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2010 Publications

Journal Papers


Gary Marsden, Ilda ladeira, Thomas Reitmaier, Nicola J Bidwell, Edwin Blake. 2010. Digital Storytelling in Africa. International Journal of Computing (ISSN 1727- 6209), Vol.9, Issue 3, 257-265.

This paper was presented at the International Conference on Culture and Computer Science.

This paper examines how digital technology can be used to inspire, record and present oral stories in an African context. In particular it explores how to create technologies that are sympathetic to the cultures of the storytellers, both in the capture of their stories and their retellling. Specifically it looks at: inspiring stories in District Six in Cape Town; capturing digital stories from users with low literacy levels and using virtual reality to retell indigenous and personal expereience narratives.   


Van der Merwe, M, Van der Merwe, AJ, Venter, L, (2010) A Model to Direct Online Continuous Professional Development Opportunities for Mathematics Teachers in the South African Context of Disparities, in Journal of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

In a previous paper we reported on several personal and situational tensions which influence the use and value of a mathematics-friendly online discussion forum environment in pursuit of the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of previously disadvantaged and advantaged mathematics teachers in the South African context of disparities. This paper builds on the preliminary contributions reported there by offering a strategic model that can be used by a Subject Advisor to firstly anticipate and secondly discover tensions that point at teachers’ real forum needs, thereby ensuring an online CPD strategy that is concomitant to the community for which the online forum is offered. The model is explained by way of a narrative walkthrough which also illustrates the practical usefulness thereof. Implications for existing theory are also offered. In a rapidly expanding and increasingly accessible technological environment, this paper provides a timeous foundation, benchmarks and pointers for future implementations of online forum discussion environments aimed at the CPD of not only mathematics teachers, but teachers in general.


Conference Papers

Kotze, P., Neaga, I. 2010. Towards an Enterprise Interoperability Framework. In: Proceedings of the International Joint Workshop on Technologies for Context-Aware Business Process Management, Advanced Enterprise Architecture and Repositories and Recent Trends in SOA Based Information Systems; edited by LT Ly, L H Thom, S Rindele-Ma, A Gerber, K Hinkelman, P Kotze, U Reimer, A van der Merwe, W Mansoor, S Elnaffar, V Monfort. SciTe Press, Portugal p. 16 - 29; ISBN: 978-989-8425-09-06

This paper presents relevant interoperability approaches and solutions applied to global/international networked (collaborative) enterprises or organisations and conceptualise an enhanced enterprise interoperability framework. The paper covers several key aspects including how holistic approaches of architecting principles, standards and semantics contribute to the development of an interoperability framework that can be flexibly used for interoperable complex systems, particularly ICT, that support global enterprises including organisations from multiple countries, e.g. European and African organisations. This proposed comprehensive approach of interoperability covers not only technical aspects, but also semantics alongside organisational and cultural aspects. The use of systems engineering thinking and architecting for achieving interoperability of complex systems is suggested. A draft version of the paper is available here.


Gerber A;  Van der Merwe, A; Kotze, P: 2010. Towards the Formalisation of the TOGAF Content Metamodel using Ontlogies. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems. Volume 2: Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support Systems, edited by Joaquim Filipe and José Cordeiro, SciTePress, p. 54 - 64. ISBN: 978-989-8425-05-8.

