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.

Facilitating Online Course (Feb-March 2016) – Late Applications

Recommendations by participants

“I learned many facilitation skills that I am now able to apply with my own students. I would recommend the course highly to anyone embarking on the online teaching and learning journey.”
Dr Judith McKenzie, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town.

“This course doesn’t just teach you ABOUT online Facilitation, it actually gets you to facilitate … It’s a real opportunity to learn and develop. And what’s more? It has an African taste…”
Daniel Adeboye, Online Maths Tutor, Tutor for the Future

facilitating onlineThe Facilitating Online course

African universities are increasingly using online resources and interaction to support student learning across blended and online courses. Educators of these courses need sound online facilitation skills to facilitate engaged students in debate, group work and shared knowledge construction across a range of online conversational spaces. Trained online facilitators are also able to make good choices about the use of online communication when designing learning activities.

The e/merge Africa professional development network invites online applications from change agent educational technologists and educators within the African higher educational sector for the last few places in a free five week course in online facilitation. We can offer up to two free places per institution. Course participation will be entirely online and will require up to 8 hours of participation per week. Including Week 0 for setup and two consolidation weeks for reflection and catch-up time the course runs from 1 February – 25 March 2016. You can address queries to facilitationcourse@emergeafrica.net.

Facilitating Online was developed by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at University of Cape Town and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its support for e/merge Africa. The original version of the guidance to course leaders is available as an open educational resource. Facilitating Online is registered as a short course at the University of Cape Town and a certificate of completion will be awarded for successful completion of 75% of the assessed activities of the course.

Selection criteria include:

  • reliable Internet access
  • an opportunity to teach in a blended or online course
  • 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.

For late applications, please use our online application form by 23 January 2016. All applicants will require a letter of support from their line manager or Head of Department. If you meet the criteria for admission and don’t get accepted for the February-March run of the course you will be put on a waiting list for the three further instances of the course in 2016 (dates to be announced).


Quality Assurance of OER/eLearning

30 November – 4 December 2015

For one of our last events for the year we turning our attention to quality assurance aspects of e-learning and Open Educational Resources. This seminar is led by Ephraim Mhlanga from the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE).

Thank you to those of you who took part in our live online session on Wednesday 2 December. Recording is available here

From our presenter we have received the following abstract:

The advent of educationally technologies has profoundly changed the way people learn and how education is generally delivered. In higher education in particular teaching and learning is now heavily supported by education technologies which make it more cost-effective to support learners in a virtual space. Educational technologies free education from the constraints of time and space that go with face-to-face teaching, and that offers great flexibility in terms of when, where and how to learn. Whilst this is a positive development that many higher education institutions are investing in, there are major challenges that are associated with the quality of such delivery. Particularly in the Third World, the comparative quality of online programmes is still a moot point.

This presentation gives hints on quality aspects that should be considered in using technology in teaching and learning. It draws from previous work done with African universities and from Gilly Salmon’s work on how learners learn online, and builds some quality benchmarks worth considering in the design and delivery of online courses.

This event has ended, however resources will remain available on the seminar landing page

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



e/merging Technologies From M to Seamless learning

23 November – 27 November 2015

In our series of seminars on how emerging technologies are changing the learning practices we are pleased to announce our upcoming seminar From M to Seamless Learning which will be led by Professor Martin Ebner from the Technical University of Graz, Austria. Martin who has worked in the edcuational technology field for years with research focusing on emerging digital technologies and MOOCs. This event will be supported by Dr. Nicola Pallitt from the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town. We will be starting the week with an asyncronous discussion on the role of emerging technologies in changing teaching and learning environments. On Wednesday 25 November at 2 pm (GMT+2/CAT) Professor Martin Ebner will give his presentation From M to Seamless Learning and followed by a discussion in the Adobe Connect session and in the discussion forum. We hope to get some of our previous presenters together for a panel like discussion. In the meantime please sign up for this free event below.

Professor Martin Ebner is a researcher at the Technical University of Graz, Austria with a specific focus on e-Learning, m-Learning, Social Media, Educational Datam Mining and Open Educational Resources


Challenges and Enablers of eLearning Policy Implementation in Vocational Training Institutions in Zambia

16 November – 20 November 2015

From Zambia Gabriel Konayuma will present a study on implementation of elearning policies and the challenges/enablers faced. Please sign up for this seminar below.

Thank you to all taking part in Gabriel Konayuma’s online live presentation Wednesday 18 November. Recording is available here

This paper investigates the enablers and challenges in the implementation of e-Learning policies in three vocational education institutions in Zambia. A total of seven individuals i.e. two managers and five lecturers in the study were interviewed.
The study found that e-Learning was described as having some specific characteristics and also the use of devices. It was also found that respondents had varying levels on the knowledge of national e-Learning policies. The challenges of e-Learning policy implementation were stated as: inadequate and lack of devices, lack of adequate skills, poor attitude and poor support services. Enablers for e-Learning were: learning facilitation, teaching facilitation, communication improvement and training.
The study recommended increased partnership with international organisations and stakeholders in strengthening e-Learning policy implementation, a focused roll-out of e-Learning policy implementation in vocational education institutions, the ministry creating an enabling environment for sharing of good and best practices in e-Learning implementation.

This seminar has ended, however resources will remain available on the seminar landing page

Gabriel Konayuma Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Zambia


Emerging Technologies Redesigning the Distance Learning Environment at Makerere University

9 November – 13 November 2015

Towards the middle of November Michael Walimbwa from the Makerere University will convene this seminar on the impact of emerging technologies on distance education and how new technology opens for opportunities for re-thinking traditional distance education. Please notice on Monday 9 November at 1 pm (GMT+2/CAT)  Michael will host an Adobe Connect Online Live session.  As Michael will be in Cape Town we welcome all to also join us physically at the CILT department, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town for this session

New forms of teaching and learning with emerging technologies require new spaces and building capacity to effectively operate in the same spaces. Distance Education Leapfrogging Project (DELP) is helping to facilitate emerging models in distance education, like the flipped classroom, by rearranging learning environments to accommodate more active learning. The project is helping in redesign of spaces to facilitate project-based interactions with attention to mobility, flexibility, and multiple device usage. Wireless bandwidth is being upgraded to create “smart rooms” that support web conferencing and other methods of remote, collaborative communication. Large displays and screens are being installed to enable collaboration on digital projects and informal presentations. The change is based on the premise that as distance education continues to move away from traditional lecture-based face-to-face programs to more hands-on scenarios, university classrooms need to start resembling real-world work and social environments that facilitate living interactions and cross disciplinary problem solving.
Traditional classrooms are being transformed to accommodate new pedagogies; instead of the traditional rows of chairs with writing surfaces facing a podium, DELP intends to create a more dynamic classroom layout, with seating arrangements that foster collaboration and teamwork. However this is not coming easy as many challenges stand in the way

This session has ended – resources are available on the seminar landing page

Michael Walimbwa  is a lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda. His main interest are in Computer Assisted Pedagogy at all levels and Technology Enhanced learning. His specialties include Technology Enhanced Learning, Computer Assisted Instruction and Educational Technology. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.


In search of a sustainable model to facilitate access and use of ICT in rural Mpumalanga schools, South Africa

2 – 6 November 2015
A one week Peer-Assist on facilitation models for for access and usage of digital technologies in deep-rural educational settings With Dr. Alice Barlow-Zambodla
As we have seen in previous events for e/merge Africa eLearning and the use of digital hardware has become widespread in most African higher educational institutions. Although many challenges are faced in terms of pedagogy, organisational and to a lesser extend technically many university campuses are often located in areas where infrastructure provides access, both physically and technically.
In this seminar we will consider access and usage models in a deep rural district in South Africa. Our coordinator for East and Southern Africa Dr. Alice Barlow-Zambodla is currently offering her services as a volunteer for the Buffelhoek Trust as a part of a CSI programme of major cell phone service provider. In a rural district covering more than 50 km2 Alice advises on digital usage and access at 3 high schools and 6 primary schools located in Bushbuckridge in the rural province of Mpumalanga, South Africa.
During this week Alice will share her experiences and challenges encountered as well as opening up for a much broader conversation on how to facilitate access and use of digital technologies in this context.

During this week we will deviate slightly from our usual format and ask directly for your input and present this as a peer-assist like format, where Alice will present her case and invite for your direct input. We have planned to have host two online-live sessions – On Monday 2 November at 1 pm (GMT+2/CAT) Alice will present her case then receive questions for further clarifications of her case. During the week we will continue the conversation in our site discussion forum and on Wednesday 4 November at 1 pm (GMT+2/CAT) Alice will host another online live session where you can act as a peer to share your thoughts in conversation with Alice. Please get involved and assist Alice! Please join by using the form below.

Dr. Alice Barlow-Zambodla has a multi-disciplinary background in agriculture (crop science), plant physiology and ICTs in Education. She is also Regional Coordinator for e/merge Africa for Southern and Eastern Africa. Previously she worked as a Programme Specialist for the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide) where she worked in the field of Research and Development in Education with a special focus on the design, development and implementation of distance learning programmes for rural communities; other specialites also include the use of ICTs in Education, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of educational interventions.

Please notice that this even has ended – resources will remain available on the seminar landing page

Social Media Adoption by Nigerian Universities – How have they fared?

Please notice new dates: Monday 12 October – Friday 16 October 2015

This is a one week seminar and our programme for the week will look the following:
Monday 12 October: We will provide access to a landing page on our live-site with presentation resources and a discussion forum.

