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Friday, 19 January 2018 00:00

GET CONNECTED

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The College of Computing and IS through its Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Department (CiPSD) conducted a one-week ICT skills training workshop from the 11th – 15th Dec 2017. The training was part of the College’s community outreach initiative to give back to the Makerere University community. The overall main objective of the training was to impart ICT skills to the youth of Uganda and empower them to realize the potential of ICT in unlocking their career paths for the future. The training was facilitated through by a Cisco grant that was awarded to the Cisco Networking Academy within CiPSD

The training targeted Primary 7, Senior 4 and 6 vacists and other interested youth. A total of 80 participants registered and participated in the training. During the orientation session, Mr. Robert Tuhaise (Legal Main Contact, Cisco Networking Academy) welcomed the participants and encouraged them to take this time and fully utilize this opportunity to understand what role ICT has to play in their future.

The one-week training session was customized around a Cisco Networking Academy programme called Get Connected. The Academy firmly believes in basic technology skills as essential for anyone who wants to participate and compete in today’s digital economy. Get Connected therefore introduced the participants to basic computer and Internet navigation skills. Some of these ICT skills included;

  • Identify different types of computer systems, components, printers, and other devices.
    Understand Microsoft Windows and how to work with files and folders.
  • Understand computer networking, how to browse and search the Internet, and how to use email.
  • Create accounts for Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
  • Identify common problems and implement simple solutions for hardware, software, and networks.

The facilitator’s during this training were all recognized Academy instructors namely; Mr. Robert Tuhaise (CCNP Instructor), Mr. Charles Halonda-Funa (ITE Instructor), Mr. Stuart Ssebulime (CCNA Instructor) and Ms. Barbara Nalubega (CCNA Instructor). The training sessions were 100% hands on and conducted from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. The response and interest shown by the participants during the training was so positive that some of the training sessions would end at 2:00 pm.

At the end of the training participants were issued with Certificates of Completion but not before getting a few words of advice from Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS). But before giving his remarks and advice, he randomly selected some of the participants to briefly introduce themselves and mention something that makes them happy. One of the participants, Mangusho Joram was happy to have received the opportunity to get ICT skills training while others promised to return for more training.

In his closing remarks Prof. Tonny Oyana encouraged the participants to embrace the ICT skills they had received, build on their self-confidence and communication skills and lastly earn to thrive in today’s world.

Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:00

CoCIS hosts and conducts ERS pilot exercise

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The College of Computing and IS (CoCIS) hosted and conducted a pilot exercise of over 6000 job applicants during the second week of January 2018. The objective of this activity was to carry out an online based aptitude assessment (e-recruitment) of all the job applicants.
The assessment the first of its kind was coordinated by the Uganda Public Service Commission (PSC) and CoCIS and follows the launch of the Electronic Recruitment System (ERS) in December 2017 that allows for the automated enlistment of applicants.
This form of recruitment was developed to addresses some of the administrative challenges encountered by PSC when recruiting for other government agencies which include; time taken to recruit, costs incurred during recruitment, paperwork used, complaints from applicants e.g. fraud etc.
Present during the assessment and the press briefing were Justice Ralph W. Ochan (PSC chairperson), Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Hon. Benigina Mukiibi (Member, PSC), Ms. Winnie Kabogosa Musoke (Member, PSC), Mr. Enyomu Richard (Commissioner, Monitoring & Guidance, PSC), and Ms. Alenga Rose, Undersecretary PSC).

According to the PSC chairperson, Justice Ralph W. Ochan, the just concluded assessment was a huge success and will go further in improving transparency, data management, scheduling of interviews, shortlisting qualified applicants etc. He applauded the partnership between both institutions (PSC and CoCIS) that made this exercise a success (especially on the cost implications for government) and looked forward to more similar partnership in the near future.

Prof. T. Oyana (Principal, CoCIS) in his remarks welcomed the applicants and the team from PSC. He thanked them for taking the initiative in developing such a system that will curb out corruption and enhance efficiency within the recruitment process. He wished the applicants present on that day all the best during their assessments and reiterated that CoCIS is an icon of excellence in the areas of;
•    Teaching and Knowledge transfer
•    Research and Innovations
•    Digital Literacy etc.
and encouraged all applicants to endeavor and take a tour of the College and see what makes it the best in region (East Africa).

AirQo Monitor – a low cost air pollution monitoring technology.  Researchers at the College of Computing and Information Sciences have developed low-cost air monitoring devices to measure air quality.  Researchers have innovatively deployed a network of air quality monitors on boda-bodas and street lights and buildings in selected areas of Kampala city to produce a detailed and near real-time map of air pollution map.