Metamodels are abstractions that are used to specify characteristics of models. Such metamodels are gen- erally included in specifications or framework descriptions. A metamodel is for instance used to inform the generation of enterprise architecture content in the Open Group’s TOGAF 9 Content Metamodel description. However. the description of metamodels is usually done in an ad-hoc manner with customised languages and this often results in ambiguities and inconsistencies. We are concerned with the question of how the quality of metamodel descriptions, specifically within the enterprise architecture domain, could be enhanced. There- fore we investigated whether formal ontology technologies could be used to enhance metamodel construction, specification and design. For this research, we constructed a formal ontology for the TOGAF 9 Content Meta- model, and in the process, gained valuable insight into metamodel quality. In particular, the current Content Metamodel contains ambiguities and inconsistencies, which could be eliminated using ontology technologies. In this paper we argue for the integration of formal ontologies and ontology technologies as tools into meta- model construction and specification. Ontologies allow for the construction of complex conceptual models, but more significant, ontologies can assist an architect by depicting all the consequences of a model, allowing for more precise and complete artifacts within enterprise architectures, and because these models use standardized languages, they should promote integration and interoperability. A draft version of the paper is available here.


Carrol, M; Kotze, P; Van der Merwe, A: 2010. Going Virtual: Popular Trend or Real Prospect for Enterprise Information Systems. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems Volume 1: Databases and Information Systems Integration,  edited by Joaquim Filipe and José Cordeiro, SciTePress, p. 214 - 222. ISBN: 978-989-8425-04-1.

Organisations are faced with a number of challenges and issues in decentralised, multiple-server, physical, non-virtualized IT environments. Virtualization in recent years has had a significant impact on computing environments and has introduced benefits, including server consolidation, server and hardware utilization and reduced costs. Virtualization’s popularity has led to its growth in many IT environments. This paper provides an overview of the IT challenges in non-virtualized environments and addresses the question of whether virtualization provides the solution to these IT challenges. A draft version of the paper is available here.


Padayachee, I., Kotze, P. van der Merwe, A. 2010. ISO 9126 external systems quality characteristics, sub-characteristics and domain specific criteria for evaluating e-Learning systems. In: Proceedings of SACLA 2010 Conference.

Universities and technical institutes in a developing country like South Africa are faced with the challenge of adopting and embracing a course management system  to implement e-learning.  Course management systems are interactive systems that enable educators, with minimal technology expertise to design, develop and deliver e-learning content as well as measure the outcome of e-learning courses. This class of software will allow these higher education institutions to stay abreast of latest educational technologies, to be competitive in the higher education domain and to afford their stakeholders new innovative ways of teaching and learning. A draft version of the paper is availble here.


Smuts, H; Kotze P; Van der Merwe, A; Loock, M. 2010.  Information systems outsourcing issues in the communication technology sector. In: Proceedings of the International Conference Information Systems 2010, edited by M B Nunes, P Isaías and P Powell.  IADIS, p. 145-155, ISBN: 978-972-8939-09-0.

Organisations do not have unlimited resources and, by considering outsourcing, are balancing endless requirements with organisational assets. Outsourcing allows access to expertise, knowledge and capabilities outside of the organisation’s bounds. Information systems (IS) outsourcing, as a business phenomenon, has grown as a widely accepted business tool and several reasons to consider IS outsourcing are reported. However, there is evidence that there are numerous barriers to IS outsourcing and that challenges are experienced with IS outsourcing arrangements. These challenges impact negatively on the initial intent of the reasons to outsource and result in organisations not achieving their outsourcing objectives. This paper investigates the IS outsourcing experience in the communication technology (CT) sector in South Africa through a survey among organisations in this sector. The survey results are compared to findings in similar studies in other markets and unique contributors to IS outsourcing issues in the South African context are identified. A draft version of teh paper is available here.


Smith A C; Kotze P. 2010.  Indigenous African Artefacts: Can they Serve as Tangible Programming Objects? To appear in Proceedings of IST-Africa.

In this paper we are interested in determining if there is indeed an opportunity to use existing traditional African artefacts as tangible programming elements in computing systems. Research to date has focussed on the design of new artefacts for use in tangible environments. These artefacts are based on Western perceptions. Prior research has also shown that, when introducing new concepts to a developing region, as much of the local content as possible should be incorporated into the new technology. It would therefore be prudent to investigate which dimensions of African artefacts can be exploited when developing tangible interfaces for rural Africa. In this paper we report on the results of a preliminary literature review aimed at identifying possible usable aspects of African artefacts as they pertain to tangible programming environments. A proposed tangible programming environment is given.


