INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) AND THE MANAGEMENT OF DISTANCE EDUCATION IN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (NOUN) IN BENUE STATE


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INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) AND THE MANAGEMENT OF DISTANCE EDUCATION IN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (NOUN) IN BENUE STATE                                                                     ABSTRACT:     This study investigated the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the management of Distant Education in Benue State. Five research questions and five research hypotheses guided the study. The related literature review which was done under conceptual/theoretical framework, empirical studies and summary, identified the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the management of Distant Education. The descriptive survey design was adopted for the study. The population of the study comprised of is 2980 distant education learners, from various online learning platforms of various individual institutions like National Open University (NOUN) portal that was accessed online by Benue State learners that participated within Benue State. A sample of 450 distant learners out of 2,980 in Benue State constituted the sample of the study. A- 20 item structured questionnaire developed by the researcher titled ''The Impact of ICT in managing Distance Education in Benue State (ICTMDEB) was used for the collection of data for the study. Descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation were used to answer research questions while the chi-square x2 test of goodness of fit was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings revealed that ICT significantly impact on infrastructures, record keeping, pedagogy and e-learning, communication and Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) in Distance Education in Benue State. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended among others that appropriate school authorities of Distance education learners in Benue State and in the Diaspora should enable to make adequate provision of ICT infrastructure such as computer networking, telephones, interactive video, multi-media and satellite computer/internet. This will aids school administrators to convey to students and teachers a degree of depth of the comprehension which would have been impossible to achieve through the spoken or printed words alone. It was also suggested by the researcher among others that a study should be undertaken on the relationship between Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and effective performance of distance education learners in Benue State.TABLE OF CONTENTSContents                                         PageTitle Page    --    -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -       iApproval Page        -    -    -    -    -    -           iiDedication        -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -       iiiAcknowledgements     -    -    -    -    -    -    -       ivTable of Contents        -    -    -    -    -    -       vList of Tables         -    -    -    -    -    -          viiList of Appendices        -    -    -    -    -    -      viiiAbstract         -    -    -    -    -    -    -    -       ixCHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION                    page1.1 Background to the Study......................................................11.2 Statement of the Problem......................................................51.3 Purpose of the Study.............................................................71.4 Research Questions...............................................................81.5 Research Hypotheses.............................................................81.6 Significance of Study..............................................................91.7 Scope of the Study................................................................111.8 Operational Definition of Terms..............................................12CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE2.0     Introduction.....................................................................142.1     Conceptual Framework......................................................142.1.1 Concept of ICT...................................................................142.1.2 Concept of Management......................................................192.1.3 Concept of Management of Distance Education......................242.1.4 ICT and Infrastructure in Distance Education..........................292.1.5 ICT and Record Keeping in Distance Education.......................352.1.6 ICT and pedagogy and E-learning in Distance Education..........382.1.7 ICT and Communication in Distance Education.......................402.1.8 Computer assisted Instruction (CAI) and Distance Education....402.1.9 Theoretical Framework..........................................................422.2.1   Human Relations Theory.....................................................432.1.8   The Communications Centre Theory....................................462.2      Empirical Studies...............................................................492.3      Summary..........................................................................59CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY3.0   Introduction.........................................................................633.1   Research Design..................................................................633.2   Area of Study......................................................................633.3   Population.........................................................................653.4   Sample and Sampling.........................................................653.5    Instrument for Data Collection............................................663.6    Validity of Instrument........................................................673.7    Reliability of the Instrument................................................673.8    Method of Data Collection..................................................683.9    Method of Data Analysis....................................................69CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS, INTERPRETATION AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS4.1    Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation.................     