Cartoon by Stacey Stent
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.
Photographs by Genevieve Chang
On 25th May 2011 we facilitated a multi-stakeholder workshop at eLearning Africa 2011 in Dar es Salaam entitled “Towards an Online eLearning Network Across African Universities”. The workshop was run in partnership with the South African Institute for Distance Education and the United Nations University and facilitated by Nancy White of Full Circle Associates. There were participants from from universities and NGOs across all regions of Africa and from Europe and the United States. While many of us wanted to immediately bring our most difficult problems to a network there was a huge interest in the formation of a network including over 20 offers of support including activities and access to networks and expertise.