Directorate of ICT

An overview of the Directorate

There had been absence or limited availability and use of relevant ICT infrastructures to facilitate expansion of the MOUAU ICT capabilities as a Centre for ICT Services in the Southeast zone of Nigeria. Consequently, there has been a low ICT literacy rate among teachers, lecturers and ICT technicians as well as lack of ICT literacy programmes for students to facilitate taking full advantages of teaching and learning opportunities offered by ICT. A lack of management capacity systems limits application of Management Information System (MIS) in the running of the University resulting in unacceptable tardiness in the delivery of university administrative services including financial transactions and, release of students’ results and transcripts.
For this University to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization in higher education, and to foster the provision of relevant and competitive tertiary education in the world and allied disciplines, it must make effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at all levels of its operations.

The Information and Communication Technology Directorate (ICTD) was established in January, 2008 with the goal to pilot the development, evolution and realization of ICT Strategic plan for the University. Staff of the Directorate participate in and represent the University, as apposite, in all vital ICT initiatives embarked on by the University. The Directorate supervises Academic Information and Communication Technologies (AICT), and Administrative Information Systems (AIS), which are the major support units in MOUAU

Vision

The vision is to exploit ICT to its full potential thereby assisting the University in elevating its position to a centre of academic excellence.
Mission
Our mission is to integrate ICT in all aspects of Teaching, Learning, Research and Community Development endeavours by providing, coordinating and facilitating the use of ICT in all activities of the university in order to accelerate change.
Additional Information/Core Values
Objectives
The MOUAU ICT Directorate is established to meet the following objectives:
1. Planning, developing and managing University-wide ICT infrastructure
2. Developing and/or acquiring relevant applications/Solutions
3. Managing operations and maintenance of ICT resources
4. Training end-users on computer literacy and offering end-user computing support
5. Promoting staff development program to ensure that ICT staff continue to acquire the necessary skills to provide high-quality teaching and learning services and support.

 

Other objectives include:
1. Advising and consulting the University Management on the acquisition of ICT resources and related issues
2. Carrying out research and development in ICT in collaboration with the Departments of Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electrical and Electronics, Library, Information Science as well as other relevant departments.

Facilities/Major Accomplishments
Major tasks accomplished by the ICTD between 2011/12 and 2013/14 were directed to addressing the above listed objectives and are summarised below.

Accelerated Development and Maintenance of ICT Infrastructure
The present administration accelerated the tempo of ICT development in the university by taking off with concluding the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the AfriHUB/Zinox Consortium and paying the agreed cost of MOUAU ICT Resource Centre buyout at the expiration of the first five years. Subsequent to the buyout, Management increased the tempo of enriching the capability of the ICT Resource Centre. Subsequently, the University embarked on massive reconstruction, rehabilitation and revitalization of the Centre as well as injecting new life into the entire infrastructural development of the ICTD.

In so doing the Management:
i. Restructured and Strengthened the Resource Centre Building
ii. Entirely re-cabled the Resource Centre intranet and internet Network system
iii. Created more job opportunities for youths
iv. Adopted PPP and Collaborative arrangements to build up the MOUAU infrastructure capacity
v. Established an Agribusiness Studio and
vi. Designed and implemented Wi-Fi network expansion to cover the entire MOUAU campus. The networking of all existing colleges, interconnecting the Colleges and Hostels and introduction of broadband network for use both by staff and students is completed.

Furthermore, the Directorate
i. Embarked on entirely re-cabling the entire campus Network. Local Area Network (LAN) is now structured-wired with managed switches (essentially CISCO,). The entire campus is covered with high capacity wireless LAN capable of handling 155Mbps while deploying Optical fibre backbone at the Resource Centre.
ii. Created additional or strengthened existing ICT support Centres for ease of campus-wide access
iii. Housed most of the ICT infrastructure at the centre and also refurbished and/or installed new gadgets
iv. Complemented Electric Power Support to the ICT centres. Presently, installation of Solar power support to all the colleges for effective utilisation of the Interactive Whiteboard system is on-going having successfully test-run the Proof of Concept with the College of Animal Science and Production (CASAP)

Again, the Directorate’s development status quo was further uplifted when the University during the period under consideration:
i. Not only re-cabled the entire Resource Centre Network but resuscitated the 300 Desktop Computers capacity class rooms/business Centre complex and replaced all the Switches and Modems, which had become week after 6 years of initial installations. These are in addition to initiating maintenance services (e.g. replacement of doors and keys, and air conditioners, sealing boards) at the Resource Centre building itself.
ii. Procured additional 100 new desktop Computer System units for the ICT Resource Centre
iii. Created more job opportunities for youths by absorbing as MOUAU staff, all the qualified and trained staff (14) for the various positions created during the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) PPP period.
iv. By the middle of 2013 the Management upgraded the ICT Resource Centre into a Directorate and subsequently, engaged and posted a Senior Lecturer Computer Scientist as the Acting Director to manage it. The present Directorate of ICT is Prof. Gideon Onuekwusi Chinedu. The creation of the new Directorate was informed by the need to make the apparently omnibus ICT activities more efficiently manageable.

Partnership and Collaboration for Development (Grants, Awards, Recognitions, and Linkage)
The University adopted Public, Private Partnership (PPP) and Collaborative arrangements in developing the infrastructure capacity at the MOUAU as well as for refurbishing and/or installing new ICT gadgets during this period. Some of the PPP arrangements are summarised below.
The University developed a framework to encourage collaboration and cooperation with individuals, organisations, including providers of information technology, both administrative and academic who possess financial and/or technical muscles. Consequently, the complementarities of the Pubic Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements we have contracted with the agencies have helped the University to acquire most of the present ICT infrastructure within her asset. Some of the Organisations are: the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Federal Government/World Bank STEP-B in the use of Video Conferencing and Electronic whiteboard in Modern Education Delivery, AfriHUB/Zinox Consortium, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in provision of Computer systems and related infrastructure, Fidelity Bank Plc. donated 10 sets of multimedia with laptops, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in the training of manpower in Computer literacy and deploying seventeen persons capacity internet centre in middle of the Campus, Digital Bridge Institute in the training of teaching and non-teaching staff in the use of ICT and Green Circle Network Africa/Hitachi in the deployment of Interactive Whiteboard system in all the classrooms for teaching and learning.
Presently, because STEP-B has facilitated our installing the relevant infrastructure, we are soliciting IP addresses from local and foreign partners/institutions (Kentucky State University U. S. A; the Earth Institute, U.S.A; Utah University, U.S.A International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan; McGill University Canada; Tennessee State University, USA; National Centre for Remote Sensing (NCRS) Jos and The Centre for Super Conductivity Technologies (TCST), Abuja); with whom we have planned to network. This is in addition to initiating the establishment of link with the National University Commission (NUC), Abuja and the resultant collaboration in the NgREN.
The World Bank assisted STEP-B project facilitated the establishment of a full-fledged ICT in agribusiness studio equipped with Interactive Whiteboards System for training the students in computer applications in all kinds of businesses.

Furthermore, MOUAU is one of the 27 Federal Universities collaborating in the implementation of the USA $10 Million World Bank assisted STEP-B Sponsored Nigeria Research and Education Network (NgREN). This participation will facilitate efficient and effective utilisation of the very limited funding we received from the STEP-B project with which we have been able to setup videoconference system in the University.

NgREN at MOUAU
NgREN is a specialized internet service provider (ISP) dedicated to supporting the ICT needs of the research and education communities within the country.

Like other National RENs the NgREN is distinguished by its capacity to support a high-speed backbone network that is providing bandwidth of 155Mbps (and up to 450Mbps (as may be required by individual institutions), and will offer dedicated channels for individual research projects. The NgREN is a place where new Internet protocols (e.g. IPv6 and IP multicast) and architectures (e.g. client/server and cloud computing) will be introduced before deployment within the Public Internet. All infrastructural and operational fundamentals (Fig. 4.2), which were built over the last four years, have been put in place in this University and have started operations.

Research Africa Gold Licence for Connecting the Research World)
The Vice-Chancellor ensured that the ICT Directorate acquired Research Africa Gold Licence effective from 1st. of May 2014. Consequently, MOUAU is currently admitted into the Research Africa Community to ensure that Research Professional Africa online platform is accessible to all staff, all faculties and students and other benefits. With this membership we have Institution-wide access across all of the research funding and other benefits. The Platform is updated daily with new opportunities – across all disciplines.

Computerisation of all Offices in the University
The first donation for ICT development in the University came from CBN that facilitated the deployment of desktop computers in all the academic and non-academic departments and units of the University. The University has regularly maintained the necessary security measures for the various applications in all the official computer units of the University, including procurement of, and updating of the relevant Antivirus software.

Services Provided (Other necessary information)
Operationally, the Directorate developed the capacity to provide services such as student administration, registration, e-mail, web browsing, advertising, publications, announcements, networking with various social media e.g. Facebook etc. Included among the services rendered are: use of Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) for marking interview and other examination questions such as checking Post UTME results and MOUAU Identity (ID) Card Production. Other services are bursary, staff and students’ records. Currently we are engaged in reconstruction of our website and addition of comprehensive school/university portal system taking advantage of the NgREN partnership.
The MOUAU Video Conference Centre (Fig. 5.1) has been fortified with already- provided infrastructure procured through the just concluded STEP-B Project on ICT Development at MOUAU. Such infrastructures include: High Speed Multiple Compact Disc Duplicator, Scanners and Digital Presenter. Development of e-learning and e-teaching Platform contingent up on the installation of Videoconferencing System complemented by interactive/electronic classrooms
The Video Conference System is a specialist integrator of audio visual technologies and offers complete solutions from design to installation/support for boardrooms, conference rooms, training centres, schools, universities, control centres, hospitals and other specialised venues.

The present administration engaged a provider to design and implement Wi-Fi network expansion to cover the entire MOUAU campus. This was done through establishing internet pool at the complex of the staff offices and installing wireless access points at strategic points through the University Campus. The procurement and installation of WiMax devices in the Campus complemented previously-cabled LAN that connected some Departments and Administrative units. The realisation of this project is ensuring that the complex of the staff offices and all the buildings in
The campus are connected to MOUAU campus-wide network through wireless bridges.
The Administration has ensured the deployment of 100 new Desktop system units and resuscitation of the 300 Desktop Computers capacity class rooms/business centre complex in addition to replacement of all the switches and modems deployed 6 years ago.
Again, the University created/strengthened existing ICT support Centres for ease of campus-wide ICT access by students and staff. This was in collaboration with NCC, SAP and NITDA. Thus 100 units of Desktop Computers denoted by NCC were distributed to each of the Engineering and Library Complex Buildings having earlier on distributed NCC 110 Laptops to all Departments for their ICT services. Another Centre was established by NITDA at the Old Assembly Hall Building as essentially an internet centre for the Lecturers for now.

Human Capacity Development/Staff profile
The aims of the capacity-building workshops are to build-up personnel capacity that would specifically support the University campus portal activities and the Zonal centres for non-university youths, including MOUAU alumni and alumnae
The current ICTD organizational structure is tailored to ensuring effective human and material management of the Information Technology (IT) resources in the University. The aim is to: integrate learning, teaching and community development activities of the university through provision of effective management, coordination, and acquisition of hardware, software, technology support and maintenance, of IT resources.
Under the Faculty, Staff, and Student Training and Support Unit of the Directorate, over 3,000 students received the Universal Mandatory Information Technology Training (UMITT) during the period in review; while 300 teaching and non-teaching staff were exposed to Train-the-Trainer ICT literacy Programme (ICT Competency Training).
Within this period also, the Directorate sent 25 of our senior staff to local training workshops on ICT within the country. We took advantage of ADAPT Computer Literacy course organized by Digital Bridge Institute to train 30 MOUAU senior teaching and non-teaching staff in the use of ICT. Similarly we have sponsored two ICT professional staff to Green Circle Network Africa to learn the deployment (installation, maintenance and use) of Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) System. These staff returned to train, in-house over 80% of the Academic and 90% of Non-academic staff in the use of IWB for lectures. The university has also been able to sponsor the Network Manager to India on one month’s networking workshop and the Video Conference Manager to Dubai to participate in E-Learning and Teaching workshop.Furthermore, we have leveraged on our PPP arrangement with NITDA to train 22 lecturers in a Train-the-Trainer workshop in computer programming utilising the e-learning and e-teaching classrooms facilitated by STEB-B project. Similarly, we have internally, at the Resource Centre, trained the University Lecturers on the use of Power Point for lecture delivery.
Through implementation of these kinds of capacity building workshops the ICT Directorate at the MOUAU is filling existing knowledge gaps by training and retraining the lecturers and the technical staff as well as other users.

Improvements in Services
The service activities are structured to provide network services and applications such as backbone transmission service, web services, domain name service, e-mail and messaging services, network security, bandwidth management, IP telephony, videoconferencing, indexing and searching etc. to the University community. These are in addition to implementation of all School Portal services covering: other services such as news, stock quotes, information from databases and more.

Boosted Bandwidth Capacity
STEP-B Fund provided the impetus needed to aspire for large bandwidth capacity and improved MOUAU Capability to share information with other institutions and persons.
Since the expansion of the bandwidth, the services to the University community have improved tremendously. Before the procurement of the expanded bandwidth in August 2012 we were able to connect a maximum of 40 computer units to the internet within the University community at any one time. Since August 2012 when we expandedthe bandwidth capacity from 2mbps to 10 mbps over 250 computers are connected to the internet to browse with fairly good speed concurrently.
Now with our participation in the NgREN, we have started using 155mbps effective from the end of October 2013 when most of the 27 collaborating Federal Universities have hooked up to the NgREN.
The Virtual Library in the MOUAU ICT Resource Centre and the main Digital Library , which had hither to been underutilized by the students and staff because of slow access speed to international libraries, became very functional with the abundant bandwidth subsequent to the expansion of the bandwidth since we got hooked up to the NgREN.
With the expanded bandwidth available to the MOUAU community, we are able to actualise the utilisation of the British Council sponsored venturenavigature.org.ng portal, which is a collaborative project implemented by University of Essex (Britain); AfriHUB Institute; Abuja, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and Bell University, Ottah. This project is providing information to all entrepreneurs all over the country and beyond.

