59th ILA International Conference on Managing Libraries in the Changing Information World, IIT Roorkee
INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY COMPETENCY OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE STUDENTS IN KERALA Mohamed Haneefa K.1, Madhu E.S.2 and Aswathy T Ashok3 1
Assistant Professor, Department of Library & Information Science, University of Calicut, Kerala. E-mail - [email protected]
2 Research Scholar, Department of Library & Information Science, University of Calicut, Kerala. E-mail - [email protected]
3 Librarian, Al-Azhar College of Engineering and Technology, Idukki, Kerala.
ABSTRACT This study aims to determine the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) competency of the Library and Information Science students in the Universities in Kerala. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the students and Microsoft Excel was used for data analysis. The study reveals that most of the students have to undergone high level ICT education to improve their ICT competency. The use of ICT based resources and services, library automation and digital library software is moderate among the students. But the use of general purpose application software is very high among the students. The use of subject databases and content management software is very low among the students. Majority of the students had confidence in routine ICT and internet tasks and they need training and exposure to high level ICT tasks. Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, ICT skills, ICT Competency, ICT Literacy, Information Literacy, Library and Information Science students. 1. INTRODUCTION Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is considered as the building blocks of the modern educational and knowledge society. It plays a vital role in the higher educational system in India. ICT refers to the range of technologies that are applied in the process of collecting, storing, editing, retrieving, and transfer of information in various forms (Olakulehin, 2007). This broad definition of ICT includes such
technologies as radio, television, video, DVD, telephone, satellite systems, and computer and network hardware and software, as well as the equipment and services associated with these technologies, such as videoconferencing, e-mail and blogs (UNESCO, 2007). All over the world, the higher education centers are grappling with how to incorporate themselves to cope with the new challenges and opportunities posed by ICT. In a developing nation like India, the ICT competencies are very much important for those 213
who want to enter into a rising employment market. Besides that, the increased use of ICT in higher education the students need to excel in ICT competencies and skills to learn effectively. According to UNESCO the successful integration of ICT into the classroom will depend on the ability of teachers to structure the learning environment in new ways, to merge new technology with a new pedagogy, to develop socially active classrooms, encouraging co-operative interaction, collaborative learning and group work. This requires a different set of classroom management skills. The teaching skills of the future will include the ability to develop innovative ways of using technology to enhance the learning environment, and to encourage technology literacy, knowledge deepening and knowledge creation (UNESCO, 2011). 1.1 ICT Competency A recent study showed that (Bembridge, Levett-jones, and Jeong, 2011) the transferability of ICT competency from university to the work place is impacted by a range of educational, individual, organizational and contextual factors. In another study, Hosein, Ramanau and Jones (2010) concluded that frequency of using ICT was related to student’s perceived competence in the tool. These results might have an impact on the repurposing of living technologies for use as learning technologies. Levett-Jones’s et al. (2009) study showed that, the students were resistant to the use of ICT as an educational methodology and lacked the requisite skills and confidence to engage successfully with this educational approach. Al-Daihani, (2011) conducted a study to describe ICT education in Library and Information Science programs. It is found that the participants showed dissatisfaction with the currently available ICT courses in the LIS programs. Students pointed out deficiencies and inadequacies in ICT resources and facilities, and suggested upgrading software and hardware. In this changing scenario of educational system, the librarians must play a vital role in managing electronic information in an effective way. But a study conducted by Nath, Bahl and Kumar (2007) showed that a low level of ICT knowledge amongst librarians and a general lack of formal training for ICTs amongst the academic librarians. A study about the ICT literacy among the library professionals reveals that the professional assistants are more ICT literates than the junior librarians and Assistant Librarians. The use of digital library and institutional repository software is very low among the library professionals (Haneefa and Shukkor, 2010).
