There is a need for African Higher Education Institutions to reflect on their position and profile with respect to the new concepts of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu argues that many institutions probably will consider the benefits to outweigh the barriers. The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) combines its ‘classical’ openness with the new digital openness by fully embracing the OER approach and converting its complete course base into OER. NOUN is currently implementing its strategy towards becoming an OER-based Open University with a special niche for MOOCs. During a launch event in December 2015, the first 40 OER-based courses were presented as well as the first 3 OER-based MOOCs. NOUN is one of the first open universities in the world with a full-fledged OER (& MOOCs) implementation route. What have been some of the successes, challenges and lessons learned since then? Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu will discuss NOUN’s OER strategy (including sensitization, capacity building, design of NOUN 1st OER based MOOCs) and lessons learned.
Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the National Open University of Nigeria. She is also an Honorary ICDE Chair in Open Educational Resources and has been involved NOUN’s OER strategy since 2014. She has been in open education system for the past eleven years and has contributed immensely in this sector. She is passionate about opening-up knowledge for the common good.
Presenter: Maxwell Omwenga, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, United States & Makerere University, Uganda
Format: Asynchronous discussion from 10 April – 13 April + Live online meeting on Monday 10 April at 2 pm Time converter at worldtimebuddy.com
How can researchers and communities collaborate to create and disseminate high quality OERs?
AgShare is a collaboration between existing organizations. It is an alignment initiative to leverage the attention of existing organizations in various domains to create and openly share different types of OER that strengthen MSc agriculture faculty and curriculum and create downstream uses of the OER for other stakeholders. The AgShare methodology consists of using a research-based approach for the co-creation and release/sharing of purposeful agricultural knowledge within and across stakeholder groups. It is a scalable and sustainable serving to fill critical gaps in agriculture related curriculum. Graduate students engage in participatory action research connecting them to communities and smallholders and through rigorous research practices, they collaborate to produce high quality, peer-reviewed research, case studies and extension materials for disseminating widely to the relevant stakeholders.
The College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) together with College of Agriculture and Environmental Studied (CAES) both from Makerere University, embarked on a collaborative research project whose aim was to investigate the forms of Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge used by different groups of farmers. Findings reveal that despite the advent of modern farming methods, many small scale farmers continue to embrace indigenous farming knowledge for managing soil fertility, controlling pests and diseases, controlling weeds, soil preparation, planting materials, harvesting and storage of indigenous root crops and animals.
The research project sought to establish the existing methods of documenting and disseminating such AIK, investigate the constraints of documenting and disseminating AIK, and determine the best strategies for documenting and disseminating of AIK as Open Educational Resources (OERs), so as to contribute to sustainable food security efforts in Soroti, Hoima and Masaka Districts in Uganda.
An AgShare Quality Assurance Toolkit was developed as part of the AgShare Project and is available at: (http://www.oerafrica.org/system/files/12155/agshare-toolkit-finalopt.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=12155). In it are resources supporting the development of open, high quality, localized content and research that follows best practices. The Toolkit provides resources and quality assurance processes which can be used to ensure that the open outputs developed for research and farm communities will follow best practices. This resource may provide inspiration to colleagues involved in similar initiatives in other disciplines.
Other open outputs from the project include an open online database that was developed using Agri-Drupal, to enhance access and exchange of information on agricultural indigenous knowledge. http://agshare-ik.mak.ac.ug [YouTube Videos]. Case studies to support agricultural research themes were also developed to support the delivery of the MSc Information Sciences programs in Makerere University.
Maxwell Momanyi Omwenga, is a PhD candidate at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, United States. His research interest include Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Multi Access Edge Computing. Omwenga was part of the technical team that developed the Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge (AIK) OER Database. Also worked closely with graduate students to train them on how to capture and produce AIK multimedia content using smart phones.
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?