524.1.1    Analysis of Research Questions    .................................. 524.1.2     Research Hypotheses Testing    .................................     604.2    Discussion of Findings………………………………………………….     64CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDIES5.1    Summary,    -………………………………………………………………     685.2    Conclusion    ………………………………………………………………     695.3    Recommendations    ……………………………………………..     705.4    Limitations of the Study    ……………………………………..     715.5    Suggestions for further Studies    ……………………………….     72    References    …………………………………………………………….     73    Appendices    …………………………………………………………………    78 CHAPTER ONE                    INTRODUCTION1.1 Background to the Study ICT (information and communications technology - or technologies) is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing: radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them, such as videoconferencing and distance learning.Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is simply an umbrella or catch-all term to encompass everything related to computing, software, information, networking and communications technologies. If it has or uses software controlled electronic circuitry or is a technology that helps people or devices communicate with each other, it’s ICT.That doesn’t mean existing ICT related terms go away. ICT doesn’t replace computer hardware or software, information technology, information sciences, computer science, telecommunications or any other existing terms. However, all of these fields or terms are related, and at a high level, we should be aware of how they are inter-related, inter-dependent, co-evolving and converging. At a high level, we need to be able to fit these various pieces together and understand what they are, what they do and how they are used.Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) education is basically our society’s efforts to teach its current and emerging citizens valuable knowledge and skills around computing and communications devices, software that operates them, applications that run on them and systems that are built with them.ICT is complex and quickly changing, and it is confusing for many people. It is so pervasive in the modern world that everyone has some understanding of it, but those understandings are often wildly divergent. (Source: http//www.mpictorg/ict_education_defined_importance.html)The e-learning is not a new phenomenon in promoting education in some parts of world. Presently, some institutions in Nigeria are using it to promote distance education (DE) and life long learning. e-learning according to Sale (2002), is the use of electronic technology to deliver education and training applications, monitor learner’s performance and report learner’s progress. Hedge and Hayward (2004), defined it as an innovative approach for delivering electronically mediated, well-designed, learner-centered and interactive learning environments to anyone, anyplace, anytime by utilizing the internet and digital technologies in concern with instructional design principles. It is all about learning with the use of computers. In this age, learning with the use of computer is simply online ways of acquiring knowledge through the internet or through the offline – CD-ROM. The online involves the use of Internet Explorer/Navigator. It may be in form of Audio, Visual, and or Audio/Visual. The convergence of the internet and learning, or Internet enabled learning is called e-learning.The applications and process of e-learning include computer-based learning, web-based learning, virtual classroom and digital collaboration where contents is delivered via the internet, intranet/extranet, audio and or video tapes, satellite TV and CD-ROM (Islam 1997).(ICT’s) in education in the developed countries facilitated the establishment of 100% ICT – based University known as Virtual Universities. Here in Nigeria, very few of our conventional universities are now carrying out their academic activities through one form of ICT or the other. While the urge to embark on e-learning is still a dream to some because their infrastructure of ICT’s is very weak. The rapid expansion of ICTs in Nigeria offers an opportunity to consider its use in the promotion of DE. It offers students considerable benefits including increase access to learning opportunities, convenience of time, and place, making available a greater variety of learning resources, improve opportunities for individualized learning and emergence of more powerful cognitive tools (Khan, 1996, Pierre, 1998).Distance Education (DE) is a system of education characterized by physical separation between the teacher and the learner in which instruction is deliver through a variety of media including print and other ICTs to learner who may either have missed the opportunity earlier in life or have been denied the face-to-face formal education due to socio-economic, career, family and other circumstances. Jegede, (2003) defined distance education as education provided by a mode other than the conventional face-to-face method whose goals are similar to and just as noble and practical as those of on-campus full time face-to-face education.Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are technologies used to communicate, create, manage and distribute information. A broad definition of ICTs includes computers, the internet, telephone, television, radio, satellite and audiovisual equipment (Wolf and Mackinnnon, 2002).  