1.2 Perception, Awareness & Attitude towards ICT A most recent study about the perception and attitudes towards ICT revealed that majority of the students possessing a positive attitude towards ICT (Mohamed, Aik, Yi, Abdullah and Dom, 2011). It becomes imperative that students should be equipped with digital literacy competencies in order to exploit information resources that the electronic age produces. School leavers may not possess the necessary computer skills for their university education although they have been using electronic devices frequently (Nash, 2009). In fact, there is an urgent need for ICT training to be given to fresh university students in order to obtain successful learning outcomes from the use of ICT and to satisfy the needs of their future employers. The most important ICT training needs should include skills development to assist ICT teaching and learning approaches for subject specific areas of specialization; maintenance training; research oriented training on ICT use for data analysis; spread sheets; and programs. The ICT awareness programs significantly enhance students’ computer and internet self-efficacy and their positive attitudes towards computers and the internet, while significantly reducing their computer anxiety (Papastergious, 2010). A recent survey showed that ICT literacy among teachers in higher educational sector in India is very low (Sinha, 2008). A developing country like India must have ICT literate teachers in order to provide young dynamic students with high quality ICT awareness. The successful integration of ICT into the classroom will depend on the ability of teachers to structure the learning environment in new ways, to merge new technology with a new pedagogy, to develop socially active classrooms, encouraging co-operative interaction, collaborative learning and group work. Education has largely contributed to an increase in developing knowledge, providing an enabling environment for innovation and in building human capital required for a potential future knowledge economy. Global reforms in education and challenging ICT demands have made a remarkable shift in the structure of the enabling ICT environment and the utilization of ICT technologies in education. Such technologies have become the key driver of the digital network in an era of technology-driven education. More schools and communities now have access to ICT resources to join the global economy with knowledge workers who have 21st century skills and are inspired by life-long learning. Similar efforts exist around the world, which also aim at advancing education for better literacy. This community of expertise in “ICTs in Education” is intended as a contribution to bring together scientists, public authorities, businesses, academics, civil society organizations and other interested 215
groups and students to understand challenges for sustainable education in the global context; identify the potential of ICT to advance and improve education; share knowledge and best practices about successful policies in global education; create venues of collaboration; and consolidate responsible communities for more access to ICT resources of knowledge and content. Information and Communication Technology is an important element for the effectiveness of educational system. ICT resources and services help the users or students for improving high-level information handling skills, to have through knowledge in the new methods and technologies, problem solving and decision making. The purpose of the study was to explore the ICT competence of the Library and Information Science students in Kerala. 3. RESEARCH DESIGN The universe of the study was the Library and Information Science students in the Universities in Kerala. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the students of Departments of Library and Information Science of the University of Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University (M.G University), University of Calicut and Kannur University. There were 194 regular students in these Departments, which include 42 (21.6 per cent) students from the University of Kerala, 47 (14.2 per cent) students from the University of Calicut, 68 (35.1 per cent) students from the Mahatma Gandhi University and 37 (19.1 per cent) students from the Kannur University. Data were collected from all the students and analysed and interpreted statistically. 4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS 4.1 Computer Literacy The introduction of technology in the delivery of education is becoming of paramount importance to institutions in India. The teaching of computer literacy to all students is of increasing importance as the dramatic increase in the use of the computer has come to the point that its use for a range of learning tasks is now a basic learning skill, as much as taking notes or reading texts. The students were asked to indicate their computer literacy and it was found that a large majority (92.8 per cent) of the students are computer literates, while a very few (7.2 per cent) students responded negatively. 4.2 Computer Education Possessed by the Students The application of modern ICT in the construction of educational paradigms has irrevocably changed the way in which the teaching, learning and evaluation of 216
