Date of this Version
Msagati, Nelson, "Awareness and Use of OPAC by Distance Learners: The Case of Open University of Tanzania" (2014). Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Paper..... http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/....
The survey aims to investigate the use of Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) among distance learners of the Open University of Tanzania. A descriptive research design has been adopted in the study. Stratified random sampling method was used to select randomly 300 distance learners. A structured questionnaire was developed and distributed randomly to 300 distance learners including undergraduate and postgraduate students. A total of 230 (76.67 percent) completed filled in questionnaires were returned back from the distance learners for analysis. Despite OPAC being the most effective information retrieval tool and of particular ideal for distance learners, findings of this study revealed low level of awareness (24.78 percent) and use (22.61 percent) of OPAC among them. The findings of this study has further revealed that majority of respondents (85.65 percent) retrieved educational resources from the library collection using browse through shelves technique. Limited number of computers with internet access, inadequate searching skills, low bandwidth and recurrent power outages were indicated as some of the barriers that militate against effective use of OPAC. The study recommends, among others, periodic information literacy training for distance learners during orientation and face to face sessions, introduction of information literacy compulsory course across the curriculum, provision of more PCs on campus, improvement of bandwidth, provision of standby generator in the computer labs and employment of proactive marketing strategies.