The research team is led by Department of Computer Science Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha in partnership with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and University of Sheffield. Each AirQo monitor remotely sends air quality data for mapping and analytics. The air quality data includes levels of Particulate Matter (PM) particles of sizes 1, 10 & 2.5 micrometers, which are considered a key indicator of air quality. These particles are small enough to enter the lungs and cause major health problems. To put it in context, the diameter of a single human hair is about 30 times larger than PM 2.5 particle. The AirQo can be customized to measure other major health damaging pollutants including Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.

 The WHO considers air pollution a major health and environmental risk, yet there is no regular air pollution monitoring or research into its spatial distribution in Kampala and other major cities in Uganda. This leaves citizens in the dark about their exposure.  The researchers believe that there is an urgent unmet need to identify the sources and quantify the scale of air pollution, its spatial and temporal distribution and causes. This is vital if we are to motivate the changes required to reduce or better manage the air pollution problem.

The AirQo innovation is a major improvement over the traditional air pollution monitors and deployment models. Air quality monitoring equipment has traditionally been prohibitively expensive and complex. Setting up a single air quality monitoring station currently costs over 150 thousand dollars. The AirQo innovation uniquely combines a cost-effective low-cost air monitors and use of mobile objects such as boda-bodas for collecting air quality data. Boda-bodas in Kampala are re-known to reach almost everywhere thus providing more fine-grained spatial data than you can ever collect with traditional monitoring equipment.

So far, the team has collected over one million records of data about air quality in Kampala.   The team believes that system’s low cost will ensure a long-term sustainable deployment, with data provided to the population through mobile phones, websites and social media. “Our innovation allows citizens make informed decisions. Citizens can where to use the information to decide where live and the school to send children to,” said Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha. “Policy makers will be equipped with scientific evidence on the magnitude, scale and sources of air pollution so as to better manage, regulate and contain the problem” More project information available at www.airqo.net

Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:00

CoCIS MEETS AU ICT CONSULTANTS

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A delegation of consultants from African Union (ICT Consultant, AU) represented by Mr. Moses Bayingana and Ms. Mariam Aniya (ICT, Consultant) on Tuesday, 14th Nov 2017 met with Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Mr. Joseph Ssemogerere (E-learning Coordinator, PAEN project), Ms. Liliane Ayebare (Ag. Head, CiPSD) and Mr. Godwin Kahuuta (Principal Scientist, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance). The meeting was scheduled to discuss and get feedback about the implementation of the Pan-African E-Network Project (PAEN) at the College of Computing and IS (CoCIS), Makerere University. In particular the genesis of the of the project, how it was implemented, the achievements and challenges of the project, and recommendations.


(From left to right) Mr. G. Kahuuta, Mr. J. Ssemogerere, Prof. T. Oyanna, Ms. L. Ayebare, Mr. M. Bayingana and Ms. M. Aniya

During the meeting Mr. Ssemogerere presented the main objective of the project which was funded by the Indian government at a cost of US$ 125 million to connect all African Union (AU) member countries with some of the best universities and hospitals in India to share their expertise in the fields of education and health so as to accelerate the socio-economic development of Africa.

He also briefly talked about the Implementation of the five-year project which was through Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd. (TCIL) who set up the network providing e-services with priority on Tele-Education, Tele-Medicine and VVIP connectivity (video conferencing and VoIP) among the African member states and Makerere University (CoCIS) was selected as the National E-learning Centre to host the students enrolled in the various courses under this project.


Mr. J. Ssemogerere presents a report on the PAEN project

Key highlights and achievements during the presentation;

  1. That there is still a large demand for the programmes offered by both Amity University and Indra Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU) notably the Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors in IT/IS programmes.
  2. The favorable subsidized costs of the training enabled the unprivileged to get good quality education.
  3. The flexible study timetable schedule enabled students from upcountry locations the opportunity to study at their convenience as well as complete their studies on time.
  4. That Makerere University had the best performance, highest enrollment (2,540), and completion rates (1500) within the whole African region at approximately 60% graduate pass rate.
  5. The project had increased the much-needed human resource in Uganda in the disciplines of IT, Business, Finance and Human resource studies.
  6. A majority of the graduates who completed testified to having got promotions and better jobs.
  7. The challenges noted by Mr. Ssemogerere were;
  8. Lack of effective communication specifically with IGNOU regarding student questions and general guidance during the programmes.
    Enforcement of the tuition fees for operation costs.
  9. Some students not focused on studying creating a lot of exam retake scenarios.
  10. In regards to forging a way forward, he recommended the following;
  11. An extension of the project by renewing the necessary MOU’s etc. This will enable more Ugandans to access subsidized quality education.
  12. Operationalizing the Regional University Centre which was supposed to continue providing Tele-Education to other countries in the region even after expiration of the project. Specifically addressing issues of;
    1. Getting approval from Makerere University (Senate) to start delivering online courses.
    2. Training staff at CoCIS to deliver online courses.
    3. Providing sufficient support (Financial support).

He concluded his presentation by thanking the Indian Government, the African Union, all participating institutions for successfully coordinating the project from its inception to completion and kindly requested for more opportunities that will steer Uganda to the next level.

Mr. Bayingana was very impressed by the performance of CoCIS (Makerere University) during the project especially with achieving the highest completion rate in Africa with 1,596 students graduating during the project.

Mr. Kahuuta an Amity alumnus who graduated from the program with an MBA in International Business attested to the benefits, achievements and successes of the project and requested for a renewal of the project emphasizing on the use of the newly laid fiberoptic infrastructure.

The Principal in his remarks thanked Mr. Ssemogerere for successfully coordinating the project amidst all the challenges and requested that AU renew or extend the project. In forging a way forward, he requested that the AU provide seed money and other initiatives that can address some the challenges faced e.g. content development, training of administrative staff to sustain the project and develop the infrastructure.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 00:00

CoCIS MEETS WITH THE PSC TEAM

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College Management headed by the Principal Prof. Tonny Oyana together with his team comprised of Dr. Florence Kivunike (Head, DISS), Mr. Ezra Mwesigwa (Systems Administrator), Mr. Richard Kananura (Custodian), Ms. Liliane Ayebare (Ag. Head, CiPSD) and Mr. Elwana Tom Vok (Accountant) met with officials from the Ministry of Public Service Commission (PSC) led by Mr. Richard Enyomu (HR Commissioner), Ms. Nafula Claire (Senior Information Scientist), Mr. Muzaale Paul (Principal Assistant Secretary), and Mr. Esau Matsiko (Senior Selection Systems Development Officer).

Dr. Kivunike welcomed the PSC team to the College and was happy to receive them and looked forward to working with them. Mr. Enyomu then highlighted the fact that, PSC recruits on behalf of the government but of recent due to high unemployment rates in Uganda the PSC has had challenges during their recruitment exercises. One of the key challenges he mentioned, was managing the selection process due to the high number of applicants who apply for the few advertised positions.  As a result, the PSC has continuously approached the College of Computing and IS to assist with this endeavor since it has the capacity in terms of infrastructure (Computers, Computer Labs, internet connection), and conducive facilities.

During the meeting the College agreed to host the scheduled PSC interview for January 2018 while the PSC team consulted on issues to do with ICT Security, the status of ICT equipment and software, duration of the exercise, testing of the IT systems, and cost implications.
In closing, the two teams discussed signing of an MOU in the future and scheduled accordingly for additional meetings to ensure a successful exercise come January 2018.     

Thursday, 09 November 2017 00:00

Research Methodology Workshop

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The Research Methodology workshop took place on the 8th Nov 2017 at the College of Computing and IS and hosted by the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT).
The objective of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for Ph.D. research students to interact with the keynote speaker Prof. Henk G. Sol, provide an insight into research strategies, and an opportunity to present their research papers. In attendance for the workshop were Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Assoc. Prof. G. Maiga (Dean, SCIT), Dr. Paul Ssemaluulu and Ph.D. research students.

In officially declaring the workshop open the Principal emphasized on the fact that the objective of pursuing a Ph.D. degree was to add the vast body of knowledge and not specifically to get rich. He encouraged the participants to not focusing on only teaching but endeavor to focus on research and writing as many papers as possible. Assoc. Prof. the moderator for the workshop then called upon Prof. Henk Sol to deliver his presentation on Navigating in the Sea of Information: Ennovations for Delivering Shared Value. His presentation focused on enhancing decisions that matter as a major challenge in our ambient society, where we have to navigate in the sea of information to deliver shared value. Agile, analytic, big, intelligent, smart, sustainable data describe the potential for decision enhancement.

Prof. Henk G. Sol presenting

He also spoke about delivering shared value calls for: conversations to collectively identify locally relevant problems, governance to make political and administrative decisions about tackling such problems and engaged innovations to develop localized solutions. Prof. Henk G. Sol additionally mentioned the COLLAGEN (Collective Learning and Agile Governance Environment) approach that provides a set of services for scoping, facilitation and enhancement of decision-making processes, packed into decision apps and providing guidelines for conversational inquiry. The approach he mentioned supports smart governance for policy development and engaged implementation, and delivers shared value to resolve issues that matter in society.

Professor Henk G. Sol challenged the academia to undertake research and create solutions in areas of agricultural information services, disaster preparedness, health as well as governance. He recommended that Uganda needs to focus on sustainable initiatives which also require incentives for both public and private sectors.