Adebesin, F; Kotze, P; Gelderblom, H. 2010. The complementary role of two evaluation methods in the usability and accessibility of a non-standard system. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 1 - 11, ISBN: 978-1-60558-950-3.

Usability, which is generally defined in terms of application effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction, is one of the focus areas of human-computer interaction (HCI). Accessibility is the design of systems that can be perceived, understood and used by people with varying abilities. Although accessibility concerns are aimed at making systems usable for people with disabilities, support for direct accessibility, the built-in redundancies in an application that enable as many people as possible to utilize it without system modifications, is beneficial to people with or without disabilities. Different usability evaluation methods (UEMs) are available. Selecting between the various methods can be influenced by the type of system being evaluated. The Digital Doorway (DD), a non-standard computer system deployed to promote computer literacy amongst underprivileged communities in South Africa, was evaluated using the heuristic evaluation method and a field usability study. The heuristic evaluation method revealed a large number of usability and direct accessibility-related problems, some of which could be classified as low-severity problems. The field study showed additional problems that affected the successful completion of user tasks. Since a number of these were a direct consequence of the context of use, they were not recognized as problems by expert evaluators. The study showed that the heuristic evaluation method can be optimized by complementing it with another method that involves user participation and is, preferably, carried out in the intended context of use. Another version of the paper is available here.

The paper received the ' Best Paper by a Masters Student Award'.


Smuts, H; Van der Merwe, A; Kotze, P; Loock, M. 2010. Critical success factors for information systems outsourcing management: a software development lifecycle view. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 304 - 313, ISBN: 978-1-60558-950-3.

Information systems (IS) outsourcing is a serious commitment – a formal relationship underpinned by a contractual agreement, with long-term consequences among two or more organisations. Many organisations end up frustrated as they learn that their attempts at IS outsourcing have failed. However, some failures could be avoided with knowledge of common pitfalls and critical success factors of such IS outsourcing contracts. This paper investigates essential aspects of IS outsourcing management during the software development life cycle. The survey results are reported in conjunction with findings in the literature of similar studies in other markets, and unique contributors to IS outsourcing in this particular context in the South African corporate market, are identified. A draft version of the paper is available here.


Gerber, A; Molefo O, Van der Merwe, A. 2010. Documenting open source migration processes for re-use. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 75 - 85,978-1-60558-950-3.

There are several sources that indicate a remarkable increase in the adoption of open source software (OSS) into the technology infrastructure of organizations. In fact, the number of medium to large organizations without some OSS installations, is surprisingly low. This move to open source (OS), as well as the obvious advantages thereof, have motivated the CSIR of South Africa to investigate the adoption of OSS across the institution for all aspects of its operations. In launching this endeavor, it became apparent that there are very limited resources available, locally or internationally, that documented process related information about organizational OS migrations. This lack of information provides the motivation for this re- search that investigates the use of process reference models to capture the process related information for an organization-wide migration from proprietary software to OSS. In order to develop the necessary process reference models, the specific process models for the CSIR OS migration were captured, and, using a repeatable method based on reference model criteria, the generic process reference models for an organizational OS migration were extracted and documented. It is our rm belief that these process reference models would provide a baseline for the processes needed when any organization considers open source adoption or organization-wide OS migration. Another version of the paper is available here.


Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, Nicola J Bidwell, Shilumbe Chivuno-Kuria and Gereon Koch Kapuire. 2010. Determining requirements within an indigenous knowledge system of African rural communities. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 332-340, ,978-1-60558-950-3.

