Utilization of the Internet in selected Thai universities: Attitudes of academic users
Jaitip Na-Songkhla, Northern Illinois University, United States
Northern Illinois University . Awarded
The Thai government connected to the Internet initially for Thai academics to communicate and exchange information with scholars from other parts of the world. This study was designed to gain information on the state of the development of the Internet in Thailand as of 1996. It was particularly intended to investigate the attitudes of academic users in Thai universities--faculty members and students--about the Internet and about their use of it for educational purposes. The questionnaire survey was the primary research tool employed. Four universities that have connected to the Internet and are located in Bangkok and its vicinity were focused upon. Thammasat University, Assumption University, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, and the Asian Institute of Technology represent universities of the private, the public, the distance-education, and the specific-field types, respectively.
A questionnaire was sent to administrators at each of the universities in order to assess the current state of the Internet at those institutions. Two other sets of questionnaires were designed to assess the attitudes of faculty members and students towards the Internet. Representatives at three universities that provide students Internet access used a referral sampling technique to administer the questionnaire to students who had experience in using the Internet. One hundred and forty-one completed questionnaires were received. Using the same referral sampling technique, the researcher administered the faculty questionnaire through e-mail; a total of 38 faculty members from the four universities responded to the questionnaire. The results of the study indicate that students and faculty did not use the Internet extensively for communication. Student respondents lacked the necessary skills for communicating on the Internet and did not perceive the Internet as an educational communication tool, whereas faculty respondents did. The study suggests that technical difficulties and language and cultural barriers hinder student use of the Internet. The study provides recommendations to administrators for supporting and educating academic users as to the educational communication benefits of the Internet and particularly for encouraging faculty leadership to promote the use of the Internet for educational purposes. Also, recommendations are given to faculty members for helping students gain necessary skills for interaction on the Internet.
Na-Songkhla, J. Utilization of the Internet in selected Thai universities: Attitudes of academic users. Ph.D. thesis, Northern Illinois University.
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