Hasifa Namatovu presenting her research concept

During the workshop several Ph.D research students also presented their concept and research papers namely;

  •          Enhancing Maternity and Postnatal Care Decisions Among Pregnant Women by Hasifah Kasujja
  •          Spatial-temporal and System Dynamics Model for Disease Surveillance: A Case of Nodding Syndrome by Ongaya Kizito

During the presentations and Q/A sessions participants provided positive criticism that was well received and in closing, Prof. Henk G. Sol thanked and appreciated all that transpired and was looking forward to more similar workshops in the future.

The DI research group hosted a talk/seminar session on Thursday 2nd November (11:00 - 12:30pm). The speaker was Dr Julius Otim – the current Manager of Medical Health Services at Kampala City Central Authority (KCCA). He is a medical doctor by profession and a public health specialist and oversees all health facilities under KCCA ensuring;
·         Quality Assurance
·         Implementing Service Delivery programs and
·         Health Research plans
He has previously worked with Marie Stopes Uganda as a Quality Assurance Manager, Malaria Consortium as a Technical Team Leader and as a District Health Officer for Kumi District (Local Government). He is also a life member of the Uganda Red Cross Society, a Board Member of Makerere University Hospital and a member of the National Task Force on Non-Communicable diseases.
During his presentation Dr. Otim highlighted a number of health challenges that ICTs can contribute towards and identified possible areas of collaboration with KCCA. In attendance were Masters and Ph.D researchers from the College who interacted with him and provided feedback. Some of the feedback included;
·         Guidelines and procedures to follow in creating a partnership (MOU) between the College and KCCA.
·         How to source for funding on the discussed research projects through current partners of KCCA i.e. Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Intra Health – Uganda Capacity Program, Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) etc.
·         Setup a technical group between KCCA and SCIT that can assist in streamlining the use of ICT to address the objectives, challenges of KCCA as well as enhance their public health services.
The seminar concluded with closing remarks from Dr. Rehema Baguma, who on behalf of all participants appreciated the eye opener into the challenges faced by KCCA but also not noted the potential ICT has to offer to address the issues. She also thanked Dr. Otim for taking the time out to honor the invite and looked forward to a strong positive future collaboration between the College and KCCA.

  

Saturday, 04 November 2017 00:00

Research Workshop

 Prof. Henk Sol will be in the country and we are organizing a research workshop with him slated on 7th-Nov-2017. PhD, Masters students and academic supervisors are invited to be part of this workshop as a way of enriching each other's research skills. 
 
A schedule will be sent tomorrow and participants who would like to showcase their work whether student or not.
kindly drop me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Register and I schedule you
 
 
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 00:00

SIDA KIPS Project Research Seminars

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SIDA KIPS Project Research Seminars hosted by Prof. Elena Maceviciute from the Swedish School of Library and Information Science.
Starting today 30th Oct to 10th November 2017.
Prof. Elena's profile can also be accessed here: http://www.hb.se/en/Research/Researchers/Maceviciute-Elena/

Prof Jan Nolin (http://www.hb.se/en/Research/Researchers/Nolin-Jan/ ) will be online giving comments on the PhD students' presentations. Kindly turn up tomorrow at 2.00pm in CIT Level 4 in the conference room.

Please refer to the attached schedule for details, click: here.

The team led by Dr. Ssekakubo (Africa Development Bank), Prof. P. Muyinda (Principal, College of Education and External Studies) Dr. John Okuonzi (Kyambogo University), and Sybyl former Computer Point (Project contractors) met with College Representatives Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga and Dr. Florence Kivunike (Head of ICT Support Services) to appraise the donation of 200 thin client computers, 6 servers and 4 switches to setup a new computer laboratory at the College.
The Support to Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST) Project aims to contribute to building Uganda’s human capital skills development capacity—particularly in education, science and technology—to respond to labor market demands and spur productivity nationally. Its objective is to improve equitable access, quality and relevance of skills training and research leading to job creation and self-employment. It involves the active participation of six public universities and two degree awarding tertiary institutions in skills training, at the various levels of higher learning. The strategic outcomes of the project are access to HEST and information and communication technology (ICT) for delivery of HEST and improved quality and relevance of HEST in target public universities and degree-awarding tertiary institutions, leading to stronger links to the productive sector. The project is aligned to the country’s National Development Plan 2010/2011–2014/2015 that aims at making Uganda an industrialized economy in 2025 through the provision of higher level skills.
The team concluded the visit by getting the opportunity to tour some of the latest research project going on at the College specifically in the Artificial intelligence Lab.

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