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 will start 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.

Next event: Learning Design Workshop with Grainne Conole

Dear Colleagues,

It gives us great pleasure to announce our next event: the Learning Design Workshop which will be led by Professor Grainne Conole, Director of the Institute of Learning Innovation at University of Leicester, United Kingdom and supported by Jolanda Morkel, Senior Lecturer in Architecture at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. This four week online workshop will run from 22 April to 16 May, with a short break midway.

Signup Page

The main objective of the workshop is to support participants to prepare courses for online and mobile environments. Participants will work in small groups (max 4) and should have a course in mind. This provides an excellent opportunity to work with colleagues in your own institution or across institutions to design or redesign a course together. Group members will engage with a range of learning design conceptual tools in collaborative environments (e.g. Google Drive) and share insights and learning with other groups in a closed Facebook group. There will be two live online meetings for Q&A, sharing and discussions.

The workshop will be supports participants in exploring the the 7Cs of learning design framework for blended and online course creation. This framework was developed at University of Leicester and the Open University in the UK.

Please come to the Signup Page to ensure your place in the workshop. No login required for signup. We have also opened a Facebook event for this workshop.

Live meeting today: mLearning via GSM/Feature phones

You are invited to join us today for the mLearning via GSM/Feature phones live meeting, led by CEO of Sterio.me Christopher Pruijsen at 3 pm SAST (GMT+2). If you’re new to our Adobe Connect Sessions please follow the instructions at the end of this message!
In order to join this event please go to the Adobe Connect meeting room via http://meeting.uct.ac.za/sterio/

Please log in early using the Guest log in (Type in your name and choose Guest). When in the room: Please go to Meeting > Audio Setup Wizard to run the audio setup guide.

For new users:
Please run the connection test in advance using the following link:http://meeting.uct.ac.za/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm (Make sure the required plugin has been installed). When in the room: Please go to Meeting > Audio Setup Wizard to run the audio setup guide. If any problems please post here or mail to info@emergeafrica.net

Next Event: mLearning via audio and GSM/feature phones 31 March – 2 April

We are pleased to announce our next event starting 31 March which is focused on the effective use of mobile phones in learning. Christopher Pruijsen, CEO of Sterio.me will present on “mLearning via audio and GSM/feature phones”. He will lead a discussion about the design and use of this new mLearning product, which he developed together with two fellow entrepreneurs on a bus going from Harare to Cape Town. Come and join us with your questions and your insights concerning mLearning.

The online discussion and related resources will be available on our site at http://emergeafrica.net/live from the morning of 31 March. There will be a live meeting with Christopher Pruijsen on 2 April at 2 pm (GMT+2).

Please note a change in the programme. Batseba Seifu from The Africa Peace and Security Programme in Ethiopia has a requested a postponement of her presentation entitled “How to use tablets for effective adult education in Africa”. The new date will be announced as soon as it is agreed with Batseba.

Our schedule of regular activities is off to a good start with a very active Digital Storytelling Workshop led by Daniela Gachago and Jolanda De Villiers Morkel from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Fifty colleagues have popped into the room and eight digital stories are in development.

Digital Storytelling Workshop starting today

 Digital Storytelling for Higher Education runs from 18 – 26 March 2014 and is led by Jolanda de Villiers Morkel and Daniela Gachago, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Cape Town, South Africa. There is still space for a few more colleagues to join the event. To join the first few days for a seminar experience or for the adventure of developing your own digital story please come directly to the e/merge Africa Digital Storytelling Facebook Group.

The programme for the workshop is:

18 03 2014: Participants watch selected CPUTs stories
19 03 2014: Webinar: Introduction to digital storytelling and Q&A session. (12.00-13.00)
20 03 2014: Webinar: Story circle (12.00-13.00)
21-24 03 2014: Script development, sharing of documents on Facebook group
24 03 2014: Feedback on stories
26 03 2014: Webinar: Sharing of digital stories (12.00-13.00)

Announcement of e/merge Africa events

I am pleased to announce six e/merge online seminars and workshops with several more in the pipeline for 2014. Further details, Facebook event pages and registration pages will follow shortly. We welcome further proposals particularly for the second half of the year. Thanks to all the colleagues who will lead workshops or seminars this year.


18 March – 26 March - Digital Story Telling Workshop: Presenters: Jolanda de Villiers Morkel, Senior Lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa & Daniella Gachago, Lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Please note that a maximum of 25 participants will be accepted for this workshop.

