News Column

Pan-Atlantic University Understudies AUN's Home-Grown Software Module

August 25, 2014

Stephen Idaho

A three-member team from the Pan-Atlantic University has visited the Yola campus of the American University of Nigeria. Mrs. Rosemary Okolo, Registrar; Nnamdi Nwokoye, Director of ICT and Kingsley Ukaoha, Director of Student Affairs, were on a factfinding mission to study the operations of the OpenERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) module in use at AUN.

Senior Director in the Office of Technology Support, Mr. Gabriel Fuster, received the visiting team and joined the Chief Information Officer, Mr. Julius Ayuk Tabe, to show the team around AUN. He explained that the academic module of OpenERP was developed by AUN's Department of Information Systems, while all other modules were configured to the peculiarities of AUN. Mr. Nwokoye said the three-day visit was an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of OpenERP that AUN now uses in its operations before his team decides which system to adopt. Their mission, he said, is "to see whether it best fits into what we want, and also seek collaboration."

The PAU team's visit to AUN is part of the former's evaluation of options available to it. "We were looking for possibilities based on what people have implemented before. So when we learned that AUN is currently using the program, and that you switched from a previous system, we realized it probably had something to offer." The Pan-Atlantic University (formerly Lagos Business School) is known for its LBS programs and the various post-graduate offerings that it started over 10 years ago. The university has plans to go into undergraduate programs this year. "For that purpose, we are building a new campus and part of the plan is to include IT infrastructures. So in deciding the particular IT infrastructure to deploy as regards students' academic records, Open ERP is an option," said Mr. Nwokoye. Pan-Atlantic University shares a lot of values with AUN, from excellence to willingness to deliver quality education and openness and enthusiasm to collaborate, he added. The delegation had a chance to tour the University. On the tour, Mr. Nwokoye said, "What we have seen has very much impressed me. Our perception of the school has been high; it's even much higher than we had thought before coming."

Three AUN graduates are architects of the OpenERP deployment at AUN. The trio of Daniel Harbor, Michael Njoku, and Tosin Komolafe successfully implemented the OpenERP system, an information management system that integrates all the different departments in AUN into a single software, improving flexibility in management and administration of University resources. All three are graduates of Computer Science at AUN's globally rated School of Information Technology and Computing (SITC) and are just a few of the many students and graduates who have demonstrated their learned skills in the design of IT systems. Ogbonnaya Kalu of the SITC in collaboration with Luke Dalughut, a graduate of Business Economics, had developed a cafeteria management Point-of-Sale (POS) application code-named 'Cafeteria Manager'. This software application eliminates possibilities of forgery and record manipulation while it provides an effective monitoring system for all cafeteria transactions. Cafeteria Manager is currently in use at the AUN Cafeteria and has been ready for commercial deployment. In 2010, Tosin Komolafe and Emeka Osigwe, both of the Computer Science Department, also developed the first electronic voting software called 'e-ballot'. The e-ballot software which now boasts online capabilities performs brilliantly and has been in active use for AUN's Student Government Association elections since 2010. Mr. Komolafe said the software could be used to conduct electronic voting in any organization, state or country.

The success of students and alums of the University in developing systems that contribute to solving societal concerns is embedded in the American University of Nigeria's vision and mission to build leaders who are essentially problem-solvers. AUN President, Dr Margee Ensign, says that the University is focused on training independent thinking and self-sustaining leaders for Africa. For this, AUN recruits world-class faculty with extensive industry and academic experience from around the world, notably the US. These professors have not just been helping to build capacity for this important sector but have been working with the emerging software industry in Nigeria for solutions that target the problems of Africa.

AUN is the first Nigerian university to offer Software Engineering at the undergraduate level. Other undergraduate programs are Computer Science, Information Systems, and Telecommunications & Wireless Technology. There are two Executive Masters programs in IT and Telecoms & Wireless and plans are on ground to start the MSc and PhD programs soon. The School of IT & Computing at AUN has produced three valedictorians in the last six years and many of the School's graduates have distinguished careers with world-class organizations such as KPMG, and Google or are completing graduate programs at top institutions such as Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Alberta, and Cambridge. Quite a number have even founded start-ups in IT business in Nigeria and are doing very well. The ideas generated from the School have so far benefited not just students but several other youths from within the local communities, who are now knowledgeable in the area of ICT. Some of these programs are being offered free in partnership with government parastatals and non-governmental organizations.

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Source: AllAfrica

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