The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of the Internet at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria. The Internet was very important for 60.77 percent of the participants in this study, with 74.62 percent using the Internet for research. Yahoo was the favorite e–mail provider for 79.23 percent of the respondents. Google was the favorite search engine for 71.54 percent of the participants in the survey. The study concludes that necessary facilities should be provided for faculty and students to use information resources available on the Internet.
Services on the Internet
Analysis and interpretation of data
The Internet was first introduced to Nigeria in the UNESCO–sponsored Regional Informatics Network for Africa (RINAF) project in 1995. At one of the several workshops that were held to propagate the idea of the Internet, the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) was formed as a non-profit, non-governmental organization with the primary aim and objective of promoting and facilitating access to the Internet in Nigeria. The RINAF node for central Africa was established at the National Center for Technology Management (NACETEM) at Obafemi Awolowo University (Gebrehiwot, 1999). By the end of the 1990s, several Internet service providers (ISPs) were in existence, including amongst others Linkserve, Cyberspace, Hyperia, Infoweb, PINET, Skannet, and Steineng.
Services on the Internet
The Internet has been long recognized as a medium for information dissemination and a vehicle for collaborative interaction between individuals and their computers without regard for geographic limitation of the space (Leiner, et al., 2000; Singh, 2002).
An Internet user has access to a wide variety of services, including e–mail, file transfer, access to potentially vast information resources, multimedia, shopping opportunities, breaking news and interactive collaboration. In this study, we attempt to assess the use of these Internet resources and tools by students and staff at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
The objective of the study is to understand the use of the Internet at the University of Maiduguri. In order to fulfill this aim, the following objectives were identified:
- Understand the importance of the Internet to students and staff;
- Examine how the Internet is being used by students and staff;
- Determine the frequency of Internet usage;
- Identify where the Internet is being used;
- Describe the favorite e–mail provider and search engine of students and staff;
- Distinguish problems faced by users while using Internet; and,
- Pinpoint the satisfaction level of users.
The University of Maiduguri in the Borno State of Nigeria was the basis for this study. The University was established in 1975 in the capital of the Borno State. There are over 25,000 students enrolled at the University. At the time of this research, there was a computer center at the University linked to the Internet through a VSAT. The Library, Administrative Building, all faculty and some staff were linked to the campus–wide network.
The study was based on a structured questionnaire to selected students and staff at the University, with 150 questionnaires randomly distributed. A total of 130 usable questionnaires were returned, representing a response rate of 86.67 percent.
Analysis and interpretation of data
Basic details about the participants in the survey are as shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Status and gender: Distribution of participants. Gender Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Male 61 46.92 28 21.54 89 68.46 Female 31 23.85 10 7.69 41 31.54 Total 92 70.77 38 29.23 130 100
Out of 130 respondents 61 (46.92 percent) were male students, 31 (23.85 percent) were female students, 28 (21.54 percent) were male staff, while rest of the respondents were female staff, 10 (7.69 percent).
Table 2: Importance of the Internet to students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Importance Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Most Important 27 20.77 9 6.92 36 27.69 Very Important 54 41.54 25 19.23 79 60.77 Important 10 7.69 4 3.08 14 10.77 Not Important 1 0.77 0 0 1 0.77
In order to understand the importance of Internet, four options were given to participants. Table 2 shows that out of 130 respondents, the Internet was very important for 79 (60.77 percent) respondents, most important for 36 (27.69 percent) participants, important for 14 (10.77 percent) respondents and not important for one (0.77 percent) respondent.
Table 3: Uses of the Internet by students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Use Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage E–mail 21 16.15 6 4.62 27 20.77 Research 70 53.85 27 20.77 97 74.62 Lesson preparation 9 6.92 1 0.77 10 7.69 Entertainment 16 12.31 6 4.62 22 16.92 News 11 8.46 2 1.54 13 10 Other 11 8.46 0 0 11 8.46
Participants were asked about their specific uses of the Internet. It is clear that 97 (74.62 percent) respondents use the Internet for research, 27 (20.77 percent) respondents use e–mail services, 22 (16.92 percent) participants use the Internet for entertainment, 13 (10 percent) respondents use the Internet for news followed by 11 (8.46 percent) for other purposes and 10 (7.69 percent) for lesson preparation.
Table 4: Frequency of Internet use by students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Frequency Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Every day 17 13.08 10 7.69 27 20.77 2–3 times a week 46 35.38 12 9.23 58 44.62 2–3 times a month 26 20 12 9.23 38 29.23 Never 3 2.31 4 3.08 7 5.39
In order to assess the frequency of Internet use, a time gap was classified into four categories. Table 4 reveals that 58 (44.62 percent) respondents use Internet two to three times a week, 38 (29.23 percent) respondents use Internet two to three times times a month, followed by 27 (20.77 percent) respondents who use it every day and seven (5.39 percent) respondents who do not use the Internet.