Information and communication technology (ICT) in education has been continuously linked to higher efficiency, higher productivity, and higher educational outcomes, including the quality of cognitive, creative and innovative thinking. In response to the global imperative of Education for All, and not willing to be left at the lower side of the ‘digital divide’, Nigeria launched the Universal Basic Education in 1999 and developed an ICT policy in 2001. One of the objectives of the policy focused on integrating ICT into the mainstream of education and training, including basic education. This has been evolving through a number of private and donor's funded initiatives though there is the need to ensure effective and sustained use of ICT in mainstream formal education system. This study explores the impact of ICT on managing distance education in Benue state.    Ajagun (2003) refers to Information and Communication Technology as a whole range of technologies involved in information processing, electronic communications, such as the computer, internet or videos, television, interface boxes, satellite connections, software and all materials which are employed by principals and teachers for teaching and learning in schools.The ability for users to communicate, collaborate and exchange information online is especially important for global learning. In this context, ICTs typically refer to computers, computer networks and the internet and, increasingly, other devices that can be used as network or internet access devices (such as hand-held portable or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and mobile phones) for the management of distant education in Benue State.     ICTs are the key enabler of the knowledge society. Those who have easy and affordable access to ICTs and communication networks can participate fully, while those without have fewer opportunities and remain trapped in pre-knowledge economy forms of economic activity. Seen within the context of the transition to the knowledge society, the following according to are the broad objectives for developing the pervasive use of ICTs within Education Systems. ⦁    To development knowledge society attributes in students. This includes the development of higher-order thinking skills, lifelong learning habits and the ability to think critically, communicate and collaborate and access, evaluate and synthesize information. ⦁    To develop ICT skills and competencies in students, as preparation for operating in an ICT rich workplace and society. ⦁    To address structural problems and deficits in education systems. This can include using ICTs to enhance administrative and teaching efficiency; alleviate under-reasoning in specific areas (e.g. a lack of textbooks or learning support materials); address equity issues through enabling equality of access to knowledge, resources and expertise; or support teachers who may be under-equipped to deal with new teaching challenges. (Lawal, 1995; Aderinoye 2002, Afe, 2006).Because of the wide-ranging potential impact of ICTs, they are often associated with radical rather than incremental transformation processes. ICT-in-education programmes could benefit from a strong association with curriculum change processes and other system-wide changes, such as moves towards decentralization, school-based management and learner-centered philosophies.     For ICTs to deliver meaningful results in the management of education, a number of related elements need to be in place. These can be thought of as interlocking pieces in a value chain. One description of these elements as a value chain is: ⦁    Preparing all sectors of the education system to understand the investment in and value of technology⦁    Preparing schools to accept the technology ⦁    Procuring and installing the technology (both hardware and software) ⦁    Training teachers to use ICTs ⦁    Integrating ICTs into the curriculum ⦁    Providing ongoing technical support In essence, this means that implementing ICTs in Distance education in Benue State calls for a holistic, system-wide approach with investment balanced appropriately in different areas and implementation elements smoothly integrated. If too many elements are missing or under-resourced, the investment in Distance Education in Benue State is unlikely to be successful and cost-effective and this could affect the effective and efficient management of Distant Education (Haddad, 2002).   Owing to the fact that if successfully managed, Open and Distance learning can add huge benefit to the society, and can also supplement the shortage of tetiary institutions in the state as well as serve as a medium to bridge the gap in the pursuit of tertiary education in Benue state.Open and Distance learning is characterized by the following societal expectations, among others (Van den and Schlusmans 1989):⦁    Making education less expensive⦁    Enabling more people take part in cultural life⦁    Relieving the overcrowded traditional universities⦁     Enabling more people to study while working⦁    Encouraging lifelong learning⦁     Making people gain more qualifications to enable them survive in today’s employment world⦁     Opening up access to university for students without formal entrance qualificationsDISTANCE EDUCATION IN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (NOUN) The need for Open and Distance Education (ODE) in Nigeria is an important issue for several cogent reasons. Firstly, the vast majority of the population lives below poverty level. They are unable to attend urban based institutions and thus remain deprived of higher education despite their superior merit. Secondly, those who joined workforce without completing their studies or education due to family commitments are unable to combine their work with studies and very few of them who have strong desire for higher studies could not do so because of the limited offer in the traditional institution of higher learning. Thirdly, the radition of childhood, early marriage and religious belief in the country deprives the majority of female population from higher education. Besides, there are some other usual factors like physical disabilities, remoteness of localities, exorbitant tuition fees in most privately owned Universities and so on. These are some of the major issues responsible for why millions of Nigerians are deprived of higher education despite their knee interest and eligibilities. ODE provides avenues for higher education for such a vast under-privileged population. Nigeria is generously endowed with human resources that need to be well