1.1 Background to the Study
The internet can be conceived as a rich, multi-layered complex ever-changing text for information dissemination and a medium for collaborative interaction between individuals and computers without regards for geographical limitation of space (Jagboro, 2003). The internet today is an overall substance whose nature cannot be effectively or basically characterized. To many, the internet is a huge system arranged connecting together a large number of smaller computers at various locales in different nations having a place with a great many business, government, research, educational and different firms. To the internet users, the internet is a worldwide network one with an extremely dynamic life. The population of the internet is several million people whose computers are connected in a fashion permitting remote login, file sharing and transfer and other activities. The internet also connects too many other networks for exchange of messages such as email, online services and so on.
With a growing demand for internet access on campuses, have contributed to this growth as they perceive the internet to be a valuable source of information for students and a tool to boost their morale and help their academic performance (Scherer 1997; Lubans 1999; Jones 2002; Metzger et al. 2003; Kirschner and Karpinski 2010). This has made students to be substantial users of the internet compared with the overall population (Kandell 1998; Jones 2002; Choi et al. 2009; Ni et al. 2009; Judd and Kennedy 2010). According to Jones , 86% of university students in America are internet users compared to only 59% of the general American population. Fifteen years since its introduction on campus, the internet’s main purpose is still to enhance students’ collegiate experience as an educational support tool. However, we believe it should be assessed to determine whether it is meeting its expectations today.
Young (1996) reveals in her investigation that the internet has become a reason for worry among everyone in view of its addictive-like applications and services. The Internet just like any addictive substance can therefore have a negative influence on its extensive users. Due to a growing demand for Internet access on campuses, students are regarded as heavier users of the internet compared to the general public (Kandell 1998; Perry et al. 1998; Jones 2002; Ni et al. 2009). Although this remains a perception, not much research has been conducted on the influence of the Internet on students’ lives (Metzger et al. 2003; Johnson 2009; Hazelhurst et al. 2011). A general opinions exists among researchers that the appropriation of the internet and its technologies affects students' experience (Morahan-Martin and Schumacher 2000; Anderson 2001; Kubey et al. 2001; Chen and Peng 2008; Kirschner and Karpinski 2010; Hazelhurst et al. 2011). However, little emphasis has been put on investigating its influence on academic performance even though this aspect remains the main reason the internet was brought to campus. Johnson (2009) and Hazelhurst et al. (2011) stipulate that previous studies have relied on self-reported data from students, therefore, as Young (1996) suggested, there is a high probability of students being in denial about their Internet surfing habits, thus the need to have standardized and more reliable research instruments (Rumbough 2001; Gross 2004; Fortson et al. 2007). It is against this setting we examined whether a relationship between internet use and academic performance among Polytechnic students exists.
In spite of the fact that the benefits of the internet make it a perfect exploration tools, students experience huge academic issues as they surf insignificant sites, engage in chat, room gossip, chat with internet friends and play intelligent games at the expense of profitable action. Students may experience issues finishing schoolwork, tasks, reading for tests or getting enough sleep to be ready for the class the following morning because of internet abuse. Often, students may be unable to control their internet use which eventually results in poor grades, academic probation and even expulsion from the school.
The importance of the studies on the use of internet and how it affects the academic performance of students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku cannot be over emphasized. In view of the importance of this valuable entity to research, teaching and learning process, the study sought to investigate the importance of internet and how it affects the academic performance of students of the Polytechnic.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The inadequate funding of the Polytechnics and particularly their libraries has unfavorably influenced satisfactory arrangement of present day books, refreshed proficient materials and journals where available, are currently costly as justified by the economic downturn, worldwide political crises and currency devaluation exacerbated by the information explosion that we have seen in the worldwide electronic village that the world has gone to. In view of those afore stated problems, Nigerian students have now turned their attention to the use of internet for the purpose of studying, conducting research and obtaining general information. Subsequently, with more consideration given to the internet because of its various advantages, students who approach this innovation may lose some degree of critical enthusiasm for utilizing the library. The study therefore is an attempt to access the effectiveness of the use of internet services and how it affects student’s academic performances.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of this study is to investigate internet use and academic performance by using Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku as a case study. However, the specific objectives are:
i) To find out the reasons for the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku
ii) To examine the prevalence of the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku
iii) To determine the time spent on the internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku
iv) To investigate the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku on their academic performance
v) To highlight the challenges faced by students on the use of internet and how it affects their academic performance
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions have been formulated to guide this study.
i) What are the reasons for the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku?
ii) What is the prevalence of the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku?
iii) What is the time spent on the internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku?
iv) What is the use of internet by the students of Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku on their academic performance?
v) What are the challenges faced by students on the use of internet and how it affects their academic performance?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research statements were considered to be the research hypotheses:
i) There is no significant relationship between the time spent on the internet and the academic performance of students.
ii) There is a significant relationship between the use of internet by students and their academic performance.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study aims at determining whether or not the use of internet has any significant influence on the academic performance of students. More over education is the bedrock of any society. Nigeria as a developing nation needs a standard secondary schools that has available learning resources, that teachers can improvise learning resources easily and more often also where teachers and students utilize learning resources on a regular basis. It could be a guide line for incoming students and be educative to them when writing and studying similar problems in school.
This study has made me to investigate internet use and academic performance by using Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku as a case study.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covered 100 regular undergraduate students in Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku, Nigeria. These are 50 OND students and 50 HND students. The study therefore excludes Part time students. Also, the study was not restricted to any gender. It included both male and female, and undergraduates at all level of study.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
In the course of the study the researcher encountered certain problems. Due to limited time and funds, the study was restricted to only one institution which was Delta State Polytechnic Ogwashi Uku as against the researcher’s original plan of using the three higher institutions which are the University, the Polytechnic and the Monotechnic. At the time this research was being carried out, schools were on frequent breaks due to the lockdown of all schools by the government as result of COVID19. The researcher had to make use of the little times, met with the students and the school heads. Finance was another issue that disturbed the execution of this project. The biting economic situation could not allow the researcher carryout the work as fast as it had to be done. The self-report criterion is a limitation. Future research should employ more objective measures of internet use.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used in the process of carrying out this study:
Internet: This is a combination of networks with database of information which is interconnected to serve users.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): refers to computer based tools used by people to work with the information and communication processing needs of an organisation, government agencies or individuals. It covers both the software and hardware devices that are used in the information processes.
Performance: this relates to the results and appraisal gotten from studying samples.
Polytechnic: refers to an educational institution designed for instruction, examination or both of students in many branches of advanced learning, conferring degrees in various faculties, and often embodying colleges and similar institution.