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Discuss the Impact of Information and Communication Technology (Itc) on Academic Writing at University Level.

————————————————- MULUNGUSHI UNIVERSITY ————————————————- Institute of Distance Education (I. D. E) ————————————————- Name:Godfrey S. Makala ————————————————- Student Number:045611063 ————————————————- Course:BCM 151(Communication and Study Skills) ————————————————- Program:Bachelor of Commerce ————————————————- ————————————————- ASSIGNMENT NUMBER 3 ———————————————— Discuss the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ITC) on academic writing at university level. ————————————————- Length: Five printed pages (Font type: Times New Romans; Font size 12; One and half line spacing). ————————————————- Referencing: present your references and citation using the Harvard Referencing System ————————————————- Use at least eight references as follows: four journal articles and four from text book (sources of these references could be the internet or libraries). 0% of this assignment will be awarded for proper referencing and citation. ————————————————- Lecturer:Mrs Estella Mulanda – Chali M. ————————————————- Postal Address:Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock ————————————————- Department of Agribusiness & Marketing ————————————————- P. O. Box 60427 ————————————————- Livingstone ————————————————- ————————————————-

Due Date:14th October, 2011 To discuss the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on academic writing at university level it is imperative for us to firstly look at Information and Communication Technology (ICT) itself. Generally, Information and Communications Technology covers any product that will store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit or receive information electronically in a digital form. It consists of hardware, software, networks and media for collection, storage, processing, transmission and presentation of information (voice, data, texts and images).

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Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are generally accepted as a modern instrumental tool that enables the educators to modify the teaching methods they use in order to increase students interest. (I. C. Mbaeze et al -2010) Secondly, we then look at academic writing which we can say is a kind of writing done by scholars for other scholars. It is writing that is devoted to topics and questions that are of interest to the academic community implying that this kind of writing should present the reader with an informed argument about a topic.

Therefore one needs to read intensively and extensively in order to address a specific topic or assignment. In this regard, we now look at how far rather to what extent has the emergence and use of Information and Communication Technology affected academic writing among the academia. The rapid increased in the use of computers, the Internet, electronic resources, databases and the World Wide Web in all aspects of human activities including the most important education and information processing and retrieval has become a very promising and vital component of the enabling structure for libraries and users at large.

Information Communication Technology is basically an electronic based system of information transmission, reception, processing and retrieval, which has drastically changed the way we think, the way we live and the environment in which we live. ICTs are increasingly playing an important role in organizations and in society’s ability to produce, access, adapt and apply information. They are being heralded as the tools for the post-industrial age, and the foundations for a knowledge economy, due to their ability to facilitate the transfer and acquisition of knowledge (L. A.

Ogunsola 2005). It must be pointed out however that Education is a very socially oriented activity and quality education has traditionally been associated with strong teachers having high degrees of personal contact with learners. The use of ICT in education lends itself to more student-centred learning settings and often this creates some tensions for some teachers and students. But with the world moving rapidly into digital media and information, the role of ICT in education is becoming more and more important and this importance will continue to grow and develop in the 21st century.

In many respects the work of academics has been facilitated by Information and Communication Technology (ICT). First, not only is the information available increasing, it is also much easier to access it (literally from the researcher’s desk). (Micheal Nentwich 2001) He further wrote that the OECD report comes to the conclusion that “ICT has increased researchers’ ability to access information by supplying them with increasingly powerful tools at decreasing cost, thus enabling new ways of working” and has, “(o)n the whole, (… ) significantly improved the efficiency of information-based work. (OECD 1998, 1999) With regard to the way the new information space is structured, Hitchcock et al. (1997, 2) point at the convenience of electronic links which “can be followed in an instant and will prove to be orders of magnitude more productive for the user than hyperlinks in print”. In particular in the text-oriented disciplines, the availability of full-text resources is highly appreciated. Second, E-mail and other ICT tools certainly enhanced the efficiency in contacting people, in particular among groups of researchers, but also in establishing first-time contacts or in renewing relationships.

In particular, the asynchronity of E-mail has proven to be very advantageous if compared to the telephone. At this point, there are certainly a number of problems, e. g. network reliability, stability of the computer hard- and software, incompatibilities between different file formats, all of which lead to frustrating additional work, etc. In an optimistic view, however, these problems should soon vanish. Mittler predicts that as soon as media discontinuities are eliminated, “academic work will be more efficient and lead to important competitive advantages” (1996, 76, translation MN; sceptical Leskien 1996).

There is, however, not only a pessimistic view with regard to the prospect of compatible and stable soft- and hardware, but also principled opposition to the view that ICT use leads to more efficiency. First, Hutchins argues that the use of the physical setting in which work occurs is a key to successful co-ordination of joint intellectual activity (1995, quoted by Finholt et al. 1997, 33). Hence “(c)hanging the circumstances (… ) may undermine the effectiveness of the collaborative process by introducing new demands that result from loss of physical setting. (ibid. ) While under ‘normal’ conditions, tacitly shared information would be taken for granted, the need to communicate this in a cyber-environment respectively the loss of these tacit cues “may mean that collaboratory users are at greater risk of losing common ground” (ibid. ) and hence be less efficient due to misunderstandings and the need for extra time of communication. Second, the considerable increase in information available at each scientist’s desk may also be overwhelming. While it seems reasonable to argue, as we will do below (2. ), that more comprehensive input might lead to at least different, perhaps even better results, there is also the filtering or selection problem. Frohlich (1996, 10) argues that “the effects of data banks and computer networks will entail not an unburdening, but rather a further intensification of the flood of (redundant) information (and thereby an increase in information frustration), not least of all due to the greater visibility of the information flood. ” For sure, there will be technological fixes to the problem in the future, e. g. nowbots or “intelligent” databases, but even the configuring and managing of these tools will cost time. Furthermore, too much inter-linked information may also lead to distraction (‘surfing around’). This is not to say that distraction and browsing may not lead to new and surprising insights, but it seems fair to say that there is a certain tendency of the new medium to seduce to inefficient time management. Rosenthal (1998) writes that we are already running in too much duplication: hyperlinks now take one in circle; hours spent in front of screens; …

I would be first to admit that my research, teaching and professional (not to mention personal) communication has been revolutionized in the past two-three years, but I would suggest that there is a danger of it taking over completely … The danger is that we may soon reach saturation point. Third, we have to acknowledge technology-related costs, e. g. the time spend on learning how to master the technology. Unfortunately, it seems, that this is not at all a one-time-investment, but a continuous process with no ending as soft- and hardware keeps changing at short intervals.

Fourth, much of the work that was outsourced in the days of the old typewriter, in particular the formatting of articles, is now increasingly done by the scientists themselves and not by the publishing houses any more. There may be a number of academics who do this quickly and easily in their intellectual “wait loops”, but others seem to spend quite considerable time on this new and demanding task, thus having less resources for the genuine intellectual work.

In general economic theory, it is all but clear whether information technology enhances productivity (Zerdick et al. 1999, 127 of online manuscript). The empirical study carried out by Riehm (1996) seems to confirm this conclusion for academic work, too: The electronic version was used for a significantly longer period of time than the printed version, but also that utilization was less systematic. The choice of medium had little influence on the ability to reproduce the contents correctly.

Thus, the popular belief that electronic information systems, in particular hypertexts, are generally more efficient was not confirmed. In a study on the impact of automated library services and usage on students’ academic performance in Nigerian universities conducted by Ngoozi Blessing Ossai – Ugbah, where students’ academic performance were examined with regard to use of automated electronic information services, the following were some the outcomes of the research: Having pre university computer literacy did not account for better academic performance * Students who made use of automated library serves were better exposed to academic materials and performed academically better than those who did not make use of the services of tan automated library. The same research revealed that the majority of the users agreed that there is a significant relationship between educational academic exposures with the use of the automated library services, and they were satisfied with these automated electronic library services.

However, the major constraints identified by the respondents were slow internet speed, access and automated library facilities are not up and running at all times to meet the varied time students prefer to browse the internet. The research recommended institutions to enlarge their internet bandwidth and make it available anytime of the day or night when the students are free to make use of it. According Margaret Honey et al each technology is likely to play a different role in students’ learning.

Rather than trying to describe the impact of all technologies as if they were the same, researchers need to think about what kind of technologies are being used in the classroom and for what purposes. Two general distinctions can be made. Students can learn “from” computers—where technology used essentially as tutors and serves to increase students basic skills and knowledge; and can learn “with” computers—where technology is used a tool that can be applied to a variety of goals in the learning process and can serve as a resource to help develop higher order thinking, creativity and research skills.

Information and Communications Technology has thus influenced significantly the quality and accessibility of academic materials for virtually any discipline due to the existence of electronic libraries on the internet. Scholars are therefore able to interact, research and communicate with minimal or no cost at all on various subjects of interest. Let us take for instance distance education learning programmes, students are able to interact with both their colleagues and instructors or tutors with ease and manage to get the quality education which otherwise would require huge sums of money and resources to acquire and achieve.

The immense and readily available literature on the World Wide Web (internet) makes it easier for both instructor or tutors and the students themselves to contrast and compare with others that are better placed in acquiring skills on how to write quality and standard academic papers. Notably, in general the malleable nature of electronic text has made the physical process of composing more elastic in that writers are quicker to commit thought to writing and to reorganise content because it is easier o make changes on the electronic screen (Abdullar, Mardziah Hayati 2003) unlike the old methodical and rigid way of composing academic papers in the academia. However it is important to look out and watch the tendency towards playfulness in e – communications. That is we have to look out for the informality of email communication with regard to the traditional norms governing the form of official letters that writers have to deal with (Abdullar, Mardziah Hayati 2003). On the other hand, the online domain has also substantially increased opportunities for collaboration in writing.

The ease with which information or literature can be gathered makes Information and Communication Technology (ICT) a good catalyst and more so a tool by which students at university level are able to produce standardised and quality academic papers. References 1. Manir Abdullahi Kamba. (April 2011) “ICT Competency framework for library and Information science schools in Nigeria: The need for model curriculum. ” International Journal of library and Information science, Vol 3(4), pp 68-80, April 2011. 2 I. C. Mbaeze et al. (2010) “The Influence of Information and Communication Technologies on Students’ Academic Performance. Journal of Information Technology Impact, Vol 10, No. 3 pp 129 – 136, 2010 3Micheal Nentwich. (2001) “How online Communication may affect academic knowledge production. ” Some preliminary hypotheses. In: TRANS. Internet-Zeitschrift fur Kulturwissenschaften. No. 10/2001. WWW: http://www. inst. at/trans/10Nr/nentwich10. htm 4 Ngozi Blessing Ossai-Ugbah. (Dec 2010) “The impact of automated library services and usage on student’s academic performance in Nigerian Universities. ” International Journal of library and Information science, Vol 2(9), pp 169-176, Dec 2010. 5 Ron Oliver. The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education. ” Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia r. oliver@ecu. edu. au 6 L. A. Ogunsola. (Summer 2005) “Information and Communication Technologies and the Effects of Globalization: Twenty-First Century “Digital Slavery” for Developing Countries–Myth or Reality? Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, Vol 6 No. 1-2 (Summer 2005) 7 Martin Carnoy. (2004) “ICT in Education:Possibilities and Challenges ICT in Education: Inaugural Lecture of the 2004-2005 Academic Year http://www. oc. edu/inaugural04/dt/eng/carnoy1004. pdf 8 Margret Honey et al. (2005) “Critical Issue: Using Technology to improve student achievement. ” North American Reginal Educational Laboratory. info@ncrel. org 9 Abudullah, Mardziah Hayati. (2003) “The impact of Electronic Communication on writing. ” ERIC Digest – Eric Clearing on Reading English and Communication 10 Karen Gocsik. (2005) “Writing the academic paper. ” Dartmouth Writing Programme. Dartmouth College. www. dartmouth. edu/~writing/materials/student/ac-paper/what. shtml


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