MOOCs in Africa: Massive Questions, Open Discussion

Photo by Nicola Pallitt - CC-BY

This August we’ll be hosting an exciting webinar series about MOOC usage in Africa. During the series we look into the current status of how African Higher Education Institutions are making use of MOOCs. There is often much hype about the potential of MOOCs for development in Africa, but what is happening on the ground? In this series, experts share insights from their research and practice and invite us to engage in critical conversations around a range of questions:

We will start off with two webinars looking at changes in practices by lecturers when using or creating MOOCs:

On 15 August Shanali Govender and Tasneem Jaffer (University of Cape Town) address the question on how we might advance MOOC uptake in universities. How have others used strategies such as ‘wrapping’ MOOCs to overcome some of the perceived limitations of MOOCs? How can we make MOOCs accessible to many?

On 17 August Sukaina Walji and Michael Glover (University of Cape Town) explore what happens when lecturers in Africa make MOOCs. What do they learn? How do their practices shift? How can lecturers be supported to become more open?

On 22 August Andy Nobes (AuthorAid, UK) will speak about the potential of MOOCs to be used for training of researchers in developing countries

On 24 August we are joined by Dr. Lorenzo Dalvit (Rhodes University, South Africa) who will challenge our assumptions and beliefs about MOOCs in the African context based on findings from a recent report from the The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA). These findings contradict commonly-held assumptions about MOOCs in ‘less developed’ contexts in a number of aspects. Perhaps we need to reframe our perspectives?

On 29 August Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu will discuss National Open University of Nigeria’s OER strategy (including sensitization, capacity building, design of NOUN 1st OER based MOOCs) and lessons learned.
How are institutions creating and reusing OER-based MOOCs?
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is currently implementing its strategy towards becoming an OER-based Open University with a special niche for MOOCs.

On 31 August Rebecca Bayeck (Pennylvania State University, US) will speak about how Africa can maximize on MOOCs. Her webinar engages participants in a discussion on how to make the most out of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The webinars are 30 to 40 minutes presentations followed by 10-15 minutes for questions and asynchronous discussion via the e/merge forum and/or Facebook event pages. Please see full schedule below and sign up for these events individually below:

15 Aug Postgraduate students’ experiences of wrapped MOOCs at a University in South Africa Shanali Govender + Tasneem Jaffer
17 Aug Making MOOCs and changing open educational practices Sukaina Walji + Michael Glover
22 Aug A MOOC approach for training researchers in developing countries Andy Nobes
24 Aug MOOCs in developing countries – Rethinking the potential for increasing MOOC uptake and improving employment opportunities Dr. Lorenzo Dalvit
29 Aug National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) OER strategy: successes, challenges and lessons learned Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu
31 Aug The Massively Open On Air Courses (MOOAC): Contextualizing MOOCs in Africa Rebecca Bayeck


20 July: Personal mobile devices in the classroom: opportunities and challenges

Presenters: Dr. Cheryl Brown, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town & Genevieve Haupt, Research Officer, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town

Format: one hour webinar Thursday 20 July, 1pm SAST

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Personal mobile devices (PMDs) such as smart phones and tablets are an important part of students’ media ecologies. PMDs share some similarities with laptops, such as wireless Internet connectivity and relying on a battery to run. However, whereas laptops run on software that is pre-installed, PMDs run on software that is installed by downloading apps. This boundary between them is becoming increasing blurred as light-weight laptops that are touchscreen and support traditional software in addition to apps are becoming more commonplace and affordable. Such devices are making a profound impact in university settings worldwide, both inside and outside of the classroom. Despite this, laptop and tablet initiatives are still relatively novel across a range of South African higher education institutions.

Does access to Personal Mobile Devices (PMDs) such as laptops, tablets and smartphones) improve student learning experiences?

Access to physical devices is often perceived as a solution to pedagogical issues facing African Higher Education Institutions, but research suggests that we need a more nuanced understanding of the role of PMDs to leverage its usefulness for teaching and learning purposes.  

Cheryl will talk about research emerging from the UCT flexible learning “laptop” project and DHET Personal Mobile Devices (PMD) project. She will focus on lecturers’ experiences of how they have changed their teaching practices in the classroom as a result of increased student access to devices as well as some of the challenges experienced and how they were overcome.