Paul 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 https://opendistanceteachingandlearning.wordpress.com/ and his Twitter alias is @14prinsp
Makerere University has prioritised Distance Education as the number one strategic action for offering flexible education and increasing access to its academic offerings. The university has put in place a policy for open, distance and eLearning (ODeL) to provide a framework for mainstreaming ODeL into all programmes of study at the University. It is also mobilising resources to develop greater human and infrastructural capacity. The Distance Education Leapfrogging Project (DELP) is a project through which resources are being raised to promote online based distance education. Since 2013 the DELP has been running with the aim of increasing access to flexible blended education at Makerere University. DELP is implemented in three work packages, namely: i) Education and Training; ii) PhD and Research; and iii) Institutional Development.
DELP has resulted in a number of new developments these include the development of two (the first ever) online learning programmes as well as scholarships for Ugandans and nationals of South Sudan on the online learning programmes. Three faculty have also been provided with scholarships to complete/pursue PhD studies in ODeL. One post-doctoral researcher is completing work on online student support. Three annual international research workshops have been held with an output of over 30 research publications in ODeL. An online journal and international conference on ODeL are planned for 2018.
DELP has also set up physical and virtual infrastructure in addition to building greater capacity for enabling ODeL programmes and courses to be offered. An off-campus model student support centre has been established and equipped. The Project has yielded a number of outcomes including:
Increased capacity to enrol students on open, distance and e-learning programmes,
Increased ubiquitous student support; and
Increased integration of e-learning within conventional programmes, increased number of programmes being ‘onlinised’
Paul Muyinda, is an Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning at Makerere University, Uganda. He is an experienced ODeL teacher, researcher and professional. He has research interest in ICT impact evaluation, virtual education, e-learning, distance education; m-learning, online learning, blended learning, open education resources (OER); ICT4E, ICT4D and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). He has researched, taught and published variously in these areas. He holds a PhD in Information Systems from Makerere University, specializing in e-learning and mlearning; a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (ICT) from the University of Cape Town, SA; a Masters in Computer Science and Application from Shanghai University, P.R. China and a Bachelor of Statistics degree from Makerere University.He has also taken the Facilitating Online Course from the University of Cape Town.
We are offering Facilitating Online four times in 2017. The third run of Facilitating Online in 2017 will be from 19 June – 11 August. Applications close on 30 May.
Our remaining 2017 dates: Apply here
3: 19 June – 11 Aug: Applications by 30 May
4: 2 October – 24 Nov: Applications by 13 September
About the course
Facilitating Online provides a solid foundation for facilitating online events and courses. It is registered as a short course at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Facilitating Online was developed by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at UCT and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its support for the e/merge Africa network. It is convened by Tony Carr and Nicola Pallitt and co-facilitated by facilitators from across Africa.
Recommendations by participants
“I learned many facilitation skills that I am now able to apply with my own students. I would recommend the course highly to anyone embarking on the online teaching and learning journey.”
Dr Judith McKenzie, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town.
“This course doesn’t just teach you ABOUT online Facilitation, it actually gets you to facilitate … It’s a real opportunity to learn and develop. And what’s more? It has an African taste…”
Daniel Adeboye, Online Maths Tutor, Tutor for the Future
The Open Education Global Conference was held in Cape Town from 8 to 10 March 2017. This was a first for the African continent, welcoming the world to meet, discuss, plan, reflect, collaborate, innovate and celebrate openness in education. 2017 is the ‘year of open’ as it marks several milestones in the openness movement, including:
The 10 year anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration,
15 year anniversary of the term “Open Educational Resources” and the
5 year anniversary of the Paris OER Declaration.
In this session we will share some reflections on and learnings from this event. We invite you to a shared discussion about the implications of emerging research and practice related to openness for African Higher Education.
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. She is also a project leader on a ROER4D sub-project on academics’ views of sharing OERs in South Africa and was the programme chair for the 2017 OE Global conference.
