Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Review of the University of Papua New Guinea's new Website

In the previous post, I wrote about the University's poor Internet Service and its outdated and poorly designed website. Since then the University of Papua New Guinea Administration and the Information Technology Services Division worked extremely hard to improve its Internet Services and develop a website that promotes the University. This review will cover some of the new features of the new website that was launched recently this year (2015) and some suggestions that will assist in further improving the website.
The redesigned and improved UPNG website was officially launched by James Marape, the Finance Minister of Papua New Guinea. The updated website took several years to develop after so much criticism from the Students, Academic Staff and the General Public. The new website brings freshness to a University that is struggling to improve its facilities starting from run down School buildings, lecture rooms and poor ICT services.The home page has colorful photos depicting events at UPNG. Apart from the UPNG logo, the homepage contains the University's 50th Anniversary logo. The homepage also contains main navigation links to relevant pages about the University's various services. One significant addition to the website is the download page for potential students and others to download various electronic forms and other publications. A search box is also included for basic keyword search within the website itself.

In general the website is still basic and can be further improved by incorporating advance features. There are also some content errors. For example, some lecturers profile information were not correct. The Webmaster needs to collect updated staff information from each School. Course Information for courses offered by each School seem to show some old courses that were no longer being offered 

 Here are some suggestions that need to be considered to further improve the website.The University has an Intranet for staff and students to use. It exists on the local area network and provides resources and relevant tools for authorized users. It is essential that the intranet is integrated with the main website so that Open College Staff and students can be able to utilize the same services as their colleagues at the main campus regardless of the location. The users(students and staff) can easily login using their usernames and passwords via the UPNG Website in order to utilize the services provided by the Intranet.

Other important tool that is utilized by overseas universities is the Assignment Submission and Tracking System. This system can be incorporated into the University's website to allow students to submit their assignments electronically. This system is useful because students can be able to track the progress of their submitted papers and the estimated time that the lecturer will return the marked papers back to them. This system will greatly assist Open College students (Distance Education) to easily submit their assignments via a secure system. They can be able to print out the progress report of their submitted assignments.

The University of Papua New Guinea Information Technology Services should be applauded for designing and publishing of the University's new website. Though, the website lacks many advance features, it is a very big improvement from the old static website that was a laughing stock of the wider community.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Useful Windows 10 Tools for Teachers and Students

Windows 10

Microsoft's new operating system (Windows 10) was released recently (29/07/15). The upgrade is free for Windows 7 and 8 users to upgrade their (

I was one of the early adopters of this new operating system from the software giant. It took me approximately 24 hours to upgrade my desktop computer from my office from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. I have to leave the upgrade to continue throughout the night due to the slow Internet Speed. (This is a major problem in Papua New Guinea)The same amount of time was spent on upgrading my laptop from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. 

There were no other issues encountered after the upgrade. I have really enjoyed using this new operating system from Microsoft and I have no intention of going back to Windows 8 or Windows 7.

The following features of Windows 10 are some of my favorite and I am pretty sure teachers and students will also find them useful. 

Microsoft Edge Browser Web Note 
Microsoft has taken a huge gamble to create a new browser from scratch. Microsoft Edge will
eventually replace Internet Explorer. Though Internet Explorer is still available in Windows 10 due to numerous legacy programs that still depend on it. The Edge browser interface has a clean look and with a number of new features added. One of my favorite feature of Edge browser is the ability to write notes directly on the page that you are viewing. At this stage, Microsoft Edge is the only modern browser that has this ability. You can also  highlight important points in the article and you can be able to clip specific points from the webpage that can be added to the paper that you are writing.

Sharing Favourite Webpages and Articles on Reading List Application

Many people are used to sharing articles, photos and videos via Twitter, Blogs, Facebook and other Social Media Sites. All modern browsers allow you to share resources with others.
There is one particular application that not many people are aware of its full potential is the Reading List Application.Reading List Application can be installed on your Windows Phone, Windows 8 Computer and Windows 10 devices. This application can be downloaded from the Windows  Application Store.
 This application allows you to save any on-line article (journal articles, webpages, news articles) that you find useful and you want to access later. Reading List allows you to create different categories for you to organize and sort your articles for future use. One cool thing about this application is that any articles you add from one device can be accessed from other devices as long as these devices have Reading List Application installed on them.

Reading View is another very useful feature that allows you to read an article in full screen mode without having to put up with stuff like advertisements that continue to pop up every second. Reading View allows you to concentrate on what you are reading and taking notes and highlighting main points using Edge's note taking tools are more effective and enjoyable.

