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Computing & IS

Mak-CoCIS Sets up the “Smart Classroom facility”, worth over $50,000

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Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) has installed the Smart Classroom facility worth over $ 50,000 US dollars. The mini launch and demonstration will be conducted on Friday 9th September 2022.

The facility accommodating 50 computers will be used for recording, broadcasting, and automation in the classroom including monitoring the examination, quizzes, and any other form of assessment.

A view of the Smart Classroom from the rear.
A view of the Smart Classroom from the rear.

The establishment of the smart classroom system at Makerere University has been funded by the Chinese taxpayer and education technology companies (the UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI) and China’s International Institute of Online Education) under the auspices of UNESCO.

The university has provided space and furniture, manpower, local experts, support team and salaries, cabling, electricity, internet, lighting, and security system among others.

Mak-CoCIS IT experts Badru Ssekumba, Baluku Herbert and Nicholas Betungye testing the smart classroom system during the final connectivity.
Mak-CoCIS IT experts Badru Ssekumba, Baluku Herbert and Nicholas Betungye testing the smart classroom system during the final connectivity.

The Principal CoCIS, Prof. Tonny Oyana said, in 2018, Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences together with Create View Education Technology, UNESCO-ICHEI, and Southern University of Science and Technology, China signed a partnership agreement to collaborate in research, teaching, ICT industry, and community engagement activities.

“As a result of this partnership, we received a highly valued donation of Smart Classroom educational equipment. Our core three strategic academic Chinese partners (Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, China; International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNSECO (ICHEI), Shenzhen; and Guangzhou’s CreateView Educational Technology Co., Ltd.).” Prof. Oyana explained.

The Smart Classroom facility is going to be the first in the history of Uganda. The representative of the UNESCO International Centre for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI) and China’s International Institute of Online Education, Hassan Adeel Shehzad stressed that there are computer laboratories, good studios, and touch panels in Uganda’s institutions but the smart room facility at COCIS will integrate all these, combined under one roof.

Hassan Adeel Shehzad is the program specialist and project lead of the Smart Classroom System. Adeel was at Makerere on 1st and 2nd September 2022 to engage the college leadership and staff to implement the Smart Classroom project and also ensure the last connectivity of the smart classroom facility at the CoCIS.

Mak-CoCIS IT experts Nicholas Betungye, Badru Ssekumba and Baluku Herbert make final touches during the setup of the Smart Classroom.
Mak-CoCIS IT experts Nicholas Betungye, Badru Ssekumba and Baluku Herbert make final touches during the setup of the Smart Classroom.

Adeel said, that UNESCO-ICHEI is working with the top Chinese education technology companies based on the UNESCO mandate to promote SDG4 for quality education by integrating the technological advantage within Shenzhen – the world’s leading technology city in China.

Shenzhen city, he said is trying to assist the rest of the countries in the world by matching the UNESCO mission and vision and bringing the city technological advantage, and integrating Chinese higher education massification experience.

He explained that the Smart Classroom is an infrastructure that is a combination of software and capacity-building training aimed at empowering universities not to be worried about the hardware but to help them bring the latest technology entrance to the higher education system through the Smart Classroom in the daily teaching and learning process.

“We are building a recording system for universities so that the teachers can record their lectures alone or the entire classroom lecture of students and the lecturer teaching.

Hassan Adeel (C) congratulates local expert Baluku Herbert (R) on the job well done as Badru Ssekumba (L) observes.
Hassan Adeel (C) congratulates local expert Baluku Herbert (R) on the job well done as Badru Ssekumba (L) observes.

Secondly, we are trying to broadcast the activities being conducted in the classroom to enable students away from campus and other cities and countries to join.  Not only do we record the lectures, but also broadcast live on conference tools such as Zoom, Google meet, and Microsoft teams.

We are also promoting blended learning from the perception of UNESCO Higher education learning intending to promote SDG4 and our call is to assist higher education at institutional, government and policy level”, the expert explained.

in Uganda, Adeel said, the target audience for the UNESCO- ICHEI Smart Classroom project are universities, teachers, and students to improve the quality of teaching and learning.  Once fully established, the rest of the country, including government Ministries, departments, and Agencies will utilize the Smart Classroom for meetings, training, and workshops.