Library and Information Science are done in this century. ICT is seen as the electricity of the information age and its access to Library and Information Science education as a key to the process of development. The rapid advances being made in ICT, particularly in the Internet, have very important implications for education, educators and learners. Table 1 depicts the status of computer education possessed by the Library and Information Science Students in Kerala. The analysis shows that a majority of the students (61.3 per cent) have undergone short term courses. Very few students have undergone DCA course (23.7 per cent), PGDCA course (4.6 per cent) and other courses (3.1 per cent), which include DCFA, CTTC, and MCFA. Table 1 Computer Education Possessed by the Students Computer Courses
2 3 4
DCA PGDCA Others
46(23.7%) 9(4.6%) 6(3.1%)
4.3 Use of Information and Communication Technology Tools/Devices/Utilities Technology changes rapidly and so do the specific tools available for education. As new technologies are introduced, it is critical that their cost and impact in various educational situations is thoroughly examined. While evidence shows that it is the actual application of the ICT tool that is the most important determinant of its effectiveness for educational purposes, the choice of tools is quite large, and each tool has its own advantages and disadvantages. Students were asked to indicate their use of the ICT tools/devices/utilities and the responses are summarized in the table 2. The analysis shows that most (98.5 per cent) of the students use DVD which include, frequently (48.5 per cent), rarely (19.1 per cent), occasionally (30.9 per cent) and very few (1.5 per cent) of them have not used it. Large majority of them use CD-ROM (93.3 per cent) and Laptop (85.1 per cent). Majority of them use Printer (77.3 per cent) which include, frequently (24.3 per cent), rarely (27.0 per cent), and occasionally (32.4 per cent) and very few (16.2 per cent) of them have not used it yet. Majority use Scanner (60.3 per cent) and Ipad (56.0 per cent). Few of them use Smartcard (32.5 per cent) and very few of them use Fax (21.65 per cent). 217
Table 2 Use of ICT Tools/Devices by Students Sl. No.
Not Yet used
4.4 Use of Information and Communication Technology Services ICT has changed the traditional methods of library activities and services providing new dimensions for learning and research in higher educational institutions. With the help of ICT services, it is possible to search, retrieve, disseminate and organize information by creating websites and databases. Students were asked whether they use any of the ICT services and the responses are summarized in the table 3. The analysis shows that most of the students use E-mail (98.5 per cent), and Search engines (95.9 per cent) of which majority (63.9 per cent) of them use E-mail frequently, very few of them (19.6 per cent) use rarely and occasionally(14.9 per cent). Approximately half (50.5 per cent) of them uses Search engines frequently, few (25.8 per cent) of them use occasionally and very few (19.6 per cent) of them use rarely. Large majority of the students use WWW (93.8 per cent), E-Journals (92.8 per cent), Social Networking Sites (90.7 per cent), OPAC/Web OPAC (90.2 per cent) and Mailing list (84.0 per cent), majority (79.4 per cent) of them use Chatting, Video sharing (72.2 per cent), Database (69.6 per cent), Audio sharing (68.0 per cent), Blogs (58.2 per cent), Video conferencing (54.6 per cent), and E-Book (52.6 per cent). A good number of them use Book marking (38.1 per cent), RSS (37.6 per cent) and FTP (36.6 per cent).
Table 3 Use of Information and Communication Technology Services Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
ICT Services E-mail E-book E-Journals Database WWW FTP Social Networking Sites Mailing List Search engines Chatting OPAC/Web OPAC Video sharing Audio sharing Book marking Video conferencing Blogs RSS
Frequently 124(63.9%) 21(10.8%) 72(37.1%) 46(23.7%) 90(46.4%) 16(8.2%)
Rarely 38(19.6%) 46(23.7%) 55(28.4%) 34(17.5%) 62(32.0%) 28(14.4%)
Responses Occasionally 29(14.9%) 45(23.2%) 53(27.3%) 55(28.4%) 30(15.5%) 28(14.4%)
Not Yet used 3(1.5%) 92(47.4%) 14(7.2%) 59(30.4%) 12(6.2%) 123(63.4%)