Eliciting and analyzing requirements within knowledge systems, which fundamentally differ so far from technology supported systems represent particular challenges. African rural communities’ life is deeply rooted in an African Indigenous knowledge system manifested in their practices such as Traditional Medicine. We describe our endeavors to elicit requirements to design a system to support the accumulation and sharing of traditional local knowledge within two rural Herero communities in Namibia. We show how our method addressed various challenges in eliciting and depicting intangible principles arising because African communities do not dichotomize theoretical and practical know-how or privilege a science of abstraction and generalization. Ethnography provided insights into etiology, or causal interrelationships between social values, spiritual elements and everyday life. Participatory methods, involving youth and elders, revealed nuances in social relations and pedagogy pertinent to the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation. Researcher and participant-recorded audio-visual media revealed that interactions prioritize speech, gesture and bodily interaction, above visual context. Analysis of the performed and narrated structures reveal some of the ways that people tacitly transfer bodily and felt-experiences and temporal patterns in storytelling. Experiments using digital and paperbased media, in situ rurally showed the ways that people in rural settings encounter and learn within their everyday experiences of the land. These analyses also demonstrate that own ontological and representational biases can constrain  eliciting local meanings and analyzing transformations in meaning as we introduce media. Reflections on our method are of value to others who need to elicit requirements in communities whose literacy, social and spiritual logic and values profoundly differ from those in the knowledge systems that typify ICT design. A draft version of the paper is available here.

The paper received the ' Best Overall Research Paper Award'.


Boroto Hwabamungu and Quentin Williams. 2010.  M-Health adoption and sustainability prognosis from a Care givers’ and patients’ perspective. Proceedings of the SAICSIT 2010 Conference - Fountains of Computing Research, edited by Paula Kotze, Aurona Gerber, Alta van der Merwe, and Nicola Bidwell. ACM Press, p. 123 - 131, ,978-1-60558-950-3.

The penetration of mobile phones and mobile technologies in developing countries has led to innovative  developments of various m-Health applications. These applications have proven the potential of mobile technologies for improving the quality of health care service in general and the fight against HIV/AIDS in particular. However, to achieve greater impact on the ground level (e.g. in an antiretroviral (ARV) treatment clinic) in a developing country’s context, these applications have to be adopted and their utilization sustained. A study was undertaken to investigate sustainability and scalability challenges of mobile phone-based applications/projects for HIV/AIDS care in developing countries and the adoption and sustainability prospects of such m-Health applications in an ARV clinic in Pretoria. The findings presented here, are that from a care givers’ and patients’ perspective, adoption and sustainability of these applications is not merely dependent on the proposed technology’s capabilities to enhance service delivery. Adoption and sustainability is however, mostly dependant on: (1) the care givers and patients’ willingness and capability to incur any technological adoption and continuous use costs and, (2) their pre-conceived notions of government or sponsor-supported service provision. 


Adebesin, F; Kotze, P; Gelderblom, H. 2010. The impact of usability on efforts to bridge the digital divide. Proceedings of 4th IDIA Conference 2010 Exploring Success and Failure in Development Informatics: Innovation, Research and Practice; edited by J Steyn, Monash University. ISBN: 978-0-620-47590-7.

There is growing efforts to narrow the digital divide both locally and internationally. One such effort is the Digital Doorway project driven by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Meraka Institute of Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR). It involves a non-standard computer system housed in a rugged, custom-designed kiosk. The preloaded software applications run on the Ubuntu Linux operating system, but the interface is not standard Linux. The project has mainly focused on providing physical access to computers in underprivileged communities around South Africa, without any formal usability evaluation of the software installed on the system. Our belief is that unless basic usability concerns are addressed in these types of development projects, the dream of the providing effective access may remain just that – a dream. This paper highlights the important role that usability plays in the drive towards narrowing the digital divide. We report on the outcome of a usability evaluation field study conducted on the Digital Doorway. The results suggest that there is a need for in-house usability standards to guide the various developers (in-house or external) who build applications for the Digital Doorway. A draft version of the paper is available here.


