Impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions A study of Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki
Background of the study
Electronic registration, online registration, web based registration or even online registration is a secure website that students enter to indicate that they will attend classes in the upcoming (fall or sprint) rain or harmattan semester (Strauss, 2000). Students can access the online registration site from anywhere with an internet connection. Mostly these sites are portals. Pena-Lopez (2007) describes a online portal as a site that functions as a point of access to information on the World Wide Web and portals present information from diverse sources. The Google directory describes the term portal as where users control the content. There are several terms in library and information science and indeed IT that have their origins borrowed from other disciplines and a portal is one of such (Brakel, 2003). It must be borne in mind that the Web, a resource of the Internet, and a tool to browse the Internet is the first ever innovation that allows anyone to publish to a vast number of users via the Internet. The portal in this context, is more than a gateway, it is a hub from which users can locate all the Web content commonly needed (Nielsen, 1999). The portal is a platform for organizations – universities, colleges, companies to leverage and for efficient communication and other in-house operations. Put more simply a portal collates ― a variety of useful information into a single, one-stop‘ web-page, helping the user to avoid being overwhelmed by infoglut‘ or feeling lost on the web‖ (Looney and Lyman 2000). However, the Internet (Internet gateways or libraries) are not focused on internal enterprise functions. Reasons why organizations have a portal according to (source) include: Information customization: Information personalization: Efficiency in accessing information (work flow): Link integrity – software issues that link work: Enhancements and features such as calendars, to do lists, schedules, hours of operation, discussion groups and chat, announcements and alerts, job openings, career opportunities, reports and documents, search, emails, course schedules, grades, CPGAs, transcripts, campus and world news, links to reference materials, bookmarks, etc. (Brakel, 2003). The roles that a portal supports includes those of students, faculty, staff, managers, workers, provosts, academic departments, IT facilities, scholars, researchers, prospective students, alumni, visitors, friends and vendors (Katz, 2002). Benefits of use include: the fact that use of online registration provides information in a real-time, electronic format that allows confirmation of students‘ enrollment status; Students are also able to find and schedule more of the courses they need; it is used as confirmation of a student’s intent to remain enrolled for the semester. Online registration is a system that could easily manage its student body while also providing added bonuses, with a main goal being to ease the transfer of information. It simplifies the registration process through a Web-enabled, user-friendly wizard and digitizes all supporting documents using intuitive processes and tools. The education system requires a tremendous amount of data and documentation, and this online registration solution allows institutions to focus less on processing paperwork and more on what matters most — meeting the educational needs of their students by having a cost-efficient, secure registration process that allows for easy access to student files. Intranets and portals are supposed to provide an infrastructure through which end-users can gain effective access to information sources needed to assist in daily tasks such as effective decision making, planning and research (Brakel, 2003).
Just like with the Internet, businesses have been at the forefront of tapping from the portal technology to rethink how traditional websites can be recognized to serve and transform their corporate goals. It is important to note that a website gives information about the organization and its significant difference to a portal is that one does not search for information as one does on the website but necessary information is provided at your fingertips on the portal already personalized information. It has become popular for academic institutions and universities in Nigeria to have their corporate presence on the Web within the last five years. The National Universities Commission, NUC and other international bodies in tertiary education have come up with the webometrics of universities across the world to highlight the growing importance of the Web to the running and administration of universities (www.nuc.edu.ng). Administrators of the universities have had to either to go about the website creation with the use of in-house developers or contract vendors. The latter are firms offering colleges and universities sophisticated websites through which students can obtain campus and other information and engage various collegial and institutional services. Indeed, at most universities abroad and at some Nigerian institutions the portal is used for specialized learning and virtual learning. Online registration was pioneered in Nigeria by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) that discarded with the old method of manual registration for its examinations and adopted the on-line registration, which is the system currently in vogue worldwide. Consequently, it began with registration of thousands of candidates, registering for the 2006/2007 Monotechnics, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (MPCE) examination. This was adopted and each candidate is required to either scan a printed passport photograph or download a digital copy which is to be fixed to the form which has presently metamorphosed into biometric capture which tends to reduce impersonation and examination malpractice. In addition to this, a slip, containing the particulars and photograph of the candidate, will be printed out, and which will be the passport to the examination hall, adding that the examination supervisor will also have a copy of the slip for confirming the candidate’s identity (Vanguard Newspapers, 2006).