equipped with literacy and skills to contribute to economic development, which is badly needed for this country. Thus, it is crystal clear that the way forward is to embrace ODE using both hands and supported by all necessary financial and infrastructural commitments.HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (NO UN)The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was established in July, 1983, by an Act of the National Assembly as the first distance learning tertiary institution in Nigeria when it became crystal clear to the then Federal Government that the ever growing demand for education by her people cannot be met by the traditional means of face-to-face classroom instructional delivery. The institution was closed down few weeks after its establishment and the Act that established the University was suspended in 1984 by the then Federal Military Government that overthrew the civilian government. Many years after the closure, the compelling reasons that informed the earlier establishment of the university as well as the need to fill the gap created by the Federal Government clamped down on mushroom outreach study centres of many conventional universities all over the country and the need to take advantage of emerging developments in the field of ICTs which have revolutionalized the techniques and methods of instructional deliveries in the distance learning mode necessitated the reactivation of the suspended NOUN Act of 1983 in 2002. This paved the way for the resuscitation of the NOUN.In line with the National Policy on Education, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the National Open University of Nigeria in 2002 with the mission statement of providing functional, cost-effective, flexible learning which adds life-long value to quality education for all who seek knowledge. Learner Support is therefore designed to accomplish this mission and is one of the unique features of the National Open University of Nigeria. The main thrust of Learner Support Services in NOUN is to facilitate quality learning at a distance through interactive activities and prevent students from dropping out of their programmes.    ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTUREDEPUTY VICE- CHANCELLOR (ACADEMIC)REGISTRAR BURSAR  DEPUTY VICE- CHANCELLOR (ADMINISTRATION   LIBRARIAN * ACADEMIC MATTERS OF SCHOOLS* STUDY CENTRE DIRECTORS  * ACADEMIC AFFAIRS* HUMAN RESOURCES * CONCIL AFFAIRS * ANTI CORRUPTION & TRANSPARENCY UNIT * STAFF TRAINING & DEVT. GENERAL SERVICES * BOOKS & JOURNALS * COURSE TEXT & ICT * RESEARCH & BIBLIOGRAPHY * READER'S SECTION * COMPUTERISATION * EXCHANGE PROG. SEC. * VIRTUAL LIBRARY SEC. VISITORRRRROR CHANCELLORR  CHANCELLOR GOV.COUNCIL COUNCIL VICE CHANCELLOR BUDGET, FINANCE &GENERAL PURPOSES SALARIES & WAGES EXPENDITURE   DIRECTORATE OF ACADEMIC PLANNING DIRECTORATE OF EXAMS & ASSESSMENTS DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT ABUJA PLANNING OFFICE DIRECTORATE OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES DEVT. CETED LEGAL & PROTOCOL  MEDIA & INFORMATION VISITORS INFORMATION & CALL CENTRE INTERNAL AUDIT PHYSICAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE OF LEAERNER SUPPORT SERVICES DEPUTY VICE- CHANCELLOR (ACADEMIC)REGISTRAR BURSAR  DEPUTY VICE- CHANCELLOR (ADMINISTRATION   LIBRARIAN * ACADEMIC MATTERS OF SCHOOLS* STUDY CENTRE DIRECTORS  * ACADEMIC AFFAIRS* HUMAN RESOURCES * CONCIL AFFAIRS * ANTI CORRUPTION & TRANSPARENCY UNIT * STAFF TRAINING & DEVT. GENERAL SERVICES * BOOKS & JOURNALS * COURSE TEXT & ICT * RESEARCH & BIBLIOGRAPHY * READER'S SECTION * COMPUTERISATION * EXCHANGE PROG. SEC. * VIRTUAL LIBRARY SEC. VISITORRRRROR CHANCELLORR  CHANCELLOR GOV.COUNCIL COUNCIL VICE CHANCELLOR BUDGET, FINANCE &GENERAL PURPOSES SALARIES & WAGES EXPENDITURE   DIRECTORATE OF ACADEMIC PLANNING DIRECTORATE OF EXAMS & ASSESSMENTS DIRECTORATE OF PROCUREMENT ABUJA PLANNING OFFICE DIRECTORATE OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES DEVT. CETED LEGAL & PROTOCOL  MEDIA & INFORMATION VISITORS INFORMATION & CALL CENTRE INTERNAL AUDIT PHYSICAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTORATE OF LEAERNER SUPPORT SERVICES ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA (NOUN)There is no single way of organizing a distance learning institution. Distance education institutes differ in their organizational structures. A small scale distance learning system is very different from large institution. Open universities have more comprehensive organizational structures and their management compared to the distance education units in the dual mode universities. This is equally true internationally though the academic programmes are more or less the same with the conventional universities. Nigerian public universities are set up either by Acts or Decrees or Laws or Edicts which give the universities powers to make statutes in order to fulfill certain objectives. The statutes deals with and make provisions for the Council, its composition, life and functions; the Finance and General Purpose Committee; the Senate; the Congregation; the Convocation; organization of academic work in the university; Academic Boards; Boards of Studies; Deans of Teaching units; selection of certain principal officers of the university; creation of academic posts; appointment of academic staff and appointment of administrative and technical staff. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the Visitor to the university. There is a governing Council appointed by the Visitor and this body is headed by a Chancellor who presides over the meeting of the Council. Senate is the principal decision making body on academic matters of the university. The senate of the university comprises the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Registrar, Bursar, Librarian, Deans of Schools, Directors and Heads of Unit. There are six schools in the University, namely; the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the School of Education, the School of Management Sciences, the School of Law, School of Science and Technology and the School of Postgraduate Studies. Each of these schools is headed by a Dean. In addition to these schools there are other academic centres or units such as: Access and General Studies Centre, Centre for Lifelong Learning and Workplace Training, Directorate of Academic Planning, Directorate of Examinations and Assessment, Directorate of Instructional Resources and Development, Directorate of Learner Support Services, the University Library, Regional Training and Research Institute for Open and Distance Learning and Centre for Educational Technology and Entrepreneurial Development. In addition, there are 47 study centres spread all over Nigeria. They have been playing supportive role to the central administration as they act as points of contact for students and facilitators of learning.The Objectives of NOUN ⦁    To ensure equity and equality of opportunities and in university education to all;⦁    To provide a wider access to university education in Nigeria;⦁    To enhance more access to education and lifelong learning for all;⦁    To entrench a global learning culture on Nigerians;⦁    To provide instructional resources via an intensive use of information and communication technology⦁    To provide flexible but qualitative education; and ⦁    To reduce the cost, inconveniences, and hassle of and access to education and its delivery.THE ROLE OF NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA (NOUN) IN THE PROMOTION OF DISTANCE EDUCATION IN BENUE STATENOUN, a federal government – owned university, has emerged as the first dedicated University in Nigeria to introduce education through distance learning mode. The vision statement of the University is that the NOUN is to be regarded as the foremost University providing highly accessible and enhanced quality education anchored by social justice, equity, equality and national cohesion through a comprehensive reach that transcends all barriers. While the Mission statement is that NOUN is to provide functional cost-effective, flexible learning,which adds life-long value to quality education for all who seek knowledge. In addition to the broad vision and mission statements, the university has eight major objectives which are listed below:i. provide a wider access to education generally but specifically in University education in Benue state and Nigeria.ii. ensure equity and equality of opportunities in educationiii. enhance education for all and life-long learningiv. provide the entrenchment of global learning culturev. provide instructional resources via an intensive use of ICTsvi. provide flexible, but qualitative educationvii. reduce the cost, inconveniences, hassles of and access to education and its deliveryviii enhance more access to education.The e-learning has several advantages in promoting the activities of NOUN as an Open and Distance learning institution. Some of the important points are listed as follows:• NOUN students will learn what they need to learn and go at their own pace• the internet will provide NOUN students with the opportunity to make choices about the type and direction of their learning and gain feedback quickly and efficiently. This has the potential to cater for individual learning and styles and requirement providing information about a topic of personal interest.• the courses provided by NOUN in this model will have wide variety of courses based on IT and non-IT topics, which is an additional benefit to attract large number of learners from all the background.• e-learning will provide NOUN students courses round the clock i.e. 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, which further attracts working class, students and individuals.• computers with high internet infrastructure will help NOUN management to reduce the overheads cost as there won’t be any recruitment, training and up gradation of faculties.• internet activities will enable NOUN students to discover how the information they gain fits into the real life.• the internet will provide NOUN students a culturally, racially, physically and gender anonymous medium for communication. Social behaviours can be reduced as students realized that they are judged solely on what they say and how they say it.In NOUN, Study Centres are the main contact place for students learning activities. These centres are thus the backbone of the distance learning methodology of the University. Presently, NOUN has 28 study centres spread across the length and breadth of the country as against the initial 18 temporary study centres approved by the Federal Government for take off of the University in the year 2002 and Benue State has a study centre in Makurdi (Benue State Capital) and Otukpo. In addition, the university has special study centres which cater for specialized groups, such as the Prison inmates and Armed Forces personnel.The purpose of this study is to find out how ICT can be used to manage Distance and Open Education in Benue State with special attention being paid to the Administration and programme management, learner Support, Quality Assurance, Financial management and  Instructional Delivery.The survival of tertiary education institutions in the 21st century will increasingly rely on various forms of electronic delivery and communication inside a market place that requires education to be flexible. e-learning is now widely used in most of the developed countries to promote distance education (DE) and life-long learning in an effective way. In Nigeria, the recent developments and awareness of the Government on ICT have opened an opportunity to adopt e-learning to deliver distance education for educating mass of its uneducated or less educated peoples. Considering the recent expansion of ICTs in the country, NOUN could introduce some modern ICT like e-mail, web-based learning (e.g. open course wares), CD-ROM for delivering its course materials through e-learning for its learners. However, before going to introduce an advanced ICT in NOUN, it is suggested that enough research be conducted on learner’s access, cost and other related parameters essential for it.This study is will attempt to find out how various models can be used to manage and ICT driven Distance Education in Benue State. Five areas in policy and practices of Open and Distance education will be; i. Administration and Programme Managementii. learner Support Servicesiii. Quality Assuranceiv. Records and Financial managementv.  Instructional Delivery.i. Administration and Programme ManagementAn important but often overlooked variable in the practice of open and distance learning models is the management, as well as, administration of the processes involved. It is worth noting that adoption of any model of distance education and open learning will depend on the ability to manage and administer such model.Looking at the principles, Umoru-Onuka and Otu (2001) view management and administration as a means of harnessing both human and material resources in an attempt to achieve an organisational goal. To recall our memories, management and administrative domain includes organizing, directing, coordinating, and utilizing resources entrepreneurially. We note that ODL managers and administrators should be familiar with what theymanage and administer, and how to evaluate every component of an ODL programme to determine its effectiveness. The effectiveness of an ODL institution also depends upon the competence, commitment and quality of its staff. Staff appraisal systems are therefore recommendable and important aspect of effective management.ii. Learner Support ServicesThe learner support services are design to help learners study at home, their workplaces, and at their convenience.The university offers a range of support services. One of such support service is the tutor-marked assignments (TMAs), the grades of which are expected to be returned to learners with useful comments to guide student learning objectives. Other important support services are provision of tutorial sessions and counseling services at designated study centres across the country.iii. Quality AssuranceQuality service has been the watch-word at the National Open University of Nigeria. The University strictly adheres to academic quality requirements of the National University Commission (NUC). Academic quality is also assured through NOUN’s collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE), the African Council of Distance Education (ACDE), and well-established distance and open universities of the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, India, Australia, South Africa, and the African Virtual University in Kenya. The quality assurance of programmes and courses at the NOUN is modeled according to the following course development procedure adopted from Indira Ghandi National Open University(IGNOU).Okumbe (2001) observes that the quality of distance learning programmes from the input perspective can be maintained by:i. Ensuring that the curriculum for distance learners has been thoroughly discussed, improved and acceptedby the various academic organs, including the country’s highest academic organ and the University senates;ii. Finding out whether the lecturers who were recruited to teach either on a full-time or part-time basis have reputable academic credentials and professional track records;iii. Determining students’ academic and professional admission criteria that are equal or comparable to internationally acceptable university standards;iv. Ensuring that teaching and learning materials have been properly peer reviewed and edited to enhance quality; and,v. Building guidance and counseling programmes into the teaching and learning activities to ensure that students stay and complete their programmes.Quality assurance from the output perspective is ensured by:(i) Strengthening and enhancing external moderation strategies of examinations to maintain international university standards;(ii) Ensuring proper external moderation of examination scripts and grades;(iii) Soliciting the views and feedback from the employers of the distance learning graduates; and, (iv) Strengthening to guidance and counseling programmes to enhance completion/graduation rates.iv. Records and Financial managementRecords management is the process by which the records of any organization are maintained, kept, retrieved, analyzed and processed. The success of any organisation depends on the efficiency of its records management. Therefore, records on management in Open and Distance Learning is the process by which various records in ODL programmes are maintained, kept, retrieved, analyzed and processed.     The following are some of the needs for records management in ODL: • There is the need to provide accurate and timely information for various executives within the ODL institution as and when needed. • An office needs to develop and maintain an efficient system for creating, storing, retrieving, retaining and disposing information. Records management seeks to facilitate the process, and this is applicable to ODL institutions as well. • An office must preserve documents and safeguard organizational assets and records as required by law through an efficient records management.• Easy location of documents and records will be made possible through an efficient records management system. • There is the need to make comparison between performances at different times. Records management provides the only source through which such a comparison could be made. Financial management, according to Maheshwari and as cited by Akrani (2011), is concerned with raising financial resources and their effective utilization towards achieving the organizational goals. According to Bradley and as cited by Sandy (2007), Financial management is the area of business management, devoted to a judicious use of capital and a careful selection of sources of capital, in order to enable a spending unit to move in the direction of reaching its goals. Financial management then implies planning, organizing, directing and controlling financial activities such as procurement and utilization of funds of an organization, that is, applying the general management principles to financial resources of an organization. In educational institutions, including those of distance education, financial management refers to that management activity that is concerned with decisions on how to procure funds from an institution’s financial sources and how to disburse and give account of the funds so as to implement educational programmes.v.  