AAU / e/merge Africa survey on elearning uptake and professional development needs – take part today!


Completing the AAU/ e/merge Africa survey is a powerful act of participation in growing e-learning capacity across our continent. We need your help with this. The survey results will help the Association of African Universities and e/merge Africa to design programmes of vibrant, highly relevant professional development activities which draw on the depth of expertise in the network and support your effectiveness as an e-learning practitioner or researcher. To do this we need good up to date information from hundreds of colleagues like you across African higher education. After completion you will be able to enter a draw for iTunes, Google Play and Amazon vouchers. The survey closes on 30 June 2016 so now is the time!

This survey is a project of the Association of African Universities in partnership with the e/merge Africa professional development network. The survey is designed to provide information about e-learning uptake as well as the professional development needs and priorities of e-learning practitioners and researchers in African Higher Education Institutions. 

The survey has 33 questions and will take up to 30 minutes to complete. All information supplied will be anonymous and no potentially identifying details will be shared. At the beginning of the survey you will be asked to confirm your consent to participate. After completion of the survey you will be able to enter a draw for prizes of US$25 and US$50 Amazon.com, iTunes and Google Play vouchers.
Please click here to take part in the survey. Please forward to colleagues based at higher education institutions within Africa. Our survey is also available in French, Portuguese and Arabic.


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.

Making more uses of MOOCs

 24 – 29 July 2016 

Sukaina Walji, Janet Small, Andrew Deacon, Tasneem Jaffer, MOOC Implementation Team, University of Cape Town, South Africa

In 2014 the University of Cape Town was one of the first African universities to offer MOOCs on major international platforms. Through examples we will present a framework of use cases for how MOOCs are being used to enhance mainstream academic activities through drawing on MOOC design, materials and pedagogy. MOOCs have the potential for being more than stand-alone public facing courses. Through the examples, we will illustrate how MOOCs are acting as enablers and influences on academics’ teaching and learning practices both when academics use MOOCs they have created in their own mainstream or when they re-use what is available from other institutions.

The format of week long seminar will comprise two live presentations (Tuesday 26 July 1 pm SAST & Friday 29 July 11 am SAST) and online asynchronous discussions in between. The first presentation will cover MOOC use cases in our context and we will ask participants to give feedback and share ideas of how MOOCs are being or could be used in your own context. We will introduce and discuss pedagogical strategies such as flipping, wrapping, blending and reusing MOOCs or materials from MOOCs. The second presentation will respond to forum discussions and examples provided by participants to collaboratively develop a framework for MOOC uses and re-use.

Andrew Deacon works in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is also a member of the UCT MOOC Implementation Team. He works in curriculum and course design projects with an interest in learning analytics, assessment and online course design.
Sukaina Walji is based at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT). She is a member of the UCT MOOC Implementation Team with a remit to research and develop strategies for institutional engagement with MOOCs.  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 UCT MOOC Implementation 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.
Tasneem Jaffer is a Digital Learning Material Designer for the MOOCs team. She most recently worked in the field of user experience (UX), where she used her analytical and research skills to recommend best practices and ways in which to improve the usability of government websites. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in educational technology where her research topic focuses on students’ perceptions of wrapped MOOCs at the University of cape Town. Tasneem is a part of the UCT MOOC Implementation Team

Please sign up below

Making more uses of MOOCs



Workshop: Quality assuring online learning (Dates to be confirmed)

Ephraim Mhlanga, South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE).

Dates to be confirmed

In December last year Ephraim Mhlanga from South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE) presented a seminar on quality assurance in eLearning and Open Educational resources. Since then a lot has happened in the background and Ephraim has continued to work towards making the quality assurance aspect as central part of e/merge Africa. In the course of the next couple of months Ephraim will be leading a one week workshop on the topic to make more connections to advocate and make eLearning quality assurance a featured topic in the eLearning landscape. We encourage all to join Ephraim to make this topic forefront. Sign up already now and we will inform once we have a date confirmed.

Ephraim Mhlanga is a Programme Specialist: Quality Assurance at the South African Institute for Distance Education


Workshop: Quality assuring of online learning


Intellectual Property Rights: Implications and Best Practices for Elearning Practitioners.

Monday 6 June – Friday 10 June 2016

eLearning and Intellectual Property Rights: Implications and Best Practices for Elearning Practitioners.

