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The Dev. Informatics (DI) group hosted the first mini-symposium for 2018 on Thursday, 22nd February. The aim of the symposium was to provide;
- A supportive atmosphere for PhD students to present and receive feedback on their ongoing research work.
- Guidance on various aspects of their research from established researchers and their peers.
- Enable PhD students to interact with other participants and potential collaborators in order to stimulate an exchange of ideas, suggestions and experiences.
PhD student presenters during this symposium were Mr. Michael Kizito and Ms. Hawa Nyende (both staff at SCIT and PhD students. Please find below their respective abstracts and profiles.
Michael Kizito is a PhD student at the University of Gothenburg, Department of Applied IT. His research interests are in IT Governance in the digitalization of Healthcare. His supervisors are Dr. Evelyn Kigozi Kahiigi and Associate Professor Johan Magnusson.
Information Technology has become pervasive and so many sectors have digitized (paper and processes). IT has become central in supporting, growing and sustaining many business organizations. IT is considered an enabler to better ways of working that may lead to achieving efficiency and or innovation in organizations. With digitization has also come digitalization. Digitalization is related to the use of digital technologies and digitized data in order to create revenue, improve business, replace or transform business processes and creating an environment for digital business, where digital information is at core. So, with digitalization, it is imperative that the governance of IT is given priority. The governance of IT is predicated upon the presence of effective organizational processes in five domains namely: strategic alignment, resource management, risk management, performance management and value delivery.
Hawa Nyende is an assistant lecturer at the department of Information Technology, Makerere University, and a PhD student at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her PhD research is in health informatics particularly, investigating on the use of ICTs to improve maternal healthcare in low resource contexts. She is being supervised by Associate Professor Urban Ask (University of Gothenburg) and Dr. Nabende Peter (Makerere University).
The United Nations listed maternal mortality as a major problem especially in developing countries. The need for improved quality of healthcare has led to transforming ways in which healthcare is delivered. The role of information technology (IT) in this transformation is moving towards active participation of patients in healthcare. Active participation of patients in healthcare aligns with the service dominant (S-D) logic in which customers (i.e. patients) are co-creators of value. Technology has been identified as a key driver for value co-creation however the question of how IT can drive value co-creation in healthcare has not been fully explored. The overall research objective is “to come up with guidelines on how to design IT models that can improve maternal healthcare in low resource contexts”. To achieve this objective, studies will be conducted in Uganda and Sweden in which, mixed methods including interviews and questionnaires will be used. Study participants will include healthcare professionals, IT staff and pregnant women. The service innovation framework based on S-D logic will be adopted as the theoretical framework for the study.
On the 15th February 2018, the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT) conducted a workshop with the aim of coming up with a draft of the MSc. E-government Services and Technology curriculum with input from stakeholders. In attendance were College academic staff and members from the industry i.e. IT organizations, Ministry of ICT, and other stakeholders.
In his introductory remarks, Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga (Dean, SCIT) welcomed distinguished guests and other participants to the workshop. He further gave a brief overview about the MEST programme and reiterated the need to put infrastructure in place to train, research and conduct outreach programmes.
The Dean also recognized the support of the TSEED project team towards the development of the MEST programme and appreciated several stakeholders for their input i.e. Ministry of ICT & NG and NITA-U who participated in the needs assessment. He also thanked all those who had spared time to attend the workshop and looked forward to their feedback.
Officially opening the workshop was Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS). He welcomed participants to the workshop and informed participants that CoCIS aimed at advancing science and influencing ICT policy. He acknowledged the importance of investing in technology as a basis for growth of economies. He defined e-governance as the strategic application of all forms of ICT to support government processes. He said that use of technology facilitated participation of even people who were hard to reach and could ensure balanced contribution from different parts of the economy.
He pointed out challenges to the growth of ICT like low digital interest and inadequate ICT capacity for planning units at district level and pointed out the strengths e.g. a strong national ICT policy, Investment in ICT infrastructure, Uganda’s vision 2040 etc. In reference to the proposed MEST programme and he noted the strong programme learning outcomes that needed to be specific and measurable, a lack of spatial analysis (analytical skills in handling locational information) that needed to be addressed and then declared the workshop officially open.
The Executive Director NITA-U, Mr. James Saka appreciated the idea of the MEST programme and also highlighted the following;
- The importance of equipping students with leadership skills
- Having expert knowledge and being able to express it in the area one has focused
- The importance of exposure and attachment to industry
- The importance of good communication skills
- Aligning programme learning outcomes with real world needs
The Deputy Director NITA-U thanked the organizing team for inviting him to the workshop. He noted that there were too many technical courses in the proposed MEST programme and encouraged end to end government services by putting everything online.
He added that Uganda constituted young population and it was important to plan for them. He also highlighted that the views of the industry in the development of the curriculum were important. It was ideal to get research problems from the industry.
He noted that the proposed curriculum was not very diverse. There was need to include courses on human psychology, management, economics and finance. That there was need to consider an emotional connection of the product and change management issues. He thanked all the participants and said that he looked forward to the first set of MEST graduates
The participants then disbanded into two focus groups for further deliberations on the proposed MEST programme. The two groups were divided into industry and government perspective and academia perspective and after deliberations shared their outcomes which were noted and are to be compiled to come with a final draft of the proposed MEST programme curriculum.
