Use of Information and Communication Technologies for Teaching and Learning at Mzumbe University in Tanzania
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Public Universities in Tanzania are struggling to use Information and Communication Teclmologies (lCTs) to support different teaching and learning strategies. Although there were indicators for some 1CT operations at Mzumbe University, the situation of the JCT use for teaching and learning remained unclear. The objective of this study was therefore to explore the use of ICT and range of infrastructure available to support teaching and learning at Mzumbe University (MU) in Tanzania. Using an exploratory design, the study sought to obtain the more context-specific information on the actual use of the ICTs at Mzumbe University. The selection of Mzumbe University was purposively done with a motivation to capture the use of ICT in teaching and learning in public universities. This study utilised both random and purposive sampling techniques to obtain a total of 752 participants, mainly lecturers, students and administrators who are part and parcel of the planning, designing and implementation of the technology use in teaching and learning. The study used both quantitative and qualitative instruments of data collection in order to elicit both quantifiable and qualitative information on the use of the JCTs. As such, it employed questionnaires (for lecturers and students), interviews (for administrators), Focus Group Discussion (with the technical support team), documentary reviews and an observation checklist in order to draw from diverse perspectives. The data was analyzed mainly qualitatively using descriptive statistics to strengthen the answer to major research questions. Results of qualitative analysis were presented in both narrative and quotes forms while those from descriptive statistics were expressed in terms of frequencies and percentages and presented in tables and graphs. The findings of the study indicate that, despite some efforts by the university to procure a range of infrastructure and facilities to support ICT use for teaching and learning, such use ICT for the prescribed teaching practices (blended learning) remained very low, almost non-: existent. The available ICT infrastructure and facilities at the university were still underutilized; only used as a tool for typing notes, PowerPoint presentation, sharing lectures notes and email communication among lecturers and students. Findings also indicate that the prescribed ICT use at the university was fraught with challenges such as lack of awareness about the availability of certain lCTs, limited competency among lectures and students in using the IC'I's, uneven distribution and inadequacy of some infrastructure. The study recommends that the university mobilize support from the government and other education stakeholders to resolve these challenges in order to realize the prescribed JCT use targets. Recommendations are made for further research to track the trend of JCT use, quality and usability of the JCTs available and motivational mechanisms to promote sustainable ICT use in universities.