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.

Using Alternative Learning Mode (ALM) in Engaging Students at the University of Sierra Leone During the Ebola Outbreak

24 – 28 August 2015

What happens in an higher educational institutional setting when you are suddenly faced with a deadly epidemic such as Ebola that turns everything up side down? In this one week seminar Dr. Daniel Stevens from the University of Sierra Leone will discuss Alternative Learning Modes (ALM) and give some insights into the measures needed to be taken during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. As soon as we receive a synopsis we will provide more details about this seminar, however sign ups are available below.

Dr. Daniel Stevens is head of the ICT Directorate at the University of Sierra Leone

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

Using Alternative Learning Mode (ALM) in Engaging Students at the University of Sierra Leone During the Ebola Outbreak

The paradox of opening up higher education within the traditional university paradigm

17 – 21 August 2015

Come and join us for this seminar with Bernard Nkuyubwatsi from the University of Leicester, UK on policies and the implementation of open access and open distance learning. Please sign up using the form below

This online seminar provide insights and a challenge to stakeholders in tertiary education who are interested in the use of open, distance and e-learning, open educational practices and open learning practices to reach underprivileged learners. It is particularly relevant to those who are implementing or planning to implement opening up tertiary education in under-resourced settings.
Open, distance and e-learning, open educational practices and open learning practices have enabled the expansion of learning opportunities beyond physical university boundaries. The implementation of open, distance learning by a conventional education university can however be challenging when the university does not have a specific open education agenda. My paper offers a critical discussion of the challenges of opening up tertiary education in Rwanda within a traditional education mold. Despite a completed open distance learning project and a plethora of political rhetoric on the use of open distance learning to accelerate the transformation toward knowledge-based economy, half of students who were admitted in the public tertiary education in 2014/2015 could not attend their undergraduate education.
I argue that transformation towards a knowledge economy which is politically championed cannot be achieved without servicing the overwhelming majority of secondary education graduates who qualify and wish to attend tertiary education. Government and institutional policy documents that champion open access and open distance learning in Rwanda are surveyed and contrasted to practices among different categories of stakeholders. Using a framework for collaboratively opening up education, I will make recommendations for reaching learners who wish to attend tertiary education but are not included due to their underprivileged situations.

Bernard Nkuyubwatsi is a PhD research student at University of Leicester under the Commonwealth Scholar Award. His research focuses on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER) for widening participation in higher education. Bernard is also a member of the Global Open Educational Resources Graduate Network (GO-GN), The Open Education Working Group, The Open Policy Network (OPN) and Global Scholar Network (GSN).

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

Benchmarking e-learning with the e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM)

10 – 14 August 2015

More and more institutions have eLearning programmes in place and many have had for quite a while. On the question on how to assess the maturity of eLearning programmes Antoinette Mukendwa from Polytechnic of Namibia  will lead this one week seminar on e-Learning maturity models in Higher Educational Institutions. Please sign up using the form below.

The e-Learning Maturity (eMM) model is a powerful and sophisticated business process model which has been customised for use in benchmarking e-learning systems and processes. This seminar will assist you in considering how to use the eMM to assess and/or compare the capability of your institution/organisation to sustainably develop, deploy and support e-learning.
The eMM was conceptualised as a benchmarking framework to guide and support institutions collaborating or working individually on their e-learning capability (Marshall, 2012). The eMM does this by providing a clear picture of an institution’s strengths and weaknesses, combined with a pathway for improving capability. The eMM provides a mechanism for organisations to determine their own priorities, with sufficient flexibility to select technologies and pedagogies that are appropriate to learners, staff and stakeholder expectations (Marshall, 2010). A key aspect of the eMM is that it does not rank institutions, but rather acknowledges the reality that all institutions will have aspects of strength and weakness that can be learnt from and improved (Marshall, 2010).


Marshall, S. (2010). A quality framework for continuous improvement of e-learning: The e-learning Maturity Model. International Journal of e-learning and Distance Education, 24 (1), p. 143 -166.

Antoinette Mukendwa is Coordinator: Educational Technology at Polytechnic of Namibia

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

Benchmarking e-learning with the e-Learning Maturity Model (eMM)

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, followed by two more events on Friday 26 June and Friday 3 July. Although this course has now ended webinar recordings and slides are remain available on our resource site for inspiration!

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


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.