Many institutions in Nigeria including Ebonyi state University, have been somewhat quick to recognize the powerful transformational potential of portals and have developed and implemented their own. Broadly one could argue that an institution with increasing student numbers, operating in a society with an increasing desire for instant access to information, needs to carefully consider new ways in which it can interact more effectively with its students (Brown 2000 77; Twigg and Oblinge 1997). However, many institutions have just gone on board without any regard for infrastructural support, availability of internet access to students, user education, etc. This study on the investigation on the impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions across the world especially Ebonyi State Universitytends to ascertain the efficiency of the facilities used for provision of information easily on registration of students, easy monitoring of students’ registration progress, easy comparison of registration status with other data such as students’ academic progress and enhanced time management. So ICTs were reliable compared to the previous manual system.
Scope of online registration include programmes which will contain a detailed information of the students since first date of enrollment and up to the graduation day including all student information and procedures required by the students during study semesters, and particularly the registration and following -up lecture schedules as well as checking up the absences etc. The institution used as the case study, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, as stated by Igbaji (2014), started online registration and the use of e-portals from 2009 but without the awareness of student and lecturers in the institution having the needed knowledge to access and make effective use of it. However, not until 2013 first semester when it was made compulsory that all students register their courses as well as their bio data which gives the institution details of all the students that are qualified to right the semester exam; and to the students, gives them sense of belonging as well as educating them on the use of ICT cum the basic online registration facilities. To this, the study is set to find out impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions: A study of Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki.
Statement of the problem
At Ebonyi State University, the use of the web for student registration emerged because of the problems associated with manual handling of registration and student records. Such problems included mismanagement of students’ academic records, mismanagement of courses registered for, etc. This is irrespective of several efforts to improve on manual registration in the University. It should be noted that in Africa, governments, corporate bodies and academic institutions decided to adopt e-solution in order to overcome the problems of manual operations. This relates to the position by Sore (2005) who pointed out that e-government and associated paraphernalia were ways of getting things done electronically to overcome manual problems. This exactly is the rationale behind the university‘s (EBSU) creation of its portal. Since the portal was created, students and staff have been using it; it is considered important to examine its level of acceptance and use for registration by the students of the university. The outcomes from this study will assist the university to know whether or not the problems of manual handling of students’ registration and mismanagement records have been overcome. The level of acceptance and use of online registration by the students of the university that will be unraveled in this study will provide a framework for the improvement of online registration at the university from which other universities in the country can copy to improve their own online registration exercise.
Purpose of the study
This study is geared towards determining the impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions: A study of Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. Specifically, it is meant to:
- Examine the impacts of the online portal on students of business education.
- Ascertain the extent online registration affects the students of business education.
- Ascertain the benefits of online registration to higher institutions in Nigeria.
- Ascertain the challenges of online registration of business education students.
Significance of the Study
This study on the impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions: A study of Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki will be of benefit to the students, the school administrators, the government, researchers (both online and offline) and other users of information.
To the students, it will help them to better understand the concept of online registration, the rudiments and pros and con which they (the students) can effectively utilized for better academic performance.
To the school administrators, it will help them to capture the actual population of the school. This is for the fact that only the qualified students (students who have paid their school fees) are allowed to register for the session and consequently write the semester exams. This in one way reduces impersonation (as only the duly registered students write the exam); reduces exam malpractice (as the only qualified students with is permitted to write exam); it enhances better planning and forecasting for better cost maximization.
The government will benefit from this study as the findings from the study will help them realize the need of the institution as well the students in enhancing better e-portal and online registration.
Researchers will benefit from this as the study will practically provide information for further studies geared towards research purposes.
Finally, this study will be of benefit to other users of information as it can enhance their daily living by providing to businesses, prospects in the production of online registration facilities; to the lecturers, a Facebook of their students for better identification of the students they teach. Etc.
To ascertain the impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions: A study of Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. The following research questions guided the study:
- What are the impacts of the online portal on students of business education?
- To what extent does online registration affect the students of business education?
- What are the advantages of online registration to higher institutions in Nigeria?
- What are the challenges of online registration of business education students?
Scope of the study
This study is geared towards ascertaining the impact of online registration of students in tertiary institutions and specifically, on the Business Education students of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki