What is e/merge Africa?


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.

Learn to tell your research story!

A two weeks online course facilitated by:
Rashad Mohammad, Michigan State University
Daniela Gachago, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Jolanda Morkel, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Duration: 22 June 2015 – 3 July 2015 – With an unofficial start 15 June 2015!

From Monday 22 June we officially started the course with the first online event, an introductory session, giving first home work. On Friday 26 June we were hosting our second webinar that focused on story boarding. The recordings of these two webinars are available via our resource site. On Friday 3 July we will be ending this mini-course with our last webinar. This will take place Friday 3 July at 2:30 pm (GMT+2).

Straight from the horse’s mouth may sound like the best way to get information, but not if you don’t understand the whinnies and neighs. Likewise, scientists and researchers may have the best understanding of their own work but struggle to explain it to people who are not experts of their field. Science communication is becoming more and more important in increasing research uptake, i.e. the dissemination of your research output beyond conferences and academic publications.

This 2-weeks online course will introduce you to ideas around science communication, focusing on one particular way of communicating your research journey: in the form of digital research stories.

This online course targets researchers, but could benefit anyone interested in engaging the public, decision makers and others members of the community with information that is technical or otherwise unfamiliar to the audience.

The first week focuses on writing and constructing an understandable narrative. It teaches you to kill jargon, focus topics, decide what not to write, use active voice, report what’s interesting rather than merely important, use word and graphic images and omit needless words. The second week will introduce you to the idea of storyboarding, helping you to find the right images for your story. Furthermore we will discuss tools you could use to create your digital story. Follow-up workshops can be organised for people needing more practical support in developing their stories.

Digital research stories have many functions: it’s the kind of thing that you can use for a Linked-In profile, an item for your CV, a way to demonstrate your communication skills to employers. It is an asset that can bolster grant applications, improve your teaching, make your research more discoverable and applicable.

These are some videos produced by a researcher who took this class.

Making healthy cereals
A scientist look into Centralia, Pennsylvania, United States

It’s easy, fun and free.  Come join us by signing up below and start thinking about your story already today. Please notice this event has previously been advertised as Digital Stories and MOOCLets – Contents remains the same and now with extended dates!

Events in June 2015

We are pleased to announce our upcoming events for e/merge Africa in June:

1. Setting up eLearning Programmes at Higher Educational Institutions

This mini-seminar took place 3 June and ending 5 June 2015 and was convened by Dr. Ebenezer Malcalm from the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana who presented on the challenges on setting up an eLearning programmes at higher educational institutions. Resources from this mini-seminar will remain available here, including the Adobe Connect live session from Friday 5 June.

2. eLearning Africa report back session

On 10 June at 1 pm (GMT +2) the e/merge Africa team reported back on their experience of the eLearning Africa conference that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in late May 2015. The recording of this Adobe Connect session is available here

3. Digital Story Telling and MOOCLETs

From 15-19 June we offer a seminar on the use of mini Massive Open Online Courses (MOOClets) and their use for digital storytelling courses. This seminar is presented by Rashad Muhammed from Michigan State University, US together with Daniela Gachago and Jolanda Morkel from Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), South Africa. To sign up, please refer to this site

Dr. Ebenezer Malcam, Setting up eLearning Programmes in Higher Educational Institutions

Dr. Ebenezer Malcalm

The e/merge Africa team with online facilitators at eLearning Africa

The e/merge Africa team

Rashad Muhammed,  Digital Storytelling and MOOCLets

Rashad Muhammed

Online Facilitation Course – June – August

facilitating online

Last few places left – please apply by 19 June 2015.

We invite applications from educational technologists and educators based in African Higher Education Institutions to participate in a free five week course in online facilitation funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. A maximum of 30 participants can be accommodated.  Course participation will be entirely online and will require up to 8 hours of participation per week. Facilitating Online was developed by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at University of Cape Town and is registered as a short course at the University of Cape Town.  A certificate of completion will be awarded for successful completion of 75% of the assessed activities of the course.

Application for the last few places in the June-August run of this course remain open until 19 June 2015. We are also planning to offer further instances of the course from September-November 2015. Please contact us on facilitationcourse@emergeafrica.net if you would like more information or for us notify you when registration opens for the next run.

Target participants

The course is aimed at experienced educators at higher education institutions in Africa who have reliable internet access and the opportunity to run courses or components of their courses online.  Selection criteria include:

  • previous experience of online teaching and learning
  • at least five years’ experience as a university educator or educational technologist
  • willingness to teach future online facilitation courses in their local/regional context or
  • willingness to be a conference host for the e/merge Africa online educational technology network across African universities.

All applicants will require a letter of support from their line manager or Head of Department.

To apply, please use our online application form before 19 June 2015

Course Facilitators:

Esther Gacicio is an Assistant Director in eLearning at the Kenya Institute of Education (KIE)

Khanyisile Ngodwana is a Writing Centre Coordinator at Walter Sisulu University and a Tutor for UNISA Language and Study Skills and Workplace English courses

Nicola Pallitt is an Educational Technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at University of Cape Town

Gerrit Wissing is a Senior Instructional Designer at the Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa

Course Convenor:

Tony Carr is an Educational Technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at University of Cape Town and Convenor of the e/merge Africa network.

Deadlines and course schedule

The course schedule includes reflection time and takes account of the complex and busy lives of participants by building in a break of a week after each fortnight of course activity.

29 June – 3 July: Week 0 (Entering site, addressing technical issues, introductions)

6 July – 10 July: Week 1
13 July – 17 July: Week 2
20 July – 24 July: Consolidation Week 1
27 July – 31 July: Week 3
3 Aug – 7 Aug: Week 4
10 Aug – 14 Aug: Consolidation Week 2
17 Aug – 21 Aug: Week 5


You can address queries by e-mail to facilitationcourse@emergeafrica.net .

2015 e/merge Africa Learning Design Seminar

4 – 19 May 2015

Starting on 4 May 2015 this 3 week workshop introduces the topic of learning design, focusing on the early part of the design process from discovery to ideation. During the three week period there will be 3 live online webinars and participants will be guided towards complete 3 online activities.

The three online activities are scheduled for the following dates:

Tuesday 5 May 12 – 1 pm (GMT +2)
Tuesday 12 May 12 – 1 pm (GMT +2)
Tuesday 15 May 6 – 7 pm (GMT +2)

This course is very valuable for all, who are interested in or currently involved in creating a course, seminar or module. This seminar is developed by Senior Lecturer Jolanda Morkel from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa and Dr. Nicola Pallitt from the University of Cape Town. The seminar is aimed at educators and draws on well-known figures from within the Learning Design Community, such as Gilly Salmon, Grainne Conole and Diana Laurillard. This is a great opportunity to get started on designing your own courses. To sign up please use the form below.

Nicola Pallitt holds a PhD in Media Studies and is a lecturer at the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at the University of Cape Town.Her research interests include understanding how people appropriate ICTs in various contexts. She is involved in curriculum innovation initiatives and work in assisting university staff with integrating educational technologies in their curricula. She also assists staff with developing their own professional ePortfolios for a range of purposes and provide special opportunities for postgraduates and new academics to develop these resources.
Jolanda Morkel is a qualified architect and senior lecturer in the Department of Architectural Technology in the Faculty of Informatics and Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The focus of her research and current doctoral studies in Design is the virtual learning environment for mastering conceptual design. She is investigating how emerging technologies may support the collaborative studio learning experience online.

Using Social Media as a platform for teaching higher education – What do students expect?

22 – 24 April 2015

From Wednesday 22 April to Friday 24 April 2015 Professor Ayotola Aremu from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria will lead a seminar on the use of social media as educational technologies based on her research about the use of social media in a postgraduate diploma course. On 22 April, Ayotola Aremu opened this seminar by giving a one hour online Adobe Connect presentation. This was a great session, which initiated great conversation on the potentials and constraints on using social media to teach courses. The recording of this presentation is available here and the discussion forum remains open to and including Friday 24 April. Please also notice that other resources are available on the landing page for the this seminar. To access please register for free here

Professor Ayotola Aremu is a Senior lecturer at the University of Ibadan and holds a B.Sc. (Electrical & Electronics Engineering), P.G. Diploma in Education, M.Ed (Educational Technology), Ph.D (Educatinal Technology), Cerificate in Higher Education(MASHAV, Israel). Her research interests include Educational Technology, Pre-primary and Primary Mathematics and Girls in Science & Technology.


e/merge Africa review session – new time

Please notice: New time for this event. If you already registered we already have your details. If you would like to take part please use the form below. 

You are invited to our e/merge Africa review session on Thursday 12 March 2015 at 3 pm (GMT +2 Your location), where e/merge Africa Convenor Tony Carr and Project Manager Jakob Pedersen will review highlights of 2014 and announce events until May 2015. The event will take place in an Adobe Connect live meeting room.

In 2014 e/merge Africa started regular online activities. Across the sixteen professional development events held by e/merge Africa there were signups from 691 unique individuals across 54 countries including 536 unique individuals from 27 African countries. There were 249 unique individuals (including 177 from Africa) who actively participated in events by posting messages in the discussion forums or Facebook or by appearing in live online events. We would like to put some words on these and other successes have experienced through the year and invite you to give your input on where you think the project should be heading.


Transform 2015 Research Colloquium – now open for registration!

We are very excited to announce three very exciting keynotes and to open free online registration for the Transform 2015 Research Colloquium. Transform 2015, with the theme of  “Transforming Pedagogical Practices in African Higher Education with blended and online learning” will be held online from 6-10 April 2015. Transform 2015 is a collaboration between The African Virtual University, the e/merge Africa network and the Educational Technology Inquiry Lab at University of Cape Town.

Transform 2015 will facilitate live and asynchronous encounters with some of the most interesting work by emerging and established educational technology researchers in and from Africa. We are planning for up to 20 peer reviewed and invited presentations including three three keynotes from highly respected researchers:

Associate Professor Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams from the ROER4D Project, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa will present on Open Educational Resources and Pedagogical Practices in African Higher Education: A perspective from the ROER4D Project.

Associate Professor Wanjira Kinuthia from Georgia State University, United States will present a keynote entitled Learning Design for Personal Learning Environments: Engaging Emerging Technologies to Transform Online and Blended Instruction in African Higher Education

Associate Professor Dick Ng’ambi heads the ETI-Lab at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.  His keynote is Why higher education in Africa produces square pegs for round holes: a call for innovative approaches.

You are invited to join Transform 2015 to connect with colleagues across Africa and the world in learning about some of the latest e-learning research findings from our continent and about how we can become more effective researchers.


Peer Assist – Staff use and uptake of an LMS in a Higher Educational institution

6 March 2015 1 pm (GMT +2)

During 2015 we will convene several peer assist sessions. The peer assist process offers simple yet effective steps to a group of peers address a challenge brought by a colleague. We identify and question assumptions, then share knowledge and insights which can facilitate the development of innovative and context sensitive solutions.

Our first request for assistance came from educational technologist Stephen Kigundu from Walter Sisulu University in South Africa. His challenge is about how to improve staff uptake and usage of an LMS in a higher educational institution. We had a great online peer assist via Adobe Connect with Stephen on Tuesday 27 January and an additional follow-up session will take place on 6 March at 1 pm. This will also be a one hour Adobe Connect session and more details will be announced as we are getting closer. After the session Stephen summarised some of the points raised and used this to create a shared Google Doc – a collaborative and editable Action Document which will create the basis for the followup session on 6 March. If you wish to participate and get access to this document then please drop us a mail at info@emergeafrica.net. Your input will be much appreciated, either asynchronously in the Google Doc or as Peer Assistant during the live session on 6 March. In case you missed this session and you are curious about the process you are most welcome to view the Adobe Connect recording here and see peer assist resources we have made available in our Facebook Group

As an additional resource we had Jolanda Morkel to create this Sketch Note of the outcome of the peer-assist session:


If you have a case, proposal or situation, where you would find input from peers useful, please contact us on info@emergeafrica.net.

Transform 2015 – Extension of Deadline for submission of papers

This message is an announcement of an extension of the deadline for submissions to the Transform 2015 Research Colloquium which will take place from 6 – 10 April 2015 with the theme of  “Transforming Pedagogical Practices  in African Higher Education with blended and online learning”.

We will consider papers of up to 5000 words which are submitted online by 12 February 2015 by 1) emerging researchers based in Africa and from the African diaspora (as sole or first author) with research experience of at most five years post PhD on 31st December 2014; and 2) established researchers based in Africa and from the African diaspora.

Approximately two thirds of the papers in the colloquium will be from emerging researchers. In selecting presentations we will consider the relevance to the colloquium call, the quality of the proposal, the originality of the research and relevance to African contexts.

African Experts Report from Online Educa Berlin

On Friday 5th December we had the great pleasure of hosting a live session from Online Educa in Berlin featuring  Marilynne Coopasami, Lecturer, Durban University of Technology, South Africa; Aida Opoku-Mensah, Special Adviser: Post – 2015 Development Agenda, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Ethiopia; and Charles Y. Senkondo, Executive Director, Tanzania Global Learning Agency (TaGLA). Marilynne, Charles and Aida reported to colleagues across Africa and the world about their Online Educa highlights, insights and what to bring home for the African e-learning contexts. This was an exciting and enlightening discussion which brought an African perspective on the conference. In case you missed out on this event the recording of this webinar is available here.

Webinar participants are invited to continue the conversation in the Facebook event page after the webinar.

Online Educa Berlin is one of the world’s leading conferences on technology supported learning and training for the corporate, education and public service sectors. This year e/merge Africa and the eLearning Africa Report are convening a short webinar to share some of the innovative solutions, new thinking and bring home ideas with colleagues across Africa.


Marilynne Coopasami

Marilynne Coopasami

Aida Opoku-Mensah

Charles Senkondo