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UbuntuNet-Connect 2016 Conference Papers and Presentations

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    Research and Education Networks: Putting Value into the Links
    (2015-11) Kunda, Douglas; Khunga, Bonny
    In Zambia over the last four years we have concentrated on creating a National Research and Education Network which can connect our education and research institutions within the country, and the rest of the world. Indeed, affordable and reliable Broadband connectivity has been our cry. Not long ago, Africa was spending in excess of US$70 million per annum for capacity of less than 1Gbp. Zambia in particular, as late as 2012, bandwidth tariffs was averaging US$4,500 per 1 Mbps per month compared to under US$30 in Belgium. Under these circumstances, it was extremely uneconomical for our universities and research institutions to really engage in inter-institutional research collaboration and benefit from opportunities that the Internet had opened up in Europe, the Americas and Far East. Furthermore, the prohibitive Bandwidth costs were a sleep-hold grip to science-driven research that could have been undertaken using the few High Performance Computers on the continent. The NRENs have been a game-changer in driving the cost of connectivity downwards to now average between US$100 to US$200 per 1Mbps per month. However, low cost Bandwidth alone cannot sustain NRENs growth. There is the need for NRENs to offer other value-added ICT services to research and education institutions which cannot be commercially offered by Commercial ISPs. In this paper, the authors address some services that emerging NRENs can implement and offer to their member institutions and highlight some strategic factors that can be considered. The paper also analyses sustainability strategies that high-end NRENs in Europe have implemented in order to remain viable.
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    Experiences with Global Science Communities
    (2016-11) Altamirano-Lopez, Tania
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    Mobile Gateway for Open Education Resources (Oer): A Case with University Of Swaziland Libraries
    (2016-11) Anbu, John Paul; Furvin, Jessie
    Open educational resources (OER) are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. Around the globe there are a number of initiatives which are being experimented in the development of OER. This paper is a case study of the development of a gateway application for the OER material to enhance the teaching and research capability of the University of Swaziland. The development of the desktop OER gateway and the conversion of such a gateway into mobile application gateway are discussed in this paper.
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    Leveraging Inter-Institutional Connectivity to Facilitate Weather Data Transmission from Automatic Weather Stations in Uganda
    (2016-11) Byamukama, Maximus; Nsabagwa, Mary; Sansa-Otim, Julianne
    The use of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) for Environment monitoring by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority has increased massively over the past 15 years. This increase is mainly due to the savings in time, energy and money that are usually accompanied by the use of Information Technology to replace manual organizational processes. These stations collect various weather data and automatically transmit this data to a central repository, usually a physical server in a relatively remote location. The transmission of this data, in Uganda, is achieved primary by GSM/GPRS over the backbone of one of the national service provider. While GPRS speeds are probably sufficient for the small amounts of data from these AWS, the consequence of this is a regular cost to the authority, not only in financial terms but also poor connectivity in remote areas, downtime and high power consumption. Since universities in Uganda are spread across the country with considerable spatial separation, it is possible that the UNMA (Uganda National Meteorological Authority) could place a number of AWSs at these campuses and still cover many climatological zones and, equally importantly, benefit from transmitting the AWS data through the networks at these universities that have been set-up by the national NREN, RENU. Because this data volume is very low, the cost of such transmission would be almost zero and other advantages would be manifested, such as the very limited involvement in communication channel maintenance and a higher availability of power. In this paper, we investigate the practical consequences that leveraging inter-institutional NREN connectivity would bring to a government authority like UNMA. We analyze the impact that this would have on the cost, operation and reliability of the whole AWS.
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    Low Altitude Remote Sensing and its Application in Precision Agriculture: A Case of Nzathu Farm in Traditional Authority Somba in Blantyre District, Malawi
    (2016-11) Chilonga, Donnex; Kiswisch, Manuel
    The practical application of Low Altitude Remote Sensing (LARS) in Precision Agriculture (PA) has tremendously gained ground recently. This is despite concerns about the viability of such systems for farmers related to the costs of both the system and the image processing software, technical expertise to operate the LARS and processing of the imagery itself, and timely delivery of information which is greatly compromised by not only the unstable and expensive internet facility but also local weather conditions such as wind and clouds. Using image analysis, this study illustrates the utilization of self-build unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in monitoring crop conditions in farmers’ fields in the area of Traditional Authority Somba in Blantyre district of Southern Malawi. It demonstrates that both optical and near-infrared imageries obtained from LARS can be used to monitor fertilizer trials, conduct crop investigation and mapping of field surface drainage.
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    Towards Parabiotic Partnerships for Access and Discovery: Leveraging Access to E-Content Within The Framework of Library Consortia In Zimbabwe
    (2016-11) Chisita, Collence Tangaingenhamo; Rusero, Alexander Madanha
    The age of intelligence presents library consortia in Zimbabwe with an opportunity to innovate, reinvent and re-profile in order to effectively disseminate research and scholarly communication as well as keep abreast of current technological development in ICTs. The survival of the library consortia is hinged upon renewal and reinvention through innovation and creativity and collaboration with National Research Networks to facilitate access to research and scholarly communication. This paper seeks to investigate the extent to which library consortia as part of the technological infrastructure can leverage strategic partnerships with NRENS for enhanced access and knowledge discovery. The paper will examine how partnerships with research networks and other key stakeholders can benefit resource sharing initiatives. It will explore the extent to which library consortia in Zimbabwe can use strategic partnerships to facilitate access to research and scholarly communication. The paper will find out the strategies that are in place to promote resource sharing, for example, collaboration between NRENS and library consortia and open access initiatives. The treatise will also seek to find out how library consortia can work with NRENS to enhance resource sharing and e-content licensing. The paper will examine how library consortia can utilize research networks to support self-determined learning (heutagogical) through provision for wider access to scholarly communication.
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    EOSC and the Free Riders
    (2016-11) Gfrerer, Margareth; Mogus, Solomon
    Big Data, Open Science and Technology are the topics on the agenda of the European Commission (EC) on one side and on the other side, ministries, research funding organizations, universities and public research institutions together with university libraries are bringing complaints about the access to scientific publications and research data also to the EC. Against these facts the EC has taken on the responsibility to realize the idea of Open Science and to favour the implementation of an European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), which “aims to develop a trusted, open environment for the scientific community for storing, sharing and reusing scientific data and results” (COM 2016). A High Level Expert Group (2016) has worked on the definition, the key trends in Open Science and the answer, how EOSC will be realized for the target group of European researchers and professionals in science and technology. The EOSC is an EU Member State Project. Non-European researchers can join the EOSC as free riders. Based on the findings of the HLEG this research will explore the question: What is the advantage for a research community from an emerging country to get a free rider position on the EOSC? This research is primarily a literature review. Discussions with international researchers and Ethiopian university management presents insights about the advantages of a free ride position on the EOSC. An overview between the free rider problem as discussed in economic literature and the invitation to free ride on WIKIPEDIA and EOSC will conclude this research.
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    When is it an African NREN: Building a Vibrant and Sustainable National Research and Education Network in Africa
    (2016-11) Eshun, Benjamin A.
