From the e/merge Africa Launch Meeting

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

Looking Ahead

A report on the launch workshop will be posted here on Saturday 1st June. Thursday  6th June we will also open the call for proposals and the needs and priorities survey on this site. Our first network activity will run in July. Members of the network will be invited to participate in the planning process for a learning agenda from mid 2013 – mid 2014. We expect to announce the learning agenda by August 2013. There will also be other opportunities for members to take on leadership roles in e/merge Africa.

In the meanwhile you can engage with us in the e/merge Africa Facebook group and on twitter with the hashtag #emergeafrica. If you want to join the e/merge Africa announcement e-mail list or have other queries please contact us at ten.acirfaegremenull@ofni.

Progress in 2011-12

e/merge Africa started as the e/merge online conferences on the use of educational technology in African Higher Education Institutions. In 2012 we started pilot activities for an eLearning network to promote sharing of good practices, informal and semi-formal professional development and the growth of research capacity among educational technology practitioners and researchers in the African higher education sector. These activities arose from a project by the Centre for Educational Technology at University of Cape Town and the South African Institute of Distance Education to establish the scope and demand for such a network. The evolution of this project has been funded by the Carnegie Corporation and by the Ford Foundation.

Consulations at eLearning Africa in 2011 and at meetings of the Partnership for Higher Education: Educational Technology Initiative in 2011 and 2012 confirmed clear interest in participation and leadership by colleagues at universities in several regions of Africa. Activities offered in 2012 included an online facilitation course for educational technologists in African universities, the e/merge 2012 online conference on the use of educational technology in African universities which ran from 9-20 July 2012, and a pilot seminar for the e/merge Africa network which was presented in September 2012. The network activities are intended to promote communication and collaboration across several existing networks of which e/merge Africa participants are members. The e/merge Africa Facebook group currently has 211 members from across Africa and several other continents. Our announcement list has over 600 members.

If you want to be involved in the planning of the network then please contact us at ten.acirfaegremenull@ofni or complete the contact form on this site.

From eLearning Africa 2011

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.