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South East federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown

Abstract

The coronavirus pandemic saw the abrupt shutting down of higher institutions of learning by government, and students were told to vacate campuses as one of the measures to curb further infections. In order to ensure uninterrupted educational delivery, universities across the continent are introducing online learning. This study investigated the South East federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown. This study employed descriptive survey research design and structured questionnaire was the instrument used for the data collection. A total of one hundred and forty-eight (148) undergraduate students filled the questionnaire. The collected data was analyzed using tables, frequency counts, charts and percentage. On the positive side, the study revealed that majority of the respondents claimed to be conversant with online learning with a high level of readiness. Furthermore, the findings revealed that majority of the respondents indicated high level of ICTs skills and competencies needed for online learning. On the negative side, fear of high cost of data, poor internet services, erratic power supply, inaccessibility to online library resources and limited access to computer were the major perceived challenges to effective online learning. Based on this findings, the study recommended

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the study

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in December 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2) caused unprecedented disruptions in human activity, including education (Mouchantaf, 2020). Governments forced citizens to practice a new way of life that limited personal contact and subjected people to several restrictive measures, known as lockdowns. To contain its rapid spreading, over 70% of educational institutions, from early childhood learning to higher learning institutions, closed schools, and suspended face-to-face teaching, affecting over 1.5 billion learners (Gupta et al., 2020). Zimbabwean universities, colleges, and schools were forced to close in March 2020, affecting over 4.56 million learners (OCHA, 2020). Face-to-face learning was barred, and learners adopted remote-based learning. For the first time, most higher education institutions in Nigeria migrated to the online environment to protect staff and learners’ lives.

The implications of the coronavirus pandemic saw the abrupt shutting down of higher institutions of learning by government, and students were told to vacate campuses as one of the measures to curb further infections. Such effect curtly distorted the ongoing face-to-face classes programs of the various institutions of learning. Without an iota of doubt, the closure of these institutions would have a dramatic impact on the students, higher education sector and countries’ economic development (Tamrat & Teferra, 2020). The ripple effect of such action includes disruption of student cognitive learning process, delay in student graduation, tendencies of postponing academic sessions, and likelihood of student indulging in unwholesome behavior during the lockdown known as juvenile delinquency amongst others.

In order to bridge the gap and ensure uninterrupted educational delivery, universities across the continent are setting up institution-wide task forces to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Many are attempting to shift to online teaching and learning through institutional, national, continental and international initiatives. Online learning is seen as alternate learning that its entirety is dependents on the use of internet and some other important technologies with no physical recourse to classrooms between the students and lecturers. (Tamrat & Teferra, 2020). In an effort to continually engage the students with their respective courses and programme of study, many higher institutions of learning in developed countries have quickly switched to online learning. (Awojide, 2020). In the same manner, many low and middle income countries are making concerted efforts at adopting the same approach; however, this has become a difficult task due to deficient infrastructure, mixed perception and inadequate preparedness by the institutions and students.

The migration to the online world was disruptive and had several limitations and difficulties for students. Students hurriedly left their campuses, with little time to adjust to the new norm; this demanded more financial resources for remote based learning. Students had not received any formal training on technology-based learning, and with no prior experience, students and their lecturers experimented using technologies as they transitioned to a fully online environment. It resulted in an unpleasant learning experience. The students would typically rely on campus-based facilities such as computer labs and Wi- Fi facilities. This sudden shift caused anxiety among students as the university curriculum was for in-person learning, and institutions were unprepared for an abrupt shift due to a lack of resources to support emergency remote teaching.

The idea behind adopting online learning during the pandemic is that it provides great flexibility in teaching methodology, content management, a synchronous and asynchronous interaction between teachers and students, organizing and structure of courses. In addition, it provides distance learning that is capable of creating new learning environments to achieve prosperous academic program as well as provides tools for students to be in contact with peers and teachers inside and outside the classroom without spreading Covid-19 (Tamta & Ansari, 2017; Rasouli, Rahbania & Attaran, 2016). Against this backdrop, the study was designed to examine the South Eastern federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown.

    1. Statement of the problem

The Federal Government of Nigeria at a point directed heads of higher institutions of learning to recommence their aborted academic sessions as result of the COVID-19 pandemic via online learning (ASUU-UI Publicity Committee, 2020). However, this generated a lot of controversy and different opinion from the public, students and the lecturers which they ascribed to lack of properly laid framework for the implementation of online learning. Other perceived challenges identified includes lack of technological skills and experience and poor teaching infrastructural facilities required for running online learning smoothly. It is well known that online learning depends on the availability of functional ICT facilities, technical-know how (skills) and students’ readiness. It is against this background that this study intends to investigate undergraduate student’s perception, readiness and skills towards online learning during the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

    1. Objective of the study

The main objective of this study is to examine the South East federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown, a case study of University Of Nigeria Nsukka. Specifically, the study aims;

1. To examine how conversant the students with online learning

2. To determine the perception of students towards online learning platform during Covid-19 lockdown

3. To evaluate how ready the students’ are towards using online learning platform?

4. To investigate the skills and competencies the students posses/have for using online learning platform

5. To determine the perceived challenges that could hinder students from participating effectively in online learning platforms during Covid-19 period

1.4 Research question

This study was guided by the following research questions:

1. How conversant are the students with online learning?

2. What is the perception of students towards online learning platform during Covid-19 lockdown?

3. How ready are students’ towards using online learning platform?

4. What skills and competencies do students posses/have for using online learning platform?

5. What are the perceived challenges that could hinder students from participating effectively in online learning platforms during Covid-19 period?

1.5 Significance of the study

This study will enlighten the Government, lecturers, students and the general public on the subject under study as the study will reveals the perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown by the students. It will showcase the impact of the drastic decision and implementation of lockdown as a tool for containing the spread of Covid-19 and how it shaped the Nigerian education system and many more. Researchers will also find this study useful based on their area or focus of interest.

1.6 Scope of the study

This study will be on the South East federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown. It will be carried out to determine the Perception and Readiness of Students’ Towards Online Learning in Nigeria During Covid-19 Pandemic. Geographically, the study will be carried out in University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu state.

1.7 Limitation of the study

This research work is specifically on the South East federal university student’s perception of online education amidst covid-19 lockdown. In the limitation on research work of this magnitude or nature can be carried out without limitation. Hence, during the course, certain constraints were encountered.

  • Cost: the cost of thorough research is not what can be afforded by a student. The prices of materials needed for this work has gone up and transport fee has also gone up.
  • Time: the time was one of the limitations in the process of carrying out this research work.
  • Scarcity Of Literature: The research encountered some problems in collection of literature especially on the bank History and operations. This are hindered the smooth running of this work.

1.8 Definition of terms

Covid-19: This is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.

Pandemic: This is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of people.

Lockdown: A lockdown can be defined as an emergency protocol implemented by the authorities that prevents people from leaving a given area. A full lockdown will mean that the people in the given area must stay where they are and must not exit or enter a building or given area.

International Student: According to the OECD are “those who received their prior education in another country and are not residents of their current country of study.


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