    A National Research and Education Network (NREN) is both; 1) a high performance communications network owned and operated for and by the education and research community of a country and; 2) the organization that operates that network, constituted as a consortium of members, a dedicated agency, a company, NGO, or other type of body. In World Bank partner countries an NREN may simply be a consortium of universities that organize themselves as a “buying club” in order to get a better price from Internet Service providers (ISPs), or it may be more sophisticated and be offering connectivity services to its members. (Case for NRENs 2009). Several countries around the world have adopted the NREN as the centerpiece of an advanced network for collaboration and communication between the Tertiary and Research Institutions within their country and to other parts of the world. (Ravinder 2008; C@ribNET 2010). Around the time of GARNET’s inception in 1995, the United States Congress took critical steps toward what was called then the National Public Network. The United States Senate and the House of Representatives moved toward enacting legislation to authorize their NREN (Kahn 1992). Yet in the context of Ghana and most other Africa Countries, the lacking of similar political strong intervention is what could have led to slow deployment of the NREN. Poor Internet connectivity is one of the pertinent issues in the digital divide between developing and industrialized countries, hampering the transition to the global information society. Africa is currently the most under-served continent in terms of the information and communication technologies. Hence the collaboration amongst tertiary education institutes in Africa is imperative to make them key players in the enhancement of information and communication technologies for society (Ravinder 2008). GARNET like most other African NRENs has gone through several iterations of starting and stopping, various Boards and memberships, and various models of operations, which did not make any significant process in providing a sustainable NREN. Current attempts to have a sustainable NREN have been directed towards providing technical and services oriented solutions by focusing on the business model and financial plan(casefornren.org). Beyond merely the technical aspects of scalability, our concerns lie in how to reproduce and translate the necessary learning processes alongside the spreading of artifacts, funding, and people. (Braa, Monteiro et al 2004). A conscious effort has to be made using the theory of Information infrastructures to look at the collection of governance, policy, structures, people, procedures and technologies that Page | 46 ISSN 2223-7062 Proceedings and Report of the 9th UbuntuNet Alliance Annual Conference, 2016 pp 45-52 make up an NREN and its infrastructure in order to make it sustainable (Star and Ruhleder 1996). Without a conscious effort to achieve sustainable systems, initiatives from aid organisations, governments and NGOs are likely to replicate past outcomes of lengthy technology deployment and fast technology abandonment (Beardon et al. 2004). In order to leapfrog NRENs into becoming a vibrant and sustainable, the practices that have worked elsewhere on the continent should be reinforced. There is no need to rebuild the same problems in the new networks we are building. Instead there is a need to make the NREN stronger by building an organization with and active and vibrant community. In order to achieve this, interventions would have to be taken in the areas of governance, policies, procedures as well as the products and services that the NRENs of today would be providing to its community of users and practitioners like Universities ICT Directors, Researchers, Academicians, Librarians and other stakeholders. The presentation will propose key interventions that would be the set of actionable items for Governments, Donors agencies and other relevant stakeholders that are interested in either establishing or strengthen NRENs in Africa could use to ensure that they would be viable.
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    A Collaborative Research Review Platform for Enhancing Project Quality in Universities in Zimbabwe
    (2016-11) Gotora, Tatenda T.; Nleya, Sindiso M.
    Software project quality in Zimbabwean universities has greatly depreciated due to exhaustion of many Information Technology (IT)- related topics and an infested reliance on the copy-paste philosophy from past researches online without acknowledgement. Over the years most graduates may possibly have been able to get away with project recycling in fulfilling their IT studies in Institutions of Higher Education. Despite the vast improvements in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and a plethora of scholarly research material on the internet, this has had a significant impact on production of novel research by students due to skyrocketing plagiarism cases. This research seeks to analyze the current project reviewing process in universities to unearth the drawbacks and to explore other tested interactive platforms which have been used in some institutions like the ECLIPSE-based platform and CPECAEE platform. By so doing the researchers of this paper will go on to postulate the design model of a web based interactive platform which adopts social networking and virtual school framework. The platform is meant to improve project quality through cultivating a spirit of team work in carrying out research work in universities and help grow the potential for start-up initiatives while students are still at college.
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    Responding To The Demands Of Big Data Scientific Instruments Through The Development Of An International Software Defined Exchange Point (Sdx)
    (2016-11) Ibarra, Julio; Bezerra, Jeronimo; Lopez, Luis Fernandez; Morgan, Heidi; Cox, Donald
    Science is being conducted in an era of information abundance. The rate at which science data is generated is increasing, both in volume and variety. This phenomenon is transforming how science is thought of and practiced. This transformation is being shaped by new scientific instruments that are being designed and deployed that will dramatically increase the need for large, real-time data transfers among scientists throughout the world. One such instrument is the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) being built in South Africa that will transmit approximately 160Gbps of data from each radio dish to a central processor. This paper describes a collaborative effort to respond to the demands of big data scientific instruments through the development of an international software defined exchange point (SDX) that will meet the network provisioning needs for science applications. This paper discusses the challenges of end-to-end path provisioning across multiple research and education networks using OpenFlow/SDN technologies. Furthermore, it refers to the AtlanticWave-SDX, a project at Florida International University and the Georgia Institute of Technology, funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), along with support from Brazil’s NREN, Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP), and the Academic Network of Sao Paulo (ANSP). Future work explores the feasibility of establishing an SDX in West Africa, in collaboration with regional African RENs, based on the planned availability of submarine cable spectrum for use by research and education communities.