Dr Cheryl Brown is a Senior Lecturer and part of the Learning Technologies Team. She joined UCT (CET) in 2003 having previously worked in the area of e-learning in Australia. She is principle investigator for the Carnegie funded “Developing Educational Technology Professionals in Africa” project and the DHET funded cross institutional “Personal Mobile Devices” project. She heads the Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA) project. Cheryl co-convenes the Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Technology  and convenes courses in research and evaluation of emerging technology and emerging technologies and educational practices. She supervises MEd and PhD students from across Africa. She is co-chair of the Apereo Teaching and Learning Innovation Awards (ATLAS) which recognise innovation in learning and teaching internationally. Cheryl is an NRF rated researcher and her interests centre around access to ICTs and how they facilitate or inhibit students’ participation in learning. In the past few years she has looked more closely at the role technological devices (for example cellphones and laptops) play in students learning in a developing context and the development of students’ digital literacy practices. Cheryl is a long standing member of the CHED Transformation Committee and is currently chair of the CHED Research Ethics Committee.

Genevieve Haupt joined the Learning Technologies Team within CILT in September 2015 as a part-time project manager and researcher on the DHET/UCT Personal Mobile Device Project. As she worked in the Education and Skills Development Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council from 2009-2015, her research career has focused on various issues within Higher Education. Whilst at the HSRC she completed her Master’s degree in Research Psychology with the University of the Western Cape and has subsequently registered for a PhD in Higher Education Studies with Rhodes University. The provisional title of her PhD is: A legitimation code theory analysis of access into the Master’s in Clinical Psychology programme across the Western Cape. Her Master’s, and now her PhD has a strong focus on issues of social justice and social equality in Higher Education. Despite having a background completely unrelated to the field of Learning Technologies, she welcomes the challenge and looks forward to unpacking the various issues of using technology in higher education institutions.


This webinar has ended – please view resources here

13 July: Innovative pedagogical approaches for blended learning at the University of Namibia: Flipped Classroom

Dr. Maggy Beukes-Amiss, Director at the Centre for Open, Distance and eLearning (CODeL) University of Namibia and Mr Andre Joubert, Coordinator; Digital Media, Centre for Open, Distance and eLearning (CODeL)

Format: One hour webinars Thursday 13 July at 1 pm (SAST)

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The advent of new technologies in education for teaching and learning activities is not without challenges. One of these challenges is the pitfall of using new technologies without adding much value to the teaching and learning process. Using Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR Model, this challenge involves using technology to simply substitute for what has always been done before technology came into the equation. This results in mere enhancement of the teaching and learning activities.

For technology to add value to the teaching and learning processes, it should have a transformative impact. In its effort to maximise the impact of technology at the University of Namibia, the Centre for Open, Distance and eLearning (CODeL) opted to adopt blended learning using the Flipped Classroom approach. Flipped Classroom involves inverting the teaching process whereby teaching content is delivered prior to class time so that student activities take place in the classroom.

This webinar describes how CODeL utilises a lecture capturing tool called Panopto to implement the Flipped Classroom blended learning approach. The webinar seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. How does the learning context of the University of Namibia render itself to the Flipped Classroom approach?
  2. What are the opportunities and challenges that educators and students face regarding online and blended learning at the University of Namibia?
  3. What lessons has CODeL learned from initial Flipped Classroom implementation?

Dr Maggy Beukes-Amiss is a Namibian with over 20 years’ experience in teaching Library and Information Science as well as ICT related subjects at the University of Namibia, within the Department of Information and Communication Studies. She has a PhD in Computer-integrated Education (CiE) through the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She served as Head of Department (2005-2007) and again for another three years (2012-2014). Currently she is the Director of the newly established Centre for Open, Distance and eLearning (CODeL) at the University of Namibia. She is also a Council member of the University of Namibia, the highest decision making body of the University.

She is particularly passionate about eLearning capacity-building activities through the use of open source software packages and research focusing on eLearning technologies and activities. She is a member of the eLearning Committee of the University of Namibia and used to serve on the Namibian Open Learning Network Trust (NOLNet) eLearning Committee as Coordinator of eLearning activities within the entire country for over seven years, until 2011. She has been involved in a number of eLearning capacity-building activities in Namibia and various countries in Africa on behalf of NOLNet, GIZ and GESCI.