Total 191(98.5%) 102(52.6%) 180(92.8%) 135(69.6%) 182(93.8%) 71(36.6%)
50(25.8%) 98(50.5%) 49(25.3%) 93(47.9%) 16(8.2%) 17(8.8%) 9(4.6%) 7(3.6%) 15(7.7%) 6(3.1%)
45(23.1%) 38(19.6%) 57(29.4%) 49(25.3%) 66(34.0%) 65(33.5%) 39(20.1%) 43(1.5%) 49(25.3%) 35(18.0%)
68(35.1%) 50(25.8%) 48(24.7%) 33(17.0%) 58(29.9%) 50(25.8%) 26(13.4%) 56(28.9%) 49(25.3%) 32(16.5%)
31(16.0%) 8(4.1%) 40(20.6%) 19(20.2%) 54(27.8%) 62(32.0%) 120(61.9%) 88(45.4%) 81(86.2%) 121(62.4%)
163(84.0%) 186(95.9%) 154(79.4%) 175(90.2%) 140(72.2%) 132(68.0%) 74(38.1%) 106(54.6%) 113(58.2%) 73(37.6%)
4.5 Use of Software Computers and Information Technologies are the integral part of our life. A number of services provided by the libraries are in electronic or digital form. So the Library and Information Science Students should be well aware of these software and technologies. This portion analyses the students’ use of different types of software. 4.5.1 Use of Application Software Application software is a defined subclass of computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly to a task that the user wishes to perform. The students were asked to indicate their use of different application software and the responses are summarized in the table 4. The analysis shows that, most (97.9 per cent) of the students use MSWord. A Large majority (90.7 per cent) of them use Microsoft Excel and Power point (82.5 per cent). A good number (41.2 per cent) of the students use Photoshop.
Table 4 Use of Application Software Sl. No.
4.5.2 Use of Operating System Operating system is a large and complex software component for the operation and control of the computer system. It acts as an intermediary between a user and the computer system. The students were asked to indicate the use of operating system and the responses can be seen from the table 5. The analysis shows that large majority (90.7 per cent) of the students use Microsoft Windows. Majority (57.2 per cent) of the students use Linux and very few of them use DOS (18.0 per cent) and UNIX (9.3 per cent). Table 5 Use of Operating System Sl. No 1 2 3 4
Operating System Windows Linux Unix DOS
Responses (N=194) 176(90.7%) 111(57.2%) 18(9.3%) 35(18.0%0
4.5.3 Use of Library Automation Software In this changing era of knowledge society Library and information centers must require constant positive changes to meet the need of its user. The invention of computer has brought in a rapid change in the society. Library automation not only improves the image of the library staff but also provides additional services to the users with the existing staff. The students were asked to indicate their use of Library Automation software and the responses are summarized in the table 6.
Table 6 Use of Library Automation Software Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Library Automation Software Libsys Soul Koha Winisis Libsoft CDS/ISIS
Responses (N=194) 53(27.3%) 64(33.0%) 61(94.0%) 22(11.3%) 12(6.2%) 35(18.0%)
It is found that a large majority (94.0 per cent) of the students uses Koha. Few of them use SOUL (33.0 per cent) and Libsys (27.3 per cent). Very few of them use CDS/ISIS (18.0 per cent), Winisis (11.3 per cent) and Libsoft (6.2 per cent). 4.5.4 Use of Digital Library/Institutional Repository Software Institutional repositories and digital libraries are now being created to manage, preserve, and maintain the digital assets and intellectual output. Librarians are taking leadership roles in planning and building these repositories, fulfilling their roles as experts in collecting, describing, preserving, and providing stewardship for documents and digital information. The students were asked to indicate the use of digital library/institutional repository software and the responses are summarized in the table 7. Table 7 Use of Digital Library/Institutional Repository Software
Digital Library/ Institutional Repository software
The analysis shows that, a few students use the Digital Library and Institutional Repository Software like Greenstone (24.7 per cent). Very few students use DSpace (13.9 per cent), E-print (5.2 per cent) and Fedora (1.5 per cent).
4.5.5 Use of Content Management Software A content management system (CMS) is a software program that allows publishing and formatting of digital content in a consistent and structured manner. A CMS makes it easier to deliver digital information anytime, anywhere, on any device, consistent with the open content principles of the Digital Government Strategy. The students were asked to indicate the use of content management software and the responses can be seen from the table 8. The table depicts that, a few students use Content Management Software like Joomla (9.3 per cent), Drupal (5.2 per cent), Mambo and Custom CMS development (1.0 per cent). Table 8 Use of Content Management Software Sl. No.