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    Grid Computing, Compute and Data Storage Services
    (2016-11) Nicholars, Jude Iyke; Namukangula, Jude
    The development of grid computing is a cutting-edge technology that brings a number of benefits for many Universities and Research Institutions around the world. Grid computing enables Universities and Research Institutions manage Information Technology resources in a centralized multi-core architecture, irrespective of their location in the world. It enables them to solve their ever increasing computing and storage problems. Universities and Research Institutions would undoubtedly enhance the quality of their output, while reducing costs by sharing resources through Grid technology. A number of Universities and Research Institutions believe that grid computing has the capacity to improve research work and other University operations, especially among the growing Institutions in Africa. Nevertheless, many African Universities and Research institutions have not yet embraced and adopted the use of Grid Computing Technology. Accordingly, there is a need for an extensive study in the adoption methods of this technology, especially among NREN member institutions in Sub- Saharan Africa. Study on such Information Technology solutions are needed to align academic processes to improve the utilization of grid computing and reduce the cost of computer hardware and increase in computing power. To examine this, the researchers will adopt a comparative research design to evaluate several related cases and NRENs operations within the region and Uganda in particular. These cases will provide the researchers with a clear difference, the benefits, the implementation method and the challenges of adopting grid computing technology. Subsequently, the NRENs would make use of these results to adopt such technologies.
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    Video-Conferencing for Outreach Communication Strategy to Enhance Academic Publishing and Research Communication in Africa
    (2016-11) Okoka, Wilson; Nagasha, Irene Judith
    The paper presents the effectiveness of video-conferencing community outreach projects in enhancing research ethics communication for public awareness in Uganda. It sets out to establish how vital the practice of research ethics in cross-cultural environment was in enhancing the smooth tripartite interactions among the researchers, communities and host institutions. The objectives were to: get an overview of community outreach research ethical issues and communication strategies; establish researchers’ outreach methods (approaches); identify the ethical challenges facing inter-cultural research in the country; assess the key enablers of community research ethics; and discover creative methods of infusing ethics in a cross-cultural community research. This review was conducted by sourcing documents, current literature and news bulletins, online search engines, through discussion with key informants, documents from Ugandan government specifically the ministries or national as well as international bodies, and lessons learned from research ethical practice. The findings were generally disappointing, contrary to the widely issued guidelines. There are rampant unresolved ethical issues that are worsened by communication gaps; field ethical challenges include: wrong attitudes, behaviour, methodology, perceptions, communication strategies, and cultural illiteracy; commonalities of outreach themes, agreements, modalities, methods, target communities, networks, and funding sources; many absentee field researchers and fictitious research sites; and weak ethics culture. Ethical issues are prompted by flouting guidelines, weak or lack of capacity, experience, integrity, professionalism, communication skills, or ignorance. There are multiple gaps in university coordination, concepts, methods, planning, budgeting, and implementation leading to project failures, budget overruns, conflicts, and disincentives. Community participation ensures trust, effective communication, and social acceptance. Inter-cultural community involvement promotes ethical research good practice among the researchers themselves on one hand, and the inter-cultural demographics plus the host institutions, on the other. Outreaches are critical for achieving early adoption and widespread diffusion of research ethics and culture in communities. They should be well planned, implemented, monitored, and evaluated for enhanced participation, transparency, empowerment, mutual trust, sustainability, and gender equality to achieve SDGs in Uganda.