Sukaina Walji,is ROER4D’s Research Communications Advisor. Her role is to oversee the overall communication strategy both for the project’s day-to-day external and internal communications including the website and social media, as well as developing the research communications and dissemination strategy for the project’s research outputs. She works as part of the project coordination team and is supported by the IDRC-funded DECI-2 project in building understanding of the Research Communications for Development field. She is also a Researcher on ROER4D Sub-project 10.3 which is investigating how and in what ways adopting OER in and for MOOCs has an impact on educators’ Open Educational Practices. She has a Master’s degree in Online and Distance Education from the Open University (UK) and is also the Project Manager of UCT’s MOOC Implementation Team.
Tony Carr, is the convener of e/merge Africa and educational technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town. Tony’s operational and research interests include online collaboration, communities of practice in staff development, online facilitation and online professional networks.
Dr. Nicola Pallitt, is a lecturer in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town and a co-convenor of the Facilitating Online course. Her professional interests include e-portfolios, badging in courses and games in learning.
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e/merge Africa is collaborating with Designers for Learning to contribute a #YearOfOpen event to the global calendar of #YearOfOpen events.
Dr. Jennifer Maddrell, Founder and President, Designers for Learning, United States
Dr. John Baaki, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Old Dominion University, United States
Dr. Jerome Terpase Dooga, University of Jos, Nigeria
Format: Asynchronous discussion from 27 February – 3 March + Live online meeting on Monday 27 February (14:00 Abuja time/ 15:00 Cape Town time/ 16:00 Nairobi time / 7:00 Chicago U.S. time). Second live online meeting to be announced
The Open Education Consortium (OEC) has announced the launch of the #YearOfOpen to celebrate the positive impacts that open practices have brought to education, government, research and business. In education, the Year of Open marks significant milestones for the Open Education Movement worldwide, including:
15 years ago the term “Open Educational Resources” was created, the Budapest Open Access Initiative was launched, and the first Creative Commons licenses were released;
10 years ago the Cape Town Open Education Declaration was written;
5 years ago the first Open Education Week took place and the first OER World Congress was held, resulting in the Paris OER Declaration.
What goes into revising, evaluating and localising OERs?
In the first live meeting on 27 February Dr Jennifer Maddrell and Dr John Baaki will introduce us to an instructional evaluation process that practitioners can use for revising OERs.
In the second live meeting (details to be announced) , Dr Jerome Dooga will share his experiences of revising and evaluating OERs in Nigeria and discusses challenges, successes and lessons learnt.
Designers for Learning also invites e/merge Africa members to join their instructional design MOOC. The mission of Designers for Learning is to connect college students and other volunteers interested in gaining instructional design experience with service-learning projects to design and develop OER for underserved needs. Designers for Learning service-learning projects have involved over 3,000 volunteers, including college students, their faculty sponsors, and other subject-matter experts. Since 2014, volunteer service-learners have designed and developed OER for adult basic education programs to support learners with low literacy and math skills that are made available for free to adult educators and learners in the Adult Learning Zone group on OER Commons. Our upcoming project-based MOOC engages course participants in a design cycle that involves the evaluation and redesign of adult basic education OER created to date in our prior design courses, and is a perfect opportunity for college students looking to gain real-world experience or faculty and other educators wanting to share their expertise to an important underserved need.
Jennifer Maddrellis the founder of Designers for Learning, a nonprofit in the United States that facilitates service-learning opportunities to support underserved educational needs. Jennifer completed her Ph.D. in the Instructional Design and Technology program at Old Dominion University where she was awarded a dissertation fellowship to complete this research, and served as an adjunct Assistant Professor.
John Baaki is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia in the United States. John completed his Ph.D. in Instructional Technology at Wayne State University, and has served as a volunteer with Designers for Learning since 2015 serving as a course designer and facilitator.
Dr. Jerome Dooga is an Lecturer,Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Jos, Nigeria.
