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MOOCs in Africa: Massive Questions, Open Discussion

Photo by Nicola Pallitt - CC-BY

This August we’ll be hosting an exciting webinar series about MOOC usage in Africa. During the series we look into the current status of how African Higher Education Institutions are making use of MOOCs. There is often much hype about the potential of MOOCs for development in Africa, but what is happening on the ground? In this series, experts share insights from their research and practice and invite us to engage in critical conversations around a range of questions:

We will start off with two webinars looking at changes in practices by lecturers when using or creating MOOCs:

On 15 August at 1 pm (SAST) Shanali Govender and Tasneem Jaffer (University of Cape Town) address the question on how we might advance MOOC uptake in universities. How have others used strategies such as ‘wrapping’ MOOCs to overcome some of the perceived limitations of MOOCs? How can we make MOOCs accessible to many?

On 17 August at 1 pm (SAST) Sukaina Walji and Michael Glover (University of Cape Town) explore what happens when lecturers in Africa make MOOCs. What do they learn? How do their practices shift? How can lecturers be supported to become more open?

On 22 August  1 pm (SAST) Andy Nobes (AuthorAid, UK) will speak about the potential of MOOCs to be used for training of researchers in developing countries

On 24 August at 11 am (SAST) we are joined by Dr. Lorenzo Dalvit (Rhodes University, South Africa) who will challenge our assumptions and beliefs about MOOCs in the African context based on findings from a recent report from the The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA). These findings contradict commonly-held assumptions about MOOCs in ‘less developed’ contexts in a number of aspects. Perhaps we need to reframe our perspectives?

On 29 August at 1 pm (SAST) Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu will discuss National Open University of Nigeria’s OER strategy (including sensitization, capacity building, design of NOUN 1st OER based MOOCs) and lessons learned.
How are institutions creating and reusing OER-based MOOCs?
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is currently implementing its strategy towards becoming an OER-based Open University with a special niche for MOOCs.

On 31 August at 1 pm (SAST) Rebecca Bayeck (Pennylvania State University, US) will speak about how Africa can maximize on MOOCs. Her webinar engages participants in a discussion on how to make the most out of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The webinars are 30 to 40 minutes presentations followed by 10-15 minutes for questions and asynchronous discussion via the e/merge forum and/or Facebook event pages. Please see full schedule below and sign up for these events individually below:

15 Aug Postgraduate students’ experiences of wrapped MOOCs at a University in South Africa Shanali Govender + Tasneem Jaffer
17 Aug Making MOOCs and changing open educational practices Sukaina Walji + Michael Glover
22 Aug A MOOC approach for training researchers in developing countries Andy Nobes & Ravi Murugesan
24 Aug MOOCs in developing countries – Rethinking the potential for increasing MOOC uptake and improving employment opportunities Dr. Lorenzo Dalvit
29 Aug National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) OER strategy: successes, challenges and lessons learned Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu
31 Aug The Massively Open On Air Courses (MOOAC): Contextualizing MOOCs in Africa Rebecca Bayeck

 

Seminar series: Researching Culture, Learning and Technology (CLT)

Presenters: Session 1: Angela Benson, Leshell Hatley, Deepak Subramony and Joe Terantino
Session 2: Bodi Anderson, Amy Bradshaw, Akesha Horton and Michael Thomas

Time and date: Two part seminar with two one hour webinars. First webinar: Tuesday, 17 October, 1pm SAST (South Africa), 6am – 7am CT (US) and Thursday, 24 October , 1pm SAST (South Africa), 6am – 7am CT (US)

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Interested in exploring the intersection between culture, learning and technology? This 2-part seminar will be presented by members of the AECT Culture, Learning and Technology (CLT) Division. The first seminar will provide an overview of different types of CLT research, introduce frameworks for researching CLT and the importance of this kind of research. The second seminar will discuss international examples of CLT research that represent the types discussed in seminar 1 and illustrate how particular frameworks were applied and/or how the practice was situated. The diversity of students in African Higher Education institutions and elsewhere means that researchers are well placed to start exploring this intersection in their own contexts. Sign up for this seminar series and join a growing global conversation! Everyone who signs up will entered into a contest to win a free e-book version of the edited volume, Culture, Learning and Technology: Research and Practice. One free e-book will be given away at each of the two seminars.



