Universities are gradually evolving and passing from the purely traditional system to the modern technological induced system. The rate of this technology-driven university state globally is unprecedented. This makes it imperative for new entrants who are not up to speed with information and communication technology (ICT) skills to catch up relatively quickly. Therefore, an immediate orientation course in ICT aimed at developing students’ skills in coping with the technologically charged university environment must be a prerogative of universities. This would help boost teaching and learning activities in universities while maximizing the expected behavioral change in students after their university education.
Course activities in universities today are streamlined in technology. For example, teaching and learning materials are now in electronic format. These electronic resources must be downloaded by students from specific websites provided by the teacher.
Sometimes, some teachers hold virtual classes online with their students due to geographical constraints due to workshops, conferences and emergency meetings. Additionally, numerous assignments require students to conduct extensive research using online databases. These assignments mostly need to be sent electronically to the teacher’s email address or uploaded to a virtual platform created by the teacher or the institution. So, if a student is lacking in ICT skills, how can he cope with this technology induced university environment?
Some might argue that high school students were required to take ICT classes to cushion them for tech-rich tertiary education. True it may be, most of the high school level students were not privileged to have had this opportunity due to many challenges. This may be due to a lack of technological equipment and qualified field instructors to better manage the delivery of instruction. These student groups in most local communities and some urban centers are therefore highly technology deficient. When they find their way to the universities, they encounter a completely hostile environment full of technology with which they must quickly upgrade themselves. Fast learners are able to pick up these ICT skills quickly from friends who have had the privilege of tech training, while slow and shy learners end up throwing in the towel for college education.
Others experience the first bout of unfair classification as a major byproduct of their tech skills shortage. Sadly, these ‘tech slug’ students are the subject of ridicule from their peers and some tech-privileged faculty. This is very experienced when group assignment and presentations are to be done on virtual platforms. Demoralized students usually fall prey to truancy in technology-only classes. This gap that exists between students who are proficient in technology and those who are deficient needs to be bridged.
An immediate remedy would be to tailor ICT lessons to meet the needs and expectations of university students. This short course or orientation must be taken in the very first week of the student’s admission to college. It can also be scheduled as part of orientation sessions usually promulgated at virtually every university in the world. This training aimed at equipping new entrants with basic ICT skills would help them to be able to cope and succeed in their new technologically induced environment.
Tertiary institutions need to prioritize the organization of these ICT lessons as the traditional face of universities is rapidly transforming into a technology-induced condition. This major undertaking would help boost academic work in universities while halting the evil of student absenteeism due to lack of tech skills.