ICT Indicators in Higher Education: Towards an E-readiness Assessment Model
Waema, Timothy Mwololo
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The potential for information and communications technology (ICT) to transform teaching, learning, research and management in higher education has been the subject of many articles and reports . Higher education institutions in developing economies are at different stages of adoption ICTs for education and management. For institutions that are in the early stages of the ICT adoption, there are no appropriate models or frameworks that are being used to assess their state of readiness to use ICTs in education and to develop appropriate institutional ICT strategies aligned to the institutional strategies. In addition, the few existing models can only be used for qualitative assessment without explicit and measurable indicators and targets. In other words, the indicators they use do not have quantitative targets that could be used for benchmarking and quantitative assessment of ICT strategies. This paper describes a model that overcomes this limitation by developing indicators with quantifiable targets. The proposed e-readiness assessment model contains 17 indicators grouped into five categories of network access, networked campus, networked learning, networked society and institutional ICT strategy. The model defines over 88 sub-indicators of the 17 indicators based on both hard facts and perception data. The model has also developed a staging framework with quantifiable targets for staging each of the 17 indicators and sub-indicators on scale of 1 to 4, where 1 is the lowest stage of preparedness and the 4 the highest stage of preparedness. Since collecting perception data based statistically significant is expensive, the researchers propose that institutions could integrate a sub-set of six sub-indicators into their strategic ICT plans in order to improve the integration of ICT in education. This framework has been tested in two separate e-readiness assessments of universities in Eastern Africa [2, 3]. This paper argues that the model is a good starting point for empirical studies on the assessment of the integration of ICT in higher education institutions and invites practitioners to adopt the indicators, modifying where necessary, to guide integration of ICT into higher education and to develop roadmaps for accession to higher stages of e-readiness for higher education institutions. Finally, the paper recommends further research to establish relationships between the indicators and sub-indicators and quality of higher education and to derive an ICT readiness index for higher education institutions.