Gereon Koch Kapuire, Heike Winschiers Theophilus,  Shilumbe Chivuno Kuria,  Nicola J Bidwell, Edwin Blake. 2010.  A revolution in ICT, the last hope for African Rural Communities' technology appropriation; Proceedings of 4th IDIA Conference 2010 Exploring Success and Failure in Development Informatics: Innovation, Research and Practice; edited by J Steyn, Monash University. ISBN: 978-0-620-47590-7.

 In this paper we present a methodological perspective on the challenge of designing products suited to rural practices and conceptualizations in Southern Africa. To create a framework compatible with rural customs of information transfer and supportive of rural priorities, we are sensitive to the way power relations between the rural and urban practises affect development and design methods. This paper argues within a theoretical perspective of Development Informatics on designing for the oral and performed knowledge that people routinely share, informally, and face-to-face. Such knowledge inherently differs from those knowledge forms that Information communication Technology (ICT) explicates and codifies and is illserved by knowledge representation and retrieval mechanisms (e.g. hierarchical structures, textbased search, technical ontologies). Uncovering the incompatibility of existing technologies with the representation of African Indigenous Knowledge systems reveals our own conceptual limitations in finding new answers without falling back on familiar ICT patterns, be they technological or methodological. Adopting a dialogical and participatory action research approach to ICT design and development is core not only to preserving culture and identity locally but nourishing local invention of ICT more generally. Thus, our discussion explores how the processes and methods, through which we understand users and their activities, can shape design and development concepts and paradigms.



Thomas Reitmaier,  Nicola J. Bidwell,  Gary Marsden. 2010.  Field testing mobile digital storytelling software in rural Kenya. Proceedings of MobileHCI '10,  the 12th international conference on Human computer interaction with mobile devices and services. ISBN: 978-1-60558-835-3, p. 283 – 286.

 We describe and reflect on a method we used to evaluate usability and give insights on situated use of a mobile digital storytelling prototype. We report on rich data we gained by implementing this method and argue that we were able to learn more about our prototype, users, their needs, and their context, than we would have through other evaluation methods. We look at the usability problems we uncovered and discuss how our flexibility in fieldtesting allowed us to observe unanticipated usage, from which we were able to motivate future design directions. Finally, we reflect on the importance of spending time in-situ during all stages of design, especially when designing across cultures. Another version of the  paper is available here.


De Vries, M, Van der Merwe, A, Gerber, A, Kotze, P (2010) Refining The Operating Model Concept To Enable Systematic Growth In Operating Maturity, In 24t Annual SAIIE Conference Conference Proceedings, edited by C Schutte, p. 31-45,  ISBN: 978-86970-686-2.

To stay competitive, enterprises of today need to rely on a sound foundation for execution that incorporates the infrastructure and digitised processes for automating a company’s core capabilities. Once this foundation has been established, management could move their attention away from focusing on lower-value activities to innovative ways to increase profits and growth. 

The Business-IT Alignment Framework (BIAF) defines business-IT alignment in terms of a paradigm of alignment, three dimensions for alignment, and mechanisms and practices. The BIAF could provide a business-IT alignment perspective on the foundation for execution approach. Using the BIAF perspective, this paper comments on some of the deficiencies related to the foundation for execution approach regarding the systematic identification of opportunities for enterprise-wide process standardisation. The goal is to define a list of requirements that should direct the design of appropriate mechanisms and practices to address the identification of process re-use opportunities for multiple levels of operating maturity. A draft version of the paper is available here.


H. Winschiers-Theophilus, Bidwell, NJ, E. Blake, G. Kapuire, M.  Rehm (2010). Being Participated: A Community Approach.  In:  Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Participatory Design Conference , PDC 2010 Sydney. ACM, p. 1 - 10. ISBN: 978-1-4503-0131-2.