He is also the e/merge Africa Regional Coordinator for West Africa and Commonwealth of Learning (COL) eLearning consultant to the School of Education at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). Jerome holds a PhD in English and has received postgraduate training in Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town. He has presented research papers at various fora in a range of African countries including a number of conferences. He has published widely in the field and is co-author and editor of a new book on technology in African Higher Ed.
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Presenter: Carla Aerts, University College London, United Kingdom
Please notice new dates: 20 – 24 February 2017 with live webinar on Monday 20 February at 12 (SAST)
Format: This is the first event out of three events lead by Director of Futures at Institute of Education, UCL Carla Aerts. In this session Carla will lead a one hour live session Monday 20 February at 12 (SAST) followed by a one week asynchronous discussion.
E-learning and technology supported Education, like online technologies that are increasingly ubiquitous in people’s lives are reaching a number of tipping points that we can no longer ignore.
Looking at the Education and technology space, the context and digital access are wide-ranging and bring their own challenges. Assumptions around scalability, one size-fits-all and technology-driven education are deemed to be a catalyst and bring solution to the world’s education challenges. Perhaps the time has arrived for educationalists and technologist as well as all stakeholders to start reflecting on what education and technology can realise where they work in tandem. Or time has come to assess what is happening to education in a technology-driven world, where educators and technologists from different continents don’t sit around the table together and where technologists, mainly from Silicon Valley are increasingly driving the education agenda relying on the power and prowess of their technology and the increasing use of algorithms.
The first of a series of online seminars is starting to lift the veil that is shrouding the digital education space and is looking to engage in the world of online learning platforms, technology and the contexts of learning as well as the innate oxymoron in technology as a catalyst as well as a straightjacket for Education and Learning.
Carla Aerts, is Director of Futures at Institute of Education – University College London
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Presenter: Dr Janet Salmons, Vision2Lead, United States
Format: Asynchronous discussion from 2-3 February 2017 + Live online meeting on 2 February, 4 pm SAST (15:00 Abuja time/ 16:00 Cape Town time/ 17:00 Nairobi time).
While publishing results is a critical next step after the completion of research, too often we take what comes without reflecting fully on the best options that fit our work and goals. We aren’t sure where to start, then see a call for papers and start working on an article. We see a call for book titles or chapters, and shoot off a proposal. We answer a friend’s request to contribute to the blog of a professional association. We create a social media presence and may be very active one month and silent when things get hectic. We all know how this story goes…
Academic researchers and graduate students alike face such dilemmas. Even skilled writers can feel lost by the publication process, or get distracted by day-to-day activities. Sometimes even those who have successfully published articles or chapters still don’t feel that they had accomplished what they had hoped. While most graduate programs emphasise the need to publish, and most academic positions require publications, the space or help needed to think through the options is largely unavailable.
As a result, Dr. Janet Salmons set about to develop some supportive solutions, including materials, webinars, and a course offered with Dr. Helen Kara. The next ‘Create Your Publication Strategy’ course runs from February 10 to March 31 and e/merge Africa members signed up for this webinar are eligible for a discount. The course, with small group discussion and feedback from Janet and Helen, is designed for scholars who have completed or are nearing completion of a doctoral degree.
Performing careful reflection and systematic analysis is critical in order to make purposeful use of our research findings and the new knowledge we acquired. We call this process creating a publication strategy. A publication strategy should include carefully-defined goals, a purposeful timeline, and actionable steps for proposing and writing the kinds of pieces large or small that allow others to access what we’ve learned, produce impact, and propel our careers forward. Join this webinar to learn more about how to create a publication strategy.
Dr. Janet Salmons, is an independent researcher, writer, instructor and consultant through Vision2Lead. She has published books, chapters, articles, and blog posts. She is on the PhD faculty in the Walden University Riley College of Education. Learn more about Janet here. Janet has previously presented e/merge Africa online events on doing qualitative research online and doing online interviews. Recordings of these events are available on the e/merge Africa YouTube channel.
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