Internet Research Paper
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The Internet is a vast global system of interconnected technical networks made up of heterogeneous information and communication technologies. It is also a social and economic assemblage that allows diverse forms of communication, creativity, and cultural exchange at a scope and scale unknown before the late twentieth century.
The terms Internet and net are often used when discussing the social implications of new information technologies, such as the creation of new communal bonds across great distances or new forms of wealth and inequality. Such a usage is imprecise: The Internet is distinct from the applications and technologies that are built upon it, such as e-mail, the World Wide Web, online gaming, filesharing networks, and e-commerce and e-governance initiatives. There are also many networks that are or were once distinct from the Internet, such as mobile telephone networks and electronic financial networks.
Stated more precisely, the Internet is an infrastructural substrate that possesses innovative social, cultural, and economic features allowing creativity (or innovation) based on openness and a particular standardization process. It is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for many of the social and cultural implications often attributed to it. Understanding the particularity of the Internet can be key to differentiating its implications and potential impact on society from the impacts of “information technology” and computers more generally.
History and Structure of the Internet
The Internet developed through military, university, corporate, and amateur user innovations occurring more or less constantly beginning in the late 1960s. Despite its complexity, it is unlike familiar complex technical objects—for example, a jumbo jetliner—that are designed, tested, and refined by a strict hierarchy of experts who attempt to possess a complete overview of the object and its final state. By contrast, the Internet has been subject to innovation, experimentation, and refinement by a much less well-defined collective of diverse users with wide-ranging goals and interests.
In 1968 the Internet was known as the ARPAnet, named for its principal funding agency, the U.S. Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). It was a small but extensive research project organized by the Information Processing Techniques Office at ARPA that focused on advanced concepts in computing, specifically graphics, time-sharing, and networking. The primary goal of the network was to allow separate administratively bounded resources (computers and software at particular geographical sites) to be shared across those boundaries, without forcing standardization across all of them. The participants were primarily university researchers in computer and engineering departments. Separate experiments in networking, both corporate and academic, were also under way during this period, such as the creation of “Ethernet” by Robert Metcalfe at Xerox PARC and the X.25 network protocols standardized by the International Telecommunications Union.
By 1978 the ARPAnet had grown to encompass dozens of universities and military research sites in the United States. At this point the project leaders at ARPA recognized a need for a specific kind of standardization to keep the network feasible, namely a common operating system and networking software that could run on all of the diverse hardware connected to the network. Based on its widespread adoption in the 1970s, the UNIX operating system was chosen by ARPA as one official platform for the Internet. UNIX was known for its portability (ability to be installed on different kinds of hardware) and extensibility (ease with which new components could be added to the core system). Bill Joy (who later cofounded Sun Microsystems) is credited with the first widespread implementation of the Internet Protocol (IP) software in a UNIX operating system, a version known as Berkeley Systems Distribution (BSD).
The Internet officially began (in name and in practice) in 1983, the date set by an ad hoc group of engineers known as the Network Working Group (NWG) as the deadline for all connected computers to begin using the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) protocols. These protocols were originally designed in 1973 and consistently improved over the ensuing ten years, but only in 1983 did they become the protocols that would define the Internet. At roughly the same time, ARPA and the Department of Defense split the existing ARPAnet in two, keeping “Milnet” for sensitive military use and leaving ARPAnet for research purposes and for civilian uses.
From 1983 to 1993, in addition to being a research network, the Internet became an underground, subcultural phenomenon, familiar to amateur computer enthusiasts, university students and faculty, and “hackers.” The Internet’s glamour was largely associated with the arcane nature of interaction it demanded—largely text-based, and demanding access to and knowledge of the UNIX operating system. Thus, owners of the more widespread personal computers made by IBM and Apple were largely excluded from the Internet (though a number of other similar networks such as Bulletin Board Services, BITNet, and FidoNET existed for PC users).
A very large number of amateur computer enthusiasts discovered the Internet during this period, either through university courses or through friends, and there are many user-initiated innovations that date to this period, ranging from games (e.g., MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons) to programming and scripting languages (e.g., Perl, created by Larry Wall) to precursors of the World Wide Web (e.g., WAIS, Archie, and Gopher). During this period, the network was overseen and funded by the National Science Foundation, which invested heavily in improving the basic infrastructure of fiberoptic “backbones” in the United States in 1988. The oversight and management of the Internet was commercialized in 1995, with the backing of the presidential administration of Bill Clinton.
In 1993 the World Wide Web (originally designed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland) and the graphical Mosaic Web Browser (created by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois) brought the Internet to a much larger audience. Between 1993 and 2000 the “dot-com” boom drove the transformation of the Internet from an underground research phenomena to a nearly ubiquitous and essential technology with far-reaching effects. Commercial investment in infrastructure and in “web presence” saw explosive growth; new modes of interaction and communication (e.g., e-mail, Internet messaging, and mailing lists) proliferated; Uniform Resource Locators (URLs, such as www.britannica.com) became a common (and highly valued) feature of advertisements and corporate identity; and artists, scientists, citizens, and others took up the challenge of both using and understanding the new medium.
Protocols and the Internet Standards Process
The core technical components of the Internet are standardized protocols, not hardware or software, strictly speaking—though obviously it would not have spread so extensively without the innovations in microelectronics, the continual enhancement of telecommunications infrastructures around the globe, and the growth in ownership and use of personal computers over the last twenty years. Protocols make the “inter” in the Internet possible by allowing a huge number of nonoverlapping and incompatible networks to become compatible and to route data across all of them.
The key protocols, known as TCP/IP, were designed in 1973 by Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn. Other key protocols, such as the Domain Name System (DNS) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP), came later. These protocols have to be implemented in software (such as in the UNIX operating system described above) to allow computers to interconnect. They are essentially standards with which hardware and software implementations must comply in order for any type of hardware or software to connect to the Internet and communicate with any other hardware and software that does the same. They can best be understood as a kind of technical Esperanto.
The Internet protocols differ from traditional standards because of the unconventional social process by which they are developed, validated, and improved. The Internet protocols are elaborated in a set of openly available documents known as Requests for Comments (RFCs), which are maintained by a loose federation of engineers called the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF, the successor to the Network Working Group). The IETF is an organization open to individuals (unlike large standards organizations that typically accept only national or corporate representatives) that distributes RFCs free of charge and encourages members to implement protocols and to improve them based on their experiences and users’ responses. The improved protocol then may be released for further implementation.
This “positive feedback loop” differs from most “consensus-oriented” standardization processes (e.g., those of international organizations such as ISO, the International Organization for Standardization) that seek to achieve a final and complete state before encouraging implementations. The relative ease with which one piece of software can be replaced with another is a key reason for this difference. During the 1970s and 1980s this system served the Internet well, allowing it to develop quickly, according to the needs of its users. By the 1990s, however, the scale of the Internet made innovation a slower and more difficult procedure—a fact that is most clearly demonstrated by the comparatively glacial speed with which the next generation of the Internet protocol (known as IP Version 6) has been implemented.
Ultimately, the IETF style of standardization process has become a common cultural reference point of engineers and expert users of the Internet, and has been applied not only to the Internet, but also to the production of applications and tools that rely on the Internet. The result is a starkly different mode of innovation and sharing that is best exemplified by the growth and success of so-called “free software” or “open-source software.” Many of the core applications that are widely used on the Internet are developed in this fashion (famous examples include the Linux operating system kernel and the Apache Web Server).
Cultural, Social, and Economic Implications of the Internet
As a result of the unusual development process and the nature of the protocols, it has been relatively easy for the Internet to advance around the globe and to connect heterogeneous equipment in diverse settings, wherever there are willing and enthusiastic users with sufficient technical know-how. The major impediment to doing so is the reliability (or mere existence) of preexisting infrastructural components such as working energy and telecommunications infrastructures. Between 1968 and 1993 this expansion was not conducted at a national or state level, but by individuals and organizations who saw local benefit in expanding access to the global network. If a university computer science department could afford to devote some resources to computers dedicated to routing traffic and connections, then all the researchers in a department could join the network without needing permission from any centralized state authority. It was not until the late 1990s that Internet governance became an issue that concerned governments and citizens around the world. In particular, the creation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has been the locus of fractious dispute, especially in international arenas. ICANN’s narrow role is to assign IP numbers (e.g., 192.168.0.1) and the names they map to (e.g., www.wikipedia.org), but it has been perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an instrument of U.S. control over the Internet.
With each expansion of the Internet, issues of privacy, security, and organizational (or national) authority have become more pressing. At its outset the Internet protocols sought to prioritize control within administrative boundaries, leaving rules governing use to the local network owners. Such a scheme obviated the need for a central authority that determined global rules about access, public/private boundaries, and priority of use. With the advent of widespread commercial access, however, such local control has been severely diluted, and the possibility for individual mischief (e.g., identity theft, spam, and other privacy violations) has increased with increasing accessibility.
On the one hand, increased commercial access means a decline in local organized authority over parts of the Internet in favor of control of large segments by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telecommunications/cable corporations. On the other hand, as the basic infrastructure of the Internet has spread, so have the practices and norms that were developed in concert with the technology—including everything from the proper way to configure a router, to norms of proper etiquette on mailing lists and for e-mail. Applications built on top of the Internet have often adopted such norms and modes of use, and promoted a culture of innovation, of “hacking” (someone who creates new software by employing a series of modifications that exploit or extend existing code or resources, with good or bad connotations depending on the context), and of communal sharing of software, protocols, and tools.
It is thus important to realize that although most users do not experience the Internet directly, the development of the particular forms of innovation and openness that characterize the Internet also characterize the more familiar applications built on top of it, due to the propagation of these norms and modes of engineering. There is often, therefore, a significant difference between innovations that owe their genesis to the Internet and those developed in the personal computer industry, the so-called “proprietary” software industry, and in distinct commercial network infrastructures (e.g., the SABRE system for airline reservations, or the MOST network for credit card transactions). The particularity of the Internet leads to different implications and potential impact on society than the impacts of “information technology” or computers more generally.
Digital Music, Film, and Intellectual Property
One of the most widely discussed and experienced implications of the Internet is the effect on the culture industries, especially music and film. As with previous media (e.g., video and audio cassette recorders), it is the intersection of technology and intellectual property that is responsible for the controversy. Largely due to its “openness,” the Internet creates the possibility for low-cost and extremely broad and fast distribution of cultural materials, from online books to digital music and film. At the same time, it also creates the possibility for broad and fast violation of intellectual property rights—rights that have been strengthened considerably by the copyright act of 1976 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998).
The result is a cultural battle over the meaning of “sharing” music and movies, and the degree to which such sharing is criminal. The debates have been polarized between a “war on piracy” on the one hand (with widely varying figures concerning the economic losses), and “consumer freedom” on the other—rights to copy, share, and trade purchased music. The cultural implication of this war is a tension among the entertainment industry, the artists and musicians, and the consumers of music and film. Because the openness of the Internet makes it easier than ever for artists to distribute their work, many see a potential for direct remuneration, and cheaper and more immediate access for consumers. The entertainment industry, by contrast, argues that it provides more services and quality—not to mention more funding and capital—and that it creates jobs and contributes to a growing economy. In both cases, the investments are protected primarily by the mechanism of intellectual property law, and are easily diluted by illicit copying and distribution. And yet, it is unclear where to draw a line between legitimate sharing (which might also be a form of marketing) and illegitimate sharing (“piracy,” according to the industry).
The Digital Divide
A key question about the Internet is that of social equity and access. The term digital divide has been used primarily to indicate the differential in individual access to the Internet, or in computer literacy, between rich and poor, or between developed and developing nations. A great deal of research has gone into understanding inequality of access to the Internet, and estimates of both differential access and the rate of the spread of access have varied extremely widely, depending on methodology. It is, however, clear from the statistics that between 1996 and 2005 the rate of growth in usage has been consistently greater than 100 percent in almost all regions of the globe at some times, and in some places it has reached annual growth rates of 500 percent or more. Aside from the conclusion that the growth in access to the Internet has been fantastically rapid, there are few sure facts about differential access.
There are, however, a number of more refined questions that researchers have begun investigating: Is the quantity or rate of growth in access to the Internet larger or smaller than in the case of other media (e.g., television, print, and radio)? Are there significant differences within groups with access (e.g., class, race, or national differences in quality of access)? Does access actually enhance or change a person’s life chances or opportunities?
The implication of a digital divide (whether between nations and regions, or within them) primarily concerns the quality of information and the ability of individuals to use it to better their life chances. In local terms, this can affect development issues broadly (e.g., access to markets and government, democratic deliberation and participation, and access to education and employment opportunities); in global terms, differential access can affect the subjective understandings of issues ranging from religious intolerance to global warming and environmental issues to global geopolitics. Digital divides might also differ based on the political situation—such as in the case of the Chinese government’s attempt to censor access to politicized information, which in turn can affect the fate of cross-border investment and trade.
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Internet of Things is a revolutionary approach for future technology enhancement: a review
- Sachin Kumar ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-3949-0302 1 ,
- Prayag Tiwari 2 &
- Mikhail Zymbler 1
Journal of Big Data volume 6 , Article number: 111 ( 2019 ) Cite this article
Internet of Things (IoT) is a new paradigm that has changed the traditional way of living into a high tech life style. Smart city, smart homes, pollution control, energy saving, smart transportation, smart industries are such transformations due to IoT. A lot of crucial research studies and investigations have been done in order to enhance the technology through IoT. However, there are still a lot of challenges and issues that need to be addressed to achieve the full potential of IoT. These challenges and issues must be considered from various aspects of IoT such as applications, challenges, enabling technologies, social and environmental impacts etc. The main goal of this review article is to provide a detailed discussion from both technological and social perspective. The article discusses different challenges and key issues of IoT, architecture and important application domains. Also, the article bring into light the existing literature and illustrated their contribution in different aspects of IoT. Moreover, the importance of big data and its analysis with respect to IoT has been discussed. This article would help the readers and researcher to understand the IoT and its applicability to the real world.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging paradigm that enables the communication between electronic devices and sensors through the internet in order to facilitate our lives. IoT use smart devices and internet to provide innovative solutions to various challenges and issues related to various business, governmental and public/private industries across the world [ 1 ]. IoT is progressively becoming an important aspect of our life that can be sensed everywhere around us. In whole, IoT is an innovation that puts together extensive variety of smart systems, frameworks and intelligent devices and sensors (Fig. 1 ). Moreover, it takes advantage of quantum and nanotechnology in terms of storage, sensing and processing speed which were not conceivable beforehand [ 2 ]. Extensive research studies have been done and available in terms of scientific articles, press reports both on internet and in the form of printed materials to illustrate the potential effectiveness and applicability of IoT transformations. It could be utilized as a preparatory work before making novel innovative business plans while considering the security, assurance and interoperability.
General architecture of IoT
A great transformation can be observed in our daily routine life along with the increasing involvement of IoT devices and technology. One such development of IoT is the concept of Smart Home Systems (SHS) and appliances that consist of internet based devices, automation system for homes and reliable energy management system [ 3 ]. Besides, another important achievement of IoT is Smart Health Sensing system (SHSS). SHSS incorporates small intelligent equipment and devices to support the health of the human being. These devices can be used both indoors and outdoors to check and monitor the different health issues and fitness level or the amount of calories burned in the fitness center etc. Also, it is being used to monitor the critical health conditions in the hospitals and trauma centers as well. Hence, it has changed the entire scenario of the medical domain by facilitating it with high technology and smart devices [ 4 , 5 ]. Moreover, IoT developers and researchers are actively involved to uplift the life style of the disabled and senior age group people. IoT has shown a drastic performance in this area and has provided a new direction for the normal life of such people. As these devices and equipment are very cost effective in terms of development cost and easily available within a normal price range, hence most of the people are availing them [ 6 ]. Thanks to IoT, as they can live a normal life. Another important aspect of our life is transportation. IoT has brought up some new advancements to make it more efficient, comfortable and reliable. Intelligent sensors, drone devices are now controlling the traffic at different signalized intersections across major cities. In addition, vehicles are being launched in markets with pre-installed sensing devices that are able to sense the upcoming heavy traffic congestions on the map and may suggest you another route with low traffic congestion [ 7 ]. Therefore IoT has a lot to serve in various aspects of life and technology. We may conclude that IoT has a lot of scope both in terms of technology enhancement and facilitate the humankind.
IoT has also shown its importance and potential in the economic and industrial growth of a developing region. Also, in trade and stock exchange market, it is being considered as a revolutionary step. However, security of data and information is an important concern and highly desirable, which is a major challenging issue to deal with [ 5 ]. Internet being a largest source of security threats and cyber-attacks has opened the various doors for hackers and thus made the data and information insecure. However, IoT is committed to provide the best possible solutions to deal with security issues of data and information. Hence, the most important concern of IoT in trade and economy is security. Therefore, the development of a secure path for collaboration between social networks and privacy concerns is a hot topic in IoT and IoT developers are working hard for this.
The remaining part of the article is organized as follows: “ Literature survey ” section will provide state of art on important studies that addressed various challenges and issues in IoT. “ IoT architecture and technologies ” section discussed the IoT functional blocks, architecture in detail. In “ Major key issues and challenges of IoT ” section, important key issues and challenges of IoT is discussed. “ Major IoT applications ” section provides emerging application domains of IoT. In “ Importance of big data analytics in IoT ” section, the role and importance of big data and its analysis is discussed. Finally, the article concluded in “ Conclusions ” section.
IoT has a multidisciplinary vision to provide its benefit to several domains such as environmental, industrial, public/private, medical, transportation etc. Different researchers have explained the IoT differently with respect to specific interests and aspects. The potential and power of IoT can be seen in several application domains. Figure 2 illustrates few of the application domains of IoTs potentials.
Some of the potential application domains of IoT
Various important IoT projects have taken charge over the market in last few years. Some of the important IoT projects that have captured most of the market are shown in Fig. 3 . In Fig. 3 , a global distribution of these IoT projects is shown among American, European and Asia/Pacific region. It can be seen that American continent are contributing more in the health care and smart supply chain projects whereas contribution of European continent is more in the smart city projects [ 8 ].
Global distribution of IoT projects among America (USA, South America and Canada), Europe and APAC (Asia and Pacific region) [ 8 ]
Figure 4 , illustrates the global market share of IoT projects worldwide [ 8 ]. It is evident that industry, smart city, smart energy and smart vehicle based IoT projects have a big market share in comparison to others.
Global share of IoT projects across the world [ 8 ]
Smart city is one of the trendy application areas of IoT that incorporates smart homes as well. Smart home consists of IoT enabled home appliances, air-conditioning/heating system, television, audio/video streaming devices, and security systems which are communicating with each other in order to provide best comfort, security and reduced energy consumption. All this communication takes place through IoT based central control unit using Internet. The concept of smart city gained popularity in the last decade and attracted a lot of research activities [ 9 ]. The smart home business economy is about to cross the 100 billion dollars by 2022 [ 10 ]. Smart home does not only provide the in-house comfort but also benefits the house owner in cost cutting in several aspects i.e. low energy consumption will results in comparatively lower electricity bill. Besides smart homes, another category that comes within smart city is smart vehicles. Modern cars are equipped with intelligent devices and sensors that control most of the components from the headlights of the car to the engine [ 11 ]. The IoT is committed towards developing a new smart car systems that incorporates wireless communication between car-to-car and car-to-driver to ensure predictive maintenance with comfortable and safe driving experience [ 12 ].
Khajenasiri et al. [ 10 ] performed a survey on the IoT solutions for smart energy control to benefit the smart city applications. They stated that at present IoT has been deployed in very few application areas to serve the technology and people. The scope of IoT is very wide and in near future IoT is able to capture almost all application areas. They mentioned that energy saving is one of the important part of the society and IoT can assist in developing a smart energy control system that will save both energy and money. They described an IoT architecture with respect to smart city concept. The authors also discussed that one of the challenging task in achieving this is the immaturity of IoT hardware and software. They suggested that these issues must be resolved to ensure a reliable, efficient and user friendly IoT system.
Alavi et al. [ 13 ] addressed the urbanization issue in the cities. The movement of people from rural to urban atmosphere resulting in growing population of the cities. Therefore, there is a need to provide smart solutions for mobility, energy, healthcare and infrastructure. Smart city is one of the important application areas for IoT developers. It explores several issues such as traffic management, air quality management, public safety solutions, smart parking, smart lightning and smart waste collection (Fig. 5 ). They mentioned that IoT is working hard to tackle these challenging issues. The need for improved smart city infrastructure with growing urbanization has opened the doors for entrepreneurs in the field of smart city technologies. The authors concluded that IoT enabled technology is very important for the development of sustainable smart cities.
Potential IoT application areas for smart cities
Another important issue of IoT that requires attention and a lot of research is security and privacy. Weber [ 14 ] focused on these issues and suggested that a private organization availing IoT must incorporate data authentication, access control, resilience to attacks and client privacy into their business activities that would be an additional advantage. Weber suggested that in order to define global security and privacy issues, IoT developers must take into account the geographical limitations of the different countries. A generic framework needs to be designed to fit the global needs in terms of privacy and security. It is highly recommended to investigate and recognize the issues and challenges in privacy and security before developing the full fledge working IoT framework.
Later, Heer et al. [ 15 ] came up with a security issue in IP based IoT system. They mentioned that internet is backbone for the communication among devices that takes place in an IoT system. Therefore, security issues in IP based IoT systems are an important concern. In addition, security architecture should be designed considering the life cycle and capabilities of any object in the IoT system. It also includes the involvement of the trusted third party and the security protocols. The security architecture with scalability potential to serve the small-scale to large-scale things in IoT is highly desirable. The study pointed out that IoT gave rise to a new way of communication among several things across the network therefore traditional end to end internet protocol are not able to provide required support to this communication. Therefore, new protocols must be designed considering the translations at the gateways to ensure end-to-end security. Moreover, all the layers responsible for communication has their own security issues and requirements. Therefore, satisfying the requirements for one particular layers will leave the system into a vulnerable state and security should be ensured for all the layers.
Authentication and access control is another issue in IoT that needs promising solutions to strengthen the security. Liu et al. [ 16 ] brought up a solution to handle authentication and access control. Authentication is very important to verify the communicating parties to prevent the loss of confidential information. Liu et al. [ 16 ] provided an authentication scheme based on Elliptic Curve Cryptosystem and verified it on different security threats i.e. eavesdropping, man-in-the-middle attack, key control and replay attack. They claimed that there proposed schemes are able to provide better authentication and access control in IoT based communication. Later, Kothmayr et al. [ 17 ] proposed a two-way authentication scheme based of datagram transport layer security (DTLS) for IoT. The attackers over the internet are always active to steal the secured information. The proposed approach are able to provide message security, integrity, authenticity and confidentiality, memory overhead and end-to-end latency in the IoT based communication network.
Li et al. [ 18 ] proposed a dynamic approach for data centric IoT applications with respect to cloud platforms. The need of an appropriate device, software configuration and infrastructure requires efficient solutions to support massive amount of IoT applications that are running on cloud platforms. IoT developers and researchers are actively engaged in developing solutions considering both massive platforms and heterogeneous nature of IoT objects and devices. Olivier et al. [ 19 ] explained the concept of software defined networking (SDN) based architecture that performs well even if a well-defined architecture is not available. They proposed that SDN based security architecture is more flexible and efficient for IoT.
Luk et al. [ 20 ] stated that the main task of a secure sensor network (SSN) is to provide data privacy, protection from replay attacks and authentication. They discussed two popular SSN services namely TinySec [ 21 ] and ZigBee [ 22 ]. They mentioned that although both the SSN services are efficient and reliable, however, ZigBee is comparatively provides higher security but consumes high energy whereas TinySec consumes low energy but not as highly secured as ZigBee. They proposed another architecture MiniSec to support high security and low energy consumption and demonstrated its performance for the Telos platform. Yan et al. [ 23 ] stated that trust management is an important issue in IoT. Trust management helps people to understand and trust IoT services and applications without worrying about uncertainty issues and risks [ 24 ]. They investigated different issues in trust management and discussed its importance with respect to IoT developers and users.
Noura et al. [ 25 ] stated the importance of interoperability in IoT as it allows integration of devices, services from different heterogeneous platforms to provide the efficient and reliable service. Several other studies focused on the importance of interoperability and discussed several challenges that interoperability issue is facing in IoT [ 26 , 27 , 28 ]. Kim et al. [ 29 ] addressed the issue of climate change and proposed an IoT based ecological monitoring system. They mentioned that existing approaches are time consuming and required a lot of human intervention. Also, a routine visit is required to collect the information from the sensors installed at the site under investigation. Also, some information remained missing which leads to not highly accurate analysis. Therefore, IoT based framework is able to solve this problem and can provide high accuracy in analysis and prediction. Later, Wang et al. [ 30 ] shows their concern for domestic waste water treatment. They discussed several deficiencies in the process of waste water treatment and dynamic monitoring system and suggested effective solutions based on IoT. They stated that IoT can be very effective in the waste water treatment and process monitoring.
Agriculture is one of the important domain around the world. Agriculture depends on several factors i.e. geographical, ecological etc. Qiu et al. [ 31 ] stated that technology that is being used for ecosystem control is immature with low intelligence level. They mentioned that it could be a good application area for IoT developers and researchers.
Qiu et al. [ 31 ] proposed an intelligent monitoring platform framework for facility agriculture ecosystem based on IoT that consists of four layer mechanism to manage the agriculture ecosystem. Each layer is responsible for specific task and together the framework is able to achieve a better ecosystem with reduced human intervention.
Another important concern around the world is climate change due to global warming. Fang et al. [ 32 ] introduced an integrated information system (IIS) that integrates IoT, geo-informatics, cloud computing, global positioning system (GPS), geographical information system (GIS) and e-science in order to provide an effective environmental monitoring and control system. They mentioned that the proposed IIS provides improved data collection, analysis and decision making for climate control. Air pollution is another important concern worldwide. Various tools and techniques are available to air quality measures and control. Cheng et al. [ 33 ] proposed AirCloud which is a cloud based air quality and monitoring system. They deployed AirCloud and evaluated its performance using 5 months data for the continuous duration of 2 months.
Temglit et al. [ 34 ] considered Quality of Service (QoS) as an important challenge and a complex task in evaluation and selection of IoT devices, protocols and services. QoS is very important criteria to attract and gain trust of users towards IoT services and devices. They came up with an interesting distributed QoS selection approach. This approach was based on distributed constraint optimization problem and multi-agent paradigm. Further, the approach was evaluated based on several experiments under realistic distributed environments. Another important aspect of IoT is its applicability to the environmental and agriculture standards. Talavera et al. [ 35 ] focused in this direction and presented the fundamental efforts of IoT for agro-industrial and environmental aspects in a survey study. They mentioned that the efforts of IoT in these areas are noticeable. IoT is strengthening the current technology and benefiting the farmers and society. Jara et al. [ 36 ] discussed the importance of IoT based monitoring of patients health. They suggested that IoT devices and sensors with the help of internet can assist health monitoring of patients. They also proposed a framework and protocol to achieve their objective. Table 1 provides a summary of the important studies and the direction of research with a comparison of studies on certain evaluation parameters.
IoT architecture and technologies
The IoT architecture consists of five important layers that defines all the functionalities of IoT systems. These layers are perception layer, network layer, middleware layer, application layer, business layer. At the bottom of IoT architecture, perception layer exists that consists of physical devices i.e. sensors, RFID chips, barcodes etc. and other physical objects connected in IoT network. These devices collects information in order to deliver it to the network layer. Network layer works as a transmission medium to deliver the information from perception layer to the information processing system. This transmission of information may use any wired/wireless medium along with 3G/4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth etc. Next level layer is known as middleware layer. The main task of this layer is to process the information received from the network layer and make decisions based on the results achieved from ubiquitous computing. Next, this processed information is used by application layer for global device management. On the top of the architecture, there is a business layer which control the overall IoT system, its applications and services. The business layer visualizes the information and statistics received from the application layer and further used this knowledge to plan future targets and strategies. Furthermore, the IoT architectures can be modified according to the need and application domain [ 19 , 20 , 37 ]. Besides layered framework, IoT system consists of several functional blocks that supports various IoT activities such as sensing mechanism, authentication and identification, control and management [ 38 ]. Figure 6 illustrates such functional blocks of IoT architecture.
A generic function module of IoT system
There are several important functional blocks responsible for I/O operations, connectivity issues, processing, audio/video monitoring and storage management. All these functional block together incorporates an efficient IoT system which are important for optimum performance. Although, there are several reference architectures proposed with the technical specifications, but these are still far from the standard architecture that is suitable for global IoT [ 39 ]. Therefore, a suitable architecture is still needsvk to be designed that could satisfy the global IoT needs. The generic working structure of IoT system is shown in Fig. 7 . Figure 7 shows a dependency of IoT on particular application parameters. IoT gateways have an important role in IoT communication as it allows connectivity between IoT servers and IoT devices related to several applications [ 40 ].
Working structure of IoT
Scalability, modularity, interoperability and openness are the key design issues for an efficient IoT architecture in a heterogenous environment. The IoT architecture must be designed with an objective to fulfil the requirements of cross domain interactions, multi-system integration with the potential of simple and scalable management functionalities, big data analytics and storage, and user friendly applications. Also, the architecture should be able to scaleup the functionality and add some intelligence and automation among the IoT devices in the system.
Moreover, increasing amount of massive data being generated through the communication between IoT sensors and devices is a new challenge. Therefore, an efficient architecture is required to deal with massive amount of streaming data in IoT system. Two popular IoT system architectures are cloud and fog/edge computing that supports with the handling, monitoring and analysis of huge amount of data in IoT systems. Therefore, a modern IoT architecture can be defined as a 4 stage architecture as shown in Fig. 8 .
Four stage IoT architecture to deal with massive data
In stage 1 of the architecture, sensors and actuators plays an important role. Real world is comprised of environment, humans, animals, electronic gadgets, smart vehicles, and buildings etc. Sensors detect the signals and data flow from these real world entities and transforms into data which could further be used for analysis. Moreover, actuators is able to intervene the reality i.e. to control the temperature of the room, to slow down the vehicle speed, to turn off the music and light etc. Therefore, stage 1 assist in collecting data from real world which could be useful for further analysis. Stage 2 is responsible to collaborate with sensors and actuators along with gateways and data acquisition systems. In this stage, massive amount of data generated in stage 1 is aggregated and optimized in a structured way suitable for processing. Once the massive amount of data is aggregated and structured then it is ready to be passed to stage 3 which is edge computing. Edge computing can be defined as an open architecture in distributed fashion which allows use of IoT technologies and massive computing power from different locations worldwide. It is very powerful approach for streaming data processing and thus suitable for IoT systems. In stage 3, edge computing technologies deals with massive amount of data and provides various functionalities such as visualization, integration of data from other sources, analysis using machine learning methods etc. The last stage comprises of several important activities such as in depth processing and analysis, sending feedback to improve the precision and accuracy of the entire system. Everything at this stage will be performed on cloud server or data centre. Big data framework such as Hadoop and Spark may be utilized to handle this large streaming data and machine learning approaches can be used to develop better prediction models which could help in a more accurate and reliable IoT system to meet the demand of present time.
Major key issues and challenges of IoT
The involvement of IoT based systems in all aspects of human lives and various technologies involved in data transfer between embedded devices made it complex and gave rise to several issues and challenges. These issues are also a challenge for the IoT developers in the advanced smart tech society. As technology is growing, challenges and need for advanced IoT system is also growing. Therefore, IoT developers need to think of new issues arising and should provide solutions for them.
Security and privacy issues
One of the most important and challenging issues in the IoT is the security and privacy due to several threats, cyber attacks, risks and vulnerabilities [ 41 ]. The issues that give rise to device level privacy are insufficient authorization and authentication, insecure software, firmware, web interface and poor transport layer encryption [ 42 ]. Security and privacy issues are very important parameters to develop confidence in IoT Systems with respect to various aspects [ 43 ]. Security mechanisms must be embedded at every layer of IoT architecture to prevent security threats and attacks [ 23 ]. Several protocols are developed and efficiently deployed on every layer of communication channel to ensure the security and privacy in IoT based systems [ 44 , 45 ]. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) are one of the cryptographic protocols that are implemented between transport and application layer to provide security solutions in various IoT systems [ 44 ]. However, some IoT applications require different methods to ensure the security in communication between IoT devices. Besides this, if communication takes place using wireless technologies within the IoT system, it becomes more vulnerable to security risks. Therefore, certain methods should be deployed to detect malicious actions and for self healing or recovery. Privacy on the other hand is another important concern which allows users to feel secure and comfortable while using IoT solutions. Therefore, it is required to maintain the authorization and authentication over a secure network to establish the communication between trusted parties [ 46 ]. Another issue is the different privacy policies for different objects communicating within the IoT system. Therefore, each object should be able to verify the privacy policies of other objects in IoT system before transmitting the data.
Interoperability is the feasibility to exchange the information among different IoT devices and systems. This exchange of information does not rely on the deployed software and hardware. The interoperability issue arises due to the heterogeneous nature of different technology and solutions used for IoT development. The four interoperability levels are technical, semantic, syntactic and organizational [ 47 ]. Various functionalities are being provided by IoT systems to improve the interoperability that ensures communication between different objects in a heterogeneous environment. Additionally, it is possible to merge different IoT platforms based on their functionalities to provide various solutions for IoT users [ 48 ]. Considering interoperability an important issue, researchers approved several solutions that are also know as interoperability handling approaches [ 49 ]. These solutions could be adapaters/gateways based, virtual networks/overlay based, service oriented architecture based etc. Although interoperability handling approaches ease some pressure on IoT systems but there are still certain challenges remain with interoperability that could be a scope for future studies [ 25 ].
Ethics, law and regulatory rights
Another issue for IoT developers is the ethics, law and regulatory rights. There are certain rules and regulations to maintain the standard, moral values and to prevent the people from violating them. Ethics and law are very similar term with the only difference is that ethics are standards that people believes and laws are certain restrictions decided by the government. However, both ethics and laws are designed to maintain the standard, quality and prevent people from illegal use. With the development of IoT, several real life problems are solved but it has also given rise to critical ethical and legal challenges [ 50 ]. Data security, privacy protection, trust and safety, data usability are some of those challenges. It has also been observed that majority of IoT users are supporting government norms and regulations with respect to data protection, privacy and safety due to the lack of trust in IoT devices. Therefore, this issue must be taken into consideration to maintain and improve the trust among people for the use of IoT devices and systems.
Scalability, availability and reliability
A system is scalable if it is possible to add new services, equipments and devices without degrading its performance. The main issue with IoT is to support a large number of devices with different memory, processing, storage power and bandwidth [ 28 ]. Another important issue that must be taken into consideration is the availability. Scalability and availability both should be deployed together in the layered framework of IoT. A great example of scalability is cloud based IoT systems which provide sufficient support to scale the IoT network by adding up new devices, storage and processing power as required.
However, this global distributed IoT network gives rise to a new research paradigm to develop a smooth IoT framework that satisfy global needs [ 51 ]. Another key challenge is the availability of resources to the authentic objects regardless of their location and time of the requirement. In a distributed fashion, several small IoT networks are timely attached to the global IoT platforms to utilize their resources and services. Therefore, availability is an important concern [ 52 ]. Due to the use of different data transmission channels i.e. satellite communication, some services and availability of resources may be interrupted. Therefore, an independent and reliable data transmission channel is required for uninterrupted availability of resources and services.
Quality of Service (QoS)
Quality of Service (QoS) is another important factor for IoT. QoS can be defined as a measure to evaluate the quality, efficiency and performance of IoT devices, systems and architecture [ 34 ]. The important and required QoS metrics for IoT applications are reliability, cost, energy consumption, security, availability and service time [ 53 ]. A smarter IoT ecosystem must fulfill the requirements of QoS standards. Also, to ensure the reliability of any IoT service and device, its QoS metrics must be defined first. Further, users may also be able to specifiy their needs and requirements accordingly. Several approaches can be deployed for QoS assessment, however as mentioned by White et al. [ 54 ] there is a trade-off between quality factors and approaches. Therefore, good quality models must be deployed to overcome this trade-off. There are certain good quality models available in literature such as ISO/IEC25010 [ 55 ] and OASIS-WSQM [ 56 ] which can be used to evaluate the approaches used for QoS assessment. These models provides a wide range of quality factors that is quite sufficient for QoS assessment for IoT services. Table 2 summarizes the different studies with respect to IoT key challenges and issues discussed above.
Major IoT applications
Emerging economy, environmental and health-care.
IoT is completely devoted to provide emerging public and financial benefits and development to the society and people. This includes a wide range of public facilities i.e. economic development, water quality maintenance, well-being, industrialization etc. Overall, IoT is working hard to accomplish the social, health and economic goals of United Nations advancement step. Environmental sustainability is another important concern. IoT developers must be concerned about environmental impact of the IoT systems and devices to overcome the negative impact [ 48 ]. Energy consumption by IoT devices is one of the challenges related to environmental impact. Energy consumption is increasing at a high rate due to internet enabled services and edge cutting devices. This area needs research for the development of high quality materials in order to create new IoT devices with lower energy consumption rate. Also, green technologies can be adopted to create efficient energy efficient devices for future use. It is not only environmental friendly but also advantageous for human health. Researchers and engineers are engaged in developing highly efficient IoT devices to monitor several health issues such as diabetes, obesity or depression [ 57 ]. Several issues related to environment, energy and healthcare are considered by several studies.
Smart city, transport and vehicles
IoT is transforming the traditional civil structure of the society into high tech structure with the concept of smart city, smart home and smart vehicles and transport. Rapid improvements are being done with the help of supporting technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing to understand the need and use of technology at home [ 58 ]. Various technologies such as cloud server technology, wireless sensor networks that must be used with IoT servers to provide an efficient smart city. Another important issue is to think about environmental aspect of smart city. Therefore, energy efficient technologies and Green technologies should also be considered for the design and planning of smart city infrastructure. Further, smart devices which are being incorporated into newly launched vehicles are able to detect traffic congestions on the road and thus can suggest an optimum alternate route to the driver. This can help to lower down the congestion in the city. Furthermore, smart devices with optimum cost should be designed to be incorporated in all range vehicles to monitor the activity of engine. IoT is also very effective in maintaining the vehicle’s health. Self driving cars have the potential to communicate with other self driving vehicles by the means of intelligent sensors. This would make the traffic flow smoother than human-driven cars who used to drive in a stop and go manner. This procedure will take time to be implemented all over the world. Till the time, IoT devices can help by sensing traffic congestion ahead and can take appropriate actions. Therefore, a transport manufacturing company should incorporate IoT devices into their manufactured vehicles to provide its advantage to the society.
Agriculture and industry automation
The world’s growing population is estimated to reach approximate 10 billion by 2050. Agriculture plays an important role in our lives. In order to feed such a massive population, we need to advance the current agriculture approaches. Therefore, there is a need to combine agriculture with technology so that the production can be improved in an efficient way. Greenhouse technology is one of the possible approaches in this direction. It provides a way to control the environmental parameters in order to improve the production. However, manual control of this technology is less effective, need manual efforts and cost, and results in energy loss and less production. With the advancement of IoT, smart devices and sensors makes it easier to control the climate inside the chamber and monitor the process which results in energy saving and improved production (Fig. 9 ). Automatization of industries is another advantage of IoT. IoT has been providing game changing solutions for factory digitalization, inventory management, quality control, logistics and supply chain optimization and management.
A working structure of IoT system in agriculture production
Importance of big data analytics in IoT
An IoT system comprises of a huge number of devices and sensors that communicates with each other. With the extensive growth and expansion of IoT network, the number of these sensors and devices are increasing rapidly. These devices communicate with each other and transfer a massive amount of data over internet. This data is very huge and streaming every second and thus qualified to be called as big data. Continuous expansion of IoT based networks gives rise to complex issue such as management and collection of data, storage and processing and analytics. IoT big data framework for smart buildings is very useful to deal with several issues of smart buildings such as managing oxygen level, to measure the smoke/hazardous gases and luminosity [ 59 ]. Such framework is capable to collect the data from the sensors installed in the buildings and performs data analytics for decision making. Moreover, industrial production can be improved using an IoT based cyber physical system that is equipped with an information analysis and knowledge acquisition techniques [ 60 ]. Traffic congestion is an important issue with smart cities. The real time traffic information can be collected through IoT devices and sensors installed in traffic signals and this information can be analyzed in an IoT based traffic management system [ 61 ]. In healthcare analysis, the IoT sensors used with patients generate a lot of information about the health condition of patients every second. This large amount of information needs to be integrated at one database and must be processed in real time to take quick decision with high accuracy and big data technology is the best solution for this job [ 62 ]. IoT along with big data analytics can also help to transform the traditional approaches used in manufacturing industries into the modern one [ 63 ]. The sensing devices generates information which can be analyzed using big data approaches and may help in various decision making tasks. Furthermore, use of cloud computing and analytics can benefit the energy development and conservation with reduced cost and customer satisfaction [ 64 ]. IoT devices generate a huge amount of streaming data which needs to be stored effectively and needs further analysis for decision making in real time. Deep learning is very effective to deal with such a large information and can provide results with high accuracy [ 65 ]. Therefore, IoT, Big data analytics and Deep learning together is very important to develop a high tech society.
Recent advancements in IoT have drawn attention of researchers and developers worldwide. IoT developers and researchers are working together to extend the technology on large scale and to benefit the society to the highest possible level. However, improvements are possible only if we consider the various issues and shortcomings in the present technical approaches. In this survey article, we presented several issues and challenges that IoT developer must take into account to develop an improved model. Also, important application areas of IoT is also discussed where IoT developers and researchers are engaged. As IoT is not only providing services but also generates a huge amount of data. Hence, the importance of big data analytics is also discussed which can provide accurate decisions that could be utilized to develop an improved IoT system.
Availability of data and materials
Internet of Things
Quality of Service
Web of Things
Cloud of Things
Smart Home System
Smart Health Sensing System
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This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation (government order 2.7905.2017/8.9).
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Kumar, S., Tiwari, P. & Zymbler, M. Internet of Things is a revolutionary approach for future technology enhancement: a review. J Big Data 6 , 111 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40537-019-0268-2
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University students' usage of the internet resources for research and learning: forms of access and perceptions of utility
Oberiri destiny apuke.
a Department of Communication Studies, European University of Lefke, Lefke, Northern Cyprus, Via Mersin 10, Turkey
b Department of Mass Communication, Taraba State University, PMB 1167, Jalingo, Nigeria
Timothy Onosahwo Iyendo
c Department of Architecture, European University of Lefke, Lefke, Northern Cyprus, Via Mersin 10, Turkey
Most prior studies into the utilization of internet technology for learning purposes in contemporary educational settings in developing countries has largely dealt with its impact on academic performance, communication and general educational purposes. This paper investigates the place of the internet in academic research and learning of students, through both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, using 250 undergraduate students in three selected universities within North-Eastern Nigeria. To gain an in-depth understanding of the perception of the students' views, a focus group was conducted with 18 students. The students perceived that the lack of digital readiness among their staff and institution, the absence of electronic library for easy accessibility to journals from the scientific database, and inefficient cybercafé and internet facility within their university settings were the main issues discouraging the utilization of the internet within their institutions. Yet, they still strive to find ways through self-organization, resilience and resourcefulness to make use of the internet to facilitate their studies. Most of them stated that they depended on their smartphone/handsets to access the internet through subscription from other internet providers and have become overly reliant on Google, Yahoo, and open access e-Journals. Nevertheless, the students believed that the use of internet enabled them to perform research ahead of time, tackle multiple homework, widens the scope of reading and learning, promotes self-learning, encourages and enhances peer learning as well as ameliorates student's examination preparation.
The internet has been defined as the communication superhighway that links, hooks, and transforms the entire world into a global village where a different individual can easily get in touch, see, or speak to one another, as well as exchange information instantaneously from one point of the globe to another ( Shitta, 2002 ). This technology has reshaped the tertiary educational practice in terms of improving academic learning ( Apuke and Iyendo, 2017 ; Manasijević et al., 2016 ; Iyendo and Halil, 2015 ) and will be more feasible in the future. Hussain (2012) reported that the internet and its usage in higher education have improved educational development and research and has encouraged virtual interactions for sharing research findings.
The rationale for internet utilization for academic and research purposes stems from the benefits derived, such as free access to online journals, magazines and other information resources. It has been theorized (i.e. Technology acceptance model) that the perceived usefulness or perceived utility is the major rationale for the acceptance of technological devices such as the internet. The perceived usefulness (PU) is described as the extent to which a person perceived that utilizing a particular technological device will improve a given job performance. Whilst perceived ease of use (PEOU) is the extent a person feels that utilizing a particular technological device would require less effort, or how well a technological device can fasten a work without necessarily putting much effort ( Tezer and Soykan, 2017 ; Davis, 1989 ). In this regard, Sahin et al. (2010) pointed out that the use of internet in the educational setting has enabled easy access to many resources and information sharing. This conforms with Audu's (2006) claim that the internet is beneficial in several ways in the academic settings in terms of providing access to global sources of information and permitting researchers to discuss and share experiences. Bashir et al. (2008) noted that educators who advocated for technology integration into the learning process had the impression that it will improve learning and prepare students to effectively participate in the twenty-first-century workplace. It has been observed that new digital technologies have been widely used in higher education institutions ( Dogruer et al., 2011 ), and this efficiently helps students to carry out substantial research work ( Devi and Roy, 2012 ). Despite these possible benefits of the internet for learning, instructing, and research, there is the limited provision of efficient internet services in most tertiary institutions ( Ureigho et al., 2006 ) in developing countries. Muniandy (2010) comment that the adoption of the internet would be meaningless in the educational settings without appropriate internet facilities.
Like in any other higher institution of learning around the globe, Nigerian university undergraduate students are often required to conduct diverse research work as they progress through their final year. The qualities of a student's research and learning are largely dependent on the quality, quantity and current internet resources referred to ( Ilo and Ifijeh, 2010 ; Mbofong, 2003 ). This has attracted research debate on the use of internet in contemporary educational contexts in developing countries such as Nigeria. However, most of these studies predominantly highlight its impact on academic performance (grades), communication, and general educational purposes ( Ifinedo, 2017 ; Cerretani et al., 2016 ; Rashid and Han, 2016 ; Nwagwu et al., 2009 ; Adegboji and Toyo, 2006 ; Oduwole, 2004 ). This indicates that detailed studies that try to interpret student perspective on internet access and usefulness for research and academic learning are still in their embryonic phase ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ; Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari, 2015 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ). It is worthwhile to mention that most of these documented researches based merely on students within Southern, Eastern and Western region ( Afolabi, 2015 ; Otunla, 2013 ; Agboola, 2010 ; Ani, 2010 ; Nwagwu et al., 2009 ; Omotayo, 2006 ; Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). This strong focus has led to a limited research conducted among students' in the North-Eastern part which is amid slower technological change ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ). Though, there is evidence to show that a limited proportion of the population has access to the Internet at home, yet, little is known if students in this region incorporate this technology into their research and learning ( Navaretti and Tarr, 2017 ; Hartnett and Russell, 2002 ). Poushter (2016) observed that technological development in universities within this region is not much advanced and very little research in the implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) has been undertaken as compared to research in universities in other regions of Nigeria.
This backdrop provides a scope for an in-depth research into the students' experience and perspective on the access and utility of electronic sources for academic research and learning. Thus, it is pertinent to research into how these students find ways to make use of the internet to facilitate their academic research and learning. This also calls for exploring the challenges facing the students in this region as it relates to internet usage for academic research and learning. It is believed that the outcomes of this current study will contribute to enhancing the empirical research results that are beneficial for informing teaching and learning practice in higher education. This will also provide an understanding of the application and appreciation of internet resources by students residing in this overlooked region.
2. Related works
In recent decades, research evidence has shown that the advances in information technology and the development of computers have affected student approaches to research and learning in the contemporary higher educational settings. Studies have shown that technology is one of the key modifiers of human behaviour ( Gan and Li, 2018 ; Greitemeyer and Osswald, 2011 ), and this has now become a norm for social interactions ( McLeod, 2008 ). In this view, computer and internet technologies have been indicated to influence human behaviour ( Roudbaraki and Esfidvajani, 2011 ; Weimann, 2006 ), and this, in turn, has positively affected students' research and academic learning.
Several studies have supported that the internet utilization is most prevalent among younger, educated individuals ( Poushter et al., 2015 ; Hoffman et al., 2000 ). For example, Ivwighreghweta and Igere (2014) investigated the impact of the internet on academic performance in selected tertiary institutions in Nigeria and found that most of the students were computer literate and merely access relevant academic materials through the Cyber Café. Most of the students disclosed that the internet usage improves their examination preparation. E-journals and e-books were among the resources often used. However, power outage, slow internet speed, lack of computer terminals, too many hits or information overload and insufficient computer were some of the problems impeding effective internet access or usage.
Studies have found that internet mobile learning among college/university students has brought about a profound and diverse pool of knowledge. For example, Ahmed and Bukar (2016) found that the majority of Adamawa state university students in Nigeria who utilize the internet for educational and entertainment purposes depended on their mobile devices for internet access. Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari (2015) discovered that science students in Nigerian private universities who regularly access the internet facilities on their smartphones (such as e-mails, social media and search engines), utilize it for educational and communication purposes. However, poor internet connectivity and the high cost of data subscription were identified to be the major challenges confronting the students. According to Agboola (2010) , there is a high level of mobile device dependency for internet access among agricultural science students in Nigeria. In the same survey, it was found that most of the students who utilize the internet for educational and entertainment purposes prefer to use textbooks among print materials and the essential electronic agricultural library (TEEAL) among the electronic resources. Otunla (2013) reported that a considerable number of undergraduate students in Nigeria accessed and use the internet through their mobile telephones and laptops using a modem as a router, whereas a few accessed the internet through the University digital centre and none accessed through the University Library. It was likewise shown that the internet made data retrieval easier, resulting in a positive impact on the student's educational development.
A more recent study that examined the use of smartphones among college students in Nigeria showed that 38.2 percent spent between 1 and 5 hours per day on their phones, 98 percent used their phones to communicate with family members and friends, about 75 percent used their smartphones for social networking, and only 24 percent use their smartphones for academic activities ( Nwachukwu and Onyenankeya, 2017 ). This result suggests that some students do not use mobile devices to facilitate their studies. Another study conducted among Nigerian students, identified the positive effects of mobile use for education to include easy access to information, instructional usage and personal convenience ( Mojaye, 2015 ). Shonola et al. (2016) study on two Universities in South-West Nigeria found that the students use their portable devices to exchange education-related messages and academic files with classmates, search the internet and library databases for academic materials, practice online quizzes or tests and hold discussions with classmates among others. Consistent with this result, undergraduate students at Igbinedion University, Nigeria reported that they primarily use mobile phones to search for academic materials and to consult scholarly articles for assignments. They also outlined that using the internet on their mobile phones enables them to search and access academic information instantly ( Mamudu and Oyewo, 2015 ).
The usage of mobile phones among students has not only been experienced in the Nigerian context but also in western countries, where studies on mobile learning have been well documented. For example, a survey found that medical students in the University of Coimbra had a positive attitude towards the utilization of mobile learning and applications. Although, the authors demonstrated that students were willing to promote its utilization for learning, yet, they had an average willingness to adopt it due to social influence and behavioural intention, such as perception towards ease of use and the reliableness of this technology for learning ( Briz-Ponce et al., 2017 ). A meta-analysis that summarizes the effects of mobile technology on students' attitudes, engagement, and achievement found that learning content quality, content design quality, interactivity, functionality, user-interface design, accessibility, personalization, responsiveness, including promoting of the collaborative learning environment to be the primary antecedents of internet mobile learning acceptance among students ( Fabian et al., 2018 ). An earlier study conducted by Gikas and Grant (2013) on students from three universities across the US, established that Mobile computing devices and the use of social media provided opportunities for interaction, and collaboration, as well as allowed them to engage in content creation and communication. This result is consistent with a survey conducted among medical students at Johns Hopkins University, which revealed that mobile technology usage improved how they learn new material and preference for classes that incorporate information technology. This means that the perceived usefulness and simplicity of usage of mobile technology and the internet could enhance students' behavioural intention to use mobile application for learning which in turn improves learning and inquiry.
Reflecting these results in the Nigerian context, a more recent investigation on mobile learning disclosed that students' initial acceptance of internet mobile learning is due to gratifying factors, such as perceived self-efficacy, outcome anticipations and perceived support for enhancing social ties ( Ifinedo, 2017 ). Similarly, Bashir et al. (2008) revealed that most students use the internet for course-related reading and research needs, due to its user-friendliness and time-saving. They also found Google and Yahoo to be the primary search engine used by the students. Adekunmisi et al. (2013) discovered that most of the students at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria use internet facilities, such as e-mails, web pages and search engines for chatting and academic activities. Omotayo (2006) reported that most of the students of Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria access the internet through cyber cafes, however, both male and female students used the internet differently. Although the rate at which the internet was utilized in both groups were alike. The male participants were more addicted to internet usage when compared with the female, although both genders lacked formal training on internet usage, as such they learn from friends. Nwagwu et al. (2009) affirm that most of the students of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, utilize the internet for educational purposes, however, it varied with age, level of study and faculty. It was observed that those in the higher classes utilize the internet more often and have lesser time for leisure and entertainment. The students believed that the information derived from the internet is useful and trustworthy. This is consistent with Alshahrani et al. (2017) study, which concluded that the use of the internet has a profound impact on students' academic self-confidence, self-reliance and student lecturer connectedness.
There is research evidence to show that internet utilization has a profound impact on research and learning activities ( Fasae and Adegbilero-Iwari, 2015 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ). Nwezeh's (2010) indicated that most of the academic staff and students in Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria, found the use of email and Web worthwhile for research and information retrieval. A similar empirical evidence proposed that the use of e-mail for academic-related activities should be encouraged among students in order to harness its full potential in improving academic performance ( Nketiah-Amponsah et al., 2017 ). Afolabi (2015) remark that, although online learning tools are available at Adekunle Ajasin University in Nigeria, its usage has not been fully integrated into their curriculum. Yet, students and lecturers are willing to utilize it whenever it is implemented. In this regard, a prior study has proven that the internet enables Delta state university students in Abraka, Nigeria to access relevant and up to date materials for their research work without travelling to other places to source for research materials ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). Bankole (2013) remarked that students at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria, access the internet from homes and commercial cybercafé. The survey also discovered that the daily usage of the internet facilities such as Google, Yahoo, and Google Scholar search engines were often employed for communication purposes, research and updating of knowledge and this improved their academic activities. Yet, slow internet connection and inadequate institutional internet facilities were highlighted as the constraint to proper access and usage of the internet. Additionally, Oduwole (2004) argues that the internet has a great impact on the research outcomes of students in Nigerian Universities of Agriculture, as this enables them to have fast communication with their schoolmates, as well as offer a platform for accessing and publishing papers online. Other evident studies conducted among Delta State University, Abraka, students in Nigeria reported that the internet contributed significantly to the easiness of research through downloading materials ( Adegboji and Toyo, 2006 ), as well as enhanced the cognitive operation of data dissemination ( Kamba, 2008 ). In contrast, Ureigho et al.'s (2006) study on the impact of the internet on learning, teaching and research in higher institutions found that students and staff use the internet primarily for online chatting and e-mailing, rather than accessing research materials. Emeka and Nyeche (2016) reported that the employment of the internet by the students of the University of Abuja, Nigeria enhanced the skill and capacity of students. Though, lack of computer skills, slow internet server and the problem of paying for online were found to be some of the problems encountered in the use of the internet.
Indeed, studies conducted in many regions of Nigeria, particularly in the western and southern states, have established that students extensively use the internet for their research work ( Ani, 2010 ), and this has progressively improved students' academic performance in this region ( Ogedebe, 2012 ). However, there has been very limited research conducted among students in the Northeastern part of Nigeria. It is worthwhile to note that, in this region, technological development in Universities is not much advanced and very little research has been carried out to show the implementation of ICT as compared to Universities in other parts of Nigeria. Thus, there is a need for a study to investigate how students in this region find ways to make use of the internet to facilitate their studies. This paper, therefore, explores the students' access and their beliefs about the academic benefit of utilizing the internet and digital resources for educational research and learning. To achieve this intention, this study considers four (4) fundamental objectives:
- ➢ To determine internet resources accessibility pattern among undergraduate students.
- ➢ To demonstrate the students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for academic research and learning.
- ➢ To understand the search engines frequently used by the students for educational inquiry.
- ➢ To realize the challenges confronting the students regarding the use of the internet for educational research and learning.
3.1. Research design
In an attempt to answer the research questions raised in this study, a mixed method approach was used. A quantitative survey that consists of the use of questionnaires ( Creswell and Creswell, 2017 ; Babbie, 2012 ), were administered among 300 students to ascertain the place of the internet on their academic research and learning. Furthermore, to understand the students' perspective towards the influence of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic learning and research productivity more deeply, a focus group was conducted with 18 students. These dual methods were applied in this study because evidence has shown that they generate more data, explicate the issues raised, as well as provide an understanding of the underlying reasons and opinions from a small or large group in a study ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ; Ndagi, 1999 ). Studies have similarly revealed that focus groups are widely used in academic research to examine attitudes, feelings, and experiences ( Hamid et al., 2015 ), which permit students who participate to react and to build upon the responses of other members or to ‘think synergically in a group setting’ ( Klein et al., 2007 ). In line with this, to support the survey in this investigation, a focus group is considered the most appropriate method.
3.2. Study area and sampling/selection procedure
3.2.1. selection procedure for the quantitative survey participants.
A total of 11 public universities exist in North – Eastern Nigeria. This includes Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Adamawa State University, Mubi; Bauchi State University, Gadau; Borno State University, Maiduguri; Federal University Gashua, Yobe State; Federal University Kashere, Gombe; Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State; Gombe State University, Gombe; Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola; Taraba State University, Janlingo; University of Maiduguri, Borno State; Yobe State University, Damaturu. Therefore, to select the institutions used in this study, the researchers applied a simple random sampling in a form of balloting technique. The institution was selected through pick without replacement to include Taraba State University, Jalingo; Adamawa State University, Mubi and the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. This study focusses on the North Eastern geopolitical zone of Nigeria because, until today, there are but limited studies carried out in this region which is still witnessing slower technological change. Though a moderate proportion of the population has access to the Internet at home, little is known if students incorporate this technology into their research and learning in their respective educational settings. Consequently, it is essential to explore this aspect to better understand the student's perspective as it regards to the internet access and utility for academic research and learning, as well as to reveal the challenges faced by students in this region.
Only the final year students of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities where the targeted participants from the three universities, which comprised of around 1500 students (retrieved from the Registrar's office of the three Universities). This choice was because these faculties host the largest number of students in the selected universities. It was not easy to study the entire population due to time and financial constraint, so a part of the population was selected to represent the entire population. To obtain the study sampled size, a sample size calculator (calculator.net), with 95% confidence level, 5% confidence interval, and 50% population proportion was used and this entry generated a total number of (n = 306) participants. Thus, (n = 102) respondents were selected each from the three institutions under investigation. These participants fell within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities, consisting of ‘Languages and Linguistics’; ‘Geography’; ‘Political Sciences’; ‘Sociology’; ‘Mass Communication’; ‘Public Administration’; ‘Philosophy’; ‘Theatre art, and History. The first to third-year students were excluded from this study because it is believed that students carry out their research projects in their final year. As such, only the final year students participated in this survey, because they have had a series of assignments such as classwork/homework as well as other research work from their first year to their final year and possess a fuller understanding of the rudiment and the challenges involved in the use of the internet for academic research. Hence, the investigators believed that the final year students will give a better response to the questions raised by this study.
126.96.36.199. Brief overview of the selected institutions' in North East Nigeria
- ➢ Taraba State University (TSU) : The Taraba State Government established Taraba State University, Jalingo in 2008, to widen access to University education for Taraba State indigenes and promote economic development in the country. Right from inception, the University set out for itself a goal that is captured in its motto – Harnessing Natures gift. The University is guided, by the national and international manpower needs usually accredited by the National Universities Commission, Abuja (Retrieved from TSU website at https://www.tsuniversity.edu.ng/brief-history/ ).
- ➢ Adamawa State University (ADSU) : Adamawa State University, Mubi was established in January 2002 by the Adamawa State University Law No. 10 of 2001. The University is located in Mubi town, in the Northern Senatorial District of Adamawa State, Nigeria. The University is the first State Government owned University in the North East sub-region of Nigeria. Since establishment, the University has graduated a total of four sets of students, 67 in 2005/2006 session, 200 in 2006/2007 session, 309 in 2007/2008 session and 353 in 2008/2009 session totalling 929 graduates. At present, the University has 4600 undergraduate students and 384 pursuing Postgraduate Diplomas and higher degrees. The total number of academic staff of the University is 229 supported by 52 visiting and 7 part-time lecturers. These are complemented by 166 senior non-academic staff and 281 junior staff of different cadres (Retrieved from ADSU website at https://www.adsu.edu.ng/about-us/ ).
- ➢ The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID): The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) is located in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in northeast Nigeria. The university was created by the federal government in 1975, with the intention of it becoming one of the country's principal higher-education institutions. It enrols about 25,000 students in its combined programs, which include a college of medicine and faculties of agriculture, arts, dentistry, education, engineering, law, management science, pharmacy, science, social science, and veterinary medicine. With the encouragement of the federal government, the university has recently been increasing its research efforts, particularly in the fields of agriculture and conflict resolution, and expanding the university press. The university is the major higher institution of learning in the north-eastern part of the country (Retrieved from UNIMAID website at http://www.unimaid.edu.ng/about.html ).
As at the time this investigation was conducted, the researchers observed that there was a lack of adequate internet facilities in the sampled universities, suggesting that the Cybercafé available was not functioning effectively, the information communication centre was debilitated, and there was no provision of Wi-Fi. As a result, the student device other means to access and utilize the internet for their studies.
3.2.2. Selection procedure for the focus group participants
For the focus group participants, the authors purposively selected a total number of 18 class representatives, six each from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences/Humanities in the three selected universities (See Table 1 ). This choice was based merely on their long time of service (first to final year) and have arrived at a fuller understanding of the influence of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic inquiry. However, there are factors that downsized the number of selected participants such as unwillingness to sign the consent form which prompted the researchers to use the available participants.
The focus group participants profile.
3.3. Procedure for data collection
3.3.1. procedure for the quantitative (questionnaire) survey data collection.
Three hundred and six (306) copies of structured questionnaires were randomly administered to the students in their lecture theatres with the authorization and assistance of their lecturers. Two research assistants were also employed to facilitate this process.
The survey questions used in this study was developed by the authors. However, items were adopted from previous relevant studies ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Apuke, 2016 ; Ani, 2010 ; Afolabi, 2015 ; Bankole, 2013 ; Dogruer et al., 2011 ) and modified to suit into this present investigation. This was done to ensure content validity ( Chang and Tung, 2008 ). Additionally, the questions were further reviewed by six experts, which include two each in the field of communication, educational technology, and computer sciences respectively. After thorough scrutiny of the questions in the questionnaire, the experts expunged irrelevant questions and further suggested questions that aid in answering the objectives raised in this investigation.
The data were collected within a period of 8 weeks during the 2017/2018 academic session. One hundred and two (102) copies of the questionnaire each were distributed respectively to the three selected universities under investigation. Of the 306 distributed questionnaires, 250 (UNIMAID = 84; ADSU = 83; TSU = 83) were duly filled and returned, given a response rate of 81.7%. The questionnaire covered five sections, including demographic characteristics of respondents; the internet resource accessibility pattern among the students; the students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for academic research and learning; the search engines frequently used by the students for educational inquiry and the challenges confronting the students regarding the use of the internet for educational research and learning. Additionally, the questionnaire comprised of both closed and open-ended questions, which was applied to understand the respondents' opinions/views.
3.3.2. Procedure for the qualitative (focus group) data collection
Three (3) focus group discussions with six members in each group were held at the students' universities without the presence of the lecturers. This was carried out to study in in-depth the student's attitudes and experiences. After the researchers got consent from the three universities under investigation, each student in the focus group completed a consent form giving them permission to participate in this study. The individual focus group discussion lasted for about 60–90 minutes to complete. The discussion was audio-recorded and transcribed manually. During these sessions, the second author took notes to have better and accurate results. The participants were assured of confidentiality and that only pseudonym, that is, a code would be used to represent individual students. For example, the code TSU 1 represent Student No. 1 from Taraba state university focus group, ADSU 4 represent Student No. 4 from Adamawa state University focus group and UNIMAID 6 represent Student No. 6 from the University of the Maiduguri focus group session. Table 1 demonstrates further on how each group is composed and referred to in the analysis. In this regard, the focus group examined students' perspectives and experiences on the perceived effect of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic research and learning.
3.4. Ethical consideration and approval
Ethical approval is needed for any research that involves human participants to ensure that the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of all participants are the primary consideration of the research project. In order to adhere to the sampled institution's policies on research involving human subjects, an application for ethics approval was submitted to the research ethics committee termed as the “research and promotion unit” through the Dean (s) of student affairs. The application consists of informing concerning to the aims of the study, length of the surveys, the information that would be gauged through the questionnaire survey, and how the data would be collected, stored, and accessed. Furthermore, the committee (s) were informed that the participants are assured of their confidentiality and that personal information such as names would not be used in the final analysis of the research. As soon as the committee reviewed the application which took about 2 weeks, the senior research ethics administrator (s) granted permission for the study to be undertaken.
4.1. Data analysis
The data generated from the survey (i.e. administered questionnaire) were analysed using the 2016 Microsoft Excel statistical software using frequency counts and simple percentages presented in tables and graphs. In this study, the focus group responses were thematically analysed. This comprised of organizing and categorizing responses into patterns to generate various themes ( Braun and Clarke, 2006 ). Consistent with Krueger and Casey (2002) notion, the focus group interviews were transcribed and the additional non-verbal behaviours identified during the discussion session were noted. This includes head nods, smiles, frowns, or signs of boredom and was aligned with the transcription where appropriate. Additionally, other notes such as student statements were written down to aid in drawing connections between the interviews and the research question. Rather than looking for differences, the analysis focused on identifying common and collective responses which were then categorized and discussed thematically as it regards to students' perception and experience of using the internet for academic uses.
4.2. Socio-demographic characteristics of the respondents'
Table 2 presents the combined data on gender distribution of respondents in the respective institutions. Overall, they were more male (56%), than female (43.6%) participants. This could be due to the fact that in the Northeastern region of Nigeria, the male gender is given more priority to enroll into tertiary intuition than female gender. Specifically, UNIMAID had more male (59.5%) participants when compared with ADSU (57.8%) and TSU (51.8%), while TSU (48.2%) had more female participants than ADSU (42.2%) and UNIMAID (40.5%).
Gender distribution of respondents in each institution.
Table 3 highlights the age distribution of respondents in the respective institutions. Overall, a slight majority of the respondents (58.4%) ranged between 23 and 29 years, (30.4%) were 29 and above, and only (11.2%) were between 16 to 22 years. This could be due to the fact that only final year students participated in this study. ADSU had more respondents (35%, aged 29 and above) when compared with UNIMAID (28.6%) and TSU (27.7%).
Generally, the participants across the three institutions came from Languages and Linguistics (n = 35) 14%, ‘Geography’ (n = 30) 12%, ‘Political Sciences’ (n = 30) 12%, ‘Sociology’ (n = 20) 8%, ‘Mass Communication’ (n = 40) 16% ‘Public Administration (n = 20) 8%; ‘Philosophy’ (n = 25) 10% ‘Theatre art (n = 30) 12%, and History (n = 20) 8%. Conversely, the focus group participant profile showed that (n = 9) 50% were female and (n = 9) 50% were male students with the age range of 23–29 (see Table 1 ).
4.3. Internet resources accessibility, and its perceived benefits for academic research and learning
Table 4 is derived from the quantitative survey carried out among the 250 students drawn from three universities in North Eastern Nigeria. It presents the responses of internet availability, utilization, and impact on the student's academic research and learning. Results revealed that across the three institutions a total of (86.8%) students claimed they do not have adequate access to internet facilities on their campus. On the contrary, a trivial number of respondents (13.2%) asserted that they have adequate access to the internet on their campus. Compared to ADSU (12%) and UNIMAID (11.9%), TSU (15.7%) had more students that claimed to have adequate internet facilities on campus. The survey also found that about (89.6%) of the students affirmed that they make use of the internet for academic purpose, whilst (10.4%) do not. The students of TSU were heavier users of the internet compared with the other two institutions because about (96.4%) use the internet for their academic purposes.
Internet resources accessibility, and its perceived benefits for academic research and learning among the students of Northeastern Nigerian Universities.
In view of how much they employ the internet for academic purpose, more than half (62%) of the students claimed to use the internet on a daily basis, followed by (18%) who use it 2 to 5 times a week, (9.6%) use it once in a week, while a trivial number (10.4%) maintained a neutral response (see Table 4 ). None of the students reported using the internet only when they have an assignment. It was also observed that TSU students (78.3%) use the internet more on a daily basis compared with ADSU (50%) and UNIMAID (40%).
With regards to the medium students use to access the internet in Northeastern Nigerian universities, results across the three sampled institutions showed that a slight majority of the students (52.8%) averred that they make use of their handsets/smartphones to access the internet, which might be due to the lack of efficient internet facilities on their campus. This is not surprising as (16.4%) of the students asserted that they use the cybercafé outside their university premises, and (8%) make use of their laptop and modem to access the internet. Only (12.4%) claim to use school café and (10.4%) remain neutral to the query put forward. Of the three institutions, ADSU (60.2%) students relied more on their mobile phones to access the internet compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%).
Most of the students (84%) who responded to the questionnaire believed that the internet has and is still improving their academic research. However, few students (16%) claimed that the use of the internet has not actually enhanced their academic research and learning. TSU students (96.4%) had a strong conviction that the internet has and is still improving their academic research than UNIMAID (83.3%) and ADSU (72.3%). With respect to the perceived benefits, students across the three institutions gained from internet utilization for their research and learning. A slight majority (52.8%) had the impression that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet has been so beneficial and has improved their research in addition to other academic learning. Some of the students (16.4%) believe that the internet has facilitated their research process, that is, a task that would be completed in a long period of time now takes a shorter duration to complete. In addition, (12.4%) of the students acknowledged that information is easily retrieved from the internet and this has been so beneficial to their academic research and learning, while (8%) held the notion that the availability of numerous sources on the internet has brought a tremendous improvement in their academic research and learning, and (10.4%) maintained undecided response to the question raised. Of the three institutions, ADSU students (60.2%) had a stronger viewpoint that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet has been so valuable, which in turn improved their research, as well as other academic learning.
4.4. The search engine and internet sources mostly used by the students for their academic research and learning
The types of the search engine used among the students varied across the institutions (See Fig. 1 ). About (52.8%) of students had more preference for Google and Google Scholar, followed by Yahoo search (16.4%), Bing (12.4%) and wink (8%), while (10.4%) were neutral. The findings demonstrated that ADSU students (60.2 %) were heavier users of Google and Google Scholar, followed by UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%). Whilst TSU (24%) students claim to use Yahoo search more than UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%).
Search engine used.
Another target of this present study was to determine the internet sources preferred by the students. As shown in Fig. 2 , there were distinctive variations in their preferences. About (50.8%) of the students preferred online journals, followed by electronic books (18.4%), online projects or dissertation/thesis (12.4%) and conference proceedings online (8%). On the other hand, (10.4%) of the students remained neutral. Out of the three institutions, ADSU students (60.2%) had more preference for online journals compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (42.2%). It was likewise observed that TSU students (30.1%) preferred electronic books compared with UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%).
Most used internet sources for academic purpose.
4.5. The challenges faced by students in accessing and utilizing the internet facilities
Approximately 86% of students claimed that their universities do not have an efficient cybercafé and internet facility. This problem appears to be more reported in UNIMAID and ADSU than TSU, suggesting that TSU somewhat have internet facilities comparable to the other two institutions. However, most of the students believed that the inefficient and inadequate internet facility within their university premises might have limited their access. This has resulted in the over-dependency on their mobile telephone, as well as purchasing internet data plans from other service providers such as mobile telecommunication company (MTN Group), Globacom, Etisalat and Airtel telecommunications company. This is one major aspect that hinders the student's regular access and utilization of the internet, which likely slowed down the pace of carrying out assignments given to them in school. It was observed that the subscription of data plan is sometimes problematic, as there are time lags in the internet connectivity and slow access speed of these networks.
A considerable number of the students had the opinion that compared to the higher institution in developed countries, their institutions need an electronic library, where they can easily access scientific journals from databases such as Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, SAGE and Emerald. They believed that this will lessen the reliance on Google, Google Scholar and open access journals as well as will provide a means to explore other related scientific papers, in order to elevate their academic learning and research beyond its current situation. Some of the students observed that they come across substantial and relevant scientific papers online but could not gain access to them, due to lack of subscription to scientific databases by their institutions. The students noted that most scientific papers cost from $15 upward and this often restrict their access to scientific journals, as well as affecting their quality of research. The students also believed that the irregularity of power supply in their University premises, dormitory and homes, discourages internet accessibility for academic purposes, as sometimes they run out of power/battery on their mobile and Laptop devices. This submission means there is insufficient digital readiness among the sampled institutions. Nevertheless, the students still make it a priority to harness the essence of the internet through other self-generated means, and this has enhanced their research and learning to an extent.
4.6. The effect of accessing and utilizing electronic resources for academic research and learning
4.6.1. students perceived benefits from the use of internet resources for research and learning.
This section presents the results obtained from the 18 focus group participants. See Table 1 in the methodology section, which demonstrates how each group was composed and referred to in the analysis. The focus group considered the aspects at which the internet has improved the students' academic learning and research. The students highlighted several benefits in which the internet has aided their learning and research:
188.8.131.52. Enable students to carry out research in advance/ahead of time
The students stated that the use of internet sources has brought about positive change in their academic activities in general. They reported that searching for materials via e-books and e-journals enabled them to carry out research ahead of time, thereby easing and improving their academic research and learning. In line with this view, a student from Taraba state University comment that:
I do not require moving a far distance to source for materials anymore, I find almost everything I need online within split seconds and this has enhanced my research work [TSU 6].
This view is consistent with a participant from the Adamawa State University who remarked that:
Indeed, the internet is a boon to us, its usage has brought some positive effects on my academic growth [ADSU 3].
Buttressing on this notion, a student from the University of Maiduguri believed that:
The emergence of the internet has changed the custom of travelling to other libraries and universities within Nigeria for the search of relevant materials to support research [UNIMAID 2].
184.108.40.206. Tackling of multiple homework
Most of the participants had the perspective that internet usage has helped them to tackle multiple and tasking or difficult homework that was given to them by different tutors. They also agreed that the advent of the internet has made it possible for them to source and download relevant materials required for their academic research and learning, and this has enabled them to conduct multiple assignments within a given deadline.
In this respect, a student from the Adamawa State University observed that:
On several occasions, our tutors give a series of assignments with deadlines, and this has been often tackled using the internet, which I believe has eased my burden. I only need to use up my time and search various databases available to retrieve relevant materials [ADSU 6].
Similarly, a student from the Taraba State University comment that:
Sometimes when I am given a series of an assignment I feel so worried and disheartened, yet, when I set out doing research using the internet I feel at ease as most of the materials I come across are related to what I require. This cuts down my burden and helps me in multitasking as well as enhancing my learning process [TSU 5]
In the same vein, students from the University of Maiduguri concurred that the utilization of the internet has assisted them in carrying out tasking assignment within a short period of time, which is believed to have improved their research capability as well as their Cumulative Grade Points Average (CGPA). As such, one of the students from this focus group advocated that:
The ‘taps’ provided in Mozilla Firefox and Chrome enables us to open numerous pages simultaneously while navigating from one page to another to read pertinent materials. Before the advent of the internet, it was difficult to perform given multiple assignments in a lesser time, due to insufficient sources. As of then, students relied merely on printed sources in the library. Nowadays, the numerous electronic sources available have enhanced our research and academic output. Indeed, my CGPA has been enhanced when compared with my other classmates who do not frequently use the internet for their academic activities [UNIMAID 3].
From the above student's responses, the utilization of various internet resources for an academic purpose has assisted them in conducting multiple and difficult assignments in a short period of time.
220.127.116.11. Widen the scope of reading and learning
Most of the students claimed that the role of the internet has also permitted comparing of different forms of literature that best conforms to each homework or classwork given to them by their respective tutors, this has inspired a broader scope of interpretation, reading and learning. In addition, they observed that the internet contributed to the easiness of research through downloading materials that support their study. They likewise believed that this has enhanced their academic research skills and learning.
One student from the Adamawa State University focus group emphasized that:
The internet as an online tool for research has widened our scope of reading and learning. It has made data retrieval easier, resulting in a positive impact on our educational research and learning development [ADSU 1].
A student from the Taraba State University focus group asserted that:
I do not need to depend on one source when utilizing the internet, I just move from one source to another, comparing and at the end, select the best and suitable source which I believe to have enhanced my academic research and learning [TSU 3].
Congruently, a student from the same focus group session commented that:
The use of internet resources such as Wikipedia, Google and Google Scholar has improved our access to information on various courses, which I feel has greatly upgraded our scope of reading and learning. This has also resulted in a more serious academic achievement [TSU 1].
18.104.22.168. Enhance self-learning
It was found that the use of the internet enhanced most of the students' self-directed learning. The students claimed that there were able to discover new knowledge related to their courses on their own or together with their peers. They also opined that the availability of how-do-it online videos, such as YouTube tutorial videos, has extended their skills in research and has helped them to get conversant to certain practical and technical aspect of their various courses. One history student from the University of Maiduguri perceived that:
The online YouTube tutorial has exposed me to different prior and recent research trends and evidentiary findings of researchers, which in turn has infused and gave me the required knowledge for improving my research. For example, there are historical events that I watch on YouTube, which has really influenced my learning process. Courses such as Advanced History has been made easily understood through YouTube online Videos [UNIMAID 1].
Drawn from the students' responses, it could be deduced that the students in the sampled Universities believed that the use of the internet, most especially YouTube is improving their learning and research to an extent. Regarding the internet and class activities, the students alleged that although their individual institution has insufficient internet access and digital readiness, yet, they have become self-organized, resilience and resourceful using their mobile phones and other available means such as Cybercafé outside their university premises. These students believe that the use of the internet through the Google and Google Scholar search engine, improved their knowledge of research and learning at large, suggesting that the use of the internet stimulates the student-centred learning. Consistent with this view, a student remarked that:
Although subscribed scientific electronic databases are not yet available in our universities, moreover, some of our lecturers do not communicate with us via email. Still, I can claim that I do learn a lot through the internet on my mobile phone, and Universal Serial Bus (USB) modem on my laptop. The availability of Google and Google Scholar search engine has enhanced my learning. I feel the internet is a platform to educate and acquire more knowledge, and this has improved my CGPA [TSU 4].
The comments derived from the students demonstrated that they were relatively more self-directed when using the internet. The students at the University of Maiduguri believed that the internet has promoted self-learning, thereby developing their abilities to think critically and exercise analytical skills. In line with this, a student within this focus group commented that:
The use of the internet which has enhanced self-learning enables us to be more critical thinkers as we are exposed to a plethora of information. The student added that there is a proverb which says knowledge is power, thus, the internet has made us powerful critical thinkers [UNIMAID 3].
Similarly, in the same focus group session, a student remarked that:
I now make constructive comments in class due to the numerous research I conduct online and this has increased my intellectual capability to imagine beyond my peers. Also, I now think carefully before leaving a comment, so in a way, I believe the usage of the internet has not only improved self-learning but promotes critical thinking [UNIMAID 4].
In the same way, a mass communication student at the Taraba State University ascertained that:
Through the internet, I have been able to learn more about graphic communication, motion graphic videos and 3D animations. Although our tutors teach us these subjects in class, yet, when I study alone via the internet, I get an in-depth explanation, which I feel betters my academic learning [TSU 01].
The above students' comment, suggest that the utilization of the internet to an extent has improved the quality of their overall learning outcome.
22.214.171.124. Encourages and enhances peer learning
It was found that all the students in the various focus group were affirmative that the advent of the internet helps them share information with their peers to support each other's learning. This is evident as students share knowledge with each other through email and other social technologies such as WhatsApp and Facebook. They likewise gained knowledge from their peers through materials collected for group assignment on wikis, including comments that other students make on their group chats. For example, a student in the Adamawa State University focus group claimed:
I am always online when compared to some of my classmates. This always prompts them to ask if I have found new relevant information to share. I always share useful information discovered on the Internet in our group chats, as well as post them on Facebook. It is now easier to share substantial information with my peers which I believe has enhanced my peer's knowledge [ADSU 4].
Consistent with this comment, another student in the same focus group stated that:
At large, a greater occurrence of both off-curriculum (informal) and curriculum-based interactions among students is enabled by the internet. I share the internet retrieved information with my fellow classmates through Skype and WhatsApp Video calls. I likewise post useful downloaded tutorial videos to them via the same medium. From their remarks, the access and use of the internet have greatly improved their academic growth [ADSU 2].
Similarly, a theatre art student at the University of Maiduguri asserts:
Through the internet, I and my course mates are able to communicate and collaborate on the course content by using mobile computing devices as well as laptops to text message and email. This has made it comfortable for us to share information that is vital and up-building. I recalled when we were given a very difficult assignment task, I searched the internet but could not find any related sources, one of my classmates who understood the utilization of the internet better, found a relevant material and emailed it to me. This material enhanced my assignment, which in turn improve my CGPA. With a smile on his face, the student exclaimed ‘I had an A in that course’ [UNIMAID 5].
These findings suggest the students perceived that informal interactions such as friendly chat among friends were often converted to academic debate on course topics. Additionally, the students claimed that they share knowledge with each other through internet technological devices such as email and social networking sites, including Facebook and WhatsApp.
126.96.36.199. Ameliorates examination preparation
Internet search engines such as Google and Google Scholar as well as electronic sources including E-Journals, E-books and E-Conferences were particularly helpful to the student in their preparations for the examination. Most of the focus group members agreed that they regularly utilize Wikipedia as it offers initial orientation and basic information that occasionally simplifies and clarifies certain topics. However, some of the students believe that it has limited knowledge or importance when compared with other sources such as library resources, including e-books, learning management systems, and academic literature databases. In addition, the entire students that participated in the focus group divulged that the use of internet has bettered their examination preparations. For example, a student at the University of Maiduguri remarked that:
There are subjects or topics that I do not truly attain a better understanding in the class even when taught by our tutors, only with the help of the internet, I have been able to source extra and simplified materials that enhanced my understanding of a subject or discipline before the exam. This has enhanced my intellectual capabilities as well as eases my examination preparations with positive results.
Likewise, students at the Taraba state university felt that they had the opportunities to support their course material through the internet. For instance, one of the students mentioned that:
The materials I retrieve online are added advantages to the lecture notes given to us by our lecturers [TSU 3].
These established that students better prepared for their examination with the aid of the internet. This also suggests that the students believe that the use of the internet supports their study and serve as a tool to enhance their academic performance, growth, research skills and learning, thereby leading to better results.
5. Discussion and conclusion
This current study explores undergraduate students perceived benefit of using the internet and digital resources for research and learning in the Northeastern Nigerian Universities with a focus on TSU, UNIMAID and ADSU. The findings of this work indicated that female enrollment in higher education in Northeastern Nigeria was lower compared with the male gender. This could be attributed to different phenomena, such as culture, religion, traditional beliefs and tribal issues, which further research could look into. It was observed that about 86.8% of students across the three universities claimed that they do not have adequate access to internet facilities on their campus. However, in comparison to the other two universities (ADSU 12% and UNIMAID 11.9%), TSU (15.7%) had more students that claimed they have adequate internet facilities on their campus. These findings suggest that there is a lack of efficient and effective cybercafé and internet facilities within their respective institution. This is consistent with a prior study, which found that undergraduate students require the internet to do their research work, however, it was not feasible due to poor access in their libraries, departments and information and communications technology centres. The same study showed that a vast number of the students depended on private internet services and cyber cafés ( Ani, 2010 ).
This current study also revealed that a large proportion of the students (89.6%) claimed to make use of the internet for their academic purposes, and more than half (62%) use the internet on a daily basis. However, there was a variation in the usage of the internet among students within the three institutions. It was found that TSU students (96.4%) use the internet more and about (78.3%) use it on a daily basis for their academic purposes when compared with UNIMAID (40%) and ADSU (50%) students. This result is contrary to Ureigho et al.'s (2006) who establish that students use the internet mainly for online chatting (24.89%) and e-mail (24.16%) purposes, rather than for research materials (23.21%). Juxtaposing these results, it could be suggested that the internet can be used differently by students in tertiary institutions in terms of academic research and learning, as well as leisure/entertainment.
Our results ascertained that a slim majority of the students (52.8%) averred that they access the internet via their handsets or smartphones. Others students (16.4%) profess that they use the cybercafé outside their university premises, and (8%) make use of their laptop and modem to access the internet, which intimates that there is a demand for efficient internet facilities on their campuses. This conforms with the study results of Ivwighreghweta and Igere (2014) which found that students frequently access the internet through the Cyber Café outside their university premises and use it for retrieving relevant academic resources. It was realized in this present study that ADSU (60.2%) students depended more on their mobile devices to access the internet compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (48.2%). This result substantiates prior investigations that found undergraduate students depended on their mobile devices to access the internet for educational and entertainment purposes ( Ahmed and Bukar, 2016 ; Otunla, 2013 ; Agboola, 2010 ).
Across the three universities, it was realized that a substantial number of the students (84%) believed that the internet has and is still improving their academic research. TSU students (96.4%) had a stronger conviction that the internet has and is still improving their academic research than UNIMAID (83.3%) and ADSU (72.3%). In respect to the perceived benefits of internet utilization among students in terms of research and learning, more than half of the students (52.8%) asserted that access to current valuable research found on the internet has been so beneficial and this has improved their research and other academic learning. Our findings also revealed that about (16.4%) students believe that the internet has facilitated their research process, that is to say, a task that requires a long period of time to complete, now take a short duration to accomplish. About (12.4%) of the students acknowledged that information is easily retrieved from the internet and this has been so beneficial to their academic research and learning, while (8%) held the notion that the availability of numerous sources on the internet has brought a tremendous improvement in their academic research and learning. It was noted that out of the three institutions, students of ADSU (60.2%) were more affirmative that increased access to current and valuable research found on the internet is beneficial and enhances research and academic learning outcomes. This result reflects other findings which demonstrate that the internet contributes to the easiness of research through downloading materials as well as enhances the cognitive operation of information dissemination ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ; Adekunmisi et al., 2013 ; Nwezeh, 2010 ).
Results obtained from this present study suggest that there was a slight variation in the search engine used by the students in the sampled institutions, although the rationale for this was not ascertained. Overall, across the three universities, results showed that a small majority of students had more preference for Google and Google Scholar (52.8%), and was followed by Yahoo search (16.4%). It was realized that ADSU students (60.2 %) were heavier users of Google and Google Scholar compared with the other two institutions. While TSU (24%) students claim to use Yahoo search more than UNIMAID and ADSU. Consistent with this result, Bashir et al. (2008) found Google and Yahoo search engine to be frequently used among students. Our study also showed that online journals were preferred by a somewhat majority of the students (50.8%) followed by electronic books (18.4%). However, it was noted that there was a variation in the students' preferences, ADSU students (60.2%) had more preference for online journals compared with UNIMAID (50%) and TSU (42.2%), while TSU students (30.1%) had a preference for electronic books compared with UNIMAID (16.7%) and ADSU (8.4%). This result conforms with a previous study which established that E-journals and E-books are among the resources that students mostly used in their research work ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ).
The insufficient digital readiness in the sampled institutions which appears to be more reported in UNIMAID and ADSU than TSU, prompted a considerable number of the students to assert that their institutions required an electronic library/database (e.g., Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, and Emerald) where they can easily access scientific journals. They also feel that the irregularity of power supply in their dormitory, homes and University premises, discourages internet accessibility and usage for academic purposes. This result is similar to studies which found that internet server, the cost of paying for online services ( Emeka and Nyeche, 2016 ), power outage, slow internet speed, lack of computer terminals, too many hits or information overload and insufficient computers as the major factors militating effective access to the internet within Nigeria tertiary institutions ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ).
Our study revealed that students in the focus group perceived that internet utilization has helped them in carrying out research ahead of time, and this conforms with Adegboji and Toyo (2006) who found that the internet contributed to the easiness of students' research through downloading of relevant materials. Also, the focus group participants think that the internet assisted them in undertaking multiple home works, as well as widen their scope of reading and learning. They alleged that the internet has permitted comparisons of different types of related literature that suits their respective homework or classwork, and that this has resulted in a broader scope of interpretation, reading and learning. This is in harmony with a prior study, which found that the internet enables students to access relevant and up to date materials for their research ( Adogbeji and Akporhonor, 2005 ). The focus group participant likewise claimed that the internet promotes their self-learning as well as encourages and enhances peer learning. These students believed that through the internet, they were able to discover new knowledge related to their courses, individually or as a group. They feel that the availability of how-do-it online videos, such as YouTube tutorial, has broadened their academic research and have helped them to be conversant with certain practices and technical aspect of their various courses. This result supports Hamid et al.'s. (2015) findings, which establish that internet utilization helped Australian and Malaysian students in sharing of materials for a group assignment, and this, in turn, improved their self-directed learning.
The focus group participants also think that the internet helps them in ameliorating examination preparation, which is achieved through sourcing materials from search engines such as Google and Google Scholar, as well as electronic sources including E-Journals, E-books and E-Conferences. This is in line with previous investigations suggesting that the internet plays a significant role in assisting students for better preparation of their continuous assessment and semester examination, which had a positive impact on their results ( Ivwighreghweta and Igere, 2014 ; Ogedebe, 2012 ).
Conclusively, our study revealed that students of North-Eastern Nigerian universities, especially TSU, UNIMAID and ADSU perceived internet utilization to have a positive impact on their academic research and learning, despite the insufficient digital readiness by their respective institution. Regardless of the inefficient internet facilities on the sampled university premises, the students still attempt to be self-organized, resilience and resourceful. Therefore, further studies should examine to what extent students should be provided with help in terms of internet facilities, and to what extent they should rely on other means to develop their own strategies and resourcefulness.
5.1. Suggestions to improve internet access and usage in tertiary educational settings
Our study revealed that the students seem to do well with the help of their smartphone, as well as a laptop and modem to access the internet facilities such as email, internet search engines (Google and Google Scholar) and communication platforms, despite the inefficient provision of internet facilities on their campuses. Yet, there are challenges raised by the students that require attention. Thus, this study proposes the following suggestions to improve internet access and usage for educational research and learning in the studied area.
- ➢ Tertiary institutions in developing countries should build efficient cybercafé as well as provide internet facility within their premises and subscribe electronic scientific database. This will enable more access beyond the use of smartphones as well as the use of open access resources such as e-journals, e-conferences, e-thesis and dissertation.
- ➢ The sampled institutions need an electronic library where the students can easily access scientific journals from databases such as Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, and Emerald. This will lessen the reliance on Google and Google Scholar as well as provide the means to explore other related scientific papers which will improve their academic research and learning.
- ➢ Network providers such as MTN, Globacom, Etisalat Telecommunications Company and their collaborators should make it a priority to improve their network as well as reduce their tariff to enable students' purchase data at an affordable price. This will encourage the faster and easier download of research materials.
- ➢ The irregularity of power supply in the sampled University premises should be improved to encourage internet accessibility for academic purposes. This will reduce the running out of power/battery on the students mobile and Laptop devices, which often interrupt their use of the internet. When this is resolved, it will improve their academic research and learning at large.
5.2. Limitations and directions for future research
The findings of our study explain how students view the usage of the internet for their academic research and learning. It also generated useful data to build more understanding and insight into the use of the internet among students. Although, our study only focused on North-Eastern Nigerian students, which seems to be a limitation as it regards to the wider transferability and generalizability of this study findings. Nevertheless, our study is founded on real-life students' experiences, as such, contributes to enhancing the empirical research results that are beneficial for informing teaching and learning practice in higher educational settings. Also, there is an absence of detailed and rigorous statistical analysis. Investigators have argued that interpretive research such as this current research is not suitable for detailed statistical analysis as it is based merely on reporting perception ( Myers, 2013 ; Walsham, 2001 ). Nevertheless, a longitudinal and ethnographic study where a researcher spends a significant amount of time observing the students' use of internet resources would be valuable in providing richer insights about how internet resources impact students learning, research, and academic performance in general.
Author contribution statement.
Oberiri Destiny Apuke, Timothy Onosahwo Iyendo: Conceived and designed the experiments; Performed the experiments; Analyzed and interpreted the data; Contributed reagents, materials, analysis tools or data; Wrote the paper.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interest statement
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
No additional information is available for this paper.
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Usage-Oriented Interoperability Instruments
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Web technologies have facilitated the development of publication sites with elegant graphic design, intuitive semiotics, refined interactivity, infallible availability, guaranteed evolutivity, which are completely compatible with the habits of users accustomed to the social Web. The earliest versions of HyperText Markup Language (HTML), which historical publishers (Microsoft and Netscape) transformed as they saw fit1 to ensure a “captive” audience, have given way to much more structured versions, conforming to the recommendations of the W3 (HTML 4.01, eXtensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) and HTML5). These versions, implemented in the latest-generation browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc.), are stricter from a syntactical viewpoint. Inspired by Extensible Markup Language (XML), they extend the separation of the logical structuring of content and the formatting properties.
European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering-12
S.H. Yang , ... J.L. Alty , in Computer Aided Chemical Engineering , 2002
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Community and culture
Janette Young , in Personal Knowledge Capital , 2012
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Area and International Studies: Linguistics
L.A. Janda , in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences , 2001
4 Probable Future Directions of Theory and Research
Internet technology provides instantaneous access to vast quantities of language data, an unprecedented resource that linguists are only beginning to use. A large number of national language corpora, even for lesser-taught languages, are now available on the Web. There are also search tools, such as google.com, that are extremely useful to linguists researching the use of forms and constructions (at least in languages with Latin alphabets; despite the advent of Unicode, fonts continue to pose some of the most intractable technological problems linguists face). The sheer quantity and availability of language-specific data seems guaranteed to facilitate research relevant to area and international studies. Perhaps the best example of how corpora and technology can be integrated into linguistic research is Charles Fillmore's FrameNet, a digital dictionary of the grammatical constructions of a language, based on a language corpus. Originally developed for English, FrameNet is now being expanded to other languages, and promises to be a valuable tool for linguistics and language pedagogy. Perhaps projects like these will raise awareness of the need for lexicographical and other reference materials, and enhance the prestige of such endeavors.
Funding always plays a crucial role in guiding research trends. The US Department of Education and the National Science Foundation are the greatest sources of support for linguistic research, and both agencies fund projects relevant to area and international studies. While linguistics plays merely a supportive role in US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center grants, it is a central player in Title VI Language Resource Center (LRC) grants. There is a new trend for LRC grants to focus on a region of the world. In 1999 three LRC grants were awarded for projects with areal focus: the National East Asian Languages Resource Center at Ohio State University, the National African Languages Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the Slavic and East European Language Resource Center at Duke University-University of North Carolina, facilitating the creation of technologically enhanced pedagogical materials and area-specific linguistic research. The launching of LRCs focused on world regions is a major step forward in fostering linguistic projects that are responsive and responsible to area and international studies. Continued attention and funding may enable the relationship between area and international studies and linguistics to realize its potential, much of which today remains untapped.
The Tor Browser
Brett Shavers , John Bair , in Hiding Behind the Keyboard , 2016
Few Internet technologies have had more of an impact on anonymous Internet use than The Onion Router browser, commonly known as “Tor,” Tor is simply an Internet browser modified from the popular Firefox Internet browser. The browser modifications hide the user’s originating Internet Protocol (IP) address when surfing websites or sending e-mail. By hiding the true IP address of the user, attempts to trace or identify the user are nearly impossible without the use of extraordinary methods.
Tor combines ease of use with effective anonymity in which practically anyone can use without technical instructions. The sheer ingenuity of the Tor browser combines ease of use without any requirement of how the software operates to operate effectively. Although there are other means of browsing the Internet anonymously, the Tor browser is by far one of the simplest to use and is freely downloaded. In theory, anyone with an Internet connection and the Tor browser can anonymously surf the Internet and communicate without being identified.
Antonio Marturano , in Encyclopedia of Social Measurement , 2005
Although Internet technology is changing fast, the focus of computer-mediated communications has been primarily on text-based virtual realities, because a majority of studies reflect the fact that only text-based technology is available on-line. Such a technological limitation, rather than being a communication handicap, is an imagination-enhancing challenge. It seems reasonable to suppose that in certain situations, people will prefer textual interactions, even when more advanced technology becomes widely available in the future. Writers such as Neruda, Fo, Hemingway, or Gao Xingjian show us how text alone, without pictures or sounds, is enough to express emotions, experience, and complex ideas. Excellent writing evokes internalized, personal interpretations of sounds or pictures. Nonetheless, on-line technologies are moving toward multimedia systems. Voice and video (“cam”) conferencing are becoming affordable and thus very popular among virtual communities, and researchers of virtual communities cannot ignore these new environments. The argument can be made that these technologies have the potential to take the task of the researchers extraordinarily close to that of the traditional field of anthropology.
Internet measurement does raise some ethical issues. A pressing problem in Internet research is privacy; researching as an unobtrusive observer and collecting data, for example, inevitably poses a major ethical problem. Neither can this problem be avoided ad hoc, by using laboratory experiments, because those involve a small number of consenting people. Such techniques are less fruitful compared to “natural” observational techniques, because laboratory findings cannot be generalized to all domains of electronic communication. Some researchers solve this problem by asking for explicit permission from the observed Internet participants; others do not ask for permission and use some obscuring data to mask the real source of their data. The Project H Research Group, focusing on quantitative rather than qualitative methods, after a long debate, issued an ethical policy claiming that they would not seek permission for recording and analysis of publicly posted messages, because such messages are public acts deliberately intended for public consultation (as opposed to private letters or e-mails), and as such do not require specific protection, although they always need to be treated with ordinary care.
A different approach can be taken regarding the protection of privacy for data collected in virtual communities. As stated previously, in CMCs, the classical boundaries between public and private disappear; the interviewer is given data that are not about the participants' physical world, but rather about their on-line self-representation. What happens to the notion of privacy, which is very linked to the very notion of the (physical) private sphere? Indeed, those data, collected using responses from virtual citizens, are likely not expressions of sensitive characteristics. In virtual environments, it could be said, finally, that the notion of privacy plays a less central, if not a marginal, role than it does in the physical world. On the contrary, in on-line shopping, the notion of privacy seems fundamental, because correlated data methods make it possible to obtain very personal profiles of individual consumers. The same databases used by the Internet researcher can be used to construct extremely accurate personal profiles concerning everything from finances to what a person eats, drinks, and wears, as well as revealing intimate personal details.
The notion of informed consent plays an important role in both qualitative and quantitative measurement: giving participants comprehensive and correct information about a research study, and ensuring that they understand fully what participation would entail before securing their consent to take part, should be a key issue to be addressed when creating a framework for ethical Internet research practice. This does raise some problems when applying the ethnographic method to study virtual communities. For example, how will people know when they are the objects of a study? If the researcher “discloses” the intention of studying a particular web-based community, will the result of the research be altered? Is ethnographic electronic research the equivalent to hanging out on street corners (where researchers would never think of wearing large signs identifying themselves as “researchers”)? Again, in this field of social measurement, there is a lack of consensus; it is therefore not surprising that researchers do not always declare explicitly in their study logs whether they obtained permission from the observed. The issue of whether a requirement for informed consent of authors, moderators, and/or archiving institutions applies to a quantitative content analysis, when only publicly available text is analyzed, has been questioned, particularly when all necessary measures are taken to separate names of authors and groups from the database.
From an ethical and legal point of view, the field of social measurement shares with the Internet a general lack of legal certainty. Ethical guidelines are insufficient, and very little agreement about how to proceed in a virtual arena has been reached. Because Internet research practice is still in its infancy, the critical researcher will be confronted by quandaries at almost every point in the research process. e-Mail interviews, real time focus group participation, and on-line observations all present dilemmas that Internet researchers must face, yet there are few research practice conventions available. Confidentiality is also quite a problematic issue, because data collected on-line are subject to multiple privacy risks, and there are no easy solutions, although disguising identities still remains the best solution.
To sum up, the Internet does not appear, generally, to be a new or discipline-challenging research ground for social measurement, although virtual communities do represent an exciting exception.
Applications of Internet of Things in animal science
Sonal Saxena , ... Anshul Sharma , in IoT-Based Data Analytics for the Healthcare Industry , 2021
3.4 Pet fitness apps
Advancements in Internet technology are a great boon to the animal fitness market. A number of apps have been developed to support the veterinarians and pet owners. PetDialog is an app that helps pet owners in monitoring vaccination schedules, exercises, feed intakes, and other pet activities and alerts the owners the routine activities and vaccination dates  . FitBark, Wag, Puppr, Chewy, Pet First Aid, Rover, BarkHappy, etc. are examples of other popular pet apps  . Such app-based digital systems make it easier to control animal fitness. Apps can send abnormal animal behavior alerts to veterinarians for faster medical aid.
About the Book
Syed V. Ahamed , in Intelligent Networks , 2013
The overt web technology has brought about as a profound revolution in the lives of Internet users, researchers, and medical service providers (MSPs). Information and knowledge that constitute the foundations of most human activities are being constantly altered, updated, and manipulated. Both affect the applications of most disciplines and the practice of most professions. Knowledge coupled with automation and seamless connectivity with standardized procedures makes any discipline and profession amenable to computer-aided practice and perhaps to automation. When the desirable feature of total integrity in practice of professions is overlooked, the use of information technologies can be abused and the information becomes a pursuit of wealth and vanities.
Intelligent Medical Networks and Machines
The overt Web technology has brought about a profound revolution in the minds of all Internet users, researchers, and medical service providers alike. Information and knowledge that constitute the foundations of most human activities are being constantly altered, updated, and manipulated. Both affect the applications of most disciplines and the practice of most professions. Knowledge coupled with automation and seamless connectivity with standardized procedures makes any discipline and profession amenable to computer-aided practice and perhaps to automation. When the desirable feature of total integrity in practice of professions is overlooked, the use of information technologies becomes a pursuit of wealth and vanities. Medical science and profession are exceptions because every patient is unique, and every doctor is an individual with a committed oath to deploy the profession to its best use.
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A COVID-19 Detection Algorithm Using Deep Features and Discrete Social Learning Particle Swarm Optimization for Edge Computing Devices
COVID-19 has been spread around the world and has caused a huge number of deaths. Early detection of this disease is the most efficient way to prevent its rapid spread. Due to the development of internet technology and edge intelligence, developing an early detection system for COVID-19 in the medical environment of the Internet of Things (IoT) can effectively alleviate the spread of the disease. In this paper, a detection algorithm is developed, which can detect COVID-19 effectively by utilizing the features from Chest X-ray (CXR) images. First, a pre-trained model (ResNet18) is adopted for feature extraction. Then, a discrete social learning particle swarm optimization algorithm (DSLPSO) is proposed for feature selection. By filtering redundant and irrelevant features, the dimensionality of the feature vector is reduced. Finally, the images are classified by a Support Vector Machine (SVM) for COVID-19 detection. Experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can achieve competitive performance with fewer features, which is suitable for edge computing devices with lower computation power.
A Survey of Deep Active Learning
Active learning (AL) attempts to maximize a model’s performance gain while annotating the fewest samples possible. Deep learning (DL) is greedy for data and requires a large amount of data supply to optimize a massive number of parameters if the model is to learn how to extract high-quality features. In recent years, due to the rapid development of internet technology, we have entered an era of information abundance characterized by massive amounts of available data. As a result, DL has attracted significant attention from researchers and has been rapidly developed. Compared with DL, however, researchers have a relatively low interest in AL. This is mainly because before the rise of DL, traditional machine learning requires relatively few labeled samples, meaning that early AL is rarely according the value it deserves. Although DL has made breakthroughs in various fields, most of this success is due to a large number of publicly available annotated datasets. However, the acquisition of a large number of high-quality annotated datasets consumes a lot of manpower, making it unfeasible in fields that require high levels of expertise (such as speech recognition, information extraction, medical images, etc.). Therefore, AL is gradually coming to receive the attention it is due. It is therefore natural to investigate whether AL can be used to reduce the cost of sample annotation while retaining the powerful learning capabilities of DL. As a result of such investigations, deep active learning (DeepAL) has emerged. Although research on this topic is quite abundant, there has not yet been a comprehensive survey of DeepAL-related works; accordingly, this article aims to fill this gap. We provide a formal classification method for the existing work, along with a comprehensive and systematic overview. In addition, we also analyze and summarize the development of DeepAL from an application perspective. Finally, we discuss the confusion and problems associated with DeepAL and provide some possible development directions.
Mobile Edge Computing to Assist the Online Ideological and Political Education
With the rapid development of mobile Internet technology, mobile network data traffic presents an explosive growth trend. Especially, the proportion of mobile video business has become a large proportion in mobile Internet business. Mobile video business is considered as a typical business in the 5G network, such as in online education. The growth of video traffic poses a great challenge to mobile network. In order to provide users with better quality of experience (QoE), it requires mobile network to provide higher data transmission rate and lower network delay. This paper adopts a combined optimization to minimize total cost and maximize QoE simultaneously. The optimization problem is solved by ant colony algorithm. The effectiveness is verified on experiment.
Influence of mobile phone and internet technology on income of rural farmers: Evidence from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan
Ransomware attacks in history of cyber world.
Abstract: Technology advancement since last few decades creates cyber attack a critical issue. Cyber security has become an important part today. It has also become an important and crucial subject in the field of forensic science. Increased in the growth of internet technology and internet devices have increased the risk of cyber attack. Almost every organization today are depends on the internet and devices. There are many types of cyber attack. This paper is the detailed review about Ransomware attack. This paper is consisted about vast of the information about What is Ransomware Attack, how does it work, how ransomware attack emerged. After reading this paper you will learn about the ransomware attacks in history of cyber world. This will help you to learn and understand about ransomware attack, how to prevent yourself from ransomware attack. As a forensic science student, it is always important to be aware about the attacks that have happened in the history of cyber world. Before writing this paper, I have read and analyze many research paper and internet articles, so that I can write a detailed review paper which can help students and for the forensic awareness. Keywords: Cyberattack, Hacking, Ransomware, cyberworld, cyber security, ransomware, forensic, network security
Internet technology as one of distance education during pandemic
The article aims at allowing you to deepen the knowledge of the program material on computer science and, as a consequence, will increase the efficiency of the educational process as a whole during a pandemic, will increase the motivation of students to the subject; will allow developing students' abilities for self-development, self-education. Based on the purpose, subject, hypothesis of the research, the following tasks were solved: scientific methodological and pedagogical literature on the topic of research was studied; revealed the content and essence of Internet technologies; an Internet resource has been developed that allows organizing the process of distance learning in informatics; tested the effectiveness of its use in the process of teaching computer science to students. The practical significance of the study lies in the creation of an educational Internet resource that allows students to acquire the skills to independently create a Web site. This Internet resource can be used for forms of work in informatics in any educational institution during a pandemic.
Knowledge Economy: Model Construction and Development Trend of Online Education
In regard to knowledge economy, the current concept in the model construction of online education, including distance education and online learning, generally refers to a kind of network-based learning behavior, similar to the concept of online training. Compared with traditional offline education methods, through the application of information technology and internet technology for content dissemination and rapid learning, online education has the characteristics of high efficiency, convenience, low threshold, and rich teaching resources. Online education covers a wide range of people, different forms of learning, and its classification methods are more diverse. Online education services are the fastest growing field of education informatization. At the moment, the most pressing problems include effectively integrating educational resources with internet technology, launching online education services and products that are highly interactive and would encourage personalized learning, increasing user stickiness, as well as avoiding trend-following and conceptualized investment.
Contemporary information social risks in the post-modern era
The article analyses the global social risks related to the expansion of information technologies, mass digitalisation, and the accessibility of sources of all information. The possibility of risky situations arising in different areas of society under postmodern conditions has been demonstrated. This is due to the massive spread of information and Internet technology, global changes in the structure of values of modern society, and the reassessment of a number of historical events and characters by some social groups. The focus is on the destruction of traditional mechanisms for transmitting social experience and memory and the transformation of perceptions of history through the use of virtual forms of communication. A different, own interpretation of historical events, the liberation of historical knowledge from politicisation and mythologisation can lead to risks of distortion of historical memory and even to conflicting situations of interpretation of the past. Case studies show that this, in turn, can lead to a set of risks in the economic sphere, for example: the risk of a situation of global redistribution of economic resources, the risk of losing the source of legitimacy of an economic resource, the risk of loss the reputation of a memory entity. These processes negatively affect social stability in society and distort the integrity of historical memory.Particular attention is paid to the topic of cognitive transformation risk related to the mass use of virtual media in the educational process. On the one hand, they are an effective teaching tool based on rapid search, transformation and storage of learning information. But, on the other hand, practice shows that knowledge loses its consistency and becomes “mosaic”, “clichéd”. The consequences of these processes are of a lasting nature and require further in-depth study by the scientific community, including psychologists, educators, and sociologists.
Semantic-guided autoencoder adversarial hashing for large-scale cross-modal retrieval
AbstractWith the vigorous development of mobile Internet technology and the popularization of smart devices, while the amount of multimedia data has exploded, its forms have become more and more diversified. People’s demand for information is no longer satisfied with single-modal data retrieval, and cross-modal retrieval has become a research hotspot in recent years. Due to the strong feature learning ability of deep learning, cross-modal deep hashing has been extensively studied. However, the similarity of different modalities is difficult to measure directly because of the different distribution and representation of cross-modal. Therefore, it is urgent to eliminate the modal gap and improve retrieval accuracy. Some previous research work has introduced GANs in cross-modal hashing to reduce semantic differences between different modalities. However, most of the existing GAN-based cross-modal hashing methods have some issues such as network training is unstable and gradient disappears, which affect the elimination of modal differences. To solve this issue, this paper proposed a novel Semantic-guided Autoencoder Adversarial Hashing method for cross-modal retrieval (SAAH). First of all, two kinds of adversarial autoencoder networks, under the guidance of semantic multi-labels, maximize the semantic relevance of instances and maintain the immutability of cross-modal. Secondly, under the supervision of semantics, the adversarial module guides the feature learning process and maintains the modality relations. In addition, to maintain the inter-modal correlation of all similar pairs, this paper use two types of loss functions to maintain the similarity. To verify the effectiveness of our proposed method, sufficient experiments were conducted on three widely used cross-modal datasets (MIRFLICKR, NUS-WIDE and MS COCO), and compared with several representatives advanced cross-modal retrieval methods, SAAH achieved leading retrieval performance.
Marketing Strategy Innovation Based on Mobile Internet Technology
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Such a usage is imprecise: The Internet is distinct from the applications and technologies that are built upon it, such as e-mail, the World Wide Web, online
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