving self-fulfilment. The importance of education is undeniable for every single person because it is a self-enlightening process, which provides us with knowledge about the world, paves the way for a good career, helps build character, lays the foundation of a stronger nation and crucial to the overall development of an individual and the society at large (Itedjere, 1997; Whawo, 1997). To the researcher, education is an indispensable part of life personally and socially. However, the level of unequal standard and access to university education are still major problems that need to be solved. As a result of this, new strategies are being made to resolve the problem.
University education in Nigeria is faced by problems of access, population explosion and other problems associated with the learning process. According to Enaohwo (2008) access to University education implies the right, opportunity and means of making education available within the reach of every citizen of a nation. Access to education in its full and broad sense means free and unlimited, unhindered, unfettered opportunities to obtain knowledge, skills, and abilities available at each level of education needed to optimally participate and contribute to the development of the society (Okeke, 2008).
It has been observed that most of the candidates who sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) are usually not admitted by various universities because of carrying capacity (Edukugbo, 2012). Edukugbo further maintained that this has led to denial of access to university education and leaves the candidates with no hope for the future. According to Edukugbo, in 2011/2012 academic session, a total of 1,493,604 candidates sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the results announced showed that 842,851 candidates scored above 180 indicating that less than 45 percent passed the examination. JAMB later fixed 180 marks as minimum for university students, yet most of them were not admitted by the various universities (Edukugbo, 2012).
As at 2003 the capacity of tertiary institutions across the country is only about 500,000 (Afinsulu & Scannews, 2013). This shows that there is indeed a need for other alternatives to the conventional mode of education, that is, the teacher – student – chalkboard method of teaching. Alternative strategies such as distance learning, blended learning, electronic learning, web-based learning, will help in solving the problems of access, population explosion, other problems such as; problem of students not being able to complete their programs, inadequate learning, route learning, problem of fund, problem of not completing the curriculum within the time frame, problem of large class size which greatly affect learning outcome, time constrains for students who are working, and mostly distance that stands as barrier for some students. But, the availability of resources and its utilization by lecturers and students to enhance these alternative methods poses a problem. In the quest for abating this trend, the researcher intends to find out the extent of availability and utilization of web-based tools for effective delivery of instruction by lecturers and students in Nigerian universities (NUs). In Nigeria, there are federal, state, and private universities which are being managed by the owners. Several factors help to establish who owns a university and what rights the university may, or may not, have. It is commonly agreed that to own something, is to have certain rights and duties over it. In essence, ownership is a bundle of rights and duties.
Federal universities are universities that are operated and managed by the federal government, and for each state in the country there is a federal university. State owned universities are also called public or state government owned university. Every state also has a university which is been funded and managed by the state government. While Private universities are universities not operated by governments but by private individuals who fund and manage the affairs of the university, although many of these universities receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. In Nigeria there are a number of private universities, one of which is Igbinedion University, located in Okada, a town in Benin, Edo state. Hence, for the country to actualize its educational objectives of meeting the educational needs of her citizens, then, other modes of teaching and learning must be imbibed. Web-based instruction is seen as a means of meeting the educational needs of every single individual if it’s being utilized by universities in the country.
Web-based instruction is a hypermedia-based instructional program which utilizes the attributes and resources of the World Wide Web to create a meaningful learning environment where learning is fostered and supported (Khan, 1997). It is delivered via the computer using the Internet, making it capable of instant updating, distribution, and sharing of information (Rosenberg, 2001). Activities like on-line forums, chats, mailing list, and web-quest are used to enhance teaching and learning on the web. The outcome may include effective interaction, feedback, knowledge and skills transfer to facilitate learning. Web-based instruction is one of the alternative strategies to education that uses web-based tools for effective delivery of learning. Web-based tools provide integrated environments of various technologies to support diverse educators’ and learners’ needs via the Internet. The goal of these tools is to enhance face-to-face instruction and to deliver distance-learning courses. Web-based tools allow one to carry out task online that is, learning activities are done on a web browser and no separate download or installation of other software is required (Kilby, 2008). All the learning activities are accessible from anywhere where there is internet connection.