Examining computer-based technology skill and academic performance of students in Nigerian universities.
Kayode, Aderinsola Eunice.
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The introduction of blended learning into face-to-face classroom teaching and learning has made traditional education more simple, flexible and customised to students’ expectations. This study examined computer-based technology (CBT) skills levels among undergraduate students in federal universities in the South West geopolitical zone, Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to find out which CBT skills levels are mostly displayed by the undergraduates; examine those skills levels that correlated positively with the academic performance of students; and identify factors that contribute to CBT learning in conjunction with face-to-face traditional education in Nigerian universities. The study discusses the Will, Skill and Tool model (WST), which is used as the conceptual framework of this study. The study used a mixed method approach. Questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data while focus group interviews were used for qualitative data. Normative ontological assumptions enabled the study to use both quantitative and qualitative reports from different perspectives to draw conclusions. The study was conducted in six federal universities in South West in Nigeria and two thousand, three hundred and thirty-seven (2,337) questionnaires were used to collect the quantitative data. An open-ended interview schedule was used for the eighteen (18) focus group interviews. The focus group interviews were conducted with a sample of the same students who completed the questionnaire. All participation was voluntary. Microsoft Excel and SPSS version 22 were application software used for the quantitative coding. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics, while qualitative data were analysed thematically. The results show that six CBT skill-level variables (called core skills) – general computer use, word processing, internet, PowerPoint, synchronous and asynchronous chats – correlated most positively with the students’ academic performance, though they were weakly correlated. Factors that negatively affected the use of CBT tools to augment face-to-face education included unstable power supply, poor network connectivity due to lack of internet access, unstable bandwidth, lack of equipped computer laboratories and excessive cost of internet data bundles. The results revealed a low availability and accessibility of CBT tools in computer laboratories for regular use by the undergraduate students in selected universities. Hence, most students depended on their personal computers, smartphones or cybercafés. It is recommended that more emphasis be placed on Blended learning, which is the combination of traditional learning and online learning experiences. It is also recommended that university administrations, attempt to ensure that all students have access to personal computers and a reliable internet connection. If this can be done, preferably from the first year of study, students will be able to become conversant with the technologies needed for blended learning with a view to enhance academic performance. Finally, it is recommended that government subsidies for CBT devices and facilities would also help in promoting CBT usage and blended learning. Government policy in this respect should ideally involve all stakeholders, such as university management, lecturers and student representative bodies; as well as potential ICT funding partners.