31 March – 4 April - mLearning Seminar: 1) How to use tablets for effective adult education in Africa. Presenter: Batseba Seifu (Project Manager, The Africa Peace and Security Programme, University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) and 2) mLearning via audio and GSM/feature phones. Presenter: Christopher Pruijsen (CEO & Co-founder of Sterio.me )

14 April to 16 May - Learning Design Workshop. Convenors: Jolanda de Villiers Morkel (Senior Lecturer, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa) & Professor Gráinne Conole (University of Leicester, United Kingdom)

30 April – 5 May - Inclusive Design of e-Learning Environments: A Global Agenda (Seminar). Presenter: Associate Professor Denise Wood (University of South Australia)

18 June – 20 June - The Web in Africa (Seminar). Presenter: Nnenna Nwakanma, Regional Coordinator for Africa, World Wide Web Foundation

15 October – 17 October - Presenter: Professor Gilly Salmon (Swinburne University of Technology, Australia). Title to be announced

Urgently needed e-learning capabilities

The 148 respondents to the e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey in 2013 were asked to assess the capabilities most needed for e-learning in their respective institutions. Their top three priorities were design of e-learning courses, professional development for educators and designing e-learning for mobile devices. These were each mentioned by between 59% and 61.5% of respondents.The fourth most chosen capability was e-learning support for staff and students which was mentioned by 54% of the respondents. The need for social media skills mentioned by 53% of respondents may be slightly understated due to an error in the survey design.


Calls for Proposals and Nominations for e/merge Africa events

This post follows up on the survey report and an executive summary from the e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey which are available for reading , download and comment in Google Drive.  The report concludes with a list of priority topics for e/merge Africa 2014 events which appears at the end of this message.

There are so many forms of deep expertise and rich professional experience across diverse contexts within e/merge Africa and our events should reflect this depth, richness and diversity. Please consider yourself as a potential online presenter or workshop leader and let us know what you would like to offer.  

Call for Proposals: You are invited to propose an online event for e/merge Africa in 2014 which shares your expertise, insight and practices with colleagues across Africa and the world using our online proposal form or feel encouraged to address more preliminary or speculative ideas to us at info@emergeafrica.net. We will give preference to events addressing one or more of the priority topics for 2014 activities but will certainly consider other areas as well. Please submit proposals by 24 January if you want to be considered  for events from February to April.

Call for Nominations: You are invited to nominate a potential presenter from Africa or another continent for an e/merge 2014 event using our online nomination form.

Priorities for e/merge Africa Activities in 2014

The Needs and Priorities survey ends with a list of 21 topics in clusters focused on pedagogy, African context, technology, and evaluation and research practices. Calls for event proposals and nominations of presenters will be issued in early January 2014. 

  • The Pedagogy cluster  includes Designing online and blended courses;  ICT Integration; Use of Open Educational Resources; Teaching and facilitating online; Using Social Media for teaching and learning; Application of new learning theories for blended learning ; Using mobile technologies for teaching and learning; Innovative new ways to teach and learn;Gamification (Horizon Report 2013); and Digital Literacies (Glister, Davidson and Goldberg)
  • The African Context cluster includes Design for our African contexts; and MOOCs in Africa
  • The Technology cluster includes Creating course content; Capturing and editing images and audio; Communication tools; and Practices from Low Tech
  • The Evaluation and Research Practices cluster includes Using social media for research;  Using ‘open tools’ for research; Innovative practices in educational technology research; andLearning Analytics (Horizon Report 2013)

topics for 2014
Graphic by Rondine Carstens

e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey Report

I have worked with Jakob Pedersen to analyse the results of the survey of 148 colleagues and after lots of feedback and editing we can now share the survey report and an executive summary with you. Both documents are available for reading , download and comment in Google Drive.

The report considers: 1) The e/merge Africa membership profile; 2) Institutional factors for e-learning skills development; 3) Social media practices of respondents; 4) Self-assessed skills and professional development priorities by respondents; 5) Preferred modes of involvement in e/merge Africa; 6) Topics suggested for practice based and research activities; and 7) Topics for e/merge Africa events in 2014. If you’re pressed for time then I’d suggest that you start with the Executive Summary.

Thanks to the 148 respondents to the survey. Special thanks to Jakob Pedersen for all his precise work on the data analysis and report writing, Tutaleni Asino, Alice Barlow-Zambodla, Cheryl Brown, Mohamed Ahmed El-bahay and Kate Whittaker for the time and effort devoted to providing detailed comments on the content, language and presentation of the report. We would like to acknowledge the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York for their support of the e/merge Africa network.