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 )

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.


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 ten.acirfaegremenull@ofni. If you would like to lead a seminar, workshop or short course please send us a proposal.

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 ten.acirfaegremenull@ofni. 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.

Seminar Report: Blended Learning in resource Constrained Contexts

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. Fourteen seminar participants posted in the e/merge Africa Facebook group. A total of thirteen took part in the two live meetings on October 23rd and 24th respectively with the most participation being on the 24th.

Topics discussed included experiences of how technology can support learning, choosing technologies appropriate 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)

e/merge Africa Needs and Priorities Survey

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.