Representative Chapters
Select HERE for full book details 

  • Revisiting Instructional Technologists’ Inattention to Issues of Cultural Diversity among Stakeholders
  • Hip-Hop Music as a Pedagogical Tool: Teaching with Hip-hop in Global Contexts
  • How cultural factors influence the use of social constructivist-based pedagogical models of distance learning: Examining Japanese online collaborative behaviors
  • Culture & Computational Thinking: A Pilot Study of Operationalizing Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT) in Computer Science Education

Resources for interest:
AECT-CLT Virtual Community

Speaker bios & profile pictures:
Session 1: Angela Benson, Leshell Hatley, Deepak Subramony and Joe Terantino


Angela D. Benson (Ph.D., Instructional Technology, University of Georgia) is an Associate Professor at The University of Alabama in the US. Her current research investigates the role of culture in technology-mediated learning spaces. She has published more than 40 academic publications and presented more than 50 academic presentations, primarily addressing issues of power and politics in online learning environments. She regularly teaches courses in instructional technology foundations, instructional design, online course development, software development and technology management. She has also facilitated more than 50 educational technology workshops for higher education faculty and staff, including a recent session with 30 Chinese scholars in Shenyang, China. Dr. Benson is one of the editors of the book, Culture, Learning and Technology: Research and Practice, and President of the Culture, Learning and Technology Division of AECT.


Joe Terantino (Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition & Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida) is Director of the Language Resource Center at Brown University. His expertise lies in teaching methodology, second language acquisition, distance learning, and computer-assisted language learning. As a passionate user and researcher of instructional technology, he is particularly interested in the intersection of technology and the development of intercultural competence.

Dr. Deepak Prem Subramony is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Educational Technology (ET) Graduate Programs at Kansas State University’s College of Education. His areas of scholarly interest include social/cultural issues in ET, equitable access to ET, the impact of ET on minority and non-Western learners, as well as culturally cognizant ET practice and change management. He has been closely associated with the CLT Division’s predecessor group Minorities in Media (MIM) since more than a decade ago, and served as MIM’s President from 2007 to 2009. In 2014 he received the CLT Division’s McJulien Scholar Award. Currently he is serving as the CLT Division’s President-Elect Designate.

Leshell Hatley Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD and is the Founder and Executive Director of Uplift, Inc., a nonprofit STEM education organization. Uplift offered the first mobile application development course to middle and high school students in the US and is one of the first organizations to offer after school courses in Lego Mindstorms Robotics in Washington, DC. She and the students in her research lab at Coppin State, the Lab for Artificial Intelligence and its Applications (LAIA), won the 2016 USA White House HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Maker & Innovation Challenge and she recently led the first Coppin State Team to compete in the NASA Swarmathon. She is a passionate computer engineer, educator, and researcher who continuously combines these three attributes to create innovative approaches to teaching STEM concepts to students between that ages of 3 and 73. With over 16 years of teaching experience, Leshell leads teams of enthusiastic students, dedicated volunteer instructors, and teams of engineering to achieve award winning success, national news coverage, and innovative technology product designs.

 

Session 2: Bodi Anderson, Amy Bradshaw, Akesha Horton and Michael Thomas

Bodi Anderson currently is an assistant professor of instructional technology at Indian River State College. He has also taught at Northern Arizona University, as well as Kwansei Gakuin and Meiji University in Japan. He received his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Educational Technology from Northern Arizona University in 2012. He has also has a M.A. in Applied Linguistics with a focus on Computer Assisted Language Learning from NAU and a B.A. in East Asian students from the University of Arizona. He continues to present at major conferences and publish in the field of educational technology. His primary research interests include cultural issues in online with a focus on East Asia and distance learning and game based learning and immersive virtual environments.


Amy C. Bradshaw , Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology & Technology at the University of Oklahoma. Her scholarly interests include social and cultural implications of instructional technologies; visuals for learning and instruction; scaffolding higher order and critical thinking; and educational philosophy. Her teaching practice reflects commitment to integrating equity and social justice with instructional technology. She has served as Editor of the Journal of Visual Literacy, Guest Editor for TechTrends 47(6) (special issue), Guest Section Editor for two issues of the ETR&D International Review, President of the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA), and President of the International Division (ID) of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology (AECT). She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies (parent organization for the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education) and as the Vice President of Research & Publications for AECT’s Culture, Learning, & Technology Division.

Akesha Horton, Ph.D. is a Learning Design, Development and Innovation Coordinator for the United States Air Force. She earned her doctorate degree in Curriculum, Teaching, and Educational Policy from Michigan State University’s College of Education. Dr. Horton is an alumni of Fulbright-mtvU Scholar program. In this role, she worked with Australian based hip-hop artists to develop and implement educational programs that served underrepresented youth. While in Australia, she helped launch the first completely online program in Indigenous Education at Macquarie University.
Dr. Horton has been an active agent in a plethora of teaching and scholarship experiences in the educational arena, including in-school and out-of-school urban settings, higher education, instructional design, e-learning, and curriculum development for K-12, university, non-profit and small business settings. She has served on the board of national educational organizations in the United States, as well as a volunteer in the nonprofit sector. These collective experiences led to her research interests which explores the intersections between learning, technology, and culture for youth and young adults. She currently serves as a mentor to educators who have completed the Google Certified Innovator program and is the Vice President of Communications for AECT’s Culture, Learning, & Technology Division.

