THE IMPACT OF ICT IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF OFFICE TECHNOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT SKILLS IN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
Information and communication technology (ICT) refers to the whole range of technologies involved in information processing and electronic communication. It is an umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing, radio, television, cellular phone, computer and network hardware and software, satellite system among others. These gadgets contribute to organization, processing, communication, assessing, storing, retrieving and simplifying information when needed and in their form needed. ICT centered education covers the use of computers, online self learning packages, interactive CDs, satellites, radio, tele-presence system, optical fiber technologies and all types of information technology hardware and software (Adebayo 2002, in Onasanya, Shehu, Ofunlade&Adefuye, 2011).
Office technology and management programme in polytechnics could be seen as a curriculum response to the demands of dynamic and computerized workplace, which is aimed at the production of highly proficient breeds of administrative personnel that would coordinate high office information systems and provide technical skills with core business line functions. This is in line with the issues of national Policy on Education revised (2012) aimed at acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies both mental and physical as equipment for individual to live and contribute to the development of the society. Office technology and management programme has been designed by the National Board for Technical Education on November 2004, to replace secretarial studies programme which had been in existence since 1989. According to Nwosu in Baba and Akaraha (2012), the review was necessitated by the fact that the skills, attitude and knowledge previously acquired in the course of the study were inadequate to arm today’s graduate secretaries with the competencies needed to adjust to the rapidly changing needs of the office. However, the programme came into being for two major reasons: one is response to the yeaning of secretarial students on the need to change the name. secondly and most importantly , as a result of change in curriculum with more emphasis on ICT so as to equip students with necessary skills needed in todays office environment.
The objective of OTM programme include among others; equipping the students with the knowledge competencies and special skills that will enable them to successfully hold position as secretaries, managers and administrative assistants in both public and private sectors of the economy, exposing student to industrial experience thereby affording them the opportunity to practice their skills developing students’ potentials for further academic and professional pursuit, developing in the students an occupational intelligence that will make them versatile and adaptable to the changing situation in the world of work (NBTE,2006).
In a bid to attain the above objective, several strategies and resources which range from human to material including audio-visual medial communication, computer and networking material resources which are intended for effective instruction in the discipline. Effective instruction here implies availability of ICT instructional materials and utilization of the ICT instructional material on application area such as word processing, excel, desktop publishing, e-mail presentation software, video conferencing, teleconferencing, multimedia message services among others.
Each of these application programme has a particular skill, knowledge and experiences that a teacher is required to impact to the learner at the course of teaching and learning. For example, at the course of teaching word processing, polytechnic OTM lecturers exposes the learner on how to load or open a word processor, use of input devices to enter, edit accurately, open, copy, save, paste, cut, delete, create and print documents, application of borders and shading, bullet an numbering, paragraphing, font size, font color, undo, redo, table work, etc.
Excel application in office technology and management programme according to Robert (2004) features calculation, graphic tools, pivot tables. In teaching of excel application, polytechnic OTM lecturers expose the learner to practical skills on how to open excel application, create chart and tables.
Office technology and management courses are courses that an individual undertakes in order to be able to work as a secretary, office manager, computer operator and even as an administrative office. He or she will take up the responsibility of writing, receiving, recording arranging meetings, typing of correspondences and other business affairs of the society or other organization (Horny, 1985).
Accounting using Microsoft Excel application in the calculation, adding and subtraction of financial income and expenditure of any association and eventually balancing the account accurately. Data base management has to do with file management and record keeping, saving vital information, formatting, and retrieving such information rapidly when necessary in an electronic form.
Computer is an electronic device that uses instructions provided to it. Such instructions are stored in its memory. The memory accept the data inputs from it peripherals and transformed this data into some desired information called output data. An e-mail and chat becomes important in disseminating information.
According to Obiakwu (1995), a computer is defined as a machine that is capable of accepting input data, store and process the data base on the instruction given to it by the user and in this way produced expected result generally called output. The computer has come to make the world a global village with the help of internet connecting the world through the computer which had aided secretarial students to comprehend fast in the use of computer.
This proliferation of models of automation in the method of office work today has brought stiffer competition amongst organization and their secretaries must live up to the competition and revolution of computer must be adopted to contemporary skills of training secretaries to meet up with their demanding tasks in the world of work.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Students‟ learning remains central in any academic achievement debate. ICTs provide a window of opportunity for educational institutions and other organizations to harness and use technology to complement and support the teaching and learning process. However, despite the enormous advocacy of ICT aided teaching and learning, investment and donation of ICT equipment to Gulu University, the University still faces the challenge of how to transform students learning process to provide students with the skills to function effectively in this dynamic, informationrich, and continuously changing environment.
Due to the various functions of office services, computer devices are becoming essential in modern organization. For this reasons, it is important to introduce computer in the teaching and training of OTM students to assist and help them to meet up with the challenges in the world of work. It is important that schools adapt to the use of computer in the teaching and learning of office technology and management skills such as desktop publishing, database management, ICT application, excel etc. Unfortunately, most schools do not have the necessary facilities and access to its usability to function effectively. Most teachers/lecturers are not computer literate, therefore, making the impacts of those skills impossible.
Based on that, this work investigates the aims and postulation from the student of OTM Gulu University so as to draw a suitable conclusion on the assessment of computer skills and its utilization in the study of OTM.
1.3 Aims /Purpose
The main purpose of the study was to identify the perceived effect of the availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu University using cross-sectional survey design with a view to provide relevant recommendations.
The specific objectives were:
- To examine the effect of the availability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu
- To assess the effect of the accessibility of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu University.
- To investigate the effect of the user-ability of ICT resources on student‟s learning in Gulu
1.5 Research hypothesis
The study was guided by the following hypothesis:
- Availability of ICT has effect on students‟ learning in Gulu University.
- Accessibility of ICT resources affects students‟ learning in Gulu University.
- User-ability of ICT resources affects student‟s learning in Gulu University.
The study on the Effect of ICT on students learning was carried out in Gulu University, Laroo Division, Gulu District between January 2009 and July 2009. The study specifically sought to determine the effects of the availability, accessibility and user-ability of ICT resources on students learning in Gulu University.
The study should be of great importance to the policy makers and University administrators of Gulu University helping them to appreciate the usefulness of ICT in learning so as to come up with policies that promote ICT in learning.
The findings and recommendations of the study should be of importance to Gulu University lecturers and other lecturers of higher institution of learning on the use of ICT to aid learning.
The researcher hopes that result of the study may be useful to future researchers with interest in examining further the effects of ICT on students learning. This should lead to the generation of new ideas for the better implementation of ICT into learning process.