n Mousaion - Assessment of the problems postgraduate students face in accessing e-resources at Makerere University, Uganda : a comparison between education and LIS students

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



Technology has become an integral part of higher education learning. With increased usage of instructional technology, web-based instructional resources such as electronic textbooks, journals, reviews and bulletins are making their way into the higher education system (Njagi, Smith & Isabell 2003; Okello-Obura & Magara 2008). In order to better understand the situation at Makerere University, a study was carried out on the e-resources-seeking behaviour of LIS postgraduate students and was subsequently published (Okello-Obura & Ikoja-Odongo 2010). With a view to drawing more lessons, a similar study was commissioned for postgraduate students in education at the same university. The objectives of the study were to: determine the knowledge or skills that postgraduate education students have as regards e-information access; establish the problems postgraduate education students face in accessing e-information resources; compare the level of skills for e-resources utilisation and problems faced by LIS and postgraduate education students; and recommend appropriate measures to address the problems facing e-resources access at Makerere University.

The study used a structured questionnaire for data collection, and convenience sampling was used to select the participants. To ensure a fair comparison, the same number of LIS students and education students were selected to participate. To provide uniformity in the study, both first and second-year postgraduate students were considered alongside LIS postgraduate students. The findings show that the respondents have positive attitudes towards e-resources utilisation. The problems identified by both groups of students include: slow Internet connectivity; inadequately networked computers; lack of access to low-cost printers in the library; inability to use advanced search strategies on most databases; and a lack of awareness of most of the e-resources. The study recommends that the speed of Internet connectivity should be improved by acquiring more bandwidth - or that a better option should be explored through the University Directorate of ICTs; lecturers should enforce the use of e-resources among postgraduate students, low-cost printing services should be provided in all postgraduate students' laboratories and dedicated to printing only online resources; awareness campaigns among both lecturers and postgraduate students should be intensified; and implementation of a phone text alert system should be explored with a friendly telecommunications company in the country. The findings of these studies will help library planners, LIS educators and education lecturers to consider ways to improve on e-resources access and utilisation. It is hoped that it will provoke new thinking towards improving the situation at the university library.

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