Badru Ssekumba, Hassan Adeel, Nicholas Betungye and Baluku Herbert jubilate after completing the last step of connectivity for the Smart Classroom on 2nd September 2022 at Makerere University.
Badru Ssekumba, Hassan Adeel, Nicholas Betungye and Baluku Herbert jubilate after completing the last step of connectivity for the Smart Classroom on 2nd September 2022 at Makerere University.

About the Smart Classroom project

By fully exploiting the potential of ICT, The International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of (UNESCO-ICHEI) sets out to support the higher education system, improve education quality, and promote equity for education in the developing world. Joined by the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) and CreateView UNESCO ICHEI works with Makerere University to collaborative establish the Smart Classroom on its campus.

The project will bring together the Smart Classroom functions to the university education system to facilitate advanced learning and cognition, as well as cooperation and participation. It will also develop cooperative research among teachers and students to enhance the effectiveness of academic activities. The project also aims to enable university teachers, students, and technology to make necessary changes to ICT application activities to provide a solid foundation for ICT-driven higher education innovation. Through the provision of the Smart Classroom facility, UNESCO-ICHEI and CreatView will work closely with Makerere University to encourage the development and integration of online courses into the university’s curriculum to address challenges facing education in Uganda.

The SCR SUSTech ICHEI MAK CreateView certificate.
The SCR SUSTech ICHEI MAK CreateView certificate.

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Agriculture & Environment

Call for Abstracts for Doctoral Convention 2023

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PhD Fellows of Makerere University (PF@mak) invites all PhD and other graduate scholars of Makerere University to the annual doctoral convention slated for 23rd February 2023. The theme for this Convention is “Positioning Research for the attainment of National Development Agenda” Sub-themes are aligned with Uganda’s National Development Plan III.

The goal of this Doctoral Convention is to bring together the PhD Community and other graduate students from this great University to share their research projects and outputs as well as critique concepts and proposals in line with the main theme of positioning research in the attainment of national flagship development interventions e.g Uganda’s Parish Development Model and Vision 2040. This Doctoral Convention offers a platform where graduate students discuss their research concepts, proposals, preliminary research findings, manuscripts and papers. This will be done through oral paper presentations and pitching sessions. In addition, there will be poster exhibitions and discussion of presenters’ works. Awards will be made to the best assessed oral presenters, poster exhibitors and pitching sessions.

PF@Mak is now inviting and accepting abstracts for oral papers and poster presentations. You are invited to submit abstracts not more than five hundred words (500) of your concept note, proposal, manuscripts and/or papers that are relevant to the conference theme and subthemes. Indicate the preferred sub-theme and whether you are submitting a paper for oral or poster presentation.
Sub-themes of this doctoral convention are:

  1. Governance, Economic and Social Change for a prosperous Region.
  2. Natural Resources Management, Climate Smart Development & Food Security
  3. Science, Innovation and Technological Advancement for Bio-safety & Well-being
  4. Health & Health Systems that address Contemporary Global Threats

We look forward to a vibrant PhD Convention that feeds into an enhanced learning environment for PhD studies at Makerere University as We Build For The Future.

The PhD Convention shall be Hybrid in nature with provision for Online Live Streaming.

Abstract Submission Deadline: 23rd December 2022.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
The Doctoral convention leadership invites the submission of original abstracts for Oral and/or Poster presentation*. All abstracts should be submitted via the following email; phd.fellows@mak.ac.ug before the deadline (23rd December 2022). These will be forwarded to the Convention Review Board. All abstracts must be submitted and presented in clear English with grammar and spelling of a quality suitable for publication.

WRITING & SUBMITTING YOUR ABSTRACT
Please follow the guidelines below when writing and submitting your abstract/paper. The abstract should be as informative as possible, standard abbreviations may be used. It should not contain diagrams/tables/images: these may be added when submitting the paper. Before you begin submission, please prepare the following information:

  • Author’s and co-Authors’ details (Full first and family name(s), Email)
  • Affiliation details: Institution / University/ College/School/ and Department.
  • Abstract preferred sub-theme: Please choose from the list of sub-themes

Title: The title should clearly indicate the nature of the investigation. Each word should begin with a capital letter with the exception of transition words (maximum 25 words).
Length: The Abstract body should be no longer than 500 words in total.
Structure: Please ensure your abstract clearly brings out Background; Objectives; Methods;
Results (where applicable) and Conclusion.
Key Words: Outline Four Key Words in your Abstract
Formatting: Use Arial font, size 11.5 with 1.15 spacing.