Thank you to all who took part in Monday’s webinar! Adobe Connect recording is available here. View resources and join the conversation on this topic by visiting the seminar landing page

Join us for this seminar on intellectual property rights and the role of policies regulating these. This seminar is lead by Carnegie Diaspora Fellow Dr. Jasmine Renner from East-Tennessee University, United States. Dr. Renner will start with a webinar on Monday 6 June at 3 pm (SAST) where she will be joined by Dr. Glenda Cox (Research on Open Educational Resources for Development – ROER4D, University of Cape Town, South Africa). and continue the conversation in a discussion forum during the rest of the week. Sign up below to join!


eLearning practitioners are increasingly creating educational materials that are offered on a wide scale, globally. With this dynamic frontier, emerge questions and concerns about intellectual property rights among content developers and providers. Questions such as who owns the digital materials and content that I create and post online? What are institutional or organizational limits of ownership to my e-materials and digital products? Can I patent my work and what are organizational implications? Do I have the right to use content for eLearning courses that is easily downloadable and found on the worldwide web at another organization? This webinar addresses intellectual property rights questions related to the content and development of eLearning educational materials and discusses its implications for practitioners, students and institutions or organizations. Please sign up here:

This seminar has ended – for resources please see seminar landing page

Dr. Jasmine Renner is an international speaker, author, lecturer. educator and consultant for governments and civil societies. She was appointed a 2015 Carnegie Africa Disapora Fellow by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and a Fulbright Specialist Scholar by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB). The Fulbright Specialist scholar award is funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Carnegie Africa Disapora Fellow award is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and administered by the Institute of International Education in partnership with Quinnipiac University in New York. She is currently a tenured Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at East Tennessee State University.

eLearning Africa report back

The e/merge Africa team has returned after an exciting week in Egypt, attending the annual eLearning Africa conference. We learned a lot, we connected a lot and had many great experiences we would like to share! Today Wednesday 1 June 2016 we hosted a one hour webinar sharing the team’s views and impressions of the conference. Recording is available here

10 Essential Ingredients for an Effective eMentoring Design Plan

Monday 16 May – Friday 20 May 2016 

Join us from 16 May to 20 May 2016 when Dr. Penina Lam is hosting “10 Essential Ingredients for an Effective eMentoring Design Plan”. View Monday’s webinar here, then proceed to our seminar landing page here to view more resources and take part in the conversation in the discussion forum.

Objectives: By the end of this Webinar, the participants will be able to:
• Evaluate the benefits associated with virtual mentoring and fit for their audience(s)
• Describe the 10 essential ingredients for designing an effective eMentoring plan
• Choose to engage in facilitated sessions following the Webinar and apply lessons learned
Abstract. Virtual mentoring (eMentoring) offers an unprecedented pathway to accessing a rich pool of global talent and expertise who can enrich in-class and out-of-class learning experiences. It holds great promise for mentors and mentees; for individuals, schools and workplaces. eMentoring applications presents opportunities for mentoring pairs or teams who can now meet and communicate from virtually anywhere around the globe! eMentoring can introduce a valuable blend to the educator’s took kit enabling the engagement of diverse learning stakeholders and utilizing readily available technologies.

Mentoring is useful as a learning approach for all ages and levels of experience that has been shown to have tremendous benefits for those who engage. Mentoring helps develop confidence, key competencies, and networking resources particularly vital for today’s competitive workplace. Virtual mentoring is not just about the technology that is used but about the people relationships and strategy to develop a sound initiative.

The participants will evaluate the promise of these mobile- and Web-based applications and how mentorship can be designed for maximum impact. This Webinar will focus on these foundations of eMentoring to provide educators with ideas on design principles, tools, and tips for implementation.

The Webinar session will be interactive, featuring live polls and chats with the featured speaker. Following the live session, the participants will engage with a facilitator for deeper reflection activities.

Dr. Penina Lam is the CEO of eLearning Innovators, Inc. She is also the Online Instructional Design Consultant for the World Bank’s Gateway Academy.
She co-directs the annual eLearning Innovations Conference & Expo (ELICE), reaching thousands of educators, leaders, and innovators.
She’s passionate about learning and organizational development. As a learning solutions consultant and coach, she works internationally to support organizations with accessible, efficient, and quality multi-media learning options. She is an early adopter of eLearning and since 2001, she’s been involved in the design, facilitation, and evaluation of dozens of online and blended courses.
Penina holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development (OD) from the University of Louisville (USA); a master’s in higher education; and a bachelor’s degree from Kenyatta University (B.Ed. Hon).  She served in senior leadership roles in higher education and corporate sectors. She has served as faculty at the University of Arkansas (USA); Queen’s University (Canada) and the Kenya Utalii College.
Penina is a member of Rotary International. She serves on several non-profit Boards. She authored Virtual Mentoring (2015) and co-authored The Management of Adult Education Organizations in Africa (2011), published by the UNESCO Institute of Education & Pearson.