Wednesday 14 October: Olufemi Oludodun will host a one hour online live session via Adobe Connect, where Olufemi will give a 30 minute presentation with a subsequent opportunity to ask questions and engage with our presenter. We have scheduled this session for Wednesday 14 October at 1 pm (Central African Time): This is:

11 am in Accra
12 pm in Abuja
1 pm in Cape Town
2 pm in Nairobi

More information on how to join this live session via Adobe Connect will be provided soon.

Friday 16 October: Last day of the seminar. Landing page and discussion forum will remain open beyond this week.


Olufemi Olubodun

The increasingly pervasive use of social media has changed the ways that individuals and institutions relate, communicate and share knowledge, with both positive and negative effects. In order to enhance their online visibility and presence universities have focused on a few large social networks. This study by Olufemi Olubodun Assistant Chief Technologist in the Faculty of Dental Sciences at University of Lagos, Nigeria, examines the presence, usage and visibility of social media on Nigerian university websites. The social media sites of institutions in Nigeria were compared to those of institutions in Europe and America in order to answer questions about the use, impact and prospects of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn.

This seminar has ended, please refer to the seminar landing page

Teachers and Students’ Perceptions of the Use of Mobile Technology to Facilitate Teaching and Learning

21 – 25 September 2015

Our next online seminar will be presented by Dr. Paul Nyagorme, University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Kafui Aheto, who is currently a doctoral candidate at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. They will share their findings from a study on perceptions of mobile technologies as a facilitator for teaching and learning. This seminar includes a live online meeting and asynchronous discussion and is free of charge.

Please join us for a live online presentation Wednesday 23 September at 3 pm (GMT+2) – This when it’s 1 pm in Accra, 2 pm in Abuja, 3 pm in Cape Town and 4 pm in Nairobi. To join, please follow this link to the Adobe Connect Meeting Room. At the prompt, please choose Sign in as Guest – then provide your name in the text field and choose Enter Room.

“The purpose of this study was to find out the perceptions of students and teachers towards the use of mobile technology in the teaching and learning process. Descriptive research methodology was used for the study. In all, 375 respondents participated in the study. They were made up of 300 students and 75 teachers selected from senior high schools in the Cape Coast Metropolis. Structured questionnaire was the main data collecting instrument. The study found that majority (84.7%) of the students in Cape Coast Metropolis had mobile phones as compared to those with personal computers and the majority (73.0%) of the students also had their mobile phones with them very often than their personal computers. The study also found that more than half of both the teachers and students also indicated that they would like to use mobile devices to support their teaching and learning. The study recommended a model for teaching and learning using mobile technology tools. It was recommended that school administration should organize in-service education and training (INSET) on mobile devices and technologies for teachers and students.”

Dr. Paul Nyagorme University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Kafui Aheto Doctoral Candidate at Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Online Facilitation Course – October – November 2015

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. A maximum of 50 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 October – November run of this course will be open until 18 September 2015. We are also planning to offer further instances of the course during 2016. Please contact us on facilitationcourse@emergeafrica.net if you would like more information or for us notify you when registration opens for the 2016 courses.

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 by 18 September 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

Nompilo Tshuma is a Learning Technologist at Rhodes University in 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.

5 October – 9 October: Week 0 (Entering site, addressing technical issues, introductions)
12 October – 16 October: Week 1
19 October – 23 October: Week 2
26 October – 30 October: Consolidation Week 1
2 November – 6 November: Week 3
9 November – 13 November: Week 4
16 November – 20 November: Consolidation Week 2
23 November – 27 November: Week 5


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

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. This seminar will begin on Monday 24 August with an online live session at 12:30 pm (South African time – GMT+2) followed by asynchronous discussions for the rest of the week.

Synopsis: Due to the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, the University of Sierra Leone decides to engage its students on some alternative learning mode. These include uploading lecture notes on the website, burning of lecture notes on CDs/DVDs, provision of hard copies to students, radio programs etc. The ICT directorate therefore created official email addresses for all its students at the university. These students includes; all students from the Fourah Bay College, College of Medicines and Allied Health Sciences and all students from the Institute of Public Administration and Management. The directorate also created official email addresses for all the academic and administrative staffs of the university. Also, mailing lists were created for all the programs and levels in the university to ensure that lecturers can then develop their learning materials and then send these materials as attachment to their respective students. Within the different mailing list, all the students who are registered for a particular module would have their respective email addresses that were created for them. By so doing all the students of the University of Sierra Leone were engaged during the period of the Ebola epidemic as this epidemic prevented them from attending lectures or any other form of learning for more than eight months. The University of Sierra Leone is one of these old universities that have not been using ICT for any purpose whatsoever. There has been no ICT infrastructure in place before the Ebola epidemic hit the country. Looking at the environment and the situation, the only solution to the problem was the use of the Alternative Learning Mode (ALM) in its inception stage. This paper would discuss the different steps taken to accomplish the ALM, the challenges encountered, lesson learns and the way forward for the university

View resources for this seminar on on the seminar landing page

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