THE USE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ICT IN DISTANCE EDUCATION: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF KWAME NKRUMAH UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY AND UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA-KUMASI.

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ABSTRACT

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become a central pillar for the world, as the world is now tagged as ‘digital’ and ‘global village’. The usefulness of ICTs transcends to all sectors including education. Distance education per se, rests heavily on ICTs. ICTs have the potential to foster interaction and communication between instructors and students as well as the outside world. The main objectives of the study are: To ascertain ICTs usage among distance learners at KNUST and UEW-K; and to investigate the factors influencing the use of ICTs in distance education at KNUST and UEW-K.

The study adopted the survey research methodology with a sample size of 210. This was done using a census approach, which ensures that all members were enrolled. The students were selected from Business Administration programme, specifically, Accounting and Human Resources Management from both KNUST and UEW-K. Data collection was done using questionnaires which were administered to the students. The responses were analyzed and results were presented in the form of graphs and tables. It was based on these data collected that valid conclusions and recommendations were drawn.

The key findings of the study in relation to the usage of ICT facilities and services. The study identified that the number of times of ICT usage varied among students from the two universities. Students in KNUST used ICT more frequently than students in UEW-K. Again, in KNUST, ICT usage was tilted more to learning in courses, whilst in UEW-K, students used ICT mainly for their research. The study also unraveled specific factors that were socio-cultural, technological, political

and economic in nature to have influential role on the use of ICTs. These factors include cultural influence in the use of ICT, the quality of facilities and services, political ideology on ICT, high cost of ICT facilities and services.

It is recommended that, there should be planning and tracking of ICT facilities and services in order to serve as the basis for upgrading the available ICT infrastructures and facilities. This should be coupled with periodic needs assessment as well as training for students in to cope with technological transformation. For further research, work on a comparative study of public and private universities which will provide findings for policy options should be considered.