Research Projects

Enhancing Students' Learning of Mathematics Using ICT at the College of Business Education in Tanzania

Poor performance in Mathematics is a problem facing schools, colleges and universities all over the world. Many efforts have been made to explore ways in which teaching and learning of mathematics can be more effective. Previous research shows that, ICT offers possibilities to enhance the teaching and learning of Mathematics. This study aims at exploring ICT as a pedagogical tool and the evidence for how it can contribute to the development of understanding of business mathematics and motivation among bachelor degree students. The aim is to consider how ICT can help students at the College of Business Education in deriving meaning through teaching activities and how students? use of ICT can support them in enhancing their motivation and learning experiences of business mathematics and consequently enhance their academic performance.An action research strategy is proposed employing a variety of data collection and analysis techniques. The data will be both qualitative and quantitative obtained from records and first-hand experiences of learners and teachers, whereby classroom observations, face to face interview will be conducted among learners and surveys will be conducted among students and teachers. The data analysis process will be guided by a computer software for textual data analysis (ATLASti /NVIVO) and SPSS/STATA for the survey data. The factors and the relations between them that account for the observed changes in students' learning of business mathematics will be identified and, from this, an ICT based teaching and learning approach will be proposed. This research will contribute to academic knowledge and theory development, it will also be relevant to policy makers, government administrators in the ministries responsible for higher education, higher education institution's executives, mathematics teachers, students and other educational practitioners who are concerned with the mathematics performance of students in all levels in order to raise the effectiveness and quality of mathematics teaching and learning. The research will provide an insight in the understanding and supporting the learning of business mathematics in higher education as well as increasing understanding of the factors which influence the teaching and learning of business mathematics in an ICT enabled environment.

  • PhD student: Mzomwe Yahya Mazana, y.mzomwe(at)cbe.ac.tz
  • Supervisors: Dr. Calkin Suero Montero; Prof. Matti Tedre, UEF

Small Scale Farming and ICT (m-Agriculture)

Small Scale Farmers (SSF) need to make a number of crucial decisions in their agricultural business activities. Farmers in Tanzania, as well as in other developing countries, may rely on a number of information sources to help decision making. Those information sources range from traditional norms and old-fashioned means to more modern information channels. Many of the small-scale farming communities are not familiar with ICT, and they may be keen in doing activities in their own traditional ways. In addition, the conditions of SSFs may vary between farming contexts, making one-size-fits-all m-Farming solutions impossible, and making it important for ICT-projects to be geared with social science research.

This research project generates understanding about small scale farming activities from the viewpoint of the information needs, and related decision making processes of small-scale farmers, by evaluating and comparing the existing ICT and non-ICT based informationg gaining channels of small-scale farmers, and by conducting participatory design-research activities with small-scale farmers in order to find new solutions for their information needs.

m-Farming solutions may help the farmers' decision making by providing for example information about weather, markets on inputs (fertilizers, seeds, protection chemicals) and where to sell, and how to do transport. Future solutions may help in disease control, storage control, extension officer communication, seed quality control, middlemen frauds, and many currently unidentified areas. Current USSD solutions have various limitations, and while smartphones are still rare among small scale farmers, the situation may change in the forthcoming five years. This research project is interested in working both on the USSD-, as well as on Smartphone-based platforms.

  • PhD student: Ezra Misaki, ezramisaki(at)yahoo.com
  • Supervisor: Dr. Silvia Gaiani, University of Bologna; Dr. Mikko Apiola, University of Turku; Prof. Matti Tedre, UEF

Mobile Business Innovation School (m-Learning, m-Business)

While the number of R&D activities and mobile services has seen a rapid increase in the past five years in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), those activities are still in their infancies. It has been argued that in SSA there is a serious need to transform from an information society of passive ICT use, into a knowledge economy where new knowledge is created. One key factor of this transformation is innovation. This research project studies the factors affecting innovation and innovation enhancing activities, such as incubation and entrepreneurship training in Tanzania. The study uses educational action research and design research approaches.

Dar es Salaam has a constantly evolving ICT innovation and incubation scene, including a number of incubators varying from full-scale incubators offering evolving companies pre-incubation, incubation, training, coaching, and legal services, to smaller-scale incubators found for example in universities. Entrepreneurs and incubator developers face a set of challenges arising from the innovation ecosystem including policy, procurement, private sector collaboration, banking, and confidence climates including mindset perspectives that are linked to the education system and educational history. This research studies the current innovation activities in Dar es Salaam from a grassroots-level perspective, and aims to study the prospects of education and ICT as enhancing factors for innovation.

  • PhD student: Godfrey Mwandosya, gmwandosya(at)gmail.com
  • Dr. Calkin Suero Montero; Prof. Matti Tedre, UEF

Enhancing ICT-Based Interaction Between Microfinance Institutions and Micro Business

Microfinance Institutions (MFI) have gained enormous popularity and interest as means of providing economic solutions for financial challenges in developing countries. For example, MFIs play a considerable role for capital provision to Micro Businesses (MBs) through microcredits services. The microcredits services proved to have positive impacts on the development and establishments of micro and small-scale businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. This research generates understanding about the current interaction patterns in relation to microcredits services offered by MFIs to MBs in Tanzania, and determine the applicability of mobile devices as an ICT-based solutions in solving the interaction challenges thereon.

  • PhD student: William Clifford Gomera, billcliff2002(at)yahoo.co.uk
  • Supervisors: Prof. George S. Oreku, TIRDO, Tanzania; Dr. Jarkko Suhonen, Prof. Markku Tukiainen, UEF

Mobile Technology for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs account for sizable majority of small-scale entrepreneurs in Africa, which has a major impact into the economy of any African countries. Most of women-owned business in developing economies operate in the informal sector, are necessity based, and best described as micro or small enterprises. A daunting arrays of barriers are restricting women entrepreneurs in sub-Saharan Africa to enhance business development.

This project conduct research about women entrepreneurs in Iringa, Tanzania and how to empower them in accessing market information through mobile technology based solution. The goal of the study project is to explore the challenges face women entrepreneurs and proposed technological solution in order to improve business of women entrepreneurs. The present state of the project: challenges have been identified, together with user requirements and architectural design. Next phase is demonstration and evaluation of the mobile application in empowering women to make business intelligence decisions about what and where to sell.

  • PhD student: Alsen Kapinga, kamingila(at)yahoo.com
  • Supervisors: Dr. Esther Rosinner Mbise, College of Business Education; Dr. Calkin Suero Montero, Prof. Markku Tukiaine, UEF

Improving Street Traders' Market Expansion Through Mobile Technologies In a Tanzania Environment Context

he use of mobile technologies such as mobile phones has gained popularity worldwide. As the matter of facts, mobile phones have brought tremendous changes in businesses communication and market expansion in sectors where they are well utilized and configured according to clients? requirements. One of the group which can benefit with mobile phones usage is the informal sector in which the street traders belong. The purpose of this research is to improve street traders? ways of finding markets through mobile phones in Tanzania. The exploratory and descriptive research design will be adopted with the use of a cross-sectional survey method. The data will be analyzed and presented in terms of descriptive and multivariate analysis by using modern statistical software such as SPSS.The content will be analyzed on two levels which will include: the basic level of what the respondents actually said and the second will be quantitative data analysis employing observed variables and conducting a test along with Cronbach?s alpha. The final result will be designing a mobile app which will work on mobile phones especially smartphones to assist street traders to find the potential markets easy instead of using conventional approaches which have been identified to possess a number of challenges.

  • PhD student: Joel Rumanyika, rummjoe(at)gmail.com
  • Dr. Mikko Apiola, University of Turku; Prof. Matti Tedre, UEF

Developing Decision Making in Tanzanian Academic Institutions Through Improved Information Systems

Many academic institutions in Tanzania have poor data management and processing tools which leads to the failure of timely and accurate management decision making for development of their Institutions. The aim of this research is to design, develop and evaluate academic data processing techniques for better decision making in academic institutions in Tanzania. A practical implementation of an auto-timetabling process which will address some crucial contextual issues will be developed. The implementation will be done based on a baseline research conducted on the four campuses of College of Business Education to find out in depth, what are the causes of the problems experienced on their daily activities with the available Information Systems. The provided auto-timetabling intelligent software will be integrated with the current available students management system to provide it with more data for timetabling process. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used to meet the desired objectives. Data analysis softwares like SPSS, PSPP, R, STATA, AtlasTi and NVIVO are expected to be used in data analysis process. The data collected and analysed after the implementation will be used to evaluate to what extent modern academic information systems can support the use of available data to provide better learning and working environments in academic institutions in a developing country context.

  • PhD student: Anna Mark Kayanda, email: a.kayanda(at)cbe.ac.tz
  • Prof. Matti Tedre, UEF; Prof. Lazaro S.P. Busagala, College of Business Education