Content Management Software
Custom CMS Development
4.6 Use of Database A database is an organized collection of data. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality in a way that supports processes requiring this information. Subject databases are databases that are discipline specific. Unlike a general database, a subject database helps you locate articles in a specific discipline or field. The students were asked to indicate the use of databases and the responses are summarized in the table 9. The analysis shows that a few students use database like Science Direct (6.2 per cent), Emerald and Pubmed (4.1 per cent), WINSIS, (3.6 per cent), SpingerLink (2.1 per cent) and JCC Infonet (1.0 per cent).
Table 9 Use of Databases Sl. No. 1 2 4 5 6 7
Databases Emerald JCC Infonet Pubmed Science direct SpingerLink WINSIS
Responses 8(4.1%) 2(1.0%) 8(4.1%) 12(6.2%) 4(2.1%) 7(3.6%)
4.7 Use of Search Engines Search engines are the single largest source of web traffic. Search engines have become an essential tool for both the Internet and Intranets. A search engine is any software program that searches for sites based on the words users have keyed in, that have to do with the subject of their interest. Search engines are the work horses of the World Wide Web, returning billions of responses to billions of queries every day, with the major search engines being Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask. The students were asked to indicate the use of search engines and the responses can be seen in the table 10. The analysis shows that, large majority (80 per cent) of the students use Google. The use of Yahoo by students is very low when compared to Google (47.9 per cent). Very few students use Google Scholar (17.5 per cent), Alta Vista (8.2 per cent), Rediff (5.2 per cent), Hotmail (4.6 per cent), MSN (3.6 per cent), and Lycos (1.0 per cent). Very few (3.1 per cent) of the students use other search engines like Ask, Encite and Info seek. Table 10 Use of Search Engines Sl. No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Search Engines Google Yahoo Rediff Alta Vista Google Scholar MSN Lycos Hotmail Others
Responses (N=194) 155(80.0%) 93(47.9%) 10(5.2%) 16(8.2%) 34(17.5%) 7(3.6%) 2(1.0%) 9(4.6%) 6(3.1%)
4.8 Use of Database Management System Database Management System (DBMS) is a software system that uses a standard method of cataloging, retrieving, and running queries on data. The DBMS manages incoming data, organizes it, and provides ways for the data to be modified or extracted by users or other programs. The students were asked to indicate the use of DBMS and the responses can be seen in the table 11. The analysis shows that, a good number (37.3 per cent) of the students use MS Access and very few use CDS/ISIS (23.7 per cent), MySQL (11.9 per cent) and Oracle (5.7 per cent). Table 11 Use of Database Management System Sl. No. 1 2 3 4
DBMS CDS/ISIS MS Access MySQL Oracle
Responses 46(23.7%) 53(37.3%) 23(11.9%) 11(5.7%)
4.9 Confidence of the Students in Using Information and Communication Technology Data were collected about the confidence level of the students. These tasks fell in to three categories: routine tasks (Open a file, Save a computer document/file, Print a computer document/file, Moves files from one place to another on a computer and Copy a file from a CD-ROM), Internet tasks (such as download files from the internet, Attach a file to an E-mail message, Download music from the internet and Write and send e-mail), and High- level ICT tasks (Use a spreadsheet to plot a graph, Use software to find and get rid of computer viruses, Create a multimedia Presentation, Construct a web page, and Create a computer program). 4.9.1 Confidence in Routine ICT Tasks Certain tasks that make use of ICT tools are repetitive, strictly governed and make strong demands on attention and mental awareness. The students were asked to indicate their confidence in routine ICT tasks and the responses are summarized in the table 12. The analysis shows that most of the students are well confident in doing routing ICT tasks which include open a file (97.4 per cent), and save a computer document/file (95.4per cent). Very few of them indicated that they can do these functions with the help of others. In this case all students are aware in these tasks, but some of them cannot do these ICT tasks.