The workshop was closed by a vote of thanks from the Deputy Principal, Assoc. Prof. Agnes Rwashana. She thanked members for attending the workshop and for their valuable input. She thanked the Dean for the tremendous work and appreciated the idea of having an MoU between NITA-U and the College. She noted that the workshop was such an engaging experience and that it had yielded its purpose and declared the workshop officially closed
The College of Computing and IS hosted a delegation from the Kyungpook National University (KNU), Daegu, South Korea on the 15th Jan 2018. The main objective of their visit was to sign an MOU with Makerere University. The MOU will be able to facilitate academic staff and student exchanges, research collaborations, joint education (double degree) programmes in the field of Information Technology (IT) and Engineering. The delegation also got an opportunity to tour, meet with management (Deans, HODs, senior researchers etc.) and academic staff from both the College of Computing and IS (CoCIS) and College of Engineering, Design and Technology (CEDAT).
The tour which was coordinated by Dr. W. Kiyingi (Dean, EASLIS), Dr. Swaib Kyanda (Head, Networks Dept.), and Prof. E. Bainomugisha (Head, Computer Science Dept.) involved the Korean delegation visiting key research labs at the College. These labs included; the Makerere Innovation & Incubation Centre, Artificial Intelligence Lab, WIMEA-ICT, Centre for Innovations Professional Skills Development (CiPSD) and other college facilities.
After the tour the delegation that comprised of Prof. Soon Yong Park and Prof. Dongik Lee got the opportunity to present a brief overview/profile of KNU and their particular areas of research. Prof. Dongik Lee’s presentation was a brief overview of KNU in which he mentioned that KNU was established in 1945 is located in Daegu, Republic of Korea. It has a student population of approx. 37, 897 students with 17 Colleges (66 Departments within 34 Schools and approximately 103 Master’s and 93 PhD programmes. The university is surrounded by large industries e.g. Samsung, LG, Hyundai etc. that usually recruit their graduates and also support KNU academic research.
Prof. Lee then closed with a brief profile about himself in which he mentioned;
- His PhD in Dependable Embedded Control Systems and one of the co-founders of DRTS Ltd (UK).
- His more than 18 years of experience in real-time embedded control systems design and software/hardware implementation.
- His work in the international industry scene in various areas of safety-critical applications, including; “x-by-wire” cars, field buses, smart sensors/actuators, submarine control systems, autonomous underwater vehicles, real-time simulators, and jet engines.
- His development and delivery of courses on Embedded Control Systems for Sheffield University.
- His Underwater Acoustic Signal Processing Laboratory that was developing a technique for sonar signal processing in underwater environment and doing research for building next generation sonar systems etc.
Dr. Jullianne Sansa-Otim on behalf of the Principal (Prof. Tonny Oyana) also presented a brief overview on the College and focused on the key areas of research within the College. (refer to the attached download).
The visit by the KNU delegation concluded with a lunch and cocktail session during which the invited professors from partner Colleges and select CoCIS researchers further discussed collaborations for both institutions at the College level.
On Wednesday 10th January, 2018 Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS) met with all Unit heads, academic and administrative staff of the College. The main theme for this meeting was for the Principal to present and share his vision for CoCIS with its stakeholders.
Before presenting he first shared three quotes from the bible aimed at providing some wisdom, motivation and encouragement to the College staff. The quotes were as follows;
- Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.
- Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the Lordand He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.
- Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.
His presentation which followed was structured based on two aspects;
- The current state of the College.
This was based on College data and the several interactions he had with all College key stakeholders over his first 142 days in office. Results were extracted using a text mining/ analysis tool of key words of minutes of the listening meetings of College key stakeholders, including School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT), East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS), students, support staff etc. The areas covered included;
- Research (number of papers, conferences, projects etc.)
- Academic Staff (teaching, absenteeism, evening classes etc.)
- Support staff (welfare, contracts and communication)
- Knowledge transfer (partnerships with other educational institutions)
- Student welfare (student complaints, exam/test result delays, internet access, leadership challenges, toilet facilities etc.)
- Community Outreach (Support the environment)
The principal also took time out to commend both Deans for the outstanding work done regardless of the current constraints at the College. He also confirmed there was a noticeable difference since his appoint and congratulated some rising stars in the College namely;
- E. Mwebaze (Artificial Intelligence projects)
- Jullianne Sansa (WIMEA-ICT project)
- Sarah Kaddu (EIFL Research grant)
- Daudi Jjingo (Nurturing Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Capacity in Africa)
- Rehema Baguma (Coordinator, Upcoming conference 2018 hosted at CoCIS)
for the work they have done on their research projects and the spotlight they have given to the College.
The Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development was also commended for its work in addressing community outreach specifically its Get Connected – Digital Literacy training that targeted the youth and as we build for the future of Uganda.
- Broad outline of his vision for the College (refer to the attached ).
Before concluding, Prof. G. Maiga (Dean, SCIT) who was presiding over the meeting gave an opportunity to all those present to either ask questions or provide feedback. In response to this;
Dr. Jullianne Sansa Otim - offered to provide support to the College in form of conducting a WIMEA-ICT tracer study to track ongoing and alumni projects.
Ms. Hasifah Namatovu - requested for the Principal’s feedback on the renovating of staff offices and in response, he promised that all issues on that front will be addressed in a timely manner.
Dr. Paul Ssemaluulu – promised that all academic staff are willing to attend the graduation procession to show support for the College provided the required invitation cards, car park stickers etc. are provided on time.
Dr. Johnson Mwebaze – noted that the College should look to towards bidding for projects advertised by industry.
Providing thank you remarks for the well-presented vision by the Principal was Dr. Drake Mirembe. He acknowledged the Principal’s vision and pledged his support towards the new CoCIS Vision.