Analysis of Internet Access and Use by Students of Science and Technology Departments of Assam University, Silchar Presented By Nilratan BhattacharjeeMaster in Library and Information Science Assam University, Silchar & Mr. Nabin Chandra Dey Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Library & Information Science Assam University, Silchar
INTRODUCTION• Today we are passing through a phase in which information is a key element. Information is the most vital resource for any kind of activity.• In the last three decades, advances in telecommunication technologies have resulted in the development of computer networks that allow access to voluminous amount of information and services. Of the many computer networks that have been developed, the most prominent and widespread is the Internet. “Internet is one of the most important and complex innovations of mankind. It is a powerful means of communication, dissemination and retrieval of Information” (Sinha, 2011).
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDYThe study specially focused on the following objectives. To know the characteristics of the population studied. To know the purposes of Internet use by the students community. To analyse the frequency and length of using Internet by the respondents. To know the support of Internet in growing knowledge among the respondents. To study the awareness about Internet and its tools among the respondents. To know how far the e-consortium are being utilized by the respondents. To ascertain the impact of Internet on the students community. To know the extent of difficulties or problems encounter by the students community in accessing the Internet. To know the usefulness of the Internet in comparison to conventional documents.
METHODOLOGY• For the present study survey method has been adopted. Survey, as the word, deals with mainly collection of information, analysis and presentation of data relating to the present time. For collecting data questionnaire and observation method has been taken as a research tool.• A self-designed questionnaire prepared by the researcher himself has been distributed to the respondent of the study by simple random sampling technique.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY AT ASSAM UNIVERSITYAssam University came into existence through Central University Act, 1989. Since 1994 the University is steadily becoming an excellent centre of learning.In March 1997, university opened a computer centre. This centre works on behalf of the University providing Internet services through fiber optic campus-wide network of BSNL with a bandwidth of 1Gbps OFC link under the NMEICT project of Govt. of India. Another 10Mbps OFC link is provided for e-journal access by University Grant Commission under UGC-INFONET scheme.For connections to the Internet each department have been provided with a series of private IP addresses, DNS address is common for all the departments. The computer centre maintains a proxy server called “Cyber roam”, which takes care of incoming and outgoing network traffic. Assam University has its own static IP addresses through which it has hosted website on its own server and also provides e-mail services under its domain name.
MAJOR FINDINGS• The study traces the usage of Internet at home is 68.12% followed by 40.58% use Internet at university library. From that it is concluded that maximum usage of Internet by the respondents are from home. Due to this the users are deprived of accessing the e-resources subscribed by the University Library. Since most of the e-resources are IP based subscription, where access is only provided when IP address is recognized, which is not possible from home.• For accessing Internet from home a majority of the respondent i.e. 41.49% use data card, 31.91% use mobile GPRS, 24.47% use broadband and only 2.13% use Wi-Fi.• More than 58% of students use the Internet services and resources „daily‟ while less no. of students from various discipline use the Internet „at least once in a week‟ and a very small no. of students use the Internet „once in a month‟.
MAJOR FINDINGS• The analysis clearly indicates that on an average the majority of the respondents had more than 3 years of experience in using the Internet.• The study showed that on an average of 34.78% of respondent spend 15 to 20 hours per week on the Internet, 25.36% spend 5 to 10 hours, 14.49% spend less than 5 hours, 13.77% spend more than 20 hours and lastly 11.59% spend 10 to 15 hours per week respectively.• Of the Internet services, e-mail has been the most popular Internet service, 98.55% of the respondents are aware about this service. Next in priority came the Wikipedia with 68.12% response.• Most of the students says that Internet is more informative, time saving, more useful easy to use and more preferred than the conventional documents for science and technology education as well as research practices.
MAJOR FINDINGS• 64.49% of the respondents faced problems of slow Internet speed, which consume a lot of their slot time in order to retrieve relevant information.• Only 15.22% respondents have accessed the e-consortium like UGC INFONET, INDEST from the university campus but a majority of the respondents (84.78%) are not aware about the e-consortiums.• A majority of the respondents (61.90%) out of all the respondents who have used the e-consortium replied that e-consortium is highly useful which is followed by useful (28.57%) and less useful (9.52%) respectively.• 59.42% of respondents have training on computer operations/Internet whereas rest doesn‟t have any training on computer operations/ Internet which shows that a majority of the respondent are computer and Internet literate.• 61.59% of the respondents are of the opinion that Internet can replace the library services whereas only 38.41% respondents opine that Internet cannot replace the library services.
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE RESPONDENTS• Authority should regularly ensure the better performance of the servers, computers and others hardware and software for easy and fast access of the Internet.• The number of computer or nodes with Internet connection need to be increased in the library.• Print out facilities should be provided with nominal charge for students at the computer centre in the university.• Librarians may take initiatives to prepare a list of subject websites, library portals, library gateways that are useful for the students.• The department should conduct some training programme for the students on Internet and its tools, safety, features etc.
SUGGESTIONS BY THE RESEARCHER• The university authority should allocate and spend adequate fund for building proper ICT infrastructure for the easy access of Internet.• The students need to be aware of the advantages of the Internet. So it is suggested that the university should conduct short term training course on Internet and make it mandatory for all the students to attend the same.• The South Assam or in particular Silchar being a Bengali speaking belt where the students encounter problems in using English language. As most of the information on Internet is available in English so a short term course in English will help the students very much to find their relevant information from the Internet. The university should take initiative in this direction and arrange some courses for students on English learning.• To prevent misuse of Internet facilities, proper monitoring of services should be ensured and the restricted sites should be blocked.• Information concerning the widespread and up-to-date websites with their addresses in the field of science and technology should be displayed on the different places of the university campus where users could easily notice.
CONCLUSION• The Internet has emerged as the single most powerful vehicle for providing access to unlimited information. The Internet is an inseparable part of today‟s higher educational system.• The Internet facility has enabled the students to enhance their academic excellence by providing them the latest information and access to worldwide information.• The dependency on the Internet and its services is increasing day by day and the users of University community too are depending more and more on the Internet for their various educational purposes. Internet is rapidly becoming a key component in higher education system.• With other studies conducted in India and abroad about Internet, this study also reveals that Internet plays a great role among the students‟ community. There are some inherited problems associated with the proper use of Internet services. The above suggestion will surely help the University authority to overcome the constraints and provide better facilities to the Internet users.