Table 12 Confidence in routine ICT Tasks Responses Sl. No.
1 2 3 4 5
Open a file Save a computer document/file Print a computer document/file Moves files from one place to another on a computer Copy a file from CD-ROM
I can do this very well by my self
I can do this with help from someone
I know what this means but I can’t do it
I don’t know what this means
4.9.2 Confidence in Internet Tasks The internet task mainly includes the functions like copy/download files from the Internet, attach a file to an E-mail message, download music from the internet and write and send E-mail. The students were asked to indicate their confidence in Internet tasks and table 13 depicts the responses. Table 13 Confidence in Internet Tasks Responses Sl. No.
1 2 3 4
Copy/download files from the Internet Attach a file to an E-mail message Download music from the internet Write and send E-mail
I can do this very well by myself
I can do this I know with help what this from means but someone I can’t do it
I don’t know what this means
The analysis shows that large majority of the students can do internet tasks very well which include copy or download files from the internet (88.7 per cent) and write and send E-mail (87.6 per cent). Majority of them can attach a file to an E-mail message (74.2 per cent) and download music from the internet (73.7 per cent). Very few of 225
them respond that they can do internet tasks with the help of someone and very few of them know what this means but they can’t do these task. 4.9.3 Confidence in High-Level ICT task Self-confidence in ICT high level tasks was helpful in students’ reading literacy. Developing self-confidence in computer tasks involves engaging students in meaningful and purposeful tasks by oneself. This is related to computer access rate and integration of ICT across curriculum. The students were asked to indicate their confidence in high-level ICT tasks and the responses are summarized in the table 14. The analysis shows that, the students are poor in High-Level ICT task. Majority (62.9 per cent) of the students are well confident in the use a spreadsheet to plot a graph. Few of them can create a multimedia presentation (33.5 per cent), construct a webpage (27.3 per cent themselves) and can use software to find and get rid of computer viruses (21.6 per cent). Majority of the students can use software to find, get rid of computer viruses (57.2 per cent) and construct a webpage (51.0 per cent) with the help of some one. A good number of them can create a computer program (44.3 per cent) and use spreadsheet to plot a graph (35.5 per cent) with the help of some one. Very few of them know what this means but they can’t do these task and very few of them are unaware of the use of High-Level ICT task tasks. The analysis shows that the students are not better in High-Level ICT tasks. Majority of the students are well confident in the use a spreadsheet to plot a graph. Majority of the students can use software to find and get rid of computer viruses and construct a web page with the help of some one. Very few of them know what this High-Level ICT task tasks means but they can’t do these task and very few of them are unaware of the use of High-Level ICT task tasks.
Table 14 Confidence in High-Level ICT task
Responses I know what I don’t I can do this this means know what with help from but I can’t do this someone it means 65 2 5 (35.5%) (1.0%) (2.6%)
High-Level ICT task
I can do this very well by myself
Use a spreadsheet to plot a graph Use software to find and get rid of computer viruses
122 (62.9%) 42 (21.6%)
Create a multimedia presentation
Construct a web page
Create a computer program
31 (16.0%) 20 (10.3%)
10 (5.2%) 15 (7.7%)
5. CONCLUSION The findings of this study showed a moderate level of ICT competency among the respondents. Majority of the students have computer literacy but when considering the high level ICT competency the responses are very low. Now a day’s a number of services provided by libraries are in electronic or digital form, so the Library and Information Science students must aware in library software and technologies to adapt with their future employment opportunities. From the findings, it is clear that the critical factor of institutional provision of ICT infrastructure has not yet been reached. One not only needs the infrastructure available, but also the personal skills in order to use ICT. It is evident from the literature that unless the issue of ICT competency is addressed, it can itself be a barrier to students’ learning. We suggest that special funds be created to stimulate the ICT supported education among higher educational sector in Kerala. Regarding future research, further studies must be carried out to understand the ICT competency among students and faculty members of different disciplines in higher education sector in Kerala.
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