Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies by Distance Learners at the Open University of Tanzania Library in Accessing Academic Information.

Isowe , Lilian Dickson (2016) Utilization of Information and Communication Technologies by Distance Learners at the Open University of Tanzania Library in Accessing Academic Information. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, The Open University of Tanzania.

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Abstract

The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) has integrated information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in all its functions in order to improve delivery of its services. Significant investment has been made by OUT management and donors in providing electronic library services to ensure distance learners have access to academic information and other related services. However, past studies show the library resources and services are underutilized. The aim of this study was to investigate the utilization of ICTs by distance learners in accessing academic information and suggest a model to improve access and use of ICTs by distance learners. The objectives of the study were to: examine how distance learners in Tanzania use ICTs when seeking information resources for their academic endeavours; determine the perceptions of distance learners towards ICTs; establish the ICT knowledge and skills of distance learners; explore the ICTs utilized by distance learners at OUT library; determine factors which hinder better utilization of ICTs; and suggest measures for improving access and use of ICTs by distance learners at the OUT library, and propose a framework for improved ICTs use at OUT library. The study was informed by Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) developed by Venkatesh et al. (2003). Qualitative research methods were employed with some quantitative techniques, using a case study research approach. A combination of purposive and stratified random sampling techniques were employed to obtain 60 postgraduate students, 100 undergraduate students and five key informants. Data was collected through semi-structured interview schedules complimented by self-administered questionnaires and observation. Qualitative data was analysed thematically based on the objectives and research questions while quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and presented using frequency distribution tables and bar charts. The findings revealed that distance learners; used internet-search engines more than the library webpage when searching online information, had positive perception towards the use and value of e-resources, had low level of awareness about availability OUT e-library, had limited access to computers and internet, had limited ICT skills and relied on study/course materials. The study concludes that despite the availability of e-resources at OUT library, a number of challenges have inhibited them to be utilized by students in an optimal manner. The following recommendations were made; an improvement of ICT infrastructure and facilities,increased marketing strategies, continuous training in ICT and information skills, and continuous collaboration between librarians and instructors in encouraging distance learners to utilize e-library resources.

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 020 Library & information sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr Habibu V. Kazimzuri
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 11:40
Last Modified: 23 May 2017 12:12
URI: http://repository.out.ac.tz/id/eprint/1523

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