AVU Community of Practice (CoP) Portals Consultant Opportunity in Kenya

Jul 27, 2016

Vacancy Notice: Consultant - Community of Practice (CoP) Portals
 
The African Virtual University (AVU) is seeking a Consultant to develop the Community of Practice Portal (CoP). 

The successful candidates will be appointed for 21 working days. The services to be provided and the scope of the work are indicated in the Terms of References (ToRs).

 
1. Introduction: The African Virtual University (AVU), www.avu.org, is a Pan African Intergovernmental Organization established by charter with the mandate of significantly increasing access to quality higher education and training through the innovative use of information communication technologies. 

A Charter, establishing the AVU as an Intergovernmental Organization, has been signed so far by eighteen (19) African Governments - Kenya, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Benin, Ghana, Republic of Guinea, Burkina Faso, Niger, South Sudan, Sudan, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Cape Verde. 

The AVU has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and a Regional office in Dakar Senegal with Host-Country Agreements and Diplomatic Status with the two governments.
 
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is an academic network that enables Africa’s brightest students to become innovators that advances scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency. 

AIMS has a pan African scope and currently has its operational centres of excellence in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, and Tanzania and soon in Rwanda.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at AIMS is a five-year investment from The MasterCard Foundation that will enable AIMS to strengthen capacity and scale up existing initiatives in mathematical sciences training and STEM coordination at national and pan-African levels. 

This investment will contribute to the STEM human capital needed to transform the continent, and increase the number of African STEM scholars, particularly women, leading technological innovations that can address development challenges and drive wealth creation in Africa.
 
2.0 Scope of Work
 
Communities of practice provide a new model for connecting people in the spirit of learning, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. 

The AIMs CoP portal will provide a new model for connecting people, learners, research communities and partners in the spirit of learning, knowledge sharing, and collaboration as well as individual, group, and organizational development.
 
The CoP portal should provide innovative non-functionalities such as:
  • Build relationships, partnerships and collaboration
  • Learn and develop best practices
  • Create knowledge in the domains
  • Take actions as a community
The CoP will provide the following functional requirements but not limited to:
  • Connect people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to interact, either as frequently or at all.
  • Provide a shared context for people to partnership, communicate and share information, stories, narratives and personal experiences in a way that builds understanding and insight.
  • Enable dialogue between people who come together to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Stimulate learning by serving as a vehicle for authentic communication, mentoring, coaching, and self-reflection.
  • Capture and diffuse existing knowledge to help people improve their practice by providing a forum to identify solutions to common problems and a process to collect and evaluate best practices.
  • Introduce collaborative processes to groups and organizations as well as between organizations to encourage the free flow of ideas and exchange of information.
  • Help people organize around purposeful actions that deliver tangible results.
  • Generate new knowledge to help people transform their practice to accommodate changes in needs and technologies.
CoP should meet the following technical requirements but not limited to:
 
Relationships, partnerships and collaboration:
  • Support for multiple database engines (PostgreSQL, SQLite, MySQL, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server)
  • Hierarchical sub-forums
  • Topic split/merge/lock
  • Multiple attachments per post
  • Plugins and various notification options (e-mail, Jabber instant messaging, ATOM feeds)
  • Distributed account management
  • Member networking profiles
  • Member directory with relationship-focused data fields
  • Subgroups that are defined by administrators or that allow members to self-join
  • Online meetings/chat
  • Social media integration, chats, forums etc.
  • User-controlled delivery modes for notifications and information
  • Community activity reports, statistics and insights.
Learning:
  • Integration to eLearning Platforms and tools
  • Assessments, surveys etc.
  • Web conferencing and webcasts integrating narrated presentations (PowerPoint)
  • Online meetings and discussions
  • Full text search, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Web-site links, referencing
  • Interactive multimedia
  • Variety of community member roles and responsibilities is supported
Action:
  • Project management and task management
  • Document management
  • File check-in and check-out
  • Instant messaging, announcements
  • Emoticons, polls, post, threads, etc.
  • Community, individual and group calendaring and event
  • Subgroup working spaces
Knowledge:
  • Keyword and full-text searches (site-wide and by section)
  • Structured databases and database tools
  • Digital stories, Idea banks, web conferencing, online meetings, online discussions
  • Multiple modes for knowledge representation
  • Resources directly associated with interaction
Content:
  • The look and feel of the new website should be visually appealing (i.e. with attractive mix of texts and graphics), has a unified theme and design, and easy to navigate.
  • The web site should be less visually crowded and cleanlier and attractively organized.
  • A sitemap that shows a clear navigational path structure should be included.
  • More varied formats of content (including photos, videos, slide shows and audio files) should be integrated.
  • The website should incorporate social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flikr amongst others.
  • The website should enable sign-up for the Multinational project electronic newsletters, and all stakeholders.
  • Managed through open source Content Management System (CMS) that is reliable and with support base worldwide, and will permit non-technical staff to instantly update web site content, add modules or sections, and integrate Web 2.0 elements, such as, but not limited to, user tagging, content commenting, syndication, social networking and peer-to-peer sharing.
  • Implement a tracking application to produce user defined site log reports to measure web visitors and user behavior and improve web site performance and availability.
  • Site must be compatible with all the latest Internet browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.)
  • Site must be built in accordance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, provided by the W3C and should also be easily accessible to the novice as well as the experienced Internet user.
  • Online Forms (Feedback, Complaints, FAQ, etc.)
  • Provide rendering on mobile and PDA devices.
  • The portal should be secured and in line with local and international internet and digital regulations.
2.1 Outline of the Task
 
The consultant is expected to undertake a need analysis, develop a project plan, design and develop the CoP portal in line with the below specifications and requirements.
  • Collect and assess the needs of AVU for web CoP portal
  • Develop an implementation plan for the development of the portal and agree on the same with AVU
  • Develop customization strategy identifying requirements for functionality improvement, new functionalities, Plugins or APIs integration for the portal
  • Develop and implement the portal according to the specification and host it in the AVU Cloud
  • Apply the AVU logo and brand identity and marketing materials to all the web pages
  • Develop and maintain a state-of-the-art look and feel for the web portal in line with CoP standards
  • Ensure that complete security measures are in place to safeguard the web portals
  • Ensure that the web portals, CMS support Multi – Lingual structure (English and French)
  • Ensure that the CoP portal is developed in line with its specification and is fully functional
  • Provide support in importing/exporting the content into the new platforms
  • Have the Platform developed and hosted in AVU cloud
  • Ensure that indexing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Piwik stats and Google analytics integration
  • Installation and configuration new plugins and tools that implement new functionalities
  • Train AVU staff to provide continuous support.
3.0 Deliverables and Expected Outcomes
  • AIMs CoP portal’s needs collected and assessed
  • AIMs CoP portal development, implementation and work plans developed
  • AIMs CoP portal developed according to the requirements and hosted in AVU cloud
  • AIMs CoP portal integrated and developed with an open source CMS
  • A state-of-the-art look and feel for the Web Portal developed in line with AVU marketing strategy
  • Analytics, tools for Indexing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) integrated
  • Prepared strategy/plan on how to handle platform updates and new releases of the CoP portal platform
  • Provided support for portals content exporting/importing provided
  • Prepared sitemap with web alignment in English and French
  • AVU staff trained to provide continuous support.
4.0 Qualifications of the Key Experts
 
4.1 Qualifications of the Team Leader
  • Master’s degree preferably or Bachelor’s degree with sound experience in Software Development, Web services or Engineering or any related fields
  • Minimum eight years’ relevant experience in the web service programming and development
  • Excellent Knowledge of software development and coding (web 2.0), experience in development using open source technologies.
  • Excellent knowledge of Systems and Software Architectures such PHPBB.
  • Good experience in software and/or web services development life cycle.
  • Experience with Distributed Computing models, Cloud Computing.
  • Up to date knowledge and experience of the latest technologies and tools.
  • Very good understanding of AVU standards and web service processes
  • Knowledge and working experience with CoP information systems.
  • Knowledge and working experience with project management will be a plus.
4.2. Qualifications of Web Designer
  • Bachelor’s degree with sound experience in Software Development, Web services or IT or any related fields
  • Excellent knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe illustrator and Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Up to date knowledge and experience of the latest technologies and tools.
4.3. Qualifications of Web Developer
  • Bachelor’s degree with sound experience in Software Development, Web services or IT or any related fields
  • Excellent knowledge of Content Management Systems (CMS), Client/Server technology
  • Experience with Distributed Computing models, Cloud Computing
  • Up to date knowledge and experience of the latest technologies and tools
  • Excellent Knowledge of software development and coding (web 2.0), Server technologies (Email, File, etc.), DBMS (MS SQL, MySQL, etc.), Windows Servers, and/or Unix
  • Excellent knowledge of Systems and Software Architectures such as PHPBB.
4.4. Qualifications of Systems Analyst
  • Bachelor’s degree with sound experience in IT, Computer Science or any related fields,
  • Excellent knowledge of Systems and Software Architectures
  • Good experience in software and/or web services development life cycle,
  • Very good understanding of AVU standards and web service processes
  • Knowledge and working experience with CoP information systems.
6. Modality of Work: The Consultant is expected to complete the exercise in a period not more than 21 working days.

The consultant is also expected to provide a detailed work plan taking into account the deliverables and deadlines.
 
7. Reporting: The Consultant will report to the Rector or such other person as the AVU may designate from time to time in writing. 

However, the Consultant will be required time to time to meet the AVU management for any relevant decision or approval related to any issue, activity or deliverable that may be relevant.
 
8. Payment: Payment will be in a daily rate or a solution package basis and will be commensurate with the experience and qualifications of the Consultant.

How to Apply

The consultants should indicate their interest in providing the above described services. 

Interested and eligible consultants should constitute a team and provide: - CV or profile - Team members CVs - Cover letter - References on the same services - Technical proposal indicating baseline project plan - Indication on the service costs 

The closing date for this application is August 5th 2016 at 3pm East African Time (UTC/GMT + 3). 

Application must include the Technical and Financial Evaluation in 2 separate envelopes to be delivered to the AVU HQ at Cape Office Park 3rd Floor Ring Road Kilimani Nairobi.




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