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.

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. To sign up for this, please use the form below:

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.


Online Facilitation Course – Join our 2015 courses

facilitating online

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.

Applications are now closed for the April-May instance of the course. We are also planning to offer further instances of the course from June-August 2015 and September-November 2015. Please contact us on facilitationcourse@emergeafrica.net if you would like us notify you when registration opens for the these.

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.

Course Facilitators:

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

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.

30 March – 3 April: Week 0 (Entering site, addressing technical issues, introductions)
13 April – 17 April: Week 1
20 April – 24 April: Week 2
27 April – 1 May: Consolidation Week 1
4 May – 8 May : Week 3
11 May – 15 May: Week 4
18 May – 22 May: Consolidation Week 2
25 May – 29 May: Week 5


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

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


Architectural Education Forum (AEF)

With Ariane Janse van Rensburg & Jolanda Morkel


3 December 2014 – 12h00 – 13h00 (SAST/GMT+2)


The main intent of this upcoming live online event is to continue discussions and the sharing of resources and experiences across Africa, in Architectural Education, but not limited to it. Anyone interested in Learning and Teaching, specifically in project-, problem- and enquiry based contexts, is invited to participate.

Ariane Janse van Rensburg will share the AEF UIAreport back document and Jolanda Morkel will highlight the main issues adressed in the newly released International Student Charter, after which discussion, either by audio or text chat, is invited.



The Architectural Education Forum was the outcome of a Symposium on Architectural Education hosted by the Wits School of Architecture and Planning, South Africa, in early 2014 and is a grouping to critically discuss how to improve architectural educational practice here and now and to exchange relevant information. Its main focus is issues that are relevant to architectural education in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, which includes global and regional concerns. Its membership consists mainly of teaching staff from schools of architecture from over Africa, but there has also been support and interest from other associations concerned with architectural education based on other continents.

The immediate aim was to enable architecture lecturers who attended the symposium to continue a constructive discussion on current research and practice generated by the challenges of teaching in a transformative way in changing circumstances in South Africa.
The need for such a forum had already been expressed at a previous conference on “Changing Paradigms” in 2013 and the fact that many interested parties would be together in Durban for the UIA Congress seemed an excellent opportunity to continue the conversation.

The Forum started informally as a group of people who wanted to be notified about the next discussion, but it has been growing steadily ever since. The AEF hosted a congress session at the UIA Congress entitled “Architectural Education Otherwhere – seen from the South”, which resulted in poster outputs and engaging discussion (see UIA report back document). At the UIA it was agreed that the AEF would approach e/merge Africa to facilitate an online meeting to strengthen ties and llinks across Africa and beyond.

AEF activities are presently being convened by Ariane Janse van Rensburg of the University of the Witwatersrand and Jolanda Morkel of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. For further information the contact
e-mail is ArchiEdForum@gmail.com

To sign up for this event, please use the form below


Ariane Janse van Rensburg is a Senior lecturer in design and teaching and learning convenor in the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.BAS (UCT), B.Arch (UCT), M Arch by Research (Wits). Current PhD research on enabling transformation in architectural education.
Ariane turned to full-time teaching after extensive years in urban and rural architectural practice. She is involved in various university teaching and learning and transformation bodies and serves on SACAP and CAA accreditation panels. Currently she is completing a PhD in architectural education. She started the Architectural Education Forum after a successful symposium hosted at Wits this year. She also co-presented the ‘Architectural Education Otherwhere – seen from the South’ workshop with Jolanda Morkel at the UIA 2014 Durban congress
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.


Carpe Diem – Creating Learning Futures Through Agile Collaborative Design

15 October – 17 October 2014

We are continuing our short seminar with Professor Gilly Salmon, which started 15 October and runs until 17 October. During these three days Professor Salmon will take us through the Carpe Diem model for course creation. To be a part of this, please start by accessing the seminar landing page to view the resources made available. Then please take part in the conversation in the seminar discussion forum; to add your thoughts, questions and comments please sign in to our live site first. If you are not registered yet, this can be done by choosing Register at the top of the page. During the seminar we will be providing regular e-mail summaries and other useful information. If you have already signed up using the form below we already have your e-mail address, if not we invite you to do this as soon as possible. We are looking forward to your engagement!

A big thank you to those of you, who were able to join us Friday 17 October for the one hour live session with Professor Gilly Salmon. In case you missed this session the recording is now available here.

Academic staff in Higher Education need to transform their teaching practices to support more future-oriented, digital, student-centered learning. Promoting, enabling and implementing these changes urgently requires acceptable, meaningful and effective staff development for academics. We identify four key areas that are presenting as barriers to the implementation of successful staff development. We illuminate the Carpe Diem learning design workshop process and illustrate its impact on academic staff as a viable, constructive alternative to traditional staff development processes. The Carpe Diem model directly exposes and addresses the irony that educational institutions expect their academic staff to learn to design and deliver personalized, mobile and technology-enhanced learning to students, whilst wedded to ‘one size fits all’ face-to-face interventions…or worse, ‘page turning’ e-learning that masquerades as staff development. To avoid further frustrations and expensive, inappropriate initiatives, the spirit and practice of Carpe Diem could act as a ‘pathfinder beacon’, and be more widely adopted to enable fast, effective and fully embedded, learner-ready, future-proofed learning.

