UbuntuNet-Connect 2020

UTC
Virtual Conference

Virtual Conference

Description

 

We are proud to announce that UbuntuNet-Connect 2020 will be held as a Virtual Event from 18 to 20 November 2020 under the theme, Positioning Research and Education During Crises. As a virtual event, the conference will be held different from the way we all know it. We will have 2 exciting 2-hour sessions per day during the three days, each focusing on a particular sub-theme.

The rationale for this theme is as follows...

National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) exist in 38 countries in Africa – albeit at different stages of development – with the primary role of connecting research and education institutions and providing them with other value-added services driving digital transformation. When Covid-19 spread around the globe, while education and research institutions in the global north immediately moved their activities online, peer institutions in most of Africa simply shut down, sending millions of learners home and disrupting their education.

One can argue that the reaction of the African research and education community to covid-19 clearly shows that the institutions were not ready to handle crises of that magnitude. UbuntuNet-Connect 2020 will therefore be held around the theme: Positioning Research and Education During Crises, to provide a forum for all stakeholders in the research and education networking community to discuss solutions, proposals, projects, initiatives and ideas of ensuring that NRENs and the communities they serve are well positioned to ensure business continuity in the face of crises and pandemics.

The conference theme has been broken down into the following sub themes:

Sub-theme 1 - Off-campus Connectivity and Innovation: With universities closed, internet bandwidth provided by the NREN is unused yet. Presentations will focus on innovations that deliver connectivity to students and staff off-campus to allow for learning and research to continue remotely during times of crises.

Sub-theme 2 - Policy, Governance (digital transformation) and Partnerships: For any digital transformation to take off, it has to start with leadership setting the stage and putting in place the right policies and IT governance structures. Presentations will focus on case studies, policies, ideas and projects promoting digital transformation. The sub-theme will also include presentations about ongoing projects showcasing collaborations.

Sub-theme 3 - Tools and Services: Presentations will include innovative digital tools and services that are or can be used to continue teaching, learning and research activities in times of crisis.

Sub-theme 4 - Best practices in e-Learning and Remote Working: Crises force people to stay at home. Presentations will focus on case studies, projects, initiatives and best practice in e-learning and working from home.