Thursday 5 May 2016 at 1 pm (SAST)

Thank you to all who took part in this short seminar either at the University of Cape Town or online via Adobe Connect. The recording of this session is available here

To enable working individuals and other non-traditional students with limited means and located in outlying areas, to advance their qualifications, traditional offerings should be interrogated. Alternative pathways to qualification must be sought, employing thoughtful learning design process and optimising available technology that is accessible, practical and sustainable.

In response to the need to transform the architectural profession, to promote broader access and address issues of affordability and proximity to the campus,

an existing curriculum was redesigned. The new blended BTech programme in Architectural Technology is offered through a University-Industry collaboration by means of on-campus block release, office-based mentoring and online engagement. The studio methodology, which is closely associated with architectural education, remains at the centre of the learning agenda, although through different modalities and implemented across time and space.

In this presentation, lessons learnt from a pilot programme that successfully produced its first graduates in April this year, is shared.


Jolanda Morkel is a senior lecturer in the Department of Architectural Technology and Interior Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology where she is also busy with doctoral studies, focusing on the use of technology to mediate studio-based learning. She heads up a blended programme in architecture, optimising workplace and online learning, together with workshop format on-campus blocks, to promote access and transformation of the architectural profession.

Change Maker: From Township to Texas and Next?

Monday 25 April – Friday 29 April 2016 

Join us for the webinar today at 1 pm (SAST This is 12 Abuja / 2 pm Nairobi). Please go to the e/merge Africa Adobe Connect meeting room 1) Choose Log in 2) Provide your name and sign into room 

Tembinkosi Qondela had an idea, “to digitalise Khayelitsha”, a poor township in Cape Town, South Africa, where digital literacy levels are low and many find it difficult to make a simple photocopy or send a basic email.

In 2015 this idea took him on an adventure from Khayelitsha to Austin Texas, USA – 14,000 kilometres away – where he received the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award, an initiative of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival. Tembinkosi’s journey to Austin began at the Whizz ICT Resource Centre which he started in 2008 with no technological background and after leaving his job as a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town. The centre assists approximately 100 individuals’ everyday with,  amongst other things, photocopying, creating CV’s, job applications and general end user training, things many of us take for granted. Whizz ICT was one of ten nominees that year and the only one from the African continent.

Dewey Winburne one of the original co-founders of SXSW, an event which is a launching pad for new content and offers a unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies, is remembered as a humanitarian and true visionary of the New Media Revolution. Despite winning numerous awards Dewey remained committed to education through ICT, therefore, the award given in his name recognises recipients for their use of digital technology to help others. Each recipient receives a $1000 grant, complimentary registration to SXSW and an opportunity to showcase their work to the wider SXSW community.

When asked about the impact of the award on his organisation, Tembinkosi responded, “tremendous” and explained that the entire community celebrated for four weeks! The recognition brought greater exposure and standing to the organisation (and himself), both within Khayelitsha and abroad; important as Whizz ICT has no marketing budget and relies purely on word-of-mouth advertising. The award allowed Tembinkosi to take part in a roadshow informing the wider community about his service and the award and inviting them to celebrate with him; he fully believes that the award is not merely an honour for him but the entire community. Internally the award had a positive impact on staff who were now newly motivated.

Exposure to the SXSW community allowed him the opportunity to form useful connections and also introduced him to innovative ways in which ICT is being used to improve education in the USA and Europe, skills he hopes to bring home. Tembinkosi believes that international connections are extremely important to his business as technology is constantly changing and they bring in expertise and knowledge about new developments. A previous American volunteer at the Centre managed to organise a training session by Facebook at Whizz ICT and the web-development course currently offered by the Centre is being run by a company in Nicaragua; these examples demonstrate practically the value of relationships.

Fully aware of the challenges facing developing nations such as South Africa and much of the continent, Tembinkosi’s mission is to solve people’s needs through ICT; an idea he does not believe is being supported enough by ICT developers globally. Much development is “nice to have”, but he questions the impact it will have in solving the basic needs of individuals. He motivates with an example of a past student who went from working part time in the retail industry with no benefits to having a secure administration position within the South African Department of Labour. She credits the computer course she took at Whizz ICT with providing her with the opportunity to change her life.

Tembinkosi will be discussing the importance of social innovation and digital literacy in addressing the needs of the most disadvantaged in our country and abroad. He will comment on the impact of international recognition on an organisation and answer questions about branching out and making a real difference in society. Register below to listen to his inspirational journey online and to discuss during the rest of the week. If you are at or near the University of Cape Town we invite you to join us Monday 25 April at the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CILT), PD Hahn Building, Upper Campus

Tembinkosi Qondela co-founded the Whizz ICT Centre, Khayelitsha, South Africa which is an organisation that seeks to facilitate the use of information communication technology (ICT) tools, for development efforts of poor communities. Whizz ICT Centre has identified the use of lack of access to information as a significant contributor to marginalization of the youth which compose of the majority of South African society. Whizz has put up a youth centre which gives access to youth, computer training as well as other ICT related services.

Getting Started: Teaching Online Research Design Basics and Enacted Approaches for Generating Data with Arts-Based & Participatory Methods

This year we are particularly pleased to once again to be joined by Dr. Janet Salmons, Founder and Consultant at Vision2Lead. This year Janet will present two webinars highly relevant to all who are involved in qualitative research where some or all is internet-based.

When big data raises new questions…when you want to dig deeper and explore motivations, perspectives, and connections… you need qualitative approaches. Dr. Janet Salmons is conducting a virtual book tour to introduce the ideas and methods described in her new SAGE book, Doing Qualitative Research Online. e/merge Africa is hosting a stop on the tour, with two webinars and a week-long discussion.

All are welcome– whether you teach research-oriented courses, supervise student research, are a student yourself or a researcher who designs and conducts academic, business or social science research. You are welcome to join in whether or not you read the book. Chapter 2 is online for free download and you would like to purchase the book, you can receive a 25% discount with the attached code.

Webinar: Getting Started: Teaching Online Research Design Basics –  Monday 4 April 2016 – 3 pm (SAST)

As educators teaching classes about research methods, or as supervisors working with students who are preparing theses and dissertations, we have the opportunity to guide the next generation of scholars and innovative practitioners. When students want to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) to collect data, how can we enable them to design coherent, ethical studies that will generate respected (and publishable) results?

Why principles of qualitative inquiry apply when it will be conducted online? What kinds of design and ethical issues do qualitative researchers need to consider when planning to collect data online? What exercises will develop needed skills? What criteria should be used when evaluating research proposals? These are some of the questions we will explore in this interactive webinar.

Related chapters in Doing Qualitative Research Online: Chapters 1, 2 and 5

Webinar: Enacted Approaches for Generating Data with Arts-Based & Participatory Methods – Tuesday 5 April 2016 – 3 pm (SAST)

The online environment offers many ways to communicate, as evidenced by the trend towards increased use of images and media. Children and youth, or participants who have differences or limitations with spoken language, may prefer alternatives to the typical verbal questioning and responses common to research interviews. Such alternatives may also be useful when dealing with complex or sensitive topics.

How can qualitative researchers use media, photographs or graphics to elicit participants’ responses and generate rich data? What methodological and ethical considerations are important? These are some of the questions we will explore in this interactive webinar.

Related chapters in Doing Qualitative Research Online: Chapters 2, 6 and 9

Discussion Forum

Dr. Salmons will continue to answer questions and discuss ways to teach and conduct qualitative online research. In the eMerge discussion forum we will share ideas, examples and resources.

Please sign up for one or both here!

Janet Salmons , PhD has been an online graduate faculty member at Capella University School of Business and Technology since 1999. She is an independent researcher, writer and consultant through Vision2Lead (www.vision2lead.com) . In addition to the new Qualitative Online Interviews, she edited Cases in Online Interview Research, also available from Sage Publications. In addition to online qualitative methods, she is interested in e-learning and online collaboration. She is a frequent presenter for online workshops and seminars, including participation in e/merge conferences. Dr. Salmons has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from Union Institute and lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Competition: African snapshots – Capturing e-learning in African higher education together

Thank you to all who took part in our small Digital Story event African snapshots: Capturing e-learning in African higher education. During three weeks we received photos on the themes of ‘Loving Technology‘,’Hating Technology‘ and “A Window into eLearning‘. One winner per week was chosen and these three contributions now stand a chance to win the main price a US$25 voucher for Amazon.com. Please help us by voting using this form

In collaboration with South Africa’s first Digital Story Festival, hosted at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) 16 March 2016 (Pre-festival workshops 11, 12 and 14 March) we are presenting this Photo Competition: African snapshots – Capturing e-learning in African higher education together Grab your smart phone, tablet or digital camera and take part!