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    The Research Performance and Citation Impact of Tanzanian Scholars: A Scientometric Study
    (2016-11) Sangeda, Raphael Zozimus; Lwoga, Edda Tandi
    A scientometric analysis was conducted to map the research performance and citation impact of Tanzania scholars from 1991 to 2015. The study analyzed the growth of the Tanzanians’ scholarly literature; ascertained the year-wise distribution of publications, subject-wise distribution of publications; determined the authorship pattern and degree of collaboration; and analyzed the citation impact. Scientometric analysis is a type of quantitative methods used in evaluating research productivity of individual scientists. Data for research productivity of all Tanzania scholars were obtained using the SCOPUS database. For the Tanzanians’ scholars, a total of 12,379 articles were published from 34 academic and research institutions from 1991 to 2015. Most Tanzanians scholars had published journal articles (n= 10392, 83.9%), which was followed by review articles and conference papers. The top three universities with high cumulative number of publications were Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) (n=2009, 16.2 %), University of Dar es salaam (n=1880, 15.2%) and Sokoine University of Agriculture (n=1571, 12.7%). The three universities alternated the first three ranks over the period of 25 years. The top five subjects where Tanzanians scholars published were related to medicine (n=6868, 25.0%), agricultural and biological sciences (n=5260, 19.2 %), immunology and microbiology (n=2781, 10.1%), environmental sciences (n=2309, 8.4%), and biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology (n=1853, 6.8%). Forty two percent of all publications were co-authored with researchers from the United States of America and the United Kingdom each contributing almost equally. Kenya is the third collaborating country contributing to 870 publications (7.0%). The maximum number of citations received in a single publication was 1914. The study findings call for scholars to recognize the importance of publishing in visible journals in order to receive large citation counts. Institutions are urged to employ scientometrics in evaluating the research performance of their scholars since such techniques take into account a combination of several measures. These findings suggest that many factors should be considered in combination when evaluating researchers’ productivity and impact. For Tanzania to achieve its sustainable goals it and progress from a low- to a middle-income country, it needs to involve its researchers, policy-makers and providers such as the health care providers to collaborate in efforts to bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice.
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    Improving Quality Education and Research Capacity through Advanced ICT Services: Lessons of NREN Implementation in Sierra Leone
    (2016-11) Songu, Thomas; Powell, Anne; Barry, Boubaker; Brar, Parminder
    Sierra Leone is just 12 years from a devastating conflict and still suffers from serious gaps in its infrastructure. The average adult has had just 3.3 years of schooling, and adult literacy rates are around 43%. Among its six million people, 60% live below the national poverty line. While there are many needs in Sierra Leone, previous experience has shown that universities can play a key role in social and economic development. To achieve this, universities need adequate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities, sufficient collections of educational online resources, and with so much now online - reliable internet connections. This paper outlines ongoing work to support Sierra Leone as the country develop its higher education and research capacity to tackle development challenges. The paper provide guidelines to government, institutions, and development partners on how to approach the provision of advanced ICT services to the higher education and research community in Sierra Leone. The paper describes the proposed ICT services and expected beneficiaries. The timing is appropriate as it coincide with the rollout of fibre optic connectivity to universities and schools in Sierra Leone. The premise of the report that the organization of ICT services and connectivity for higher education and research institutions is best provided by a dedicated organization called the National Research and Education Network (NREN) is based on international best practice and the current plans of the stakeholders in the region. Finally, the paper discusses the lessons learnt from collaborations with development partners to improve research capacity and access to research resources and the establishment of a vibrant National Research and Education Network for national development in Sierra Leone.
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    Deploying Educational Roaming (eduroam) in a Rural Research Institution in Rakai, Uganda; Challenges and Lessons Learned
    (2016-11) Ssentongo, Lloyd; Kimera, Rodgers; Kakeeto, Ben; Mubiru, Moses; Moyer, Brain K; Economou, Matthew; Whalen, Christopher J; Tartakovsky, Michael
    The NIAID International Center for Excellence in Research (ICER) in Uganda, RHSP (Rakai Health Sciences Program) recently deployed the eduroam service at the laboratories and offices in the village of Kalisizo and the main offices at Entebbe. Eduroam is a global framework to allow academics and researchers to have wireless access from any participating institution. An acronym for educational roaming, eduroam is a user friendly solution that provides a common WiFi network (SSID) at all participating universities and research organizations. Unlike the typical model of “guest” networks, this system provides a real identity to which network administrators and security staff can map both traffic and activity. There are clearly defined structures in place for reporting inappropriate activity to the home institution. The deployment of eduroam by the Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Computational Biology at the Ugandan ICER faced challenges and taught the team a number of lessons. The implementation began May 2016 in a test environment and was one of the first organizations to do so in Uganda. We share our experience in as far as challenges and lessons learnt.