Security
To ensure that enterprise systems and infrastructure are secure and protected the security outfit in the University has been fortified. Antivirus software was upgraded in all the official computer system units in May/June 2013 and renewed April 2014.

Connectivity
With our participation in the NgREN project by our deploying all the necessary network infrastructure need for participation in the recently launched NgREN as one of the pioneer 27 research and higher education institutions in country the university is geared to realising full function access to information anytime, anywhere for the MOUAU community.

Creation of a New Directorate
In April 2013, the Vice-Chancellor announced the reorganization of MOUAU ICT units into two Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Directorates: (i) ICT and (ii) ICT Resource Centre (ICTRC).
The new Directorate is under the direction of an Acting Director of ICT Resource Centre Dr. M Odo. By May 2013 the New Directorate began migration into a new organizational structure, which is awaiting approval by the University Management.

Internally Generated Revenue (IGR)
ICT Development is a capital intensive but mandatory teaching, learning and development technology for the present generation. For sustainability, it is crucial that stable funding sources be built into its continued usage. Consequently, we adopted various sources of generating the necessary funds from all the users. The Directorate charges commensurate amounts for the various services rendered at the Resource Centre.

Centre for various ICT –Based Examinations
The Directorate successfully served as the Centre with the largest number of candidates’ capacity in the Southeast Geopolitical Zone to successfully provide services at cost for the following examinations during the period under review:
i. National Open University On-line Examinations
ii. JAMB Computer Based Tests (CBT),
iii. Professional Exams (Microsoft Engineering, Various CISCO Certifications)
iv. Computer Literacy Courses

Computer maintenance and repair services
The Computer System Maintenance and Services Unit has been reorganised ready to provide moderately chargeable services to all members of the University Community and others effective from October 2013.

Career Talk.
The Directorate organises regular annual carrier talks for graduating youths in the Southeast Agro-ecological zone of Nigeria.

Cybercafé and Customer Canteen
In addition, we maintain regular Cybercafé and Customer Canteen at the ICT Resource Centre.

Applications development
The Directorate is initiating some work on applications development in collaboration with the Departments of Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Electrical and electronics of the University.

Future Direction
Having deployed critical platform (videoconferencing system) we are in a position to speed up the development of a Zonal portal system for subsequent attainment of our e-learning and e-teaching aspirations through making MOUAU ICT compliant in the shortest possible time.
With the expansion of our internet infrastructural capacity to the extent that we are now able to deploy 155mbps of bandwidth, we are enabled to have fast internet access in all buildings within the University Community and interact with any collaborators anywhere. Since the essence of the MOUAU approach in support of the efforts of the States within the Agro ecological zones (the institution’s mandate area) and the country in general is to use ICT in the development of Zonal learning portal and capacity building workshops for the southeast agro ecological zone.

Creation of Zonal ICT Centres
We are now poised to start implementing the other aspects of the MOUAU ICT development objective of creating ICT Centres in strategic locations within the Zone by:
i. Expanding the Directorate’s infrastructure and organisational development to the entire mandate zone of the University MOUAU,
ii. Building the human ICT capacity in the Zone and
iii. Extending ICT training to Agribusiness- oriented youths.

Deployment of Automated University Solution
Plans are at advanced stages to partner with organizations that possess financial and technical muscles to deploy automated University Solution that will fully automate the MOUAU as a 21st.Century campus environment.

MOUAU-Microsoft-Education Alliance
Meanwhile, MOUAU has signed an education alliance with Microsoft through a strategic partnership that will help to create the digital compliant 21st Century Campus in MOUAU. With this Alliance the University can run a selection of products, with any upgrades or downgrades of those products, on an annual basis and take advantage of additional Software Assurance benefits. This is in addition to: Home Use Rights, E-Learning and TechNet covered in the alliance for ensuring Access to accurate, relevant, and engaging learning on Microsoft technologies, which gives MOUAU staff the ability to be as knowledgeable as possible. The Alliance will ensure convenient online access to Microsoft experts and information about software and technology. These will help our technical staff maintain their technical skills, solve mission-critical and day-to-day issues, maintain security more easily, and evaluate new Microsoft technologies without time limits.