In this paper, we explore the concept of participatory design from a different viewpoint by drawing on an African philosophy of humanness -Ubuntu-, and African rural community practices. The situational dynamics of participatory interaction become obvious throughout the design experiences within our community project. Supported by a theoretical framework we reflect upon current participatory design practices. We intend to inspire and refine participatory design concepts and methods beyond the particular context of our own experiences.


Gitau, S, Bidwell, NJ, Diga, K (2010) Beyond being a Proxy User: A look at NGOs’ Potential Role in ICT4D Deployment. Proceedings of ICTD 2010, the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially those based at the community level, have been identified as pivotal tools in the field of social economic development. They are known to have structured frameworks through which they dispense their programs to achieve desired results. However, ICT4D practitioners (researchers and technologist) have relegated this resource to primary means of getting into the community for logistical purposes which might explain the high levels of failed and mismatched technological interventions. This paper argues that the relationship between NGOs and technologists can be extended further than the current view of a researcher’s dependence on an NGO as a ‘local champion’. Action Research is rapidly being adopted in ICT4D and is seen as a satisfactory means of enriching the research experience, which leads to tangible, sustainable results. Using the five stages of an Action Research project cycle as a framework, we demonstrate how NGOs and the community can take a pro-active and leading role in research and design of sustainable ICT4D interventions.


Light A, Laderia, I, Roberson J, Bidwell, NJ., Sambasivan, N, Rangaswamy N, & Gitau, S.   (2010) Gender Matters: Female Perspectives in ICT4D Research Proceedings of ICTD 2010, the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development.


We present our experience of gender as female ICT4D researchers. We highlight our field experiences and comment on our perceptions of how being a woman and performing our female identity has influenced our own ICT4D research. We discuss how gender tensions are further compounded by the researcher’s own physical and social characteristics, such as race, age, social class, and skin color. We apply the lens of reflexivity and performativity to examine critically and explore analytically our field experiences. We end with practical observations about our collective experience.



Le Roux, Petra, Van der Merwe, Alta, Gerber, A (2010) A Model for Teaching Distributed Computing in a Distance-based Educatinal Environment, International Workshop on Distance Education Technology (DET 2010), edited by Paolo Nesi, Kia Ng, Oak Brook, Illinois, USA, October 2010.

Due to the prolific growth in connectivity, the development and implementation of distributed systems receives a lot of attention. Several technologies and languages exist for the development and implementation of such distributed systems; however, teaching students in these new technologies remains a challenge. Even though several models for teaching computer programming and teaching programming in a distance-based educational environment (DEE) exist, limited literature is available on models for teaching distributed computing in a DEE.  Here our research we examine how distributed computing should be taught in a DEE in order to ensure effective and quality learning for students, specifically by investigating both the specific characteristics of distributed systems technologies and the models used for teaching programming in DEE.  The required effectiveness and quality should be comparable to those for students exposed to laboratories, as commonly found in residential universities. This led to the identification of the factors that contribute to the success of teaching distributed computing and determine how these factors can be integrated into a proposed distributed systems distance-based teaching model we call the Independent Distributed Learning Model (IDLM). 


Kistasamy, Christopher, Van der merwe, Alta, De la Harpe, Andre (2010), The relationship between Service Oriented Architecture and Enterprise Architecture, Second IEEE International Workshop on Service oriented Enterprise Architecture for Enterprise Engineering (SoEA4EE 2010), edited by Giancarlo Guizzardi, Lea Kutvonen, IEEE Press, pp 129-137, ISBN 978-0-7695-4164.8l.

The adoption of Enterprise Architecture (EA) concepts within organizations is causing an interest in the methodologies and supporting technologies available. Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) supports EA in many facets. However, there is much dissolution with regard to the relationship between EA and SOA within organizations. There are also potential problems that may arise if this relationship between SOA and EA is not agreed to at the outset of implementing an EA. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the growing role and importance of understanding the relationship between SOA and EA, and in doing so to demystify some of the expectations of the role that SOA plays in EA.

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