A network for Capacity-Building in Software Engineering in Africa


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A network for Capacity-Building in Software Engineering through Free Software development in Africa: The African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR). This is a talk I gave at the Google Campus in April 2007.

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A network for Capacity-Building in Software Engineering in Africa

  1. 1. A network for Capacity- Building in Software Engineering through Free Software development in Africa Prof Derek Keats Executive Director Information & Communication Services The University of the Western Cape Bellville (Cape Town), South Africa [email_address] African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR) A potpourri of stories
  2. 7. African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR)
  3. 8. Why software engineering in Africa <ul><li>Low barriers to entry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>With Free & Open Source Software the barriers to entry are as low as they can be </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potential to create opportunities for economic growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shortage of capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Very little collaborative software development happening in Africa </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not taking advantage of synergy </li></ul></ul>
  4. 9. African Virtual Open Initiatives and Resources (AVOIR) <ul><li>Build human capacity in software engineering through the collaborative development of Free Software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop and support Free Software Innovation in African higher education institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do so by uniting scarce and dispersed skills towards a common purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Deliver world-class, innovative software and services in the process </li></ul><ul><li>Create an ecosystem to promote and strengthen innovation through transactions taking place within the ecosystem </li></ul>
  5. 10. 2005
  6. 11. AVOIR [email_address] Masters in ICT Policy and Regulation Collaboration
  7. 12. Connecting with other institutions in your neighborhood or globally, creating business opportunities, encouraging broader use of Chisimba products, including business opportunities for local software developers Posting new ideas to the mailing list, keeping us up to date with what you are doing, answering questions, asking questions Designing new functionality and writing code for KEWL and other Chisimba applications Deploying KEWL and other applications in your own environment Coding Connecting Collaborating Implementing
  8. 14. The KINKY application framework... ...and.....
  9. 17. Driven by users and practitioners, not by technology. The awesome potential of student projects
  10. 18. Collaborative design <ul><li>Educators </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning projects in Africa </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>National Information Society Learnership in Environmental Informatics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-Learning support </li></ul><ul><li>Students </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning research </li></ul><ul><li>Software developers & computer scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Social network researcher studying our own processes as a network </li></ul>
  11. 19. KEWL.NextGen training for lecturers at the University of Jos, Nigeria
  12. 20. Educators and developers meet in Ghana to discuss new features that would benefit educational processes.
  13. 21. Megan Watson of the UWC team ran a training workshop for new developers in Ghana in August, 2006.
  14. 23. Kabul University lecturer conducting KEWL.NextGen (ANGEL) training in Kabul
  15. 24. KEWL.NextGen e-learning and development workshop in Kalibo, Philippines, as invited by the Philippines Governmnet. In September, Nic Appleby from UWC will be going to Philippines to do set up and training at 6 universities.
  16. 25. KEWL.NextGen training at Uganda Martyrs University
  17. 26. Examples of other products... <ul><li>kHospitalPharmacy </li></ul><ul><li>kGroups </li></ul><ul><li>kForums </li></ul><ul><li>kPortalCreator </li></ul><ul><li>kSurvey </li></ul><ul><li>kClinicalTrack </li></ul><ul><li>kLaborResearch </li></ul><ul><li>kWiki </li></ul><ul><li>kCommitteManager </li></ul><ul><li>kContentManager </li></ul><ul><li>kPostgraduate </li></ul><ul><li>kAlumniPortal </li></ul><ul><li>kProjectManager ...and </li></ul><ul><li>CHISIMBA application framework </li></ul><ul><li>[ Integrated Student Information System ] </li></ul>
  18. 32. <ul><li>Software </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul><ul><li>Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge </li></ul>E-Learning Learning SW engineering EA & SOA Web 2.0 / distributed
  19. 33. 2006
  20. 34. What is CHISIMBA? <ul><li>Chisimba – Chichewa (Malawi) word for the framework used to build a traditional African house </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An object-oriented framework for rapid development of distributed software applications </li></ul></ul>
  21. 35. What is CHISIMBA? <ul><li>A framework for learning good software engineering principles and practices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building confidence through collaboration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contributing on our own terms </li></ul></ul>
  22. 36. Helper modules e.g. htmlTable htmlForms layer getIcon, etc Engine Object Model Controller Database View Module Data access Logic Templates Module Data access Logic Templates Module Data access Logic Templates
  23. 37. Chsimba - 2006/7 Designed a new architecture Services oriented Standards compliant Better object orientation Improved code generation Enterprise services bus Model driven development Web 2.0 enabled Ready for Education 3.0
  24. 38. Education Three point what?
  25. 39. A lot of what is done with Internet technologies in education - still! 19th Century Pedagogy 21 st Century Minds 21 st Century Technology
  26. 40. http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_3/keats/index.html
  27. 41. <ul><li>the arrival of digital natives into education systems </li></ul><ul><li>concepts of sharing and licenses to promote sharing </li></ul><ul><li>new social computing technologies </li></ul><ul><li>emerging educational pedagogies </li></ul><ul><li>institutional arrangements that are only beginning to form </li></ul>A new landscape for education
  28. 42. Most of the world is not like Stanford!! Tag cloud : Poor schools, Underprivileged, under-investment, weak students, costly bandwidth, no computers, literacy, security, food, ...
  29. 43. Primary role of professor Content arrangements Learning activities Technology role Taxonomy of Education 1.0 to 3.0 Student behaviour Institutional arrangements
  30. 44. Three characteristics of Education 3.0 <ul><li>the role of students in making choices of a different kind than are available today </li></ul><ul><li>students as socially networked producers of reusable learning content is vital which is available in abundance under licenses that permit the free sharing and creation of derivative works </li></ul><ul><li>institutional arrangements permit the accreditation of learning achieved , not just of courses taught </li></ul>
  31. 45. The potential in Africa <ul><li>If we can create the competencies, we can own Education 3.0 </li></ul><ul><li>If we don't, it will pass us by </li></ul><ul><li>AVOIR can play a role by helping create some of the necessary competencies </li></ul><ul><li>....but... universities need to see the horizon </li></ul>
  32. 46. Engineering the tipping point
  33. 47. Changes needed <ul><li>Embracing and contributing to Free Software that is fit for purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Embracing and contributing to free and open standards for sharing and co-creation </li></ul><ul><li>A good base of Free and Open Resources for Education (FORE) to which the institution contributes and from which it draws </li></ul><ul><li>Learning processes and structures that take into account lessons from the collaborative development communities observed in Free Software development. </li></ul><ul><li>Good solid evidence-based research on the educational and economic implications of Education 2.0 and 3.0 </li></ul>
  34. 48. AVOIR Where now? Where next?
  35. 50. <ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Community radio in Guinnea Bissau </li></ul><ul><li>E-Learning in Ethiopia </li></ul><ul><li>E-Learning in Afghanistan </li></ul><ul><li>SA-Nordic community </li></ul><ul><li>Chameleon presentation sharing / HP </li></ul><ul><li>HIV/Aids project </li></ul>Ecosystem Collaborative Masters degree Network & Collaboration KEWL & Chisimba Code-athon AVOIR Board Advisory Board
  36. 51. Alliances A network of networks An alliance can be viewed as a network of networks Increasing the networks in the alliance strengthens the alliance and the underlying networks
  37. 53. Summer of code 2005
  38. 54. The real potential <ul><li>Application famework & a team that can expand and build on it in e-learning and any other application area; </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 enabled, distribtuted application; </li></ul><ul><li>Process to design , develop , deploy and support great software; </li></ul><ul><li>A way to harness the awesome potential of student projects and build capacity in Africa; </li></ul><ul><li>Potential business opportunities in abundance; </li></ul><ul><li>How can we build synergy with your work, to create something in Africa that is responsive to your needs and that astonishes the world? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your ideas welcome! </li></ul></ul>
  39. 56. Online : http://avoir.uwc.ac.za Email : [email_address] We are grateful to the IDRC, USAID, the Department of Science and Technology, UNESCO and Sun Microsystems for financial and other support to the AVOIR project. We are also grateful to those organizations who had enough confidence to contract us to develop applications even though we were unproven .