Michael K. Thomas, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he serves as faculty and qualitative methodologist. Thomas’ primary research interest centers on the cultural dimensions of technology implementation in learning contexts and what this means for the design of technology-rich innovations for teaching learning. Three key questions with respect to this are (a) What are the central concerns of teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders regarding the implementation of technology in learning contexts? (b) What do they do to continually resolve these concerns? and (c) In what ways does culture play a role in the design and implementation of technology-rich innovations? He is particularly interested in video games and gamification in learning environments and was a primary contributor to the Quest Atlantis project funded by the National Science Foundation. He is currently the P.I. of the CySec Project for designing games for middle school students learning cybersecurity. This project is also supported by the National Science Foundation.

To sign up for one or both webinars and to stand a chance to win a free eBook please sign up below:

20 July: Personal mobile devices in the classroom: opportunities and challenges

Presenters: Dr. Cheryl Brown, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town & Genevieve Haupt, Research Officer, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town

Format: one hour webinar Thursday 20 July, 1pm SAST

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Personal mobile devices (PMDs) such as smart phones and tablets are an important part of students’ media ecologies. PMDs share some similarities with laptops, such as wireless Internet connectivity and relying on a battery to run. However, whereas laptops run on software that is pre-installed, PMDs run on software that is installed by downloading apps. This boundary between them is becoming increasing blurred as light-weight laptops that are touchscreen and support traditional software in addition to apps are becoming more commonplace and affordable. Such devices are making a profound impact in university settings worldwide, both inside and outside of the classroom. Despite this, laptop and tablet initiatives are still relatively novel across a range of South African higher education institutions.

Does access to Personal Mobile Devices (PMDs) such as laptops, tablets and smartphones) improve student learning experiences?

Access to physical devices is often perceived as a solution to pedagogical issues facing African Higher Education Institutions, but research suggests that we need a more nuanced understanding of the role of PMDs to leverage its usefulness for teaching and learning purposes.  

Cheryl will talk about research emerging from the UCT flexible learning “laptop” project and DHET Personal Mobile Devices (PMD) project. She will focus on lecturers’ experiences of how they have changed their teaching practices in the classroom as a result of increased student access to devices as well as some of the challenges experienced and how they were overcome.


Dr Cheryl Brown is a Senior Lecturer and part of the Learning Technologies Team. She joined UCT (CET) in 2003 having previously worked in the area of e-learning in Australia. She is principle investigator for the Carnegie funded “Developing Educational Technology Professionals in Africa” project and the DHET funded cross institutional “Personal Mobile Devices” project. She heads the Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA) project. Cheryl co-convenes the Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Technology  and convenes courses in research and evaluation of emerging technology and emerging technologies and educational practices. She supervises MEd and PhD students from across Africa. She is co-chair of the Apereo Teaching and Learning Innovation Awards (ATLAS) which recognise innovation in learning and teaching internationally. Cheryl is an NRF rated researcher and her interests centre around access to ICTs and how they facilitate or inhibit students’ participation in learning. In the past few years she has looked more closely at the role technological devices (for example cellphones and laptops) play in students learning in a developing context and the development of students’ digital literacy practices. Cheryl is a long standing member of the CHED Transformation Committee and is currently chair of the CHED Research Ethics Committee.


Genevieve Haupt joined the Learning Technologies Team within CILT in September 2015 as a part-time project manager and researcher on the DHET/UCT Personal Mobile Device Project. As she worked in the Education and Skills Development Unit at the Human Sciences Research Council from 2009-2015, her research career has focused on various issues within Higher Education. Whilst at the HSRC she completed her Master’s degree in Research Psychology with the University of the Western Cape and has subsequently registered for a PhD in Higher Education Studies with Rhodes University. The provisional title of her PhD is: A legitimation code theory analysis of access into the Master’s in Clinical Psychology programme across the Western Cape. Her Master’s, and now her PhD has a strong focus on issues of social justice and social equality in Higher Education. Despite having a background completely unrelated to the field of Learning Technologies, she welcomes the challenge and looks forward to unpacking the various issues of using technology in higher education institutions.

 

This webinar has ended – please view resources here