Table 5: Location of Internet activities for students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Location Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Home 10 7.69 5 3.85 15 11.54 Computer center 31 23.85 7 5.38 38 29.23 Department offices 5 3.85 2 1.54 7 5.38 Cybercafé 54 41.54 27 20.77 81 62.31
Table 5 depicts the specific location of Internet access by students and staff. Eighty–one (62.31 percent) participants in the survey use a cybercafé, 38 (29.23 percent) respondents use the University’s computer center, 15 (11.54 percent) respondents access the Internet from their homes and seven (5.38 percent) respondents access the Internet in their department offices.
Table 6: Favorite e–mail provider for students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. E–mail Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Yahoo Mail 77 59.23 26 20 103 79.23 Gmail 6 4.62 5 3.85 11 8.47 Hotmail 3 2.31 5 3.85 8 6.16 Other 6 4.62 2 1.54 8 6.16
Respondents with access to the Internet were asked to indicate their favorite e–mail provider. Table 6 indicates that Yahoo was the most popular with 103 (79.23 percent) respondents using it. Gmail was preferred by 11 (8.47 percent) respondents with Hotmail used by eight (6.17 percent) respondents. Eight participants (6.16 percent) used other e–mail services.
Table 7: Preferred search engines among students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Search engine Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage 74 56.92 19 14.62 93 71.54 Yahoo 11 8.46 16 12.31 27 20.77 MSN 2 1.54 2 1.54 4 3.08 AltaVista 2 1.54 0 0 2 1.54 Others 5 3.85 1 0.77 6 4.62
Table 7 makes it clear that 93 (71.54 percent) respondents used Google to access information followed by Yahoo 27 (20.77 percent) and a variety of other search engines respectively.
Table 8: Internet problems encountered by students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Constraints Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Slow access 68 52.31 25 19.23 93 71.54 Privacy 16 12.31 4 3.08 20 15.38 Retrieval of unwanted information 9 6.92 6 4.62 15 11.54 No problems 10 7.69 3 2.31 13 10
Table 8 provides information about problems encountered while using the Internet. Ninety–three (71.54 percent) participants in the survey had problem with slow access, 20 (15.38 percent) respondents encountered privacy issues, 15 (11.54 percent) respondents had difficulty with unwanted information and 13 (10 percent) respondents did not report any problems.
Table 9: Satisfaction with Internet services as reported by students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Satisfaction level Student Staff Total Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage Fully satisfied 40 30.77 22 16.92 62 47.69 Partially satisfied 39 30 11 8.46 50 38.46 Least satisfied 6 4.62 2 1.54 8 6.15 Not satisfied 8 6.15 3 2.31 11 8.46
Respondents who had access to the Internet were asked to indicate their satisfaction with various Internet services. Sixty–two (47.69 percent) respondents are fully satisfied with Internet services, 50 (38.46 percent) respondents are partially satisfied, 11 (8.46 percent) respondents are not satisfied and 8 (6.15 percent) are least satisfied with Internet services.
- The Internet was very important to a majority of the participants in the survey;
- Most of the respondents used the Internet for research;
- A majority of the participants did not use Internet every day;
- Most of respondents used a cybercafé to access the Internet;
- Yahoo was the most common e–mail provider;
- Google was most frequently used as a search engine;
- Slow access to the Internet was identified as the major problem with Internet access; and,
- Most of the respondents were either fully or partially satisfied with access to the Internet and various digital services.
the Internet provides various opportunities to students and staff at the University of Maiduguri. Additional Internet services should be extended in various departments at the University and bandwidth should be increased to meet demand. Additionally, downloading and printing facilities should be extended to all users.
About the author
Manish Kumar Mishra is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.
A. Gebrehiwot, 1999. “Registration of Nigerian TLD: Present status and future developments,” at http://www.isocnig.org.ng/ConferencePapers/paper19.htm, accessed 5 March 2009.
B.M. Leiner, V.G. Cerf, D.D. Clark, R.E. Kahn, L. Kleinrock, D.C. Lynch, J. Postel, L.G. Roberts and S. Wolff, 2000. “A brief history of the Internet,” at http://www.isoc.org/internet/history/brief.shtml, accessed 5 March 2009.
A.M. Singh, 2002. “The Internet — strategy for optimum utilization in South Africa,” South African Journal of Information Management, volume 4, issue 1, (March).
Paper received 11 November 2008; accepted 23 February 2009.
“Use and importance of the Internet at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria” by Manish Kumar Mishra is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution–No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Use and importance of the Internet at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
by Manish Kumar Mishra
First Monday, Volume 14, Number 3 - 2 March 2009