What is e/merge Africa?

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e/merge Africa is a new educational technology network which is mostly for educational technology researchers and practitioners in African higher education. During early 2014 e/merge Africa started offering regular professional development activities in the form of online seminars and workshops and short courses. You are invited to join our Facebook group, use the short contact form or mail us at info@emergeafrica.net. If you would like to lead a seminar, workshop or short course please send us a proposal.

Inclusive Design of e-Learning Environments: A Global Agenda

Our current seminar on “Inclusive Design of e-Learning Environments: A Global Agenda” which run from 25-29 August. The seminar is led by Professor Denise Wood, Professor of Learning, Equity, Access and Participation at Central Queensland University, Australia.

Please note: Professor Wood will be hosted an Adobe Connect live meeting Monday 25 August at 2:30 pm (SAST/GMT+2). The recording is available here and if you have not yet joined the conversation on Facebook, this can be done here.

Professor Wood will discuss the complexities of using digital technologies to engage students from diverse backgrounds. This presentation argues that ‘inclusion’ is a highly contestable concept and that despite the rhetoric, the move towards standardisation of inclusion, access and equity through institutional policy has ‘reterritorialized difference’ leading to a focus on ‘management of, rather than engagement with, difference’.

For the goals of inclusive education to be realised, as Denise Wood argues, there is a need for a more nuanced understanding of the dimensions required for education, and e-learning environments in particular to be inclusive of the diverse needs of our student population.

The four dimensions of accessibility; usability; personalisation and transformative pedagogical practice will be explored with examples of application in practice.

Denise Wood’s research with community organisations and national and state governments in Australia and South Africa focuses on the potential of new media technologies such as participatory Web 2.0 and 3D virtual learning environments to enhance the educational and social participation of young people with disabilities, as well as exploring the pedagogical potential of these environments to engage learners in the higher education context.

To receive e-mail updates and other messages relating to this seminar, please go to the signup page

Denise Wood is Professor of Learning, Equity, Access and Participation at Central Queensland University. She also holds an Adjunct Professorial position in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Her qualifications include a PhD (Education), Master of Educational Technology, Master of Design, Graduate Certificate in Flexible Learning, Graduate Diploma in Social Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Denise’s research focuses on the use of accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) to increase social and educational participation, as well as the pedagogical benefits of social media in teaching and learning.

Live panel: MOOCs and Online Course Design – Michael Rowe, Janet Small and Sukaina Walji

What can designers of online courses learn from MOOCs? What can designers of MOOCs learn from the experience of a small credit bearing course that is also available to all? These and other related topics will be raised in this live panel Adobe Connect session on Tuesday 19 August at 11 am (SAST/GMT+2). Bring your own experiences, insights and questions!

Michael Rowe is a Physiotherapy lecturer at University of Western Cape, South Africa with a particular interest in online and blended teaching and learning. In 2013 Michael created and ran two credit bearing modules in physiotherapy as open online courses. Michael has kindly agreed to talk a bit about the challenges faced in creating and leading his courses. He will be joined by Sukaina Walji and Janet Small from University of Cape Town’s MOOC implementation team.

Thank you to those of you who joined this session! The recording of this session is available here

To let us know that you will come to this this free live session, please use our signup form.

Dr. Michael Rowe is a physiotherapy educator at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa interested in the use of emerging technologies to facilitate new teaching and learning practices in undergraduate education.
Sukaina Walji is based at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT). She is a member of the MOOC Task Team with a remit to research and develop strategies for institutional engagement with MOOCs. Her other projects include Research Communication strategy for the Research in Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South (ROER4D) and Online Learning Design. She has an Honours degree from Oxford University and a Masters in Online and Distance Education from the Open University (UK).
Janet Small is a course developer based at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town. She is a member of the CILT MOOC Task Team. Janet is involved in curriculum and course design for blended and online courses in higher education – in a range of contexts from formal credit-bearing to less formal co-curricular and professional development. She has a Masters Degree in Adult Education from the University of Cape Town.

How to use tablets and blended learning for effective adult education in Africa – Day 2

We are now on day two of our seminar How to use tablets and blended learning for effective adult education in Africa led by Batseba Seifu from Institute for Peace and Security Studies, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Yesterday, we started the seminar by sharing a number of resources  including a narrated presentation (available here) and a web page with screenshots from the IPSS training project.  In her narrated presentation Batseba gives an overview of her blended learning project which aimed to mitigate the challenges of limited access to digital networks by participants with  limited technology experience while fostering an effective learning community. The case presented offers stimulus for an online discussion about how to use technologies for education in areas with severely constrained  internet connectivity and bandwidth.

To join the discussion please head straight to our discussion forum. Posting in the discussion forum requires registration to the e/merge Africa site, which can be done free of charge here. If you are interested in receiving e-mail updates about this seminar during this week, please use the sign up form below.

Next seminar: How to use tablets and blended learning for effective adult education in Africa

We are happy to announce our next online seminar How to use tablets and blended learning for effective adult education in Africa starting Monday 4 August and runs to and including Friday 8 August. This seminar is led by Batseba Seifu from Institute for Peace and Security Studies, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our presenter will showcase a tablet based blended training application for adult education, used in Ethiopia in order to  introduce the benefits of using tablets for training and show ways of mitigating challenges often faced when using tablets for training adults in Africa. Participants will learn how to apply the technology, methodology, and didactics of the training to other subjects and other areas in Africa to harness the potential of tablets for training. Two key strategies here are supporting student interaction and motivation during the distance learning period and supporting socialization during the face-to-face learning period. The case presented will serve as stimulus for an online discussion about how to use technologies for education in areas with severely constrained  internet connectivity and bandwidth. This seminar is free of charge and you can sign up using the form below.

Batseba Seifu is a project manager at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. Prior to working at IPSS, she worked at various organizations among which are PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Nature Conservancy. She earned her Masters of Public Administration from New York University and her BA degree in Paralegal Studies from Central Washington University (Cum Laude). She lived in the United States of America for 14 years before settling in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

‘Online Interview Research’ – live session today

Please join us, when we will be ending our seminar Online Interview Research: Designing, Doing, Teaching with Dr Janet Salmons today. Dr. Salmons will host a live session today Monday 28 July at 3 pm (SAST/GMT+2). Please reserve the time in your calendars and enter the Adobe Connect meeting room here, 15 minutes before the session begins. If this is your first Adobe Connect session we are strongly encouraging you to read through setup instructions here.

With participants from Nigeria to Swaziland to South Africa, conversations are ongoing in:

What are ‘online interviews’?  How can we use them in instruction and research?

Think through the choice to interview online

Think through the choice of ICT

Dr Salmons is hugely knowledgeable in using ICTs for research, and while much can be gleaned from her presentations and posts, the real value for you as participant would be in joining us in the forums and asking her pointed questions – the questions that you need answered with regard to your own online research.  We look forward to meeting you in the forums, and hearing Dr Salmons’ answers to your questions!

Online Interview Research Seminar – Day 3

Yesterday was day 3 of the seminar on “Online Interview Research : Designing, Doing, Teaching”, led by Dr. Janet Salmons.  If you haven’t done so you are still most welcome to join the seminar. Please come to our seminar landing page which links you to seminar resources and our meeting places. Then please come to the forum to introduce yourself and join the seminar. There is no charge for registration to the e/merge Africa site or participation.

As you may know Dr. Janet Salmons had originally planned two live sessions during this week however these were postponed due to a death in her family. Our condolences and thanks to Dr. Salmons who has agreed to host a live session on Monday 28 July at 3 pm (SAST/GMT+2). More details will be announced later.

Between now and the live meeting you are invited to join us in the Online Interview Research forum where Janet Salmons is sharing highly informative resources and responding to our contexts and queries.

Please notice the new topic introduced by Dr. Janet Salmons on Tuesday “Think through the choice of ICT”. So you have now decided to use ICTs for conducting your research interviews, however what technologies would be appropriate to use to support your research goals? Dr. Salmons is highlighting the necessity for thinking carefully about technology and platforms to use, along with providing a guide. Please share your own experiences and tell us technologies you have found useful.

We look forward to meeting you in the forums!

Update: Online Interview Research : Designing, Doing, Teaching

Its day 2 of the seminar on “Online Interview Research : Designing, Doing, Teaching”, led by Dr. Janet Salmons which runs from 21 July to 25 July. To join the seminar please come to our seminar landing page which links you to seminar resources and our meeting places. Then please come to the forum to introduce yourself and join the seminar. There is no charge for registration to the e/merge Africa site or participation.

“Welcome! Please introduce yourself: We have 12 introductions from colleagues who want to use online interviews as part of their research in varied disciplines including educational technology, adult education, higher education, information systems, nursing education and digital literacies. If you haven’t introduced yourself yet this is a good place to make yourself known to other seminar participants

“What are research interviews? How can we use them in instruction and research?”: Janet Salmons introduces online research interviews and an E-Interview Research Framework which she developed to offer “a conceptual system of key questions about interrelated facets of online interview research”. In this topic she also shares the first chapter of her book “Qualitative Online Interviews” as well as a video introduction to the framework.

“Think through the choice to interview online” Janet Salmons offers “three ways to think about this choice, with the information and communications technology (ICT) serving as medium, setting, or phenomenon.” She invites us to “think about an idea for a study you’d like to conduct … then post a comment describing your own motivations for conducting online interviews.”

We look forward to meeting you in the forum. We will announce new times for the rescheduled online meetings as soon as these are available.

Seminar: How to use tablets and blended learning for effective adult education in Africa

4 August – 8 August.

From Ethiopia we are pleased to present this seminar by Batseba Seifu, who is a Project Manager at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University.

In this seminar Batseba will showcase a tablet based blended training application for adult education. She will introduce the benefits of using tablets for training and show ways of mitigating challenges with the use of tablets for trainings in Africa. The seminar will also provide insights on how to effectively deliver blended learning and introduce trainees to time-honored and innovative adult education theories.

After the seminar, attendees will get some insights on how to duplicate the technology, methodology, and didactics of the training to other subjects and other areas in Africa.

In addition, they will gain insights on how to deliver blended training effectively: they will learn how to involve interaction and motivation during the distance learning period and socialization during the face-to-face learning period. For further information and to sign up for free please go to the seminar signup page.

Starting today: Online Interview Research: Designing, Doing, Teaching

We are counting down the days to the start of the seminar about Online Interview Research: Designing, Doing, Teaching led by Dr. Janet Salmons, who will provide useful perspectives and advice on how to use online interviews for qualitative research. We will be able to explore the implications for qualitative research including the use of social media platforms. This seminar is highly recommended to colleagues who are engaged in qualitative research or training the next generation of researchers. Please circulate the news of this workshop widely within your African networks.

Please notice that the presenter has requested live sessions to be postponed until further notice. Please do come to join us to discuss and explore the resources available on the seminar landing page and in the discussion forum. This requires registration to the e/merge Africa web site which can be done here.

 

Next event: Online Interview Research: Designing, Doing, Teaching

Online Interview Research: Designing, Doing, Teaching, led by Dr. Janet Salmons runs from 21 July to 25 July. In addition to an asynchronous discussion forum, Dr. Salmons will offer two online meetings which will be recorded. Please notice on request of the presenter the online live meetings have been postponed until further notice. But please, do come to the seminar’s landing page here to explore resources and take in the discussion!

Increasingly, we communicate online and use social media platforms for personal and family, social and cultural, business and educational purposes. Interviewers can use these technologies to interact with participants anywhere. Online interviews can be used to collect data for qualitative studies, but their use is not limited to empirical research. E-interviews are also valuable as collaborative e-learning exercises that bring real-world expertise into the classroom and develop digital literacy.

Even though we may feel comfortable communicating online, doing interviews requires another level of thinking and planning, questioning and listening. How do we learn such skills?

This seminar will focus on two related areas: designing research studies based on data collected through online interviews and teaching students how to plan and conduct interviews online. We will consider ways to use free, cheap, available communications technologies. Resources and sample exercises will be offered that you can adapt for your own classes.

We are very pleased to host this seminar and encourage all who are currently involved in research or just interested in learning new skills to sign up here. (free of charge)