Workshop A in Bayreuth (29/03/2011 - 31/03/2011)
From 29.03.2011 until 31.03.2011 representatives of the university management, libraries and ICTs met for Workshop A in Bayreuth. After the introduction of each participant and their areas of work as well as the definition of the above mentioned aims of SEED, five workgroups have been established.
Workgroups within SEED
What is really pleasant are the high value estimation and the large interest, which the project and also the theme information- and communications technologies has and calls out in both universities. Thus in all workgroups leading co-workers of both partners participated, led to a large amount of subject specific know-how within SEED.
After the meeting the demands of each participant of both universities and the institutes which are part of the project, such as BIGSAS, IAS, DEVA and SASS were captured in several interview sessions. In this process he data-exchange, the archiving and also the publishing of scientific works crystallized as a requirement which was set up by all partners. Many Master- and PhD-theses have been only available as hardcopies in the Margaret Thatcher Library and hence, they are not available for scientists outside of Moi University. Also, scientists in Kenya can hardly get to the digitalized works from Bayreuth, because a common platform for data exchange is not yet available.
Another challenge in both universities is the offering of e-learning applications. While these becomes more and more the focus at the University of Bayreuth, in terms of lacking capacity for the increasing number of students, the size of the Moi University on the other hand causes enormous travel expenses for professors. (Moi University has campus appendices all over Kenya). A virtual lecture which is independent of location is therefore indispensable and the lack of technical strategies should be solved within SEED. In a similar context there is a wish for a trustworthy video conference system, which should intense the scientific dialogue between the German and Kenyan institutes.
Afterwards solutions and concepts were presented by representatives of the IT-group concerning the categories of information and communications technologies, which fulfill the previous requirements. Thus the chair for applied informatics 4 at the University of Bayreuth has already developed an interactive e-learning-system, with which he teaches virtual computer lessons in schools in Upper Franconia. ViATOR is a virtual research environment which is still under construction. As soon as ViATOR is finished it would take care of many requirements of SEED. Within this system, which is sponsored by DFG, scientists get their own virtual work environment in which they can manage their research projects and cooperate with other scientists. Additionally within the system of various IT-services the following are available: Saving space which can be used together, calculation capacity, data bases and various software products such as for example Microsoft Word. Users can, no matter the location, have access to their projects and IT-infrastructure of whatever university that is connected via ViATOR. ViATOR is appriciated by guest scientists mainly because they can independently of time and place have access to their usual work environment and through the integration of services of the partner university those scientists can be easily tied to their IT-infrastructure. This platform could make the wanted virtual cooperation between the Moi University and the University of Bayreuth possible.
As conclusion and result of Workshop A, the concrete aims of the working together were defined. Within the cooperation the following particular projects should be successfully carried out together:
- Installation of trustworthy and robust video conference system
- Istallation of a common usable archive for scientific works
- Integration of an interactive e-learning environment
- Development of a common virtual research environment