Instructional Delivery.The NOUN’s instructional delivery system is a model of the Indira Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU).The National Open University of Nigeria does not give lectures to students as in the conventional system. Instead, the university delivers instructions through specialized study materials on the basis of self learning. The instructional delivery is, at present, through the use Printed materials and CD-ROMs. Planned future delivery modes include: Audiotapes and Videotapes; Radio and Television Broadcasts; and, Computer-mediated Learning.    Mode of delivery of instruction is very important for open and distance learning. There are two major types of mode of instruction for open and distance learning: i Mixed mode of instruction delivery system: this system uses several different media methods or deliveries such as video and e-mail. ii Single mode of instruction delivery system: this method according to Hirschbuhi (1995) does not provide enough instructional power to ignite student’s interest because they fail to provide student involvement.  As a distinct mode of imparting education, NOUN relies heavily on print materials, and face-to-face tutorial services. The use of these techniques helps NOUN to take its academic programmes to the door steps of her students far and wide. It makes room for in-house education. Considering the rapid expansion of ICT’s in the country, NOUN has commenced plan on the introduction of more electronic media like CD-ROM, e-mail, internet and interactive e-learning systems for its courses delivery Indeed, NOUN has established its own radio station in its headquarters in Lagos. The radio station is also one of the strategies to disseminate NOUN programmes to its students in Lagos to start with. Efforts are being made by the institution management towards establishing more radio station across the country to further assist in transmitting their programmes to other students in the remaining states of the federation.1.2  Statement of the Problem Over the years, institutional governing bodies have been grappling with tremendous task of evolving new and truly relevant systems of Distance Education delivery. The decline in our educational institution is palpable in every facet of the system, more especially in the area of online processing, vital information storage and retrieval, development of online content and curriculum and the overall management of Distance Education. In conventional system, learners are able to interact with one another face-to face, which is a pre-requisite to more meaningful social intercourse. Since,  there is no such facility in distance learning, web-based student learning and support system is developed and implemented using ICT to provide services in  all the different phases in student learning life cycle and also for knowledge and information sharing as done in a conventional system of education. The question now is are learners able to use this virtual method of learning to articulate and effectively arrive at the intended learning objectives? is Distance Education able to impact as much as the traditional method of education? what are the opportunity that the distance education gives over the traditional education system? what are other factors militating against the utilization of Distance Education In National Open University (Noun) in Benue State? factors like epileptic power supply, inadequate internet connectivity, poor funding, inadequate maintenance culture,  lack of trained personnel to man the systems etc are also considered. Power supply over the country is epileptic all ICT tools depend heavily on steady supply of energy if they are to function effectively. In urban cities where there is power supply, it is either irregular or regularly interrupted, which disrupts actual utilization of ICT services. The negative effect of epileptic power in Nigeria makes ICT formation dysfunctional.   The problem of this study posed in a question form is: would the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) impact and influence the management of Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State?1.3 Purpose of StudyThe main purpose of this study is to find out the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the management of Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State. Specifically, this study seeks to: 1.    determine the impact of ICT on Administration and Programme Management in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.2.    examine the impact of ICT on Learner Support Services in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.3.    ascertain the impact of ICT on Quality Assurance in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.4.    assess the impact of ICT on Records and Financial management in Distance  Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.5.    determine the impact of  Instructional Delivery on Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.1.4 Research Questions     The following research questions were raised to guide the study. 1.    How does ICT impact on Administration and Programme Management in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.2.    To what extent does ICT influence on Learner Support Services in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.3.    To what extent does ICT influence on Quality Assurance in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.4.    How does ICT influence on Records and Financial management in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.5.    How does Instructional Delivery influence Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.1.5 Research Hypotheses     The following null research hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significance. 1.    ICT does not significantly impact Administration and Programme Management in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State.2.    ICT does not significantly impact on Learner Support Services in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun).  3.    ICT does not significantly impact on Quality Assurance in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun).     4.   