Upcoming events



Are you an educational technology user working in African higher education? Educational technology usage in African higher education has been changing for a while now, and even more so since the pandemic. Completing the e/merge Africa-IRCEES survey is a powerful act of participation in growing e-learning capacity across our continent. We need your help with this. The results will help us to design online opportunities aligned with your needs and suited to our African contexts. This survey should take between 15-30 minutes to complete. Please complete the survey HERE.

21 September 2022: Compassionate Learning Design


Session format: Interactive Session/Webinar

Date and Time: Wednesday, 21st September 2022, 12:00pm – 13:30pm SAST

Leading the Session:

Daniela Gachago is an Associate Professor at Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town. 

Maha Bali is a Professor of Practice at the American University in Cairo’s Center for Learning and Teaching.

Dr. Nicola Palitt: Coordinates the efforts of the Educational Technology Unit in the Centