UbuntuNet-Connect 2013 Conference Papers and Presentations

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This collection contains the paper presentations made at the UbuntuNet-Connect 2023 conference


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    Hydroclimate Project for Lake Victoria Basin (HYVIC)
    (2013-11-30) Semazzi, Fredrick
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    The Case of Learning by Doing and its Applications in Tanzania
    (2013-11-30) Nungu, Amos
    The Communication System Design (CSD) Course offered at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden is a problem oriented, project-driven environment integrating development and learning. It is a framework for learning by solving real world problems involving Mastervstudents from various fields of specialization, mentored and supervised by their teachers and industrial experts. CSD is based on integration of Research, Education and Innovation, Problem-oriented, projectdriven learning, peer learning and vicarious learning where diverse teams of students work in relay projects with handover procedures. The paper presents a case study on project based model of learning (learning by doing) that was used to implement a very big local area network Bunda and Serengeti Districts in Tanzania. The actual implementation involved teams of students from KTH working together with local employees.
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    The best practices e-learning inside University of Rwanda (UR)
    (2013-11-30) Ntagwirumugara, Etiénne
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    Use of Subfluvial Optical Cable in a Region Without Land-Based Infrastructure – a Project to Deploy Advanced Communications in the Amazon Region
    (2013-11-30) Grizendi, Eduardo; Stanton, Michael
    For several years, terrestrial optical cable has been deployed along highways, railways and electric power transmission lines. These land routes have been used to support national and regional backbones of telecommunications networks, in particular, Internet backbones. To complement these, there is massive use of submarine optical cables for intercontinental connection of national telecommunications networks, giving them worldwide reach. However, in many countries, there are still regions where no such land routes exist, notably in areas of difficult access by land and of low population density. Some of these regions have, in the rivers that traverse them, a common solution to meet diverse society needs. One of them is the Amazon region of Northern Brazil and some neighboring countries, where there are few roads serving the main cities and where the population lives mainly along the banks of the great rivers that cross it. This paper aims to highlight the alternative of deployment of optical routes along riverbeds in regions where there are few or no roads, railways or even electric power transmission lines, and to present a Brazilian project, still in its early stages, of the deployment of a set of optical cables along the courses of its major rivers - the Amazon, Negro and Solimões. It is hoped that this approach may serve as an example for large river basins in other continents with difficult land based access.
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    The NREN Business Model
    (2013-11-30) Janz, Robert
    The need for National Research and Education Network (NREN) organisations might be well known within the academic and higher education community, beyond this inner circle a lot of missionary work needs to be done to convince government, telecom providers and even parts of the academic community it self of this necessity. Every country has its own particular regulations, politics and educational setting, making it impossible to provide a one fits all blue print for a successful NREN. Even though the end result differs per country, a common approach to arrive at the NREN model that is most suitable for the country can be presented. This approach is derived from the common approach in business, namely to develop a business model of the NREN is close contact with the mayor stakeholders, in this case government, telecom providers and the academic community.
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    Gleaning from Pro-Poor ICT Experiences to Address Challenges Faced by Uganda’s Nascent Research and Education Network
    (2013-11-30) Kasana, Isaac
    Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU), was started by the forum for Vice Chancellors of Universities and heads of Research organisations, in January 2006. In its first seven years it laid an operational foundation covering institutional identity, legal framework, awareness creation, articulating the rationale for national research and education networking (NREN), initial membership development and experimenting with collaboration through formation of the bandwidth consortium, supporting access to library e-resources and related technical skills development for member institutions. However, RENU still faces many challenges to its goal of supporting ICT-enabled research collaboration and higher education transformation to attain WSIS goal No. 3 by 2015 (ITU, 2011). NRENs, like Pro-Poor ICT projects, are mechanisms for addressing a type of ICT access-gap to reduce development lag, so parallels can be drawn between the two mechanisms such as: i. Similar purpose to address development needs through innovative use of ICT. ii. Similar aim to bridge an aspect of ICT access and utilisation gap. iii. Common strategic challenges such as policy environments not conducive to needed interventions and infrastructure costs that are too high for target communities. iv. The need for suitable operational models that enable success and sustainability. In a resource-constrained environment, pro-poor ICT is a rich source of principles, lessons, experiences and best practice that can shape the strategy to move RENU to sustainable operation. Through a desk review of literature, including a study done in 2005(WOUGNET, 2007) on propoor ICT initiatives in Uganda, this paper identifies experiences and lessons that can shape RENU’s plan for addressing its strategic challenges and specify an action framework for becoming fully operational.
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    A Strategy for Developing High-end ICT talent for Emerging African NRENs – The case of KENET
    (2013-11-30) Kashorda, Meoli
    Emerging African National Research and Education build and maintain advanced broadband networks that interconnect universities and research institutes. In order to achieve their mandates, emerging NRENs must attract and retain a critical mass of high-end ICT talent to operate the broadband networks and develop innovative services to the higher education community (Haruta et al 2011). In most cases, the NRENs must rapidly develop a critical mass of networking staff to operate the networks and develop the services in a cost-effective fashion. This paper describes the strategy adopted by the Kenyan research and education network, KENET, to attract, develop and retain the necessary networking professionals that operate the broadband network. The strategy aims to create a pipeline of high-end ICT professionals from a large base of entry-level ICT staff that are recent graduates of electrical engineering, computer science and information systems. This paper concludes that this strategy could be adopted by other African NRENs and higher education institutions to develop the required critical mass of high-end ICT talent.
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    Use of Electronic Medical Records System to Enforce Adherence to Maternal and Infant Health Treatment Protocol in Malawi: A Pilot Case Study at at Bwaila Maternity Hospital
    (2013-11-30) Khomani, Patricia; Mputeni, Chimwemwe; Gadabu, Oliver
    Technology continues to present opportunities of being used in different settings to meet information needs. Healthcare has been an emerging area in which this need has manifested itself with several initiatives being carried out in resource constrained settings. This paper describes the design, development and implementation of an electronic medical record system in a busy ante-natal and maternity clinic in Sub-Saharan Africa in Malawi. The development of the EMR follows agile paradigm with the Heeks reality gap model to improve the features in the system. The system has now been deployed at the Bwaila maternity wing and has recorded over 6,400 deliveries since April 2013. The system has embedded ante-natal and maternal protocols and presents an opportunity to improve care outcomes.
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    Security: A Necessary Piece of the Collaboration Puzzle
    (2013-11-30) Kisyake, Alex
    Educational Institutions have always been known to be the heart of complex computing systems in any region they exist especially in Africa. The existence of high end computing power often connected to the Internet and to research network grids make educational institutions soft targets for attackers. Attackers of such networks are normally either looking to exploit the large computing resources available for use in secondary attacks or to steal Intellectual Property (IP) from the research networks that institutions are normally part of. Educational Institutions also store a lot of information about their current students and staff population as well as alumni ranging from personal to financial information. Unauthorized access to such information violates statutory requirement of the law and could grossly tarnish the institutions reputation not to mention cost the institution a lot of money during post-incident activities. As collaborative research efforts start to take shape on the African continent, more and more institutions will start to put their information security guard down in order to allow seamless network access between collaborative research entities. In such environments is important for institutions to have good security practices as an attack on one institution could easily be propagated all over the research network by abusing the trust that exists between these computer networks. This paper presents findings of a three phase study that was carried out among institutions in the Research and Education Network of Uganda (RENU) in 2011 to investigate the information security practices that these institutions had in place to counter information security attacks.
Phase One of the study involved the use of a customised quantitative questionnaire tool. The tool originally developed by information security Governance task-force of EDUCAUSE was customised for use in Uganda. Phase Two involved the use of a qualitative interview guide in sessions between the investigator and respondents and in phase three, the data obtained was taken through analysis. The study investigates the performance of these institutions against five core areas; Institution Profiling, Infrastructure, Policy, Human Resource and Awareness, Policy and Self Assessment.
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    Health sciences faculty perception and practices on OA scholarly communication
    (2013-11-30) Lwoga, Edda Tandi
    This study sought to investigate the faculty’s awareness, attitudes and use of open scholarly communication in Tanzanian health sciences universities. Based on a questionnaire survey, 415 faculty members were selected through a stratified random sampling from a population of 679 in all eight health sciences universities in Tanzania. The response rate was 71.1%. The study found a high level of engagement with scholarly publishing, where senior members were more likely to participate in scholarly communication as journal authors, referee and editors. The majority of respondents were aware about open access (OA) issues; however, a small proportion of faculty’s research materials was made available in OA. Senior faculty with more proficient technical skills are more likely to use OA than junior faculty. Major barriers to OA usage were related to ICT infrastructure, awareness, skills, journal author pay model, and copyright and plagiarism concerns. This study recommends the following: universities to improve information and communication technology infrastructure, and develop institutional repositories and policies, and librarians to create awareness about OA, conduct information literacy programmes, and provide information services on copyright management issues and other related OA aspects. This is first comprehensive and detailed study focusing on the health sciences faculty use behaviour of OA initiatives in Tanzania, and reveals findings that are useful for planning and implementing OA initiatives in other institutions with similar conditions.
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    Content Alert System Using Short Message Service (SMS): A Testimony of two Collaborative Projects in Africa and Asia
    (2013-11-30) Anbu, John Paul; Jetty, Sridevi
    This paper is a case study of a semi-automated Content Alert System implemented at two university libraries; The university of Swaziland, Swaziland, Southern Africa and Bundelkhand University Library at Jhansi in India. Among the various mobile services, Short Message Service (SMS) is one of the most popular services widely used all over the world. The projects initiated at these libraries were intended to use the SMS service to provide an effective content alert system with very little cost impact on the libraries and at the same time aimed to increase the usage of library resources among the library patrons. The project ran in two phases. In the first phase a successful content alert system was tried and tested at the University of Swaziland with the help of Emerald Publishers. On successful completion of the project a prototype was developed. Using the prototype the second phase of the project was designed. In the second phase a similar content alert service was established with a larger user group and the alerts were generated from a number of publishers and SMSs were sent to the patrons. This paper describes in detail the background, the rationale, details of the project, the methods used and the findings of the projects.
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    The CHAIN-REDS Semantic Search Engine
    (2013-11-30) Carrubba, Carla; Barbera, Roberto; Inserra, Giuseppina
    e-Infrastructures, and in particular Data Repositories and Open Access Data Infrastructures, are essential platforms for e-Science and e-Research and are being built since several years both in Europe and the rest of the world to support diverse multi/inter-disciplinary Virtual Research Communities. So far, however, it is difficult for scientists to correlate papers to datasets used to produce them and to discover data and documents in an easy way. In this paper, the CHAINREDS project’s Knowledge Base and its Semantic Search Engine are presented, which attempt to address those drawbacks and contribute to the reproducibility of science.
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    e-Infrastructure Acceptance in e-Health, eLearning and e-Agriculture in Zimbabwe: The Quest for the User Acceptance Variable
    (2013-11-30) Chiome, Chrispen
    One of the best ways to achieve global literacy is through communication, collaborative learning, research, and problem solving. Technology helps tremendously in these areas, so it is a great tool to use in this process. As e-infrastructures gain ground in many African countries and at the same time promises a new way of delivering health, education and agriculture. New technologies should be readily acceptable in order to deliver these essential services to the populace. However, against a background of previous studies pointing to e-learning as a monster under the bed (Chiome, Kurasha and Mupa, 2011) and after 98% of the students failed to voluntarily register for an e-learning blended programme, this research set out to find the factors affecting user acceptance of e- infrastructures in health, agriculture and education. This was a survey of institutions engaged in e-agriculture, e-health and e-learning in Zimbabwe. A purposive sample of 65students who were exposed to e-infrastructures was interviewed in order to determine the user acceptance variable applicable in Zimbabwe. The study found out that e-infrastructure users made rational choices faced with alternatives, belief in the usefulness or lack of it of the system, too much effort put into using technology, content richness, e-infrastructure usefulness and update regularity of the e-infrastructure are some of the absolutely vital technology acceptance variables. The research argues that the ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires e-infrastructure developers to pay rigorous attention to technology acceptance to engage e-infrastructure users other than the “early adopters” with the opportunities in e-infrastructures.
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    Survival of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in a competitive market of Africa: A Case Study of the Zambia Research and Education Network (ZAMREN)
    (2013-11-30) Mkandawire, Stein
    The proliferation of not for profit associations called National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) on the African market particularly in the area of Broadband Internet provision has made commercial Internet Service Providers (ISPs) develop apprehensions against NRENs. What is happening is that NREN’s are being viewed as competitors by commercial ISPs. However, the truth of the matter is that commercial ISPs should consider NRENs as incubators of technology users that will grow their market base. In the absence of this realisation by commercial ISPs, NRENs are likely to face stiff competition which will in turn adversely affect the survival of NRENs. This paper suggests measures that NRENs should employ to survive in a competitive African market.