1st ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON COMPUTING AND ICT RESEARCH - SREC 05
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|Part One: Measuring Research Excellence in Computing|
|Ddembe Williams and Venansius Baryamureeba||An Investigation of Heads of Computing
Departments in Higher Education |Abstract
Over twenty-five computing departments have been established in East Africa since 1970. Most of these were established from 1985. The purpose of this research was to survey the current research activity and the level of contributions of these departments in terms of computing excellence. Notwithstanding the rapid advances in computing research and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), a growing gap indicates that higher education institutions in developing countries still lag behind. Two potential causes of this lag is lack of academic research networks between developed and developing countries, higher education institutions and lack of sustainable research strategies among computing departments in developing countries. A survey finds that developing a framework for measuring computing research excellence and vitality in developing countries might help research collaboration and networking with business organisations and government funding agencies that can sustain computing research excellence. However, the survey finds that the heads of computing departments do not view key computing sustainable strategies the same way. Williams and Baryamureeba argue that this difference in sustainable computing strategies in developing countries is a possible source of lag behind their counterparts in developing countries.
|Part Two: Computing Research in Higher Education|
|Farida Muzaki and Ezra Mugisa||Towards Enhancing Learning with Information and Communication
Technology in Universities. |Abstract
This chapter explores the expansion of higher education institutions in many developing countries and the corresponding increase in the student population. Putting in place adequate facilities to accommodate the increased numbers of students is very costly. This is particularly true in developing countries of the world where universities are constrained by inadequate funding. In this context great expectation lies in using online learning to enable access to learning resources, provision of instruction and guidelines to learners and for communication between learners and instructors without the two being in the lecture room physically. Online learning provides a strategy to respond to the three major challenges in the provision of university education: cost, demographics and quality. Farida Muzaki and Ezra Mugisa look at how online learning can be adopted in universities and a framework for adaptation is suggested. The framework will identify key areas where centrally coordinated national initiatives are required to enable adaptation of online learning. The framework will be based on the Bates ACTIONS model. Specific organisational issues and existing infrastructure will also be considered. The ACTIONS model looks at access, costs, teaching functions, interaction and user-friendliness, organisational issues, novelty and speed of course development as some of the factors organisations should consider before implementing online learning.
|Venansius Baryamureeba and Ddembe Williams||The Doctoral Programme in Computing at Makerere University: Lessons
Learned and Future Improvements. |Abstract
This chapter presents a doctoral programme in computing of Makerere University. It is a research and coursework education programme intended to informinvestigators and build the academic field of computing with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and integrative view. Indeed, computing and engineering offers a new design approach which calls for an interdisceplinary approach to research. We first developed an operationalisation of interdisciplinarity, followed by guided interviews and questionnaires. The findings of the study showed that students lack research skills and methodologies in computing. Coursework and dissertation was recommended as opposed to thesis for future improvements. The coursework is aimed at demonstrating an understanding and detailed philisophy and methodology of computing, data representation and procesing, which is directly related to the quality of results. The doctoral programme is intended to catalyse this approach as an academic discipline. Baryamureeba and Williams propose a PhD curriculum consisting of one year of coursework and two years of research. The curriculum is structured in such a way that by the end of the first semester the student will have an approved research proposal and by the end of the first year the student will have published at least a review paper in his/ her area of research. The main advantage of this curriculum is that students will be able to work independently after the first year and as a result they can finish their 2nd and/ or 3rd year at another university. This programme approach will help in producing highly qualified PhD holders in environments where sufficient PhD supervisors are lacking. The proposed PhD programme in computing with a focus on computer science, information technology, information systems and software engineering forms a framework that could be adopted and customised in any discipline where PhD supervisors are scarce yet the demand for PhD training is high.
|Venansius Baryamureeba and Ddembe Williams||Inter-departmental Staff Transfers in a Multidisciplinaty Research
Environment: Towards Transfer Criteria for Academic Staff at
Universities in Developing Countries.|Abstract
This chapter explores the benefits of interdepartmental staff transfers in a multidisciplinary research environment. Some academic staff usually transfer their service to departments not related to their area of graduate (master’s and PhD) training. In most cases this is attributed to a change in research interest or emergence of a new discipline. For instance in most universities, most Senior Professors of Computer Science hold PhDs in areas such as electrical engineering, physics, mathematics and chemistry. In developing countries some interdepartmental staff transfers are motivated by good working conditions and imbalanced remuneration for staff at the same rank in the same university. The committees or boards responsible for promoting, appointing and transferring staff in departments are always faced with the challenge of benchmarks in terms of realistic criteria. Baryamureeba and Williams propose a criteria for guiding university organs when transferring or appointing staff whose highest qualification is not related to the department the member of staff wishes to join.
|Peter Wagacha, Katherine Getao and Bernard Manderick||Strengthening Research and Capacity Building in Computer Science:
Case of the School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi. |Abstract
This chapter discusses strengthening of research and capacity-building in Computer Science at the School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi over the last few years. Research is one of the school’s primary missions. The vision of the School is to be a leading centre of excellence in research, research and development (R&D) and advanced education in Computer Science. We further elaborate on some significant changes and experiences that this department has gone through in its development. To harness synergies within individual members of staff, the school formulated research groups. These research groups have been responsible for research in their own areas, curricula development, and student research, project supervision and direction. As a way to foster growth, the school has been in strategic academic and research collaboration with development partners from various parts of the world. Links with researchers from different parts of the world have also been established. To harness synergies, specific areas of research are being pursued.
|Ronald Bisaso||Optimising the Potential of Educational Computing Research in
Emerging Countries. |Abstract
This chapter explains the possibility of merging approaches to educational computing research for the benefit of developing regions. It is on the premise that educational researchers, policymakers, and practitioners agree that educational research is often divorced from the problems and issues of everyday practice (The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003). Moreover, educational effectiveness and efficiency is a factor of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) especially the computer – a ‘tool of our time’. Developing countries have seen the potential of educational computing as a catalyst in the enhancement of knowledge acquisition and management, but approaches to educational ICT research in these settings have not been explored. It is noteworthy that software developers have either developed materials on the basis that they are conversant with all the contextual factors, or have remained oblivious of the advantages accruing from understanding the change process. Consequently, in this chapter, Bisaso proposes a blended approach where two strands, namely (rapid) prototyping and basic research ought to sit side by side if the exceeding relevance of educational computing research is to be sustainable and its returns fully exploited in the developing regions.
|Part Three: Strategic Planning and Quality Assurance in Higher
|Shushma Patel, Dilip patel. Huong Tang and Geofrey Elliot||Research Methods for Organisational Studies. |Abstract
This chapter examines organisational behaviour research by using the case study approach. The study of organisational behaviour is a broad subject area. The paper outlines our experiences of identifying a research topic, justification of the topic within the context of published literature and the selection of suitable research methodologies. Within this, we identify what the research questions are and how the research is undertaken to address these questions, ensuring that the legal and ethical issues are considered.
|Part Four: Sustainable Information and Communication Technology
|Justine Kasigwa, Ddembe Williams and Venansius Baryamureeba||The Role of ICTs and their Sustainability in Developing Countries. |Abstract
This chapter discusses how developing Countries (DCs) are increasingly aware that they have a major responsibility for rural ICTs development, but often lack the capacity and solutions to meet the challenge. Rural people constitute the greater part of the population in DCs and often lack access to basic ICT needs. These conditions, considered harsh by the majority of the rural population, result in immigration into urban areas, often in search of formal employment, as the only option for survival. This paper uses critical discourse analysis to demonstrate how ICTs have become deeply involved in the conception and practice of socioeconomic development within (LDCs) The challenges of creating sustainable ICT projects, initiatives and ultimately the community development in LDCs is explored and recommendations on the way forward are made.
|Anthony Rodrigues G. Wainaima and E.W. Mwangi||Income Generation at Public Universities: A Case of the University
of Nairobi Enterprises and Services Limited. |Abstract
In this chapter, we look at income generation at public universities. Over years, public universities in the region have had to innovate in order to cope with increased competition and diminishing capitation, particularly from the Treasury. The University of Nairobi is no exception. In 1995, under the strain of outstanding debts to suppliers, utilities, Kenya Revenue Authority and pension schemes, it decided to set up the University of Nairobi Enterprises and Services Ltd. (UNES), a limited company wholly owned by the university. Amongst other objectives, UNES was to facilitate the running of the parallel programmes for full fee-paying students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It also facilitated revenue collection for various income-generation activities (IGA) from various non-academic income generating units, such as mortuary services. The income generated was classified by the nature of the activities: teaching, consultancy, short courses and special production units with clearly defined schedules for disbursement of the said generated income. It was in this way that the University of Nairobi was slowly able to get itself off the ground and move towards partial solvency. The diversification of income-generation activities, improvement of internal processes, better customer/client services and managing the tenuous relationship between the university and UNES , a company wholly owned by the university, through a judicious balance between autonomy and co-operation, is advised for the sustainable development of both parties.
|Elisha T. O. Opiyo, Erick Ayienga, Katherine Getao, Bernard Manderick, Okello-
Odongo and Ann Nowé
|Computing Research Challenges and Opportunities with Grid
Grid computers are integrated environments in which software and hardware resources are pooled in ways that give any user the impression of working with a single fast computer. This paper examines the current advances in grid computers from the point of view of their structures, global attention and support. We particularly relate these matters with a section of the East African region and highlight the research opportunities that arise out of the research challenges. We show the relevance and options for adopting grid computing by developing countries. We concretise our ideas by presenting a conceptual framework for a campus grid computing scenario at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. Our contributions in this paper include a review of current trends in grid computing and available options; creation of awareness of the importance of grid computers; and relating research opportunities in grid computing to regional circumstances.
|Part Five: Research Approaches in Information Technology Projects|
|Shushma Patel||Foundations and Research Trends in Object-oriented Information
This chapter focuses on information systems and in particular research trends in Object-oriented Information Systems and Business Information Technology. The paper outlines the foundations of Object-oriented Information Systems and Business Information Technology. The domain of Object Oriented Information Systems is analysed and a generic structure of OOIS as a branch of computer science is derived. The domain of Business Information Technology is analysed and presented within the context of the Business and Information Systems. It defines both information and information systems from computing and business perspectives and shows how current information systems fit into this area. This paper looks at the foundations and research trends in these multi-disciplinary areas.
|Jon Warwick, Gary Bell and Micheal Kennedy||Exploring “Myths and Meanings” in Higher Education Planning. |Abstract
This chapter outlines the ‘managerialist’ approach to higher education planning, an approach that favours private sector solutions to public sector problems in the governance and direction of UK Higher Education institutions. It identifies limitations with this approach and argues that if real improvements in teaching, research and administration are to be made, then planning needs to draw on ideas from the systems movement so that it can take cognisance of the complex interrelationships that exist among the issues and problems within a higher education institution. It describes the Holon Framework for higher education planning and then suggests that some ideas from semiotics can be used to help a client group engage with the ‘myths and meanings’ in addition to the logic and facts of the problem area. Examples drawn from a higher education case study using the Holon Framework illustrate the way that myths might be addressed.
|Elijah I. Omwenga, Christopher Chepken and Bishar Duble||Complexity Reduction in the Formative Evaluation Process using the
There is no silver bullet to the process of developing interacting e-learning material. In all cases, the domain expert must develop the content and structure it before initiating the next stage which is largely technology-intensive. It is at this stage that tools can be used to support the process. In this paper, we discuss a tool that has been developed to support one of the critical stages in the e-content development process. The software helps content experts to quickly develop self-evaluation formative and summative test-cases that are crucial in the learning process. The background and motivation of the study are discussed and the software design presented. The system is flexible and its crucial features are modular, which makes it portable across various operating systems. Experiences from the use of the software have shown that the task of test-cases development is accomplished within less than 25% of the total time that was previously spent doing the same thing.
|Part Six: Gender and Information Technology Development|
|Aramanzan Madanda and Peace Mutuwa||Access to ICT Higher Education: Reflections on Good Practices
in Promoting Gender Equality at Makerere University. |Abstract
This chapter explores access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training in Makerere University by gender. It focuses on selected examples showing the promotion of general access to ICT training in the university. Examples of the Department of Women and Gender Studies (DWGS) and the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology (FCIT) are utilised. The paper also analyses the efforts of the gender mainstreaming division (GMD). The division is charged with the role of mainstreaming gender into all aspects of the university, including gendering the ICT training process. In all, the measures aimed at promoting and / or improving access to ICT higher education are tackled. In this context, the purpose of this paper is twofold: one, to present good practices that can be emulated in developing relevant ICT training policies and practices in similar higher institutions of learning; and two, to make recommendations for possible utilisation by organisations and institutions of higher learning as well as governments.
|K. R. Santhi and G. Senthil Kumaran||Design of Engendered Information Society: The Challenges. |Abstract
The overwhelming consensus that new information and communications technologies (ICTs) such as the Internet have ushered in a new age, created new economic and social opportunities the world over and the development paradigm has become more technology-centric. So success in the global economy will depend on access to ICTs and equitable access to ICTs is fundamental for maximizing the impact of ICTs. So integrating gender considerations into ICT strategies and policies is very important. Santhi and Kumaran explore the potential of ICT that address both the fundamental issues on equality and gender and key barriers to ICT usage by them. It provides a considered and detailed understanding of some of the ways in which ICTs might be used most effectively for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation. The authors also provide an insight into how KIST, Rwanda is promoting gender equality in the context of education, technology, ICT, poverty reduction etc.
|Part Seven: Software Architecture and Web-based Systems|
|Rehema Baguma||Affordable E-governance Using Free and Open Source Software. |Abstract
In this chapter, we see how e-governmence increases the convenience and accessibility of government services and information to citizens (Carter and Bélanger, 2005). Despite the benefits of e-government – increased government accountability to citizens, greater public access to information and a more efficient, cost-effective government – implementation is not yet wide enough. High costs of deployment and management is one of the major factors in most parts of the world, especially the less developed nations of the south. This paper explores the applications and benefits of open source software/free software (OSS/FS) as an alternative to developing and deploying cost effective and sustainable e-governance solutions. It includes a brief on the origin of OSS/FS and a background on e-governance, and looks at what makes a software OSS/FS and its sustainability culture. The paper then presents an evaluation of how to use OSS/FS for e-governance: tools for an OSS/FS-based egovernance, attractions of using OSS/FS for e-governance and case studies of OSS/ FS implementation for e-governance. The paper also provides an analysis of why, despite the enormous benefits, OSS/FS is still struggling to outcompete proprietary software in e-governance and application of other e-applications and proposes possible solutions to the inhibitions.
|Katherine Getao and Evans Miriti||Automatic Construction of a Kiswahili Corpus from the World Wide Web. |Abstract
A corpus is a large collection of language data either in written form or spoken form or both. It can be used to construct a language model that is used in many language technology applications. Some of these include speech to text, optical character recognition, machine translation and spell checking. The easiest way to create a text corpus is by putting together electronic text documents. For most languages, getting a huge collection of electronic texts is a time-consuming and challenging task. The monotonous nature of such a task will inevitably lead to much less attention being paid to the errors that might find their way into the text collection. This paper describes the working of an application that was used to build a Kiswahili corpus from the Internet to be used in natural language processing applications.
|Ibrahim Kaliisa and Martijn Oostdijk||Towards Excellence in Internet Security Research for Developing
In recent years the World Wide Web, seen by many as the main facilitator of ecommerce, has developed at a very fast rate. Many developing countries around the world correctly identify the Internet as a prevailing tool to advance social, economic and human development. At the same time, however, lack of trust in the Internet to cope with security threats jeopardises development goals that could otherwise be supported by a widely accessible and widely trusted Internet. It is imperative to investigate information security controls to cope with these threats. Apart from being an important enabler of e-commerce in developing countries, the area of information security also offers many opportunities for interesting research for scholars in developing and developed countries alike. By reflecting on our own work in this new field in computing, we try to draw some conclusions about how to obtain research excellence in ICT research for developing countries.
|Jennifer S . Angyeyo, Venansius Baryamureeba and Peter Jehopio||A Dynamic Framework for the Protection of Intellectual Property
Rights in the Cyberspace. |Abstract
This chapter looks at the protection of intellectual property rights in cyber space. The general trend in advances in technology shows that regulatory frameworks on the protection of intellectual property rights applicable to geographical boundaries cannot keep pace with changes in technology and in effect regulatory effort of the same rights in the cyberspace remains a challenge. The existing legal and/or regulatory framework applicable geographically cannot be effectively applied in cyberspace because of lack of a central policing mechanism. Thus, there is need to develop an appropriate regulatory framework for the protection of intellectual property rights in the cyberspace. In this study, the mode of protection of intellectual property rights was reviewed and the effectiveness of existing regulatory frameworks covering intellectual property rights was evaluated. A dynamic regulatory framework for protecting digitised intellectual property rights that can accommodate changes and/or advances in technology and also enactments and/or amendments of legislations governing intellectual property rights which can serve as a governing framework for cooperating countries such as the COMESA countries was designed and recommended. In designing the framework, an object-oriented approach was adopted to take care of the uniqueness of cyberspace and also changes in information and communication technology. The object-oriented approach focused on classes and instances of classes also known as objects. The class which encompasses the different intellectual property rights like copyrights, patents or trademarks specifies what data and function are included in the object or instance of a given class.
|Part Eight: Information and Communications Technology Policies and
E-governance in Developing Countries
|Anthony J. Rodrigues and Joseph Muliaro Wafula||Sub-regional ICT Policy: Case of EAC Headquarters and Autonomous
The EAC sub-region comprises Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. While other countries have published their policies, Kenya did not publish its draft ICT policy until September 2004. That made the formulation process for what could be the EAC sub-regional ICT policy difficult. This paper suggests some of the possible EAC subregional ICT policy statements that have been derived from the analysis of the EAC member-states’ national ICT policies, an overview of ICT policies and plans of EAC headquarters and its autonomous institutions, namely: the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), the East African Development Bank (EADB), Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO), and the East African Business Council (EABC). The existing ICT policies and plans at EAC headquarters and its autonomous institutions were examined with an the intention of providing an explanation and a link with observed practices. Areas explored included funds and their sources, and ICT priorities. Lessons that could be drawn to reinforce ICT policy statements were noted. The research established that EAC headquarters and its autonomous institutions had adequate information available to them on the cost of different aspects of ICT adaptation and utilisation. Linkages between this finding and the way decisions such as outsourcing services, budget allocations, and ICT initiatives support, were identified. In view of these observations and the difficulties experienced by policy-makers and chief executive officers (CEOs) of organisations when handling similar situations, an option-based ICT investment decision index (IDI) has been developed.