Thanks to our presenters Jerome Dooga from University of Jos and Peter Aborisade from Federal University of Technology, Akure who provided a very accessible and useful introduction to blended learning in the form of a narrated presentation and shared their own practices in the discussions and live meetings. Sixty registered users logged in to our site and 27 posted at some point in the live site forums. Forteen seminar participants posted in the e/merge Africa Facebook group. A total of thirteen took part in the two live meetings on the 23rd and 24th respectively with the most participation being on the 24th.
Topics discussed included experiences of how technology can support learning, choosing technologies approapriate for African contexts, the use of social media and mobile technologies, flipped classrooms and learner ownership of the learning process. The blend was adjusted to respond to challenges experienced by our presenters including an ongoing lecturer strike, power cuts and high latency connections so the live meetings relied quite heavily on text chat.
Some quotes from the seminar included:
” I am thinking rather “technologies for teachers, and learners, and subjects, and contexts … and so on …”. It is MUCH more complicated that we tend to assume” Andy
” Maybe we should be strengthening our traditions of exploring a variety of resources and using multiple modes of presentation, while we worry less about students coming to class or not” Lennox
“Putting students in a class with a lecturer does not mean that teaching and learning is taking place”. (Penny)
“Flip not only the classroom, but roles as well” (Peter)
“There are many ways of killing a rat: If one medium fails you, try another “(Jerome)
It gives us great pleasure to announce an online seminar entitled “Designing Blended Courses for Low Resource Contexts: Will They Still Come to Class?” which will run from 22nd October to 24th October. Our presenters are Jerome Terpase Dooga (University of Jos, Nigeria) and Peter Aborisade (Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria). Peter and Jerome will share a short presentation to stimulate discussion. During these three days of the seminar, Peter and Jerome will lead online discussion and a live online meeting giving a great opportunity to share experience and insight, ask questions and interact. We are currently conducting maintenance and upgrades of the emergeafrica.net/live site in preparation for this event. The e/merge Africa Facebook group will also feature as a place for vibrant conversation during the seminar.
This message invites your partnership in the planning of a learning agenda of online activities for e/merge Africa by completing the anonymous e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey. This survey is designed to gather information about our work, our elearning skills and practices, our priorities for professional development and our preferred modes of interaction in the new network. The survey has 23 questions and requires 20-25 minutes. In a busy day this may feel like a lot of time but the prize will be professional development activities which matter to you. The Needs and Priorities Survey will remain open until 26th July.
The e/merge Africa network focuses on the use of educational technology in African higher education institutions and on educational technology research conducted in Africa HEIs. Educational technology practitioners and researchers from Africa and across the world are invited to join e/merge Africa.
Our first activity has been postponed to August. An announcement will be made as soon as details of the event are available. In the meanwhile planning processes continue including the e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey.
The followup to the launch workshop consists of three steps:
1) The participants from eLearning Africa will be invited to choose and develop an online activity for delivery in July as the first activity of the e/merge Africa activities. If you would like to join this process please contact us at email@example.com.
2) The e/merge Africa needs and priorities survey and the call for proposals will be released within the next few days and publicised through the Facebook group, twitter announcements and e-mail to all participants in past e/merge and e/merge Africa events.
3) When the results of the survey become available in late June e/merge Africa participants will be invited to form an agenda activist group of 15-20 and we will work together online to develop the e/merge Africa learning agenda for the next year. A series of scheduled activities will start in August 2013 including practitioner and researcher orientated seminars, skill development workshops, short online courses and periodic online conferences.
On Friday 31st May, the last day of eLearning Africa we reconvened as a group of seventeen including three eLearning Africa delegates who hadn’t yet heard of e/merge Africa and joined us out of curiosity. Many of the participants in the truncated launch meeting had already gone home or were committed to other meetings so it was good to have a group were able to continue and deepen the conversation.
We discussed the three questions about attitudes and experiences, skills required for elearning, and suggested topics for e/merge Africa activities. It was interesting to see clear clusterings of technology and pedagogically oriented skills and topics and the need to design entry level activities in relation to various technologies. Perhaps there could be a series of “how to” workshops. Underlying everything there was a question about developing African perspectives in elearning.
There were about 50 participants from most regions of Africa and from Europe. Participants came from tertiary and secondary education, the NGO sector and technology businesses. Tony Carr opened the meeting by welcoming participants and inviting them to participate in a human sociogram so we could quickly learn a bit more about each others locations, experience levels and engagement with practice and research. Then Jerome Dooga from University of Jos, Adejare Amoo from Corporatemind in Nigeria and Gabriel Konayuma from the Zambian Ministry of Science, Vocational Education and Training, spoke eloquently about how taking part in online networks can create value for our work as educational technologists.
Tony Carr described the evolving model of e/merge Africa and a process to develop a learning agenda for the new network with member participation and accountability. He read a message of support from Nnenna Nwakanma who said: “We have come this far by sheer will, trudging a long and winding way; We will go further than today, blazing a bright and upward trail; Opening doors in education pulling down gates that kept us submerged; Raising resources offline and offline, for an Africa that will e/merge”. Thereafter Alice Barlow-Zambodla of the South African Institute for Distance Education led a process where participants thought together about the skills and knowledge needed for successful elearning projects in higher education and what the network needs in terms of attitudes, experiences and topics.
At that point we had to stop a bit earlier than expected due to preparations for the Prime Minister of Namibia and various Ministers to come to the plenary. This was really just a reflective pause in the conversation and with the very helpful support of one of the eLearning Africa organisers we found another opportunity to meet face to face on Friday 31st May before the end of eLearning Africa 2013. A brief report on the remeet will appear in this site soon.