Registration
Register for UbuntuNet-Connect 2020
Participants
  • Abdifatah Ali
  • Ahmed Ali Ahmed
  • Ahmed Siyad
  • Ajay Makan
  • Alex Mwotil
  • Alexander van den Hil
  • Alisher Davlatov
  • Almaz Bakenov
  • Amos Nuwasiima
  • Anastas Mishev
  • Ann Harding
  • Arianna Akmatova
  • Asad Nur Abdi
  • Assefa Zelalem
  • Atwine Moses
  • augustin kanyimbu
  • Bachir Mohamed
  • Beata Njageh
  • Beatrice Ng'ambi
  • Benon Fred TWINAMASIKO
  • Bonny Khunga
  • Boubakar Barry
  • BRIAN MASIGA
  • Brian Nisbet
  • Caesar Jjingo
  • Caroline Namuddu
  • Caroline Tuhwezeine
  • charles kariuki
  • Chris Rohrer
  • Chrispen Chiome
  • Claudio Maina
  • Cyrus Baraza
  • Dale Smith
  • Daniel Kusi
  • Daniel Okallo
  • Daurice Nyirongo
  • David Gaamuwa
  • David Heyns
  • Dawit Gebrekidan
  • Deline Thandiwe Mwavumisa
  • Denis MAGERO
  • Derrick Ssemanda
  • Diana Asiimwe
  • Dibungi T. Kalenda
  • Douglas Harré
  • Duncan Greaves
  • Edward Moynihan
  • Edward Safari
  • Effah Amponsah
  • Eloge Bapfunya
  • Emanuel Wanyonyi
  • Ephrem Hailemariam
  • Eric ATTOU
  • Erik Huizer
  • Erik-Jan Bos
  • Essy Reuben
  • Evans Kariuki
  • Evans Vete
  • Eyob Mulualem
  • Fabrice MOUTTE
  • Fahadi Muhumuza
  • Faisal K
  • Fortune Gijima
  • Gaanbe K. Hashi
  • George Maina
  • Gift Bafaki
  • Gonza Sabiiti
  • Guy Halse
  • Hamisi Hamim
  • Heidi Morgan
  • Helga Spitaler
  • Hellen Nakawungu
  • Henry Simfukwe
  • Herman Ramos
  • Hibo Abdi Roble
  • Hong Van Nguyen
  • Ibar Osman Ibrahim
  • Iman Abdelrahman
  • Iqra Abdulkadir Farah Iqra cadey
  • Ismail Ahmed Khalif
  • Ismail Settenda
  • Israel Mekonen
  • Jamel ALOUI
  • James Abila
  • James Mwikya
  • Jasna Tingle
  • Jay Kats
  • Jeremiah Kioko
  • Joan Masai
  • Joe Kimaili
  • John Maina
  • John Molefe
  • John Paul Anbu
  • Joy Otuya
  • Katie Glerum
  • KENNEDY ASEDA
  • Kevin Tuei
  • KIBET SANG
  • Kibwana Zamani
  • Klaas Wierenga
  • Lalanirina Jean ANDRIANTSITOHAINA
  • Lambert NIYUNGEKO
  • Lasana Kazembe
  • Leila Dekkar
  • Leonard (Len) Lotz
  • Lilian Maina
  • Linnah Jumwa
  • Lois Ndinda
  • Lourino Chemane
  • Lúcia Horácio Zimba
  • macdonald nhakura
  • Mainford Mutandavari
  • Margaret Nambaziira
  • Margareth Gfrerer
  • Marin Režić
  • Martin Njau
  • Mary Ngure
  • Mary Nsabagwa
  • Maryanne Njenga
  • Maurice Murimi
  • Meoli Kashorda
  • Michael Bijara
  • Michael Stanton
  • Michael Walimbwa
  • Miriam Chahuruva
  • Moctar Yedaly
  • Mohamed Ali
  • Mohamed Ali Ahmed
  • Mohamed Mokhtar
  • Moises Mucelo
  • Moses Isutsa
  • MPIRIRWE STEPHEN BYANAGWA
  • MUHAMMED NURU
  • MUKESHIMANA Wenceslas
  • MUKESHIMANA Wenceslas
  • MUNGERI Frank
  • Munyaradzi Makoni
  • Nabil Ksibi
  • Nicholas Mbonimpa
  • Nick Dua
  • Nigatu Nigusie
  • Nina Chachu
  • Nixon Kamugisha
  • Nodumo Dhlamini
  • Nosiku Sikanyika
  • Nyanjau Kimani
  • Nyasha Fadzai Thusabantu
  • Nyasha Thusabantu
  • Ognjen Prnjat
  • Omo Oaiya
  • Onica Nonhlanhla Makwakwa
  • Oscar Rodriguez
  • Owen Iyoha
  • Pamela Abbott
  • Paul Rouse
  • Peter Baguma
  • peter shinga
  • Rebecca Kangabe
  • Riadh Jaouadi
  • Richard Jonathan
  • Rob Merkus
  • Roberto Barbera
  • Rodney Malesi
  • Ronald Matovu
  • Ronald Osure
  • Roshan Halkhoree
  • Rumbidzai Chitakunye
  • Sabine JAUME-RAJAONIA
  • Sajitha Bashir
  • Salem Alagtash
  • Samuel Siminyu
  • Samwel Opiyo
  • seema khanna
  • Shakib Abdullahi
  • Shamiru kwesiga
  • Shukri Wiener
  • Silvia Fiore
  • SSENTONGO LLOYD
  • Stein Mkandawire
  • Stéphanie Truillé-Baurens
  • Suleiman Ali
  • Sylvia Ogola
  • Tangui Coulouarn
  • Thomas Bello
  • Thomas Munghono
  • Tiguidanke Bah
  • Timothy Waema
  • Tiwonge Banda
  • Tom Fryer
  • Tumwesigye Arthur
  • Umar Mushabe
  • Vanessa Ntinu
  • Vasilka Chergarova
  • Veronika Di Luna
  • Victor Celso Sechene Guambe
  • Wilhelm van Belkum
  • Wilson Wasswa
  • Yasmeen Alkouz
  • Yonatan Mekuriaw
  • Yousef Torman
  • Zanga Chimombo
  • Zubeda Mtunda
  • Álfred Kipruto
    • 07:00 09:05
      Opening Session
      • 07:00
        Introduction and Welcome Remarks 10m
        Speaker: Hastings Ndebvu (UbuntuNet Alliance)
      • 07:10
        Welcome Remarks by UbuntuNet Alliance CEO 10m
      • 07:20
        Welcome Remarks by UbuntuNet Alliance Chairperson 10m
        Speaker: Prof. Stephen Simukanga (Chairperson, ubuntuNet Alliance)
      • 07:30
        Remarks from EU DG DEVCO 10m
        Speaker: Mr Fabio Di Stefano (European Commission – DG DEVCO)
      • 07:40
        Goodwill Messages 10m
      • 07:50
        Covid-19 and NRENs: Counting the Cost 20m
        Speaker: Duncan Greaves (TENET)
      • 08:10
        Opening Keynote Speech 30m
      • 08:40
        Plenary Discussion on Positioning Research and Education 20m
        Speaker: Mr Tiwonge Banda (UbuntuNet Alliance)
    • 12:00 14:00
      Subtheme 1: Off-campus Connectivity and Innovation
      • 12:00
        Off-campus eduroam to support secure remote learning: The case for RENU during the COVID-19 pandemic 20m

        eduroam (education roaming) is a world-wide trusted and secure Wi-Fi network for researchers, students and staff of education and research institutions. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, globally, most NRENs typically deployed eduroam only in the networks of their member institutions, whereby users could only access eduroam when they visited any campus that had deployed eduroam. However, that setup does not enable users to continue utilizing this service while away from campus, and this challenge came to the fore at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when all education institutions were closed and students and staff requested to work and study off-campus. In this paper, we describe how RENU extended its eduroam Wi-Fi connectivity to public areas in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA), in a bid to extend free and secure connectivity to students and staff, to support education and research activities off-campus. The paper brings out; the deployment architectures used by various infrastructure owners and service providers, the problems and challenges faced during and after the deployment of the service, the benefits of the rollout, and the observations in traffic patterns and authentication requests. The future plans are also discussed.

        Speaker: Hellen hnakawungu Kabuubi (RENU)
      • 12:20
        NKN: Key enabler for creating a paradigm shift for knowledge sharing during COVID 20m
        Speaker: seema khanna
      • 12:40
        Supporting Resilient Off-Campus Access in a Disrupted Environment 20m

        Teaching & Research has largely been based on on-campus models where researchers, faculty and
        students have traditionally conducted their core business primarily from within their home
        institutions with remote or off-campus access only initiated whenever there is collaboration with
        other institutions.
        The COVID-19 pandemic resulted to closure of all educational institutions in Kenya from March 2020
        when most educational institutions were still continuing with the semesters. This prompted rapid
        search for and implementation of solutions to support teaching, learning and research from remote
        locations. These solutions ranged from learning management systems, conferencing systems, end
        user devices, off-campus connectivity, and access just to mention but a few.
        To support its member institutions, KENET engaged in different initiatives aimed at facilitating the
        transition to support online remote teaching, learning and research. Some of the solutions
        implemented to support the KENET community included off-campus 4G/LTE access through Private
        Mobile Network APN, Affordable Mobile Bundles for students, secure access through eduVPN and
        providing conferencing facilities for meetings and teaching in the period. This presentation will focus
        on some of the solutions and innovations implemented by KENET to support its community with
        learning and research continuity during the disruption.

        Speaker: KENNEDY ASEDA (KENYA EDUCATION NETWORK)
      • 13:00
        Advances in Collaboration in R&E Networking between Africa, Latin America and the U.S. 20m
        Speaker: Heidi Morgan (USC-ISI)
      • 13:20
        eduVPN and how to deal securely with generalised remote working 20m

        eduVPN is a VPN solution targeting the research and education community. The purpose of the solution is to provide secure access both to private institutional networks as well as public networks. eduVPN is one of the very few fully free software solution for VPN, both on server and client server sides. Different client apps have been created for Windows, Linux, macOS, Android and iOS; the code is regularly audited by external exprets.

        eduVPN has already been functional for a few years and it has grown rapidly: it started as a project in SURF - the Dutch National Research and Education Network (NREN) - and it is now offered by 14 National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) A few private companies outside the field of research and education also use the software.

        However, apart from the Netherlands, where eduVPN is offered centrally as a managed service to many universities, the institutional access deployments remained limited in most countries. Two main factors explained the limited diffusion of eduVPN as a corporate VPN solution: 1. the needs of institutions were already served by commercial solutions with a typical duration of 3 years, 2. Despite the high costs of commercial solution, it appeared risky for many IT departments of institutions to switch to a solution which was not yet adopted by a large number of institutions.

        COVID19 changed this situation. As people were sent home, the need for secure VPN access to private resources changed scale. Whereas it was typical for a middle-sized university to have hardware and licenses to serve up to 500 or 1000 concurrent users, IT departments suddenly had to look at new solutions. Very quickly, with the support of their NRENs, a high number of universities in Europe but also on other continents deployed eduVPN instances. In Africa, RENU supported for example different institutions in Uganda in order to enable them to use eduVPN. Other deployments took place in Kenya, Morocco and in South Africa.

        Speaker: Tangui Coulouarn (DeiC)
    • 07:00 09:00
      Subtheme 2: Policy, Governance (digital transformation) and Partnerships
      • 07:00
        The NEA3R Collaboration: Expanding Support for Global Science 20m
        Speaker: Edward Moynihan (Indiana University)
      • 07:20
        The Impact of COVID-19 on STEM and Practical-oriented Degree Programmes in Higher Education: Challenges and Solutions 20m
        Speaker: Nyasha Thusabantu (Harare Institute of Technology)
      • 07:40
        PRIDA: An AU-EU-ITU project fostering universally accessible and affordable broadband across the African continent 20m
        Speaker: Oscar Rodriguez (ITU)
      • 08:00
        Commercial Cloud and other consumable Digital Services 20m

        Research indicates that the global R&E community is already heavily dependent on the consumption of commercial cloud services and other related digital services providing for platform and software solutions in support of teaching, learning and research activities. The NREN is already providing bandwidth in support of this consumption, but what is our role in further supporting our community’s access to commercial IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions?

        This presentation will explore strategy – and current initiatives focused on these services, particularly in the EMEA region. We will look at the workloads and activities most disrupted by these trends, and opportunities to better support these within the Ubuntunet context. Covid-19 provided a serious disruption to the way people communicate and work. Teaching and learning activities were amongst those most disrupted and schools scrambled to get their classrooms online. Distance learning has been topical for some time but became an imperative during this time. From this point on it will be important to provide for a hybrid platform for teaching. We will review a few related case studies.

        On-premise vs community vs commercial cloud – we will discuss the pros and cons regarding both building bespoke local/regional platforms and procuring commercial commodity compute and storage solutions by means of NREN enabled procurement frameworks.

        Speaker: David Heyns (GÉANT)
      • 08:20
        AfricaConnect3: Connecting Africa to Unlimited Possibilities 20m

        Since 2011, the European Union has been co-funding the development of pan-African Research and
        Education Network (REN) through the AfricaConnect project. The third phase of AfricaConnect
        (AC3) started in November 2019 with GÉANT, ASREN, UbuntuNet Alliance, and WACREN
        regional RENs 1 as the main coordinators. The main objective of AC3 is to contribute to the human
        capital development of Africa by increasing the use of digital technologies at the African research
        and education institutions. Without high-speed network infrastructures for research and education,
        however, access to digital technologies remains a challenge.
        African researchers and students have not been active contributors and users of world research and
        innovation. This is due to the absence of affordable connectivity and lack of services. According to
        UNESCO’s statistics, Africa contributes to less than 2% of the world's research output and has only
        91 researchers per million people compared to 4272 for North America and Western Europe 2 . In
        general, Internet penetration in Africa is very low due to lack of connectivity and highly priced
        Internet.
        AC3 presents a great promise not only for establishing high-speed networks to interconnect
        universities, colleges and research centers across Africa, but also for deploying a wide range of
        services that allow instructors, scientists and students to seamlessly access a wealth of invaluable
        education and research resources. These include cloud technologies, high performance computing,
        digital repositories, online libraries, and ODeL (Open and Distance eLearning) as a means for
        disruptive access to higher education.
        In this talk, AC3 will be presented as a new prospect for connecting Africa to unlimited possibilities
        in education, research, and innovation. The project is centered on 4 main actions. The first action
        focuses on establishing secure, adequate and affordable network infrastructures for the African
        NRENs interlinking them through their respective African RENs to GÉANT, Internet2, RedCLARA
        and other regional RENs. The second action supports the deployment of dedicated services and
        applications that provide seamless access to variety of computational resources and repositories in an
        effort to foster collaboration. Efforts will include setting up eduID.Africa, deploying eduroam and
        eduGAIN, and initiating the African open science cloud. The third action will implement a large-
        scale capacity building program through the Africa Training Initiative. Finally, the fourth action will
        be centered on advocacy and awareness in order to facilitate policy support and stakeholder engagement for the long-term development of sustainable and affordable high-speed network
        infrastructures.

        Speaker: Salem Alagtash (ASREN)
      • 08:40
        Feedback From NREN User 20m

        As a heavy user of communication networks, Sorbonne University provides feedback on why NRENs matters and how its IT department has managed lockdowns.
        After a little background on Sorbonne University and research and education networks in Europe, a review of the successes and failures of the first lockdown in March 2020 and the lessons learned to address the current one.

        Speaker: Fabrice MOUTTE
    • 12:00 14:00
      Subtheme 3: Tools and Services
      • 12:00
        Moodle for e-learning: A Case Study of the Zambia Research and Education Network 20m
        Speaker: Stein Mkandawire (ZAMREN)
      • 12:20
        eduID.africa - Identity and Access Management as an enabler for digital migration in research and education 20m
        Speaker: Omo Oaiya (WACREN)
      • 12:40
        Open-Source-Based Communication-System for R&E Community. The Case for SomaliREN VC. 20m

        Educational institutions - schools and universities in Somalia are based only on traditional learn-ing; they follow the conventional face-to-face classroom lectures. The sudden outbreak of a pan-demic called COVID-19 caused by a Corona Virus shook the entire world. To help contain the pandemic, the ministry of Education, Culture, and Higher Education(MOECHE) of Somalia or-dered the closure of schools and universities to help control the virus as social distancing is the best way to prevent COVID-19 and overcrowded classrooms pose a challenge for distancing.

        SomaliRENs' member institutions, most of which are privately run, faced an economic crisis fol-lowing the country's suspension of teaching and learning. They rely on students' tuition to sustain their institutions. To ensure continuity of operations and avoid a significant disruption, Somali-REN provided relief to its member institutions by offering its customized video conferencing plat-form, which universities are now using for remote teaching and learning. This is a free open-source-based research and education communication-system using BigBlueButton, specially de-signed for academic institutions with comparable features and quality to commercial ones such as Zoom and Cisco Webex.

        Keywords: VideoConferencing Platform, BigBluBotton, R&E Community.

        Speaker: Mohamed Ali Ahmed (SomaliREN)
      • 13:00
        InAcademia and eduGAIN: new Trust & Identity services in GÉANT 20m
        Speaker: Klaas Wierenga (GÉANT)
      • 13:20
        The LIBSENSE Research Agenda - Reporting on Past Activities and Plans for AC3 20m
        Speaker: Pamela Abbott (The University of Sheffield)
      • 13:40
        Online Student Support in Crotia 20m

        This presentation will show how CARNET arranged VLE and infrastructure for conducting online essay in Moodle simultaneously for more than 13.000 secondary school students during the COVID-19 pandemic. CARNET provided technical support for the online essay, which was a part of a trial graduation exit exam. The goal was to test system capability and adequacy of particular Moodle tools for the exam such as quiz and assignment. It will be presented how the system was set up and how activities were adjusted for various user groups, including those with learning disabilities. The results show that the majority of participants successfully submitted the essay via Moodle platform, which proved that Moodle is adequate as a platform for the online graduation exit exam for secondary school students simultaneously writing the exam.

        Speaker: Marin Režić (CARNET)
    • 07:00 09:00
      Subtheme 4: Best practices in e-Learning and Remote Working
      • 07:00
        The Dragon has Destroyed the Data Center 20m
        Speaker: Brian Nisbet (HEAnet)
      • 07:20
        e-learning and student engagement at Universities in the digital era 20m
        Speaker: Rebecca Kangabe
      • 07:40
        Reflection on remote working and E-learning practice beyond COVID-19: Experiences from Makerere University 20m
        Speaker: Michael Walimbwa (Makerere University)
      • 08:00
        Implementing Open Access Multi-Institutional Digital Repository - The Case for SORER/SomaliREN) 20m
        Speaker: Ahmed Siyad (SomaliREN)
      • 08:20
        Massive Online Education in Croatia 2020 20m

        In an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 the Government of Croatia decided to close all educational institutions in the country and transfer all teaching and learning online. This was a big challenge for organisations and individuals as there was very little time left for the preparation of such transition or for ensuring that everybody involved had access to the necessary infrastructure. In order to document this transfer of the whole education system to online environment CARNET initiated the research focusing on the use of digital technology, particularly in primary and secondary education. While qualitative part of the research involved only a handful of educators who kept reflective journals of their practice during online schooling, nearly 27000 participants responded to the surveys that followed. They reported on challenges with infrastructure, time management, organisation of virtual classrooms, structure of digital materials, student-teacher online communication and other aspects of online schooling. The presentation will briefly report on research results.

        Speaker: Mrs Jasna Tingle (Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNET)
      • 08:40
        eSymposia Virtual Meeting Initiative: Democratizing Science 20m

        Keystone Symposia’s eSymposia virtual meetings bring together global research leaders and rising stars in a particular field to discuss the latest research advances and directions, while broadcast live to global audiences.

        Altogether, eSymposia virtual meetings, and associated resources, help to connect the global research community with the latest biomedical advances, tools and technologies, and even more importantly, with each other, to catalyze and accelerate life science discovery and innovation towards clinical impacts.

        These virtual events also democratize the dissemination of science, by eliminating travel and minimizing costs to participate in global research meetings. With these digital technologies we are able to engage global audiences, giving scientists from limited resource settings and remote locations the rare opportunity to present their work and network with global research leaders. Fostering such diversity and inclusion in both virtual and in-person meetings is part of Keystone Symposia’s core mission, and eSymposia virtual meetings are a key part of this vision.

        Speaker: Nick Dua
    • 12:00 14:00
      Closing Session
      • 12:00
        Closing Keynote: Supporting Africa’s Digital Transformation: The Role of Universities and NRENs 20m
        Speaker: Dr Sajitha Bashir (World Bank)
      • 12:20
        Women in STEM: To see a world in a grain of sand - Experiences of a woman in STEM 15m
        Speaker: Ann Harding (SWITCH)
      • 12:35
        Women in STEM: My journey, my story 15m
        Speaker: Dr Magreth Mushi (Tanzania Education and Research Network)
      • 12:50
        Women in STEM: Plenary Discussion 20m
        Speaker: Leila Dekkar (GÉANT)
      • 13:10
        Closing Remarks from UbuntuNet Alliance CEO 10m
        Speaker: Dr Matthews Mtumbuka
      • 13:20
        Closing Remarks from the Chairperson of UbuntuNet Alliance 10m
        Speaker: Prof. Stephen Simukanga (Chairperson, ubuntuNet Alliance)