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    A Technical Evaluation of the Performance of Classical Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Methods Based on Computational Intelligence (CI) i.e Supervised Learning, Unsupervised Learning And Ensemble Algorithms in Intrusion Detection Systems
    (2016-11) Zvarevashe, Kudakwashe; Mapanga, Innocent; Kadebu, Prudence
    The emergence of new technologies in this dynamic information era has caused a tremendous increase in the rate at which data is being generated through interactive applications thereby increasing the movement of information and data on communication networks as individuals, organizations and business interact on a daily basis. Big Data is flooding our networks and storage devices stimulating a cause for concern in terms of processing, storage, access and security of large blocks of data in most networks. The facilitation of online research services is always under the risk of intruders and malicious activity. Most techniques used in today's Intrusion Detection Systems are not able to deal with the dynamic and complex nature of cyber-attacks on computer networks. Over the years, Intrusion Detection Systems .Various methods have been developed by many researchers to detect intrusions aimed at networks as well as standalone devices which are based on machine learning algorithms, neural networks, statistical methods etc. In this paper, we study several such schemes and compare their performance. The experiments are done using WEKA (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis) and one of the most popular Intrusion Detection Systems datasets which is NSL-KDD99 so as to analyse the consistency of each algorithm. We divide the schemes into methods based on classical artificial intelligence (AI) and methods based on computational intelligence (CI) i.e supervised learning, unsupervised learning, ensemble and immune algorithms. We explain how various characteristics of CI techniques can be used to build efficient IDS. This paper will further evaluate the performance of the algorithms using the following parameters: accuracy, detection rate and false alarm.
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    Knowledge Intermediation Strategies: Novel Evidence from Canada
    (2016-11) Traoré, Namatié; Amara, Nabil
    This study investigates i) difference in knowledge intermediation strategies among knowledge and technology transfer organizations (KTTOs) and ii) the factors that explain such differences. It uses data from 212 Canadian KTTOs. When knowledge delivery and integration capabilities dimensions of knowledge intermediation are simultaneously accounted for, four categories of KTTOs emerge, namely, 1) knowledge stores; 2) knowledge match providers; 3) knowledge integrators and; 4) knowledge brokers. This heterogeneity results in a differentiation in KTTOs' service delivery strategies. A high absorptive capacity and an effective customer knowledge management strategy are conducive to richer service content and custom-made solutions. Larger knowledge intermediaries suffer from internal organizational stickiness that prevents them from delivering custom-made services. KTTOs with a low degree of formalization and centralization in decision-making are likely to adopt intermediation strategies aimed at reaching the largest possible number of users. Some managerial and public policy implications are drawn.
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    Design of an Executable Solutions Management Platform based on Virtual Machine Snapshots
    (2016-11) Shoniwa, Robert; Fadaraliki, David; Catherine S, Monica; Marengereke, Tendai
    Annually, dozens of software solutions are developed by students as part of the mandatory requirements for them to be awarded their respective degree qualifications. However, most of these potentially groundbreaking solutions tend to be stored away and forgotten upon completion. This then gives rise to the current predicament where universities produce multiple graduates but do not yield a proportional number of usable innovative software solutions. The aim of this paper is to design a platform that enables the storage, indexing, retrieval and execution of these developed solutions. This will be done through the design of a user-friendly interface as the front end, a database of virtual machine snapshots for each executable system running at the backend and a querying engine to interface the two. This will go far in ultimately aiding universities to become recognized hubs of innovative and marketable technologies.
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    How ICTs and Collaboration with NRENs are Changing the Face of Higher Education
    (2016-11) Carabine, Deirdre
    This paper presents a sustained argument for the university of today, and its academic and research staff, to make the best use of the facilities afforded by RENs to ensure that ICTs become the foundation for academic networking and collaboration. The paper examines the role of the REN and its changing goals, the challenges faced when using out-dated teaching methodologies in the classroom, and the role that RENs can play in networking or peering individuals, research communities, and institutions. I also make the case for a closer relationship between academic staff and their REN so that peering can become a seamless way to bring a nation’s teaching and research staff, and their institutions, together to bring universities fully into the technological world of the twenty-first century.
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    Securing Campus Wireless LANs
    (2016-11) Masai, Joan; Wanja, Maureen