She served as Chairperson of the eLearning Africa 2013 Local Organising Committee and is a reviewer of conference papers for eLearning Africa and Online Educa Berlin, on behalf of ICWE GmbH, Germany, 2011 to date. She is a certified ICDL trainer (2007) and an Expert of New Learning Technologies (2005) through TeleAkademia of Furtwagen, Germany.

She has served as an ICT Steering Committee member of the ICT Steering Committee of the Ministry of Education in Namibia since 2005 and in addition, has been the Deputy Chairperson of the ICT Steering Committee since 2012. She was a contributor of the national ICT Policy and implementation plan, Tech NA!. She was a Commissioner and then Chairperson of the Board, of the regulator Namibian Communications Commission (NCC), 2006-2011. She was also appointed as the country’s eminent e-Content expert through the World Summit Award (WSA), from 2006 to date. She served as a Technical Quality Assurance Committee (TeQAC) member for the African leaders in ICT (ALICT) blended learning programme of GESCI, as well as the etutor-coordinator (training and coaching) e-tutors of the ALICT programme, 2011-2014. Another highlight in her career path is that she was the Chairperson of the Telecom Namibia Board for a 3 year period until September 2016. She has recently (April, 2016) been rewarded as “GIZ Ambassador for quality in Digital Learning”.

Mr. Andre Joubert is a Namibian with 7 years’ experience in Advertising and Multimedia workflows. He has a BA degree in advertising from the University of Namibia. Currently, he is the Coordinator: Digital media at the Centre for Open, Distance and eLearning (CODeL) at the University of Namibia. Andre and his team are also tasked with the campus wide roll out of Panopto, a lecture capture software which allows lecturers to record content for their courses, anywhere, anytime.


This webinar has ended – please view this site for past resources

19 June: Facilitating student learning through e-Assessment processes and practices – Webinar 2

Associate Professor Alan Cliff, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), University of Cape Town

Format: Two one hour webinars Monday 12 June and Monday 19 June, both days at 1 pm (SAST)

Second webinar:

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This two-part seminar will focus on the contemporary affordances and challenges of assessing students and student work in the online learning environment.

The first part (recording available here) will focused on the overarching issues that are and should be of interest to us all:

  • The higher education environment and the need for e-learning
  • The extent to which online environments can support and provide the enabling conditions for e-learning and e-assessment
  •  The extent to which online environments support or interact with contemporary online teaching and learning issues, such as the ‘unbundling’ of higher education teaching and learning and the offerings of private higher education online learning providers

The second part will focus on e-assessment practices and address the following questions:

  • ‘Doing assessment’ online – is it a case of transferring face-to-face assessment to an online environment?
  • The affordances and challenges of online assessment – a continuum from formative to summative assessment?
  • Online assessment practices – issues of purpose; format; grading; feedback; teaching and learning

Alan Cliff is an Associate Professor and co-ordinator of the Staff Development cluster at CILT. He teaches courses in educational psychology, educational assessment and adult education to mostly postgraduate education students and convenes courses in educational assessment and evaluation for students at certificate, diploma and master’s levels. Alan has supervised master’s and PhD students in areas such as the development of literacies practices in disciplinary contexts; the validation of standardised admissions tests; the use of alternate admissions tests for admission and placement purposes; and factors that facilitate the development of electronic systems literacy in the workplace. As co-ordinator, Alan contributes to work on alignment between curriculum and student assessment, with new and established academics and professional staff. Regionally, Alan teaches courses on assessment design and academic literacy. His current research interests are in the use of theories and principles of Dynamic Assessment to facilitate student learning; and in the processes of staff development as ‘literacies practice’ and induction into professional learning communities. Alan contributes to the development of educational assessment policy in the further and higher education sectors nationally.

This seminar has ended. For resources and webinar recordings please refer to the resource page.

5 & 6 June: Innovative approaches to blended learning during times of disruptions at a University of Technology in South Africa

Dr Daniela Gachago, Centre for Innovative Educational Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa
Cheryl Belford, Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, Faculty of Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa
Bronwyn Swartz, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa

Format: Two one hour webinars Monday 5 June and Tuesday 6 June, both days at 1 pm (SAST)

Join us Tuesday 6 June for the second webinar:

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Blended learning is a key concern in recent times in higher education. Blended learning will manifest itself differently in different institutions as it becomes part of the core organisational culture. This seminar is part of a larger project aimed at understanding the breadth and depth of blended learning practices in the institution, with a particular focus on the use of open educational resources in teaching and learning. We will describe two lecturers’ attempts at moving their teaching and assessment into an online space during the 2016 student protests after campuses shut down and face to face teaching was not longer possible. While the disruption could be seen as trigger for innovation, they also raise difficult questions around the ethics of online learning in a context of inequality. Framed by Joan Tronto’s Ethics of Care qualities, we will explore what it means to ethically engage in open/blended practices in the context of the current higher education climate with the continued call for equal access to educational resources.

This seminar will run in two parts. Part 1 will introduce blended learning and the ethics of care and share the two lecturers’ experiences during the FMF protests. Seminar 2 will be a collaborative and reflective space, where participants will reflect on their own practices and address the following questions framed by the Ethics of Care principles:

  • How does an ethical blended learning practice look like?
  • What conditions need to be in place for an ethical blended learning practice?
  • What do we need to know about our students?
  • How does our practice relate to the institutional context?

For inspiration, please watch the following short videos by Bronwyn Swartz and Cheryl Belford:

Come and take part in the conversation on our Facebook event page

Daniela Gachago is a senior lecturer in the Centre for Innovative Educational Technology at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Her research interests lie in the potential of emerging technologies to improve teaching and learning in higher education, with a particular focus on using technologies such as social media and digital storytelling as socially just pedagogies. She completed a PHD at the UCT School of Education where she explored the role of emotions in transforming students’ engagement across difference and a Masters in Adult Education at the University of Botswana.

Bronwyn Swartz is a lecturer on the Quality Programme in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at CPUT. She lectures Statistical Quality Techniques III and Quality Techniques IV, and supervises students research projects on both BTech and MTech level. She is passionate about her students, which prompted her to actively look for ways to support her teaching. Embracing technology for teaching has opened up a new world of possibilities for her and her students. She obtained a MTech Quality (Cum Laude) from CPUT and is currently a registered student completing a DPhil Quality Management at DUT.

Cheryl Belford is a lecturer on the Transportation Engineering Programme in the Department of Civil Engineering at CPUT. She lectures Transportation III, Transportation Planning IV and Transportation Technology IV and supervises student’s research projects on BTech level. Her research interests lie in the effect of changing mobility practices on the everyday life of commuters in South African cities. She is committed to ensuring a robust academic experience for the next generation of Civil Technologists. Her pedagogy has shifted toward Open Educational Practice as it encourages peer to peer learning and empowers her academic identity. She obtained a MEng Transportations Studies from UCT in 2008.

This seminar has ended. For resources and recordings please view YouTube Playlist above and share your thoughts and reflections in the Facebook event page

25 May: Understanding lecturer’s adoption of OER: a multi-factorial approach

Seminar series: Growing Open Educational Practices in Africa SEMINAR 2
Presenter: Dr. Glenda Cox, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town

Format: One hour webinar Thursday 25 May, 1 pm (SAST)

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The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project aims to provide evidence-based research from a number of countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South / South East Asia. The research referred to in this presentation is from one of 18 sub-projects from 26 countries that aims to redress the current imbalance where so much research on OER is from the Global North. The primary objective of the programme is to improve educational policy, practice, and research in developing countries by better understanding the use and impact of OER. I conduct research in one of the programme’s sub-projects, focusing – with my colleague Henry Trotter – on OER in South Africa. For more information, see:

This study analyses the barriers and enablers of OER adoption at three South African universities, in order to better understand why South African lecturers adopt – or do not adopt – OER. Based on interviews with 18 lecturers at the universities of Cape Town (UCT), Fort Hare (UFH) and South Africa (UNISA), this qualitative study focuses on lecturers’ teaching practices as they relate to (potential) open educational activity. To do this, the study developed and utilised three key analytical frameworks and concepts for assessing and comparing OER (in)activity at the universities. These frameworks will be introduced in the session and there are links below to a poster and a article that elaborate on our approach.