Cortana Virtual Assistant
Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant. It allows you to speak or ask questions in natural language. Cortana responds to your queries or questions like a real person. This virtual assistant has been available on windows phone 8 devices for quite a while but it is now integrated into Microsoft Windows 10. Cortana is integrated with Microsoft's Bing Search engine ( and the Internet to respond to your queries. Cortana can be configured to suit your needs. Cortana collects data from your Internet usage and attempts to understand you more. The more you use cortana, the smarter, it will become. That means it will attempt to accurately respond to your queries. However, if you are concern about your privacy you can always go to Cortana's Setting and remove your history from there.
Cortana has a alot of potential for teachers and students. It can be used in a language lesson whereby students can learn to ask questions in English for Cortana to respond to. It can help students to improve their English usage. Disable students can also use Cortana in various ways. For example, blind students can be able to search the Internet for useful information. They can also ask cortana for time or today's weather. There are many ways teachers can integrate Cortana into the curriculum to make the lessons more meaningful and interesting for the students.
Cortana can be used as a translator. At this stage Cortana can translate up 40 languages. This is how it works, You can ask Cortana a question such as "Hey Cortana, translate taxi in French" or you can type the question in the search box and Cortana will translate it for you. You will find Cortana very useful when you are visiting a non English speaking country and you need to translate a word or phrase quickly. For example, you need to know the local term for 'taxi' so that you can grab hold of one to travel to your hotel. Teachers can use Cortana  translator as a teaching aid to teach a language lesson. Students can use it to learn new words or phrases about another country when they are working on a school project.

Here are the full listing of the 40 languages available for Cortana to translate:
Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (Simplified), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Farsi, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Klingon, Korean, Latvian, Malay, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Welsh.
You can visit this website to get more tips on how to speak to Cortana.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I am compelled to agree with Dr. Steven Winduo's commentary (The National, Friday October 12,2012) on the state of Information Technology services at the University of Papua New Guinea.Tertiary Institutions in Papua New Guinea need to embrace technology fully in all aspects of their operation if they want to be competitive with other Institutions world wide. As a former student of this University, I am saddened to know that little has been done to improve the Information Technology Services of the Country's largest and oldest University.
Fig.1.0 UPNG outdated Website

A well integrated Information Technology system at the University of Papua New Guinea needs to have the following features.First and foremost is the setting up of an effective Local Area Network for the main campus that will connect all offices within the main campus and a Wide Area Network that will cover the other Open Campuses in other parts of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.These Schools/Faculties and Open Campuses located throughout Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands should be able to connect to the main network with ease to enable easy communication and dissemination of information. Once the Network is properly established and fully manned by qualified ICT staff,  the other important services will dramatically improve.

 The next step is to establish a well designed Intranet that will provide other important services for both staff and students. The Intranet should consist of tools that allow staff and students to create and disseminate information in an efficient and timely manner. The intranet should provide opportunities for staff and students to collaborate on wide range of activities.This would include online bulletin boards, discussion boards for subjects and courses. This would allow lecturers to respond to queries about courses and subjects from their students without having to resort to traditional notice boards and telephones.Second, the Intranet should provide a system of Assessment Submission for students to submit their Assignments electronically (Electronic Assessment and Tracking System)This system should have important information such as assignment due dates, date submitted, automated response to students informing them of the status of their submitted assignments. The students should be able to track the progress of their submitted assignments and should know exactly when the marked papers will be returned.  This is a more comprehensive tool that is different from emails. Lecturers will receive the electronic copies of the students assignments, mark them and return the assignments back via the same system to the students.  The University also needs to establish an effective Student Assessment Processing system that will allow lecturers to submit students raw marks electronically rather than having to print out the marks and submit them manually. The system processes the students marks and automatically award grades based on the University's Assessment Policy. The students' transcripts should instantly be updated when new data is received.

The Michael Somare Library also needs to be effectively integrated into the University's Computer Network. The important collections such as Papua New Guinea Collection and the University's own research articles and Journals should be in electronic format and should be accessible through the Institution's Computer Network via the Intranet. The Academic Staff and Students can access the Michael Somare Library anywhere on campus via the Intranet. The Staff and Students in Open Campuses in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands can also access the Michael Somare Library via the University's website.The Library should go further by subscribing to various refutable electronic scholarly Journals world wide to provide alternative and quality research publications to support the needs of both academic staff and students of UPNG.

The University's website is poorly designed  and lacks creativity. The user experience while using this website is very poor and does not even promote the University. The University's Website is very important and plays an important role in providing vital services for the University once it is properly developed and integrated into the University's Computer Network.The University's Website not only provides services for the University but it also promotes the status of the University to the outside world. The following services are missing and should be addressed by the University as soon as possible. Firstly, the website should be updated regularly. The last update carried out by the webmaster was on March, 2007. Second, there should be a login screen or dialog box where staff and students can be able to login to use the University's various services such as discussion boards, journal databases and so on. This will enable the University's other campuses in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to have easy access to all these services.Third, there should be options provided to submit on-line application forms for various courses. The application forms should also be made available for download from the website rather than having to write to the University to send printed application forms which can take ages to reach a potential student. The various electronic bulletins, newsletters and hand books meant to promote the University and the marketing of various courses should be made available on the website for viewing and downloading. With the Website fully developed and supported, the various Schools within the University can then offer some of their degree programs on-line for those students who wish to study at home.
To top it all the University's Information Technology Services should ensure both staff and students have access to quality Internet Services.

The University of Papua New Guinea Administration should support the Information Technology Services Unit to address some of the areas mentioned above if it wants to achieve its goal as a premier University of the South Pacific (Sadly this is not the case). It can achieve this by seeking expert technical assistance from partner Universities in Australia and Asia. The University can also send a team to these Institutions to study their systems and then incorporate some of these ideas into the Universities Information Technology services.

Links to Papua New Guinea Universities Websites

Check these Institutions' Websites and compare them. Which University website has some of the features or  standards mentioned above?

1. University of Papua New Guinea- (
2. Papua New Guinea University of Technology- (
3. University of Goroka- (
4. Divine Word University- (
5. Pacific Adventist University- (


Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Review of the Upper Secondary ICT Syllabus

The Papua New Guinea Upper Secondary ICT Syllabus for Grade 11 and 12 has already been distributed to Secondary Schools throughout the Country. It would be interesting to see how far the Secondary Schools have gone to implement this Syllabus. A quick visit to some schools especially in the rural areas will give some sort of idea on the implementation of this program. The following points need to be used as a starting point to evaluate this policy.
  • The skills level of ICT teachers in Secondary Schools.
  • Is the school fully equiped with ICT equipment and decent computer room based on appropriate standard.
  • The funding level of the School's ICT program.
  • Technical support and School's technical staff.
  • Support of the Department of Education in areas of software distribution and technical support.
  • Staff development of ICT teachers in-country and overseas.
The Curriculum content review should also be conducted to identify the relevancy of the topics/units to the Country's needs and that the contents are comparable to other countries.

The following are units of work in the Grade 11 and 12 ICT Syllabuses.

Grade 11 Units:
  • Computer Fundamentals
  • Advanced Word Processing
  • Computers And Society
  • Advanced Spreadsheets
  • Database 1
  • Internet 1
  • Desktop Publishing
Grade 12 Units:
  • Information and Communication Systems
  • Database 2
  • Internet 2
  • Multimedia
  • Computers and Employment 
In my view after reflecting on the ICT Syllabus I feel that the units of work are concentrating more on Computer Literacy Skills which is only one component of the Information and Communication Technology universe. There should be more advance stuff included for the other ICT tools and advance computing topics such as programming languages and other Computer Science units.

Here are some suggestions for future review and development of the ICT curriculum in the Secondary Schools.
  •  Computing skills which is an obscure part of the Design and Technology Syllabus in the Lower Secondary should be placed on its own and a new syllabus to cater specifically for computing. The following units in the Upper Secondary ICT Syllabus should be moved down to Grade 9 and 10. These units are, Advanced Word Processing, Computers & Society, Advanced Spreadsheets, Desktop Publishing, Computers and Employment, Internet 1 and 2. 
  • Advance topics such as Programming Languages, Website Development using Java and other programming Languages for web development. I recommend Small Basic, a programming language developed by Microsoft Lab for Students and Teachers. It is simple to learn and students and teachers can develop powerful applications such as games and other Educational applications. Small Basic is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft Website. It is essential to introduce children to programming languages early rather than wait until they are in Universities. This will ensure that they have mastered the basics before doing advance programming languages in Universities. The other reason is that it will assist the students to decide whether further studies in ICT or Computer Science in Tertiary Institutions is a career that they would like to take up.
  • The Department of Education should establish an ICT Unit within the Department that can provide ICT support to schools, purchasing of educational software and software licenses on behalf of schools and provide technical support.
  • The Government of PNG introduced Free Education Policy recently. However, if it is serious about providing quality education for all children, it should vigorously support ICT development in all Secondary Schools in the Country.
  • Staff Development of ICT teachers should be a priority if the ICT programme is to be successfully implemented in schools. Staff Development can be School Based, at District Level or Provincial Level. The recruitment of Information Technology or Computer Science graduates should be encouraged to ensure that quality is maintained in all schools.These graduates can be sourced from Unitech, UPNG and Divine Word University and can undergo teacher training to qualify as teachers. This should be attended to urgently to fill up the vacuum currently existing in many Secondary Schools.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cyberbullying: Is it already happening in Papua New Guinea?

