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NCHE Commends Mak’s Readiness to Implement Emergency ODeL

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A team from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) on Wednesday 2nd September 2020 visited Makerere University to ascertain the institution’s readiness to undertake emergency Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL). The inspection followed guidelines for adoption of emergency ODeL during the COVID-19 lockdown issued by NCHE to Higher Education Institutions (HEI) on 3rd July 2020.

Makerere in response appointed an E-Learning Fast Tracking Taskforce led by Assoc. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, which prepared and submitted a proposal to NCHE on 25th August 2020. Other members of the taskforce are; Prof. Jessica Aguti-Director Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning (IODeL), Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi-Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES), Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga, Assoc. Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha and Dr. Evelyn Kahiigi from the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS), Mr. Samuel Mugabi-Director Directorate for ICT Support (DICTS) as well as Mr. Richard Kajumbula and Mr. Godfrey Mayende from IODeL.

The NCHE Team led by Dr. Andogah Geoffrey, Dean Faculty of Technoscience Muni University also had Dr. Robert Ayine, NCHE’s Senior Higher Education Officer Quality Assurance as the other member.

Welcoming the inspection team, Members of Management, staff in the Main Hall as well as participants on ZOOM, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe expressed Makerere University’s eagerness to implement emergency ODeL, given its over 20-year experience with Distance Learning. The first phase of the African Virtual University (AVU) was launched at Makerere University in 1997. AVU was a distance education project funded by the World Bank to deliver university education in the sub-Saharan Africa countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe addresses the audience during the NCHE inspection of Makerere University’s readiness to undertake emergency Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL).

“Our strategic plan 2020-2030 puts emphasis on ODeL because we know that for one, there is going to be an increased demand for higher education in the region which cannot be met by the conventional teaching methods and secondly it prioritises learner-centred pedagogy where the student takes lead and the instructor simply facilitates the learning process” remarked the Vice Chancellor.

Prof. Nawangwe shared with the inspection team that Makerere University has the best ICT infrastructure outside South Africa. This was reiterated in the Director DICTS’ presentation wherein he showed that; Makerere has 32km of fibre optic cable network linking every building to the Network Operations Centre (NOC), 2,200Mbps of bandwidth at a subsidized cost from the Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU), an Incident Response System where the student and staff community can log tickets for ICT-related issues among other amenities.

With reference to Library resources available to support ODeL, the Vice Chancellor said “With approximately 12million electronic journal titles available to our users, we have the largest consumption in Africa.” This was expounded upon by the University Librarian, Assoc. Prof. Helen Byamugisha and her team’s presentation to NCHE when the inspectors made a brief stopover at the Main Library.

Assoc. Prof. Helen Byamugisha (2nd L) flanked by Assoc. Prof. Ruth Nalumaga (3rd L), Mr. Timothy Sentamu (5th L) and Ms. Caroline Kobusingye (6th L) present to the NCHE inspectors led by Dr. Andogah Geoffrey (R) during the stopover at the Main Library.

The team consisting of Deputy University Librarian-Assoc. Prof. Ruth Nalumaga, E-Resources National Coordinator-Ms. Caroline Kobusingye and Systems Administrator-Mr. Timothy Sentamu shared that the Library has; 49 subject/discipline-specific databases, over 240,000 e-Book titles and 7,792 digitized materials accessible. Furthermore, that the Library’s Online Public Catalogue print collection has; 258,900 books, 16,402 archives, 11,698 serials and 4,980 e-Books available to users. The Library relies on EzProxy; a remote access tool, to enable off-campus users access electronic resources, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. These resources and more are accessible to staff, students and members of the public provided that they are registered with the University Library.

To further emphasize Mak’s readiness, Prof. Nawangwe shared that the University is a leading partner of international ODeL consortia such as EPICA. “Most recently, we partnered with UNESCO-ICHEI to inaugurate the International Institute of Online Education so as to train our staff in e-Learning technologies and I am happy to report that several members of staff have benefited.

Additionally, Prof. Jessica Aguti, our Director Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning spent three years (April 2014 to April 2017) as an Education Specialist at the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver, Canada and brings vast experience to our efforts to continue implementing ODeL at Makerere.”

The Chair E-Learning Fast Tracking Taskforce-Assoc. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda (L) and Director DICTS-Mr. Samuel Mugabi confer during presentations to NCHE.

The Vice Chancellor concluded his remarks by reassuring NCHE that the institution has put in place several measures to ensure that no student is left behind in the implementation of emergency ODeL. He reported that Makerere University had during the lockdown managed to secure zero-rate access to its e-Learning and other platforms from Africell, Airtel and MTN and would continue to negotiate for similar enablers of ODeL from the telecommunication companies.

In his presentation of Mak’s Readiness for the ODeL System, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs (DVCAA), Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba guaranteed the inspectors that the university would in addition to existing resources on MUELE utilize tools such as social media and facilities such as the upcountry learning centres to ensure that the emergency ODeL roll-out is comprehensive. In terms of staff readiness, he shared that over 500 staff had been trained by IODeL in developing and setting up course material on the Makerere University E-Learning Environment (MUELE).

The staff training also covered maximizing the benefits of working with ZOOM to conduct synchronous/live classes. As part of the presentations, the inspectors in a live demonstration joined an ongoing IODeL training session for teams at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS). Trainees were then asked to take part in an exercise that gauges active participation and understanding of the concepts being taught. The inspectors and audience in the Main Hall were then able to watch in real-time using another tool called MENTEE as feedback from the class came forth and formed a word cloud with the most frequent responses dominating in size. This feedback, said the IODeL team, can then be used by the instructor to analyse the level of participation by learners and gauge which concepts need further explanation.

Deputy University Librarian-Dr. Ruth Nalumaga (L) leads the NCHE's Dr. Ayine Robert (R) and the team through a section of the Old Library. DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (2nd L) presented on Makerere University's readiness to undertake emergency ODeL and personally took the inspectors around Campus facilities
Deputy University Librarian-Assoc. Prof. Ruth Nalumaga (L) leads the NCHE’s Dr. Ayine Robert (R) and the team through a section of the Old Library. DVCAA-Assoc. Prof. Umar Kakumba (2nd L) presented on Makerere University’s readiness to undertake emergency ODeL and personally took the inspectors around Campus facilities.

The DVCAA in his presentation equally noted that whereas learning materials and facilities required to implement emergency ODeL were in place, work still needs to be done to improve the attitude and motivation of students to access existing electronic resources. One of the July 2020 NCHE guidelines required Mak to undertake a survey to determine students’ willingness to participate in emergency ODeL. Presenting results from that survey, the Director Quality Assurance-Dr. Vincent Ssembatya demonstrated that the majority (64.11%) of the students who took part in the survey were willing to continue under emergency ODeL.

“What surprised us about these results was that at 71.84%, the first year students demonstrated the highest willingness to continue studying under emergency ODeL, compared to their colleagues in final year” remarked Dr. Ssembatya.

An analysis of the reasons for students’ unwillingness to continue under emergency ODeL revealed mobile data as the most dominant. Further investigation of the mobile data reason using NVivo – a qualitative data analysis tool –revealed expensive data bundles as the foremost challenge. Other reasons cited by students for their unwillingness included the practical nature of particular courses and the short period left to the conclusion of their academic programmes.

The Multimedia Studio located in CTF1 will be used by instructors to develop audiovisual learning materials for uploading onto the MUELE.

Outlining the six-week roadmap for completion of the academic year in the event of re-opening under emergency ODeL, the DVCAA said “the immediate strategy is to complete the theoretical part of the syllabus and for the practical sessions, units will group students into cohorts of 15-20 per session so as to fit within the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for social distancing. Exams will then be conducted in the last two or three weeks of the period.”

In addition to the Main Library, the inspection team was taken on a tour of the new multimedia studio on Level 4 of the Central Teaching Facility 1 (CTF1) where instructors can record teaching material using state-of-the-art aids in a soundproof environment. They thereafter visited CoCIS where the Principal, Prof. Tonny Oyana took them on a guided tour of the e-Learning Centre as well as the Smart Classroom – the first installation in Uganda. Upon completion, the 50-seater Smart Classroom will make use of a combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) in particular to analyse students’ learning patterns and abilities and come up with new models of instruction unique to each learner.

The Principal-Prof. Tonny Oyana (L) walks the inspection team through the proposed setup of the Smart Classroom at the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS). The facility will use AI and NLP to improve teaching and learning experience.

The team concluded its inspection of facilities with a visit to the DICTS NOC for a guided tour of the core ICT infrastructure that hosts the e-Learning as well as other university services. A debrief session was held at the Guest House, where inspectors expressed satisfaction with Makerere University’s demonstration of readiness to resume teaching and learning under emergency ODeL.

“I thank Makerere University for taking leadership in this exciting new phase of implementing emergency ODeL. You have demonstrated your readiness and I think all other Higher Education Institutions will emulate you” remarked Dr. Andogah the inspection Team Leader.

He added that it was the simple but equally impressive installations like the Touchless Handwashing Kit (TW-20) at the entrance to the Main Building that demonstrated Makerere University’s ability to innovate and cater to the wellbeing of members of its community.

DICTS Planning and Maintenance Manager-Alex Mwebaze (3rd R) and colleagues Francis Kibalama (R) and Tony Oluka (2nd R) show the inspection team around the Network Operations Centre (NOC).

Dr. Ayine on his part applauded Makerere University as the leading institution for taking the initiative to promote Distance Education and ODeL even before the advent of COVID-19. He shared that the average national tertiary gross enrolment stands at less than 10% and one of the roles of Makerere University is to increase access to higher education.

He concluded by asking the leadership to ensure that in addition to maintaining infrastructure, instructors and facilitators are supported to monitor the participation and progression of learners on MUELE. To help achieve this, IODeL has developed a training schedule for systems administrators and ICT staff at college level to ensure that they will be able to support the different user needs.

Please see the links below for the day’s presentations

Article by Public Relations Office

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise

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One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.

IMPORTANT:

(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH

Acting. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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