ICT does not significantly impact on Records and Financial management in Distance Education in National Open University (Noun).  5.  Instructional Delivery does not significantly impact on Distance Education in National Open University (Noun).1.6 Significance of the study It is hope that the findings of this study would be valuable and of great importance to education policy makers and planners, school administrators and teachers as well as students and by extension, improve the quality of Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state.    Educational policy makers/planners in the ministry of education make use of ICTs equipment/materials in planning their educational programmes. for example, computer conferencing and tele-conferencing have been widely used internationally irrespective of distance. The computer is also used for administrative functions and analysis of budgets.     The significance of this study to school administrators is that the application of the ICT to the management of Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue state would promote virtual effectiveness. Computerization makes the work of planning, organizing and controlling educational activities easy for the school heads through data collection. The use of management information system (MIS) is applicable here.     The findings on the impact of ICT on Administration and Programme Management will help in harnessing both human and material resources in an attempt to achieve an organisational goal.The findings on the impact of ICT on Learners Support Services will help the learners with useful comments to guide student learning objectives, provision of tutorial sessions and counseling services.The findings on the impact of ICT on Quality Assurance will help in Ensuring that the curriculum for distance learners has been thoroughly discussed, improved and acceptedby the various academic organs, including the country’s highest academic organ and the University senates, finding out whether the lecturers who were recruited to teach either on a full-time or part-time basis have reputable academic credentials and professional track records, determining students’ academic and professional admission criteria that are equal or comparable to internationally acceptable university standards, ensuring that teaching and learning materials have been properly peer reviewed and edited to enhance quality; and building guidance and counseling programmes into the teaching and learning activities to ensure that students stay and complete their programmes.The findings on the impact of ICT on Records and Financial management will help the organization in maintaining, keeping, retrieving, analyzing and processing the records of the system. The success of any organisation depends on the efficiency of its records management. Financial management then implies planning, organizing, directing and controlling financial activities such as procurement and utilization of funds of an organization, that is, applying the general management principles to financial resources of an organization.The findings on the impact of ICT on Instructional Delivery will helpthe university delivers instructions through specialized study materials on the basis of self learning. The instructional delivery is, at present, through the use Printed materials and CD-ROMs. Planned future delivery modes include: Audiotapes and Videotapes; Radio and Television Broadcasts; and, Computer-mediated Learning.    To study is beneficial to students because through internet and other ICT tools, they are exposed to online browsing of assignment and other research work. Finally, the study, though not necessarily the first of its kind, will uncover new knowledge and pool of ideas for learners and prospective researchers in related topic areas. 1.7 Scope of Study    The study is confined to Distance Education in National Open University (Noun) in Benue State, Nigeria. The study is delimited to the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with basic focus on five (5) variables such  Administration and programme management, learner Support Services, Quality Assurance, Records and Financial management, Instructional Delivery.1.8 Operational Definition of Terms For the purpose of this work, the following terms are operationally defined as follows: Information:- A set of data recorded in a methodical manner which is capable of facilitating the operation of  Distant Education. Information Technology:- This is concerned with the various means of generating, processing and transferring information using basically computers and telecommunications to facilitate the management of  Distant EducationICT:- is a set of activities which are facilitated by electronic means, the processing, transmission and display of information. CAI:- Computer Assisted Instruction: The way to use the computer as multipurpose tool in Distant Education. Computer:- This is an electronic machine or device used in processing, storing and retrieving information for streamlining administrative duties in Distant Education. Communication:- The use of computer and their accessories in sending out information and receiving feedback in the Distant Education setting that enable efficient administration. Management of Distance Education:-The means by which the objectives of Distant Education are achieved through the use of ICT.Distance Education: An Educational learning system that enables learners to remotely participate in learning activities.Pedagogy: A method of teaching ICT in Distant Education.Administrative duties: using ICT in enhancing efficiency in various processes in Distant Education.Online School: a virtual institution where learners are connected together via a network without a formal traditional "bricks and walls" classroom participation.virtual School/institution: used interchangeably with Online schools.ODL:NOUN:e-Learning:

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INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT) AND THE MANAGEMENT OF DISTANCE EDUCATION IN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY (NOUN) IN BENUE STATE


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