Cyber-bullying is a new (new type of bullying in PNG Context refers to recent introduction of new technologies in the country) type of bullying that involves the use of technology(Smart Phones, Tablet PCs, Computers) with access to the internet to bully others. The tools used by cyber-bullies include instant messaging(chats),emails, text message, websites and video chats. Social networks such as and others are utilized dailly by cyber-bullies to attack their victims. For example,"Police are trying to locate a woman identified as Louisa Hainter, who allegedly posted defamatory remarks against Singut on the social network Facebook"(
The victims are always known to the perpetrators.These include the use of verbal abuse, obscene languages, obscene images that target the victims base on their physical appearances, race, gender, age, academic status and social status such as unable to fit in with the others. For example, a girl who is doing extremely well in her academic work can be a prime target for other girls who dim themselves inferior and therefor can be abuse by these jealous girls.

Is cyberbullying actually happening in Papua New Guinea? There is no research carried out so far to ascertain the extent of cyber-bullying in Papua New Guinea. However, it would be safe to say that with the increase access to cheaper smart phones and tablet pcs (eg. I Pads) with internet capabilities by young Papua New Guineans and the increase use of  social networking sites such as facebook, it could happen right under the noses of their parents.One of the clear example that cyber bullying is already occurring in PNG society is the current bribery and extortion against the well known TV presenter and former Miss PNG- Antonia Singut( Fortunately for Antonia, her parents and family members were very supportive and assisted her throughout her ordeal.It shows that not only ordinary Papua New Guineans can be affected but well known and respected Papua New Guineans are also not immune to bullying from unscrupulous human beings. This is only the tip of the iceberg but there are countless young Papua New Guineans out there that are constantly being bullied online daily without their parents knowing. Further, it should be noted that young Papua New Guineans are not even aware that they are being bullied. They take it as part of the everyday PNG culture. For example, many young Papua New Guineans think it is normal to swear at someone using the 'f' or 'c' words.

What makes this extremely difficult is that not many Papua New Guinea parents are ICT literate ;or if they are ICT literate they are not aware of the dangers that their children are facing everyday while on the net. I am a facebook user and I use this social networking site everyday. My experiences and my interaction with other facebook users has shown that most facebook users are young Papua New Guineans and most of them are school children ranging from Primary Schools to Tertiary level.

The huge advantage that cyber bullies have over other forms of bullying is that with the help of the technology bullies follow you where ever you go right into your bedroom or even right under the noses of your parents as long as you are online. Further, cyber-bullies, thrive on the ignorance of parents, educators, law enforcement authorities such as the police and even the victims themselves. There is no clear policy in place to assist victims in areas such as counselling or through legal means. There is no clear guidelines to assist Papua New Guinea children in particular to follow to seek assistance.( If there is such a guideline I am not aware of it). School authorities and the Department of Education need to carryout awareness to educate school children in light of the increase use of technology such as smart phones in particular and internet access in the country via these devices which may fuel the increase in cyber-bullying.

Why talk about Cyber-bullying? Cyber-bullying like the ordinary bullying can have drastic negative effect on the victims' lives. The victims can be psychologically affected.They can have long term emotional and behavioral problems and can affect their normal every day lives. They can even commit suicide if they feel that the world no longer cares for them. The victims such as school children can easily give up going to school. The victims themselves in future can become criminals because of the state of their mental health. In countries such as the US for example, innocent school children have been gunned down by victims of bullying.

What should parents and teachers in Papua New Guinea do to prevent cyber-bullying from occurring?

  • If you are a parent try to spend some time discussing what your children are doing on-line and what sites they are visiting. Encourage them to discuss their social networking experiences and likely abuses from cyber-bullies.
  • Encourage your children to record the instances of abuse and the date and time it occurs.This will become handy if you decide to take legal action in the future.
  • As a teacher- a teacher needs to carry out awareness on the positive and negative effects of technology such as smart phones and internet. This will enable the children to make correct decisions while using these technologies.
The following websites are established to assist victims of bullying; and also those who want to know more about bullying; or those who wish to assist victims but require additional information to do so. Some of these websites are set up by victims of bullying and their horrifying experiences should provide valuable lessons for everyone.