Professor Gilly Salmon has been a digital learning innovator for more than 20 years . She was the founding director of All Things In Moderation, in 2001.She was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor of Learning Transformations at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia and has recently taken up a new appointment as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Innovation) at the University of Western Australia. Professor Salmon is well-known in the learning design community, particularly for her Carpe Diem learning design method. She holds a PhD from Open University, United Kingdom and an M.Phil. from Cranefield University, United Kingdom.


Seminar: Learning Design in the African Context: Technology and Instructional Design Considerations last day

6 October – 10 October 2014

This seminar is coming to end today, however the seminar landing page is still available. Access to view a presentation by Wanjira Kinuthia and a presentation by Dr. Perien Boer and visit our discussion forum.

Thank you to those of you who took part in the live meeting on 8 October. The recording of this session is available here and has been added as a resource to the landing page.

ICTs and the significant growth in internet usage thoughout the African continent has over the past decade opened up for many opportunities for ICT supported course design. However, challenges still remain when using technology for course design. What are these and more importantly how can they be overcome or at least mitigated? During this one-week seminar these and other issues will be raised. This seminar will start 6 October and end 10 October and will be presented by Associate Professor Wanjira Kinuthia from the Learning Technologies Division at Georgia State University, Atlanta, United States and Lecturer in Educational Technology Dr. Perien Joniell Boer from the University of Namibia.
During this week Wanjira and Perien will discuss and open up for a debate on what constitutes good learning design, using educational technologies. Among the topics will be how we create courses and use technologies effectively in African contexts, where we are often faced with severe technical limitations. Moreover, how do we implement and use technologies in a context where educational needs are much more different and urgent compared to other areas in the world, such as e.g. the US and Europe. These include considerations for Open Educational Resources (OER) and Mobile Learning solutions in higher education and how to engage both learners and instructors.
Together with our two presenters we are inviting you to take part in this conversation to share your experiences and learn more about the challenges faced by educators located at the African continent from a learning design perspective.


Wanjira Kinuthia is an associate professor of learning technologies at Georgia State University. Prior to that, she worked as an instructional designer in higher education and business and industry for several years.
Wanjira has a special interest in international and comparative education, with a focus on sociocultural perspectives of instructional design and technology. Her research focuses on educational technology in developing countries, looking at how information and communication technology (ICT) is infused into instructional setting.
Recent projects have included the role of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Mobile Technologies in bridging the digital and knowledge divide. She has edited several books and published articles based on her work in these areas.
Dr. Perien Joniell Boer is a Lecturer in educational technology at the Faculty of Education at the University of Namibia. Dr. Boer has researched and published about educational technologies and integration nationally in Namibia and also the relations between pedagogies and ICT usage in education.


Seminar: Wrapping MOOCs for students in the global south – last day

Online seminar 29 September – 1 October 2014

Presenters: Donnalee Donaldson from Kepler Kigali and Shanali Govender from the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town.

This seminar is ending today, but please come and join us. Start by viewing our seminar landing page, where we are currently hosting two narrated PowerPoint presentations by our presenters. Please also visit our discussion forum for this seminar and add your views. To post, please register on our e/merge Africa live site (free of charge and if you haven’t already done this), then sign in and look for the short cut to the discussion forum under Forum.

If you would like to receive daily updates via e-mail, please use the sign up form below.

Thank you to all who took part in yesterday’s live session with Donnalee Donaldson and Shanali Govender. In case you missed this session, the recording is available here

Initially touted as cheaper, offering better learning opportunities than traditional classes, and possibly the death of traditional higher education institutions, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) generated such interest that Time Magazine labelled 2012 “The Year of the MOOC”. Since then, with more substantial research on MOOCs being undertaken, and a degree of disillusionment from the initial proponents of MOOCs, the buzz has subsided enough for us to ask ourselves some key questions about MOOCs.
Questions about MOOCs range from sweeping questions about their impact on higher education, to narrowly focused concerns about student honesty online. Underlying many of the questions asked of MOOCs are pedagogical concerns about whether we are teaching in ways that support learning for students. A prime question from the global South perspective, is how can we can best make use in our very different contexts of the resources and materials that have been made available online at no charge to the user by MOOCs mostly developed in the global North .
In conversation, from different parts of Africa, Donnalee Donaldson from Kepler Kigali, Rwanda and Shanali Govender from University of Cape Town, South Africa will present and lead discussion about their experiences of wrapping as one way of working with MOOCs.

Donnalee Donaldson is a higher education administrator, instructor, and lawyer, who is interested in harnessing the power of technology to eliminate disparities in access to education. Her current focus is developing sound admissions strategies and culturally relevant instructional design at Kepler Kigali – Rwanda’s first blended learning university.
Donnalee is committed to a career in social justice and has a strong track record in the fields of education, public health, and criminal justice.She has excelled at working in the nonprofit and government sectors. She is also a gifted writer and public speaker. She has written for media outlets in the USA and Jamaica. She has been requested to speak, write, and facilitate discussions about matters related to higher education, law school admissions, legal careers and diversity. Donnalee is a proud Jamaican and global citizen.
Shanali Govender Although Shanali’s teaching experience began in secondary education, a return to higher education to pursue her own studies prompted a shift to an interest in the higher education landscape. While continuing to work in the field of staff development at the University of Cape Town, she is working towards her PhD, looking at discourses in the learning experiences of first year engineering students. Her particular brief in the staff development team is to support part-time and non-permanent teaching staff. She is responsible for running the s.e.a.TEACH (supporting emerging academics Teach) programme and works within departments and faculties on request. She has also facilitated a number of wrapped MOOCs, targeting UCT postgraduate students.