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.

Seminar: Wrapping MOOCs for students in the global south – starting today

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 starting today, please come and join us over the next three days. 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.

Please be reminded that we will be running an Adobe Connect live session tomorrow Tuesday 30 September at 1 pm (SAST/GMT+2). More information will be made available later today

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.

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

Reminder: Carpe Diem – Creating Learning Futures Through Agile Collaborative Design

15 October – 17 October 2014

Starting on 15 October and running until 17 October we are very pleased to announce this short seminar with Professor Gilly Salmon, who will take us through the Carpe Diem model for course creation.
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 is soon to settle into a new position 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.

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

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

6 October – 10 October 2014

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.

On 8 October Wanjira and Perien will host an Adobe Connect live meeting. This will happen at 3 pm (SAST/GMT+2)

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.

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

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.