An image tells a story. If someone were to take a peek through the door of your classroom for example, what might they see? How does e-learning happen in your context? The aim of this photo competition is to share photos depicting the landscape of e-learning uptake in African higher education. What does this look like ‘on the ground’? How is technology being used to foster learning and teaching relationships across the African continent? What contextual challenges do you face with e-learning in your teaching?

How do I get involved?
Each day/week at midday a new ‘theme’ will be posted to the group. We kick off this event with a Valentine’s Day theme: ‘We love technology’. We also have some trigger questions that might help you with selecting an appropriate photo to share for the various themes. For ‘We love technology’, this trigger question is:
1. e-learning I love because… (it helps me teach or learn better, collaborate with colleagues or students, etc.)

An online seminar will conclude this event where we reflect on what we have learnt about e-Learning in African higher education from the process of collective image capturing.

What do I need to share?
We invite you to share images of e-learning and e-learning use in African higher education. Please tell us (as a comment on your photo):
1. Who took the photo
2. Country & location
3. What story does it tell

Technology must be somewhere in the picture and you are allowed to edit your photos.
How is technology used for learning? Where does e-learning happen? It doesn’t need to be a classroom or computer lab. You can capture a learning experience or interaction with technology that happens anywhere but it must be related to African higher education, capture technology and be related to learning. Once you have uploaded your images and the answers to these three questions, we encourage you to engage further with other members of this group. Please reply to comments from others should they have any questions about your photo. We advise that you have written consent from any persons who are identifiable in your photos and that you have explained the purpose of the photo to them (i.e. they are aware that it will be online and might be used by others in ways you might not anticipate).

When will the competition take place?
The competition will run for three weeks, from the 14th of February 2016 until the 6th of March 2016. Themes will be shared every Sunday (14th, 21st, 28th of February). Weekly winners will be established on the following Monday.

Where will I share these images?
We have created a closed Facebook group for participants in this competition. We will share the link to the group on the e/merge Africa Facebook group and through other networks.

Why is it important to share such images?
Have you ever searched Google images for pictures of e-learning in Africa? Google ‘e-learning in Africa’ and see what happens… Many of the photos we may find are often not taken by African people and might have a Western ‘gaze’. Photos are always selective: what one captures and values in one context might be different in another. Many do not depict everyday realities on the ground. When we narrow down this search to images available for reuse, the results get even smaller; for images of African higher education, even less so. Our aim is to create a collection of African images of e-learning contexts and activities taken by African educators that can be shared after the competition has taken place.

What’s in it for me?
You might want to use this event as a head start for thinking about what photo to submit for the 2016 eLearning Africa photo competition

Photos shared to the group will be used to create a video slideshow that tells a collective narrative or e-learning in African higher education. This video will be screened at e/merge Africa workshops. One of these will be at eLearning Africa 2016.

This video will also be screened and individual photos exhibited at Africa’s first digital storytelling festival taking place in March 2016. Info here:

And we also have some prizes:) Each week will also be a competition where one of the photographers can win an e/merge Africa t-shirt. Top photos over the weeks will also be featured on the e/merge Africa homepage. Number of likes on a picture in the Facebook group will determine the winning picture of the week.

Knowing you have contributed to an online repository of openly licensed images and that you can make use of these images for free in your presentations and other purposes is also a big win.

The event also provides an opportunity to collaborate around, value and discuss the various contexts where e-learning happens within higher education in Africa.

During the process, we also learn about the value of sharing, open licensing, open research, etc.

By adding your photo you agree to the following:
That photos and interactions in the Facebook group can be used for research purposes by e/merge Africa.

Photos uploaded to this group will also be uploaded as a public album on Flickr and licensed under creative commons. Thereby, anyone can use these images for a variety of purposes. Potential uses may include commercial, non-commercial and/or educational, etc. Please be aware of this when taking picture, i.e. ask people in your pictures for permission when taking the picture (if they are recognisable). Learning more about creative commons and open licensing here