CONFIRMATION OF RECEIPT
You will receive email confirmation that your abstract has been received, indicating the allocated abstract number. Please refer to that abstract number in all further correspondence regarding the abstract.

NOTIFICATION OF DECISION
After submitting your abstract, you will receive an e-mail confirming your successful submission. If you do not receive this confirmation e-mail within 05 days, please contact;
phd.fellows@mak.ac.ug

IMPORTANT TIMELINES
Issuance of Call for Abstracts: 22nd November 2022
Abstract submission deadline (MS Word Documents only): December 23rd, 2022
Acceptance notification: December 30th, 2022
Full presentation submission deadline: January 30th, 2023
Please Note: Only accepted abstracts of fully registered presenters can be included in the final Doctoral Convention program and Book of Abstracts. Registration is required to be completed within 10 days from date of acceptance notification. Registration Fee is modest UGX 30,000 which also doubles as Annual Membership Fee for PF@Mak (for the case of PhD Scholars). Presentation at this Convention will constitute part of the requirements by DRGT on Conference participation

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Computing & IS

CoCIS to deploy the Smart Bee Monitors in the field in December 2022

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One of the Smart Bee Monitor setups ready for deployment in the first field trials in the field in December 2022 on display at the AdEMNEA Annual Conference held 16th-17th November 2022 in Kampala.

Researchers from Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) have designed the Smart bee Monitor ready to conduct its first trials in the field in December 2022. This is the first time the device will be taken out of the laboratory to test how it performs in monitoring bee hives.

The first deployment is going to take place at the university apiary in Namulonge which will act as the study site for this first prototype, while several others will be stationed in different fruit farms and game parks in East Africa to predict the well-being of bees under different environments.

CoCIS researchers in a collaborative project dubbed, “Adaptive Environment Monitoring Network Africa (AdEMNEA)  revealed this new development during the project 2022 first Annual conference held at Kolping Hotel In Kampala on 16th-17th November 2022. The project commencement in 2021.

Some of the participants attending the first annual conference.
Some of the participants attending the first annual conference.

The Project is funded by NORAD under the NORHED II programme supported for five years with the main emphasis on Southern partners. It builds on past success and results from the WIMEA project which automated weather services funded under the NORHED I framework with several other projects currently funded with NTNU and Makerere as partners.

The partners in the AdEMNEA project are the Norwegian University for Science and Technology as the lead partner and the Southern partners led by Makerere University, the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (Tanzania) and the University of Juba (South Sudan). Other partners are the University of Bergen (Norway), the Uganda Meteorological Authority, NaCCRI and NARO. Other partners are the Ministry of Agriculture (MAAIF), The Uganda National Apiary Development Organisation (TUNADO), Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) and Fruit / Bee farmers (Nwoya fruit growers cooperative society and Green Zabu Farm).

At Makerere University the project is being led by Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim with staff from the College of Engineering Design and Art (CEDAT) and the College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB).

Speaking during the  annual conference, the Principal Investigator Makerere University Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim said, they are rolling out an adaptive resilient network infrastructure connectivity where data gathering  instruments in the field can send their data through the internet.

Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim giving her remarks.
Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim giving her remarks.

“We are building this network   and we want to contribute to protecting bees and building instruments that will gather data about bees and fruit flies. We are putting in place the smart bee monitor and have designed the first generation that it can gather the data that can help insect scientists to tell the health of the bees and the environment and aspects that are helpful to make conclusions”, Dr. Nsansa said.

Dr. Nsansa stressed that bees are endangered yet they are the biggest pollinators responsible for most of the fruits and vegetables. Bees according to Dr. Nsansa contribute towards biodiversity as other creatures rely on them for existence.

“The challenge is that because of climate change, different human factors and  agro-chemicals, bees are on the decline and becoming extinct. For the remaining bees, we need to find ways of discovering what is affecting them, where do they thrive, which kind of plants do they like.

Most of the wild places where bees used to thrive have been converted into commercial farms and buildings so we need the optimize the smaller spaces remaining for bees”. She added.

She noted that as they investigate and deploy instruments out there, they will establish plants where bees can stay longer and multiply and help to come up with interventions to protect those tree species.

She reported that monitoring insects has traditionally been via manual observation and count by specialists such as entomologists and extension workers going in the bushes yet there are few specialists in Uganda and Africa that makes this method ineffective. In Uganda, it is estimated that there is one entomologist per region with less than eight entomologists in the MAAIF employed to do this work for the entire country.

The deployment of such tools in the field means that one entomologist in one place can be able to gather different data from different places. And because bees are mostly found where there are fruits and vegetables, and, one of the common pests in fruits being fruit flies, the project looked at both pollinators: – the bees which researchers want to protect and multiply and,  fruit flies for  study and destruction.

Fruit flies are known to be the biggest pests affecting mangoes leading to losses and likewise the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries that is responsible for monitoring and controlling pests is limited by the number of specialists.

Dr. Agatha Turyagyenda explaining the technology to some of the conference participants.
Dr. Agatha Turyagyenda explaining the technology to some of the conference participants.

Makerere University’s PhD student behind the design of the smart bee monitor  Dr. Agatha Turyagenda said  the goal is  to solve the inefficiencies that come about  with  manual inspections of bee hives  in Uganda which is associated with  less productivity among Ugandan bee farmers.

Studies have shown that world over, the number of bees have declined but no study has been conducted in Uganda as farmers continue to complain about bees absconding to come to bee hives.

A view of the sensors inside the bee hive.
A view of the sensors inside the bee hive.

AdMNEA project researchers are investigating to come up with a solution to combat some of the challenges bee farmers are faced with.

“The smart bee hive has several parameters capturing images and videos, at the entrance of the bee hive and, temperature and humidity as well as carbon dioxide levels inside the bee hive and the weight of the bee hive.

All these parameters are then transferred to a remote website that anyone can be able to see as long as they have internet connectivity. So this can be on a mobile phone or laptop.

In the future we will be able to use the information collected to be able to develop programmes that can tell us which pests and diseases have infected the bee hive, if the queen is absent or present, it can tell us if the bees are preparing to swarm, the honey productivity, the weight module and also indicate  the right time to harvest honey”, Dr. Turyagenda explained

Entomologist Dr. Deborah Ruth Amulen from CoVAB  reported that whereas  bees constitute 70% of the world’s crop pollination, their population has declined due to pesticide application, climate change, land use change and diseases.

Dr. Amulen (L) speaking during the meeting.
Dr. Amulen (L) speaking during the meeting.

Amulen observed that the traditional way of inspecting bee hives is time consuming, requires skills and knowledge, disrupts inside hive micro climate and risk of distributing diseases of bees while useful variables such as temperature, humidity, gases cannot be ascertained hence the need to automate the process.

“For entomologists, the smart bee monitor will help us to know when to harvest honey, when the bees are sick, when the population of bees is down so that we can check the hive and address the problem.

The smart bee hive is one of the common bee hives farmers use but the ICT team has modified it with sensors after which entomologist will populate them with bees and deploy them in fruit farms, university farms and in apiaries near the national parks so that we can compare what is happening in hives and in fruit farms where they spray a lot of chemicals.

We can therefore monitor and tell if the bees will be very sick or dying, whether the production of honey is lower compared to bees that are near national parks and where there is no chemical use near the national parks” Dr. Amulen stated.

Regular manual inspection of fruit fly traps according to Dr. Amulen is also inconvenient, misses out on critical data points such as the phenotype, density, diversity and relationships between variables such as population and weather toward prediction of infestation.

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Computing & IS

Holiday ICT Bootcamp for P7, S4 & S6 Vacists

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Holiday ICT Bootcamp for P7, S4 & S6 Vacists, 12th-16th December 2022, CIPSD, CoCIS, Makerere University.

The College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) is the main ICT training, research and consultancy Centre in Makerere University and the region. The College runs a Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CiPSD), through which the College addresses various industrial challenges, like skills development, incubation of new ideas and nurturing of new technology-based business.

CiPSD has organised a one week Holiday ICT Bootcamp for P.7, S.4 and S.6 Vacists. This bootcamp is free and open to all Students who aspire to be IT gurus.

Courses:

Primary 7 – Internet basics, Microsoft Office Suite, Get Connected

Senior 4 – PC hardware, Graphics design, Online Collaboration

Senior 6 – Networking, Website Design/Programming

See Poster below for details

Registration details:

The Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CIPSD)
Block A – Front Office/Block B, Level 5
College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)
Makerere University
Tel: +256 782 512 897
Registration form: https://bit.ly/3tt9UOM

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