The interviews revealed some insights into the open practices of some academics but mostly they revealed a lack of open practice. This lack of open practice will be explained by using the developed tools that look at institutional readiness. There are also interesting personal motivations and concerns about sharing and using OER that will be outlined.

At the end of the sessions participants will have some practical knowledge of tools to look at OER readiness and some questions to think about when starting out or researching OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP).

Links and articles for interest:

Trotter, H. & Cox, G. (2016) The OER Adoption Pyramid. Presentation at Open Education Global 2016. 12-14 April 2016: Krakow, Poland. Retrieved from
Data available:
Journal publication:

Dr Glenda Cox is a senior lecturer at CILT and her portfolio includes Curriculum projects, Teaching with Technology innovation grants, Open Education Resources and Staff development. She has recently completed her PhD in Education and her research focused on using the theoretical approach of Social Realism to explain why academic staff choose to contribute or not to contribute their teaching resources as open educational resources. She believes supporting and showcasing UCT staff who are excellent teachers, both in traditional face-to-face classrooms and the online world, is of great importance. She is passionate about the role of Open Education in the changing world of Higher Education.

This seminar has ended – recording is available here!


23 May: Open Educational Practices (OEP) for teaching in higher education

Seminar series: Growing Open Educational Practices in Africa SEMINAR 1
Presenter: Catherine Cronin, Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching (CELT), National University of Ireland, Galway

Format: One hour webinar Tuesday 23 May, 1 pm (SAST)

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Open educational practices (OEP) is a broad descriptor of practices that include the creation, use and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices. As compared with OER, there has been little empirical research on educators’ use of OEP for teaching in higher education. Catherine’s research addresses this gap, exploring the digital and pedagogical strategies of university educators, focusing on whether, why and how they use open educational practices for teaching.
Catherine’s research was conducted at one European university based on semi-structured interviews with educators across multiple disciplines. Using a constructivist grounded theory approach, she found four dimensions shared by open educators: balancing privacy and openness, developing digital literacies, valuing social learning, and challenging traditional teaching role expectations. She argues that the use of OEP by educators is complex, personal, and contextual; it is also continuously negotiated. Her findings suggest that research-informed policies and collaborative and critical approaches to openness are required to support staff, students, and learning in an increasingly complex higher education environment

This online event invites us to discuss and consider the following (among other) questions:

  • Why and when might  educators and educational technology practitioners choose open, and why not?
  • In our contexts, how can we balance personal choice (regarding openness) with  institutional and other constraints?

How can we grow open educational practices in African Higher Education?

Links and articles for interest:

Catherine Cronin is an educator, researcher and PhD candidate at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her work focuses on openness and open education, digital identity practices, and exploring the boundary between formal and informal learning. She is currently completing her PhD exploring the use of open educational practices (OEP) in higher education. Catherine has been involved in teaching, research and advocacy in higher education and in the community for over 25 years. Catherine advocates a critical approach to openness; she is a regular contributor to conversations and collaborative projects in the area of open education, within Ireland and globally.

This webinar has ended – recording available here

12 May 2017: Exploring the interface between learning design and evaluation

Presenter: Carmel McNaught, University of Johannesburg, South Africa &  David Kennedy, First Connexions, Hong Kong

Format: Two hour Adobe Connect live 11 am – 1 pm (SAST) via Adobe Connect from the University of Cape Town, South Africa (With possible interaction with presenters via text chat)

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As educators we are designers of learning processes and resources. However, educators are often overwhelmed with the choice of technologies for supporting student learning and what is meant by learning designs with more student-centred pedagogies; terms such as blended learning, flipped learning, student-generated content, etc. can seem off-putting and unhelpful. Learning designs can only be effective when one thinks about (and eventually answers) the questions: How do I expect that this choice of learning design will support students in their learning? How do I know that the learning design was effective? So, evaluation and learning design are tightly intertwined. In this seminar we will unpack what is meant by designing for learning and explore what is involved in scholarly evaluation of learning designs, illustrating the talk with examples from projects involving mobile technologies and ePortfolios; and also those where groupwork, peer review and peer assessment are essential to the learning design, especially for large class sizes. Our examples will come from a range of discipline areas: English language, Social Geography, Business and Chemistry.

Carmel McNaught is a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Learning Technologies Unit of the Department Science and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg. Carmel is also an Emeritus Professor of Learning Enhancement and former Director of the Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research (CLEAR) at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Before that she was Head of Professional Development in Learning Technology Services at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. She has previous experiences in southern Africa at the University of Zimbabwe and University of KwaZulu Natal. She has worked in the fields of chemistry; science education; second-language learning; learning design; and curriculum, policy, and quality-assurance matters in higher education. She has served on the editorial boards of 18 international journals; and is a prolific author with over 350 academic publications. Since 2012, she has been a higher-education consultant, working mostly in Africa, Australia, Hong Kong and other countries in Asia, New Zealand, the UAE and the UK.

Dr David M KennedyDr David M Kennedy has held a number of senior positions in universities in four countries and consulted in an additional 16 countries. Most recently he was Executive Director: Teaching and Learning at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, Professor and Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning at James Cook University (Singapore), Associate Professor and Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre, Lingnan University and Programme Director at the University of Hong Kong. His work has included professional development in teaching and learning, research training, and programme and course design. He has also led and contributed to numerous strategic institutional initiatives involving quality assurance, accreditation and programme reviews, and reviews of institutional IT to support Teaching and Learning. He has published >100 academic research papers/ reports, which focused on innovation in the use of ICTs in T&L in multiple academic disciplines, including Education, Medicine, Language learning and Business. Prior to entering higher education he was Head of Science at two private colleges for almost 10 years. He is currently Managing Director, First Connexions, which focuses on supporting teaching, learning and quality matters in higher education.

This seminar has ended – recording is available here

9 May 2017: Take the Distance Out of Distance Learning – Leveraging Online E-collaboration and Social Presence

Presenter: Kelly Elander, Assistant Professor, Harding University, United States

Format: One hour Adobe Connect webinar 4 pm (SAST)

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A significant challenge to course designers has always been to keep learners engaged and avoid feelings of isolation and detachment, which leads to high course dropout rates (Bonk & Khoo, 2014; Vakoufari, Christina, & Mavroidis, 2014). This presentation will showcase techniques online instructors can use to make learners feel connected and involved. These techniques came from research and conclusions made from two recent book chapters. The techniques will be explained, and examples will be given.

Dr. Kelly Elander coordinates the web design and interactive media program at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He holds a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, a Master’s in adult instruction and performance technology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University. More details about Dr. Kelly Elander here.

This webinar has ended – please find recording and resources available here.

4 May: Learning analytics: Opportunities and dilemmas

Presenter: Paul Prinsloo, Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa (Unisa)

Format: Live online meeting on Thursday 4 May at 1 pm (SAST)

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As higher education increasingly moves to online and digital learning spaces, we have access not only to greater volumes of student data, but also to increasingly fine-grained and nuanced data’ (Prinsloo & Slade, 2017).

This session provides an introduction to learning analytics. Paul shares how this data is being used by institutions for a range of purposes and stakeholders, as well as some of the implications and ethics involved in doing so. Some universities in Africa are wondering whether or not to invest the time and resources in learning analytics, how best to make use of and how to collect it. Others are already making use of it institutionally or in specific contexts rather than at an institutional level. Paul will discuss some of his recent research, including how uses of learning analytics unfolded at South Africa’s largest open distance education provider.

The webinar encourages us to engage with the following questions:

  • Is bigger data better data? What evidence can such data provide and what are some of the shortcomings?
  • What are some of the ethical dilemmas involved in uses of student data?
  • Is the hype over learning analytics based on idealism rather than reality? How can we move beyond the hype of learning analytics?
  • Are lessons learnt from the global north about uses of learning analytics a useful starting point for educators in African Higher Education? What do we adopt and where do we adapt?

Prof. Paul PrinslooPaul Prinsloo, is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa (Unisa). His academic background includes fields as diverse as theology, art history, business management, online learning, and religious studies. Paul is an established researcher and has published numerous articles in the fields of teaching and learning, student success in distance education contexts, learning analytics, and curriculum development. His current research focuses on the collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, graduate supervision and digital identity. Paul was born curious and in trouble. Nothing has changed since then. He blogs at and his Twitter alias is @14prinsp

This webinar has ended, please view recording and other resources here