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1.1 Background of the study

The internet is the key information and communication technology that led to a worldwide revolutionary change in the information scenario (Siraj, et al., 2015). The internet is a pool of knowledge and any country that fails to provide her youth access to the internet is unseating the country from her throne of dignity among other dignitaries (Olatokun, 2008). It is developed to serve as a platform for various activities for all age groups in society (Akin-Adaeamola, 2014).

The internet is a technology that has become an enormous part of people’s daily lives. Through its ability to act as a support medium in different functions for which people use it, the internet was introduced to academic institutions as a tool to enhance student’s academic experience in the mid-1990s (Ngoumandjoka, 2012). Over the last decades, internet connectivity has improved tremendously and is available everywhere such as homes, offices, travels and schools (Ellore et al., 2014). 

Today, empirical studies (e.g Adedotun, 2015; Akende & Bamise, 2017) report that access to information can influence the academic performance of students. The use of credible internet resources is of greater importance for academic study, especially in high class courses which require an academic review of literature (Sahin et al., 2010). Internet use for educational purpose is found by Kim (2011) to be the heart of adolescent academic achievement. The availability of internet is almost everywhere, most students have had access to internet on their cellphones (Ellore et al. 2014). This helps students to broaden their academic knowledge, research and assignments by accessing information worldwide and also enhances easy communication to the academic community (Siraj, et al., 2015). 

Yesilyurt et al. (2014) argued that access to a home computer and internet connection contributes to students’ academic performance as well as self-learning skills. Taking into account access and usage of internet by Undergraduate students in Nigeria, Olatokun (2008) indicated that most students believed the internet to be far better and convenient than their school libraries.  They saw it as a source for general knowledge, and hence it has helped them improve their reading habits and their academic performance. The internet is sometimes used as a supplementary learning material and has led to an improvement in students’ academic performance (Siraj et al., 2015). 

In Nigeria, graduate students see the library as a favorable environment for studies, and a source of relevant and realistic information for research.  However, they prefer using the internet to the library because of the fact that the latter provides readily information at all times, faster access to information and large amount of information (Kumah, 2015). Access to internet services is of great significance to a developing country like Nigeria (Ameyaw and Asante, 2016). Updated and current information is well organized on the internet for easy search, and has contributed significantly to students’ academic laurels (Kumah, 2015). The use of the internet creates awareness of the importance of the world around students (Ogedebe, 2012).

Despite the significance of internet usage to students’ academic performance, its negative impacts are various. Some students use the internet for non-academic purposes such as gaming and social networking, thus culminating in loss of study schedules (Singh et al., 2013). Besides, students use the internet for leisure rather than educational purposes (Olatokun, 2008;

Ngoumandjoka, 2012) and this can lead to fallen academic standards. The topmost uses of the internet by undergraduate students is charting, downloading, watching videos online, playing online games, and online shopping (Akin-Adramola, 2014). This suggests that some undergraduate students do not receive proper guidance in the use of the internet in studying. The internet can be a bad tool for higher academic achievement if only its usage is not controlled (Mami and Hatami-Zad, 2014).  

Recent studies (e.g. Mami and Hatami-Zad, 2014; Torres-Diaz et al., 2016; Carter, 2016) have found that a balance use of the internet leads to greater academic success among students.  University students have control over the use of internet which has greatly reflected in their academic performance (Sahin et al., 2010). However, studies on internet use among Undergraduate Students are limited in the National Open University of Nigeria, Enugu study center. This study is therefore on internet use and its effect on the performance of Undergraduate Students in National Open University of Nigeria, Enugu study center. 

The Internet is a relatively new channel for scholarly resources, and contains vast quantities of information that vary a great deal regarding its contents, aim, target group, reliability etc. Hence, it is important that the end-user is aware of the diverse information available on the Internet, and educated in the criteria by which the information content should be assessed (Chapman, 2002). The fabulous growth in telecommunication has brought online services, specialized electronic networks, Web Pages, E-mail, software and global information resources to our homes as well as to education.

The Internet provides an environment in which millions of people participate and engage in the creation and exchange of information (Rose & Fernlund, 1997).

Students have only recently received the opportunity to use the Internet to seek and obtain scholarly material and, consequently, knowledge on how effectively they make use of this channel is limited. Students’ information seeking culminates as they work on their theses. Many studies have been conducted regarding the type of information the endusers seek and obtain on the Internet and in which circumstances they prefer electronic sources to paper sources (Tenopir et al. 2003)

According to their survey, approximately 50% of all the scholarly publications were obtained from the Internet, who studied geography student’s use of sources on the Internet by analyzing citations from a test, found that 51% of the citations referred to sources on paper, 47% of the sources were from the Internet and the rest was course material. (Fesce meyer, 2000). Iboronke (2002) has attributed the poor performance to the rise in students enrolment without corresponding increase in the material and human resources. In this study the effect of these materials and human resources on students performance, investigated.

The use of the available learning resources will improve the academic performance of students. In order words, one of the opportunities to stimulate this elaboration process is by offering students more and more diverse learning resources. Ogunleye’s (2003) review that under laboratory conditions increasing the richness and diversity of the learning materials has often been shown to support students in learning, remembering and applying information.

Internet use has become very popular in many areas as well as in education in recent years. Accordingly, Internet access in schools has increased greatly over the last 20 years (Berson, 2000).

Many experts see the computer, combined with multimedia capabilities, as the new tool that can transform education (Van Horn, 1991) points out that the computer can solve many of the problems facing teachers. In today’s environment the teacher is expected to have a large knowledge base. The teacher also has the problem of deciding to teach at the low end or the high end of the grade level. Many compromise and teach in the middle. Computers can solve these two problems by enabling teachers to customize instruction for each student (McKeown, 1991).

1.2       Statement of the Research Problem

The role of Internet in teaching/learning can not be overemphasized. The issue of the poor academic performance of students is traced to certain factors which, can hinder student understanding.

Academic achievement is an important parameter in measuring success in students. Observations and reports have shown that success or high academic achievement has become a Herculean task to accomplish by students in recent times. The decline in the academic performance of students in Nigerian universities had been highlighted by Soyinka (1999), when he observed that university system in Nigeria needed restructuring. He went further to say that academic standard had fallen drastically and the quality of graduates being produced by the nations universities is questionable and subject to re-examination. Poor academic achievement of students has been of great concern to educationists, government and the public in general.

Students’ poor performance in Secondary school has continued to pose a serious concern to government agencies, parents and the students themselves (Essien 2004). Most previous studies had tended to attribute this problem to factors that are extraneous to the learner, such as poor physical facilities, school environment etc. Various strategies adopted by different governments and agencies tend not to address the problem substantially. There is therefore further need to research into other possible factors or variables underlying students’ performance, since behaviour is a product of environmental and psychosocial variables.

1.3       Objectives of the Study 

The main objective of the study is to examine the effect of internet on the academic performance of Undergraduate students in the National Open University of Nigeria, Enugu study center. The specific objectives include:

To identify the relationship between the use of internet and students academic performance

To examine the effect of internet use on academic performance of Undergraduate Students

To investigate the problems that militate against the student’s access to the internet.

To investigate the frequency of internet use among students.

1.4 Research Questions

These research seeks to answers the following questions in the course of this investigation.

  1. How to identify the relationship between the use of internet and students academic performance?
  2. How to examine the effect of internet use on academic performance of Undergraduate Student?
  3. Does E-mail services contribute to students academic performance?
  4. How useful is the internet to students in their daily academic activities?

1.5 Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the investigation of this study.

  1. There is no significant relationship between the use of internet and students academic performance.
  2. There is no significant relationship between the use of internet and students academic performance.
  3. There is no significant relationship between effect of internet use on academic performance of Undergraduate Student.
  4. There is significant relationship between effect of internet use on academic performance of Undergraduate Student.

1.6Significance of the study

The study could be beneficial for students as well as for the institution. The valuable feedback gotten from respondents should help students to realize the benefits of internet in their education. Institutes can invest more in internet facilities to enhance the academic performance of their student and produce better results. Note that the relevance of internet facilities is measured by how effective, sufficient and accessible it is to students and users.

This study has made me to explore into the topic influence of internet usage on the academic performance of students. It is also a requirement I must be produce for the award of a degree in curriculum and teaching, faculty of education.

1.7 Scope and Limitations of the study

This research is designed particularly to know or test the influence of internet usage on the academic performance of students in order to guide against negative trend about the falling standard of education in our society and to improve upon the positive side.

A lot of problems were encountered during the period of this research like; finance, transportation from one secondary school to another, some of the issues were not discussed in detail.

Another problem was distance. Due to the long distance from one state to another within the country, it was not possible for the researcher to move round all the state for sufficient data.

Also, during the administration of the questionnaires, some students were not willing to respond to the items. Some refused to answer the questions out of non challanteness. It was also observed that in some cases, students were not independent of themselves in answering the questionnaire items.

1.8       Definition of terms

The following terms are define in the context there are being use in the study.

  • Internet: The Internet is a global network connecting millions of computers.
  • Performance: An action in which excellence or superiority depend primarily on abstract mental ability. Any action requiring the manipulation of abstracts, concepts or mental manipulation of any sort.
  • E-mail: Email is electronic mail, a protocol for receiving and sending, and storing electronic messages.
  • Search engine: a program that searches for and identifies items in a database that correspond to keywords or characters specified by the user, used especially for finding particular sites on the Internet.
  • Social network: a network of social interactions and personal relationships.
  • Website: a location connected to the Internet that maintains one or more web pages.

Undergraduate students: are students of universities and colleges: they've graduated from high school and have been accepted to college, but they haven't graduated yet.

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