Use of ICT in Higher Education : A case study of The IIS University, Jaipur

Smiti Padhi*

Abstract

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is visible in every walk of life in 21st century India. Digital encounters have made our lives easier and interesting. Internet, computers, laptops, tablets, smart phones, mobile phones, digital cameras, e-book readers, e-books or e-magazines, pen drives, scanners, video viewing sites, projectors etc are devices that are with us 24×7. They have transformed many of us into android robots. ICT is thought to be a potent tool for pedagogical reform in India. While digital schools and on-line courses are on the rise today, changes have also crept into traditional classrooms. A contemporary smart classroom is an example of such a blend. ICT is taught as a separate subject and also at the same time all other subjects are using it to impart lessons.This research paper through a case study of under-graduate and post-graduate students of The IIS University in Jaipur attempts to study the use of ICT in higher education by students.

Introduction

Pedagogy in India has been continually in flux. The changes in education system, proliferated by technological innovations and advancements,have revolutionized the teaching-learning process in the country. Long ago, lessons were passed on by teachers to students through practical tasks and real life assignments orally. The process gradually gave way to written form of the teaching-learning method. Various symbols, signs, letters, drawings etc were used to disseminate ideas to scholars. Before Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press such symbols and letters were either carved or drawn on walls, caves, leaves etc, but the printing press altered the process of learning. Students could subsequently keep copies of texts and books, rather than writing down the complete discourse of their tutors. The next major revolution was the electronic media i.e. radio or television, which has been extensively used for educating the masses.

The Indian government has been spending huge money on the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), which is an effort to connect universities and colleges with bandwidth and convert the entire country into one huge classroom and take quality teaching to the remotest corner of India. The newest technological innovations in the arena of information and communication technology have indeed provided us an opportunity to alter the dynamics of teaching and learning in India.

The advent of Information and Communication Technology has opened up new avenues of capturing, recording, retrieving and transmitting information, thereby, enhancing the teaching and learning process in higher education in India.The fact that attendance of students,  related notes, topics taught on a particular day, feedback from students,marks scored in continuous assessment along with suggestions etc are uploaded online these days over personal e-mail addresses of students,has made the education system more transparent and accountable.Web2.0 has democratized information flow by offering instant information of all kinds with just a click. It has taken classroom discourse beyond information pelting.Lectures today are bound to focus on cause-effect relationships and critical examination and understanding of happenings around. Putting up information in the form of text, graphics, videos or tables makes topics interesting, brings dynamicity in discourses and leads to better comprehension, and improved retention of lessons by students.ICT facilitates schools churn out industry ready professionals, competent for future jobs. It also allows students and teachers to chat, share and discuss assignments or ideas among each other thereby taking the process of learning beyond walls of a classroom. Tele-conferencing, video-conferencing, mobile learning, e-bookshop,open and online publishing etc have also added to the flexibility in the education system.

Review of literature

ICT can be defined as a “diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store, and manage information” (Blurton , 2002)

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” (Alvin Toffler).

“The amount of time spent for using various mediums could eat up time that could have been spent on other activities such as doing homework or reading books.” (Shariffet, 2010).

“Heavier recreational internet use was shown to be co-related with impaired academic performance.” (Kubeyet, 2001).

Study method, sampling details and demo graphic profile of respondents

The method adopted for the study was sample survey.A questionnaire was administered to 50 students and 50 teaching members at The IIS University in Jaipur. Keeping the objective of the present study in mind, which basically strives to examine the use of ICT by the students and lecturers of The IIS University, it is pertinent to mention that the organization has a proud history of 20 years of excellence in education and research in Jaipur. Being accredited A-plus by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of the University Grants Commission and being conferred the status of a model college by the state government of Rajasthan are some of the many feathers on its cap.The sampling technique employed for the study was convenient sampling. The students were from arts, science and commerce streams, both from post- and under-graduate courses.Faculty members were again from arts,science and commerce streams. The age of students ranged between 18 and 25 years, and the age of faculties ranged between 25 and 55 years.35 percent students belonged to higher income families, 43 percent students belonged to upper middle class, while 22 percent students hailed from middle class or lower middle class families.78 percent faculties belonged to upper middle class families, while 22 percent faculties belonged to middle or lower middle class group.

Findings

  • The Information and Communication Technologies available in The IIS University were separate computer labs for students and teachers; Internet through LAN and Wi-Fi network; Projectors for classrooms, Cameras in classrooms and lobbies,Photocopy Machines, Scanners, Printers, Video and Audio Recording and Editing lab etc.
    CUG Phones numbers were provided to all faculty members for free internal communication.All faculty members of the arts, social sciences, and commerce streams were members of their respective Whats app groups which suggested that every lecturer possessed an android mobile set.
    A personal mail was created for every teacher and student over metacampus.iisuniv.ac.in, where all Heads of Departments uploaded the time table for each course; teachers on a daily basis uploaded attendance of students, discussed topics, notes and presentations for every class. Similarly, all announcements and notices were also uploaded over it.
  • 50 of 50 students used computers and mobile phones at university campus and at their homes for surfing the internet for the purpose of study(for assignments, projects and preparing notes).
  • 45 of 50 students felt they were internet savvy.
  • 46 of 50 students surfed the internet on daily basis.
  • 47 of 50 students agreed that they copy pasted from different sites for their assignments and did not go through the copied material.
  • 29 of 50 students admitted to have sneaked into their mobiles secretly in classrooms during ongoing lectures.
  • 34 of 50 students searched topics given in their syllabus on Google and referred Wikipedia before exams.
  • 33 of 50 students discussed studies over phones through calls, chats etc with their teachers and other students.
  • While eight of the 50 knew about CEC lectures on Edusat, only three students regularly heard lectures over it.
  • 13 of 50 students who viewed or listened to topics in their syllabus on television or radio were from post-graduate classes, while only three of 50 students doing so were from under-graduate courses.
  • 28 of 50 students verified their attendance posted by teachers on Meta campus.
  • 17 of 50 students accessed notes uploaded by their respective teachers on Meta campus, 21 depended on hard copy handouts given by teachers or classmates.
  • Only six of 50 students kept track of announcements over Meta campus, while 44 depended on word of mouth from peers and teachers.
  • 42 of 50 students felt that the audio visual mode of teaching along with the traditional mode of lectures in classes shall enhance their interest in studies, while rest of the eight thought otherwise.
  • Only six of 50students felt that the audio visual mode of teaching was used effectively in the university.
  • 50 of 50 faculty members used CUG phones to communicate among themselves on the campus.
  • 50 of 50 faculty members used the internet and computers on a daily basis.
  • Some of the purposes of internet usage by faculty members were: uploading attendance,giving assignments, preparing lectures, making announcements, communicating with management, colleagues and students.
  • Only four of 50 teachers were using projectors and audio/video mode in their classes.
  • None of them were recording and uploading lectures online.
  • All of the 50 teachers felt that mobiles or internet access of students in classrooms is a distraction.Most of them confiscated cell phones of students if they were caught using it during lectures.
  • 50 of 50 teachers felt that students directly copy paste assignments from internet and mostly from Wikipedia.
  • 37 of 50 lecturers watched lectures on-line and on electronic mediums for knowledge enhancement.
  • All of the faculty members agreed that juxtaposition of ICT and expert perspectives on subjects put forth by professors shall enhance the teaching and learning process.

Conclusion

The role of ICT in education is still finding its way. The benefits of ICT in pedagogy are exceptional if utilized in the right way.Many times it may prove to be a distraction for the students and also lead to a copy paste, lackadaisical approach of students leading to the loss of heterogeneity in ideas and stifle creativity.

The challenge for the teachers, therefore, is to develop assignments that are beyond mere information collection. The students need to understand that while ICT can enhance their efficiency, devices can also at the same time distract them from real work. The potential of various ICT tools are to be recognized by the teachers primarily who shall have to guide students to handle and effectively use the tools and technology of information and communication.

Undoubtedly, the digital age has to be embraced.The effective integration of potential benefits of ICT is not automatic. Rather it is a complex multi-faceted process that involves not just technology but capital and teacher competencies as well.ICT is surely the demand of the new global economy and it is time that higher education in India pulls up its socks to effectively incorporate and use ICT in colleges and Universities across the country.

References

  • IAMAI-IMRB(2009) Mobile Internet in India, December 2009, Research conducted by IMRB and e-tech for IAMAI, URL: http://www.iamai.in-retreived on 12 august 2014.
  • Jacobsen, W .C, & Forste,R.(2011). The Wired Generation: Academic and Social Outcomes of Electronic Media Use Among University Students.
  • Young, J.R. (1995). Classes on the web, the chronicle of Higher Education. Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 27-33.
  • http://wikipedia.org-retrieved on 6th September 2014-time-11:45 pm
  • http://mediawatchglobal.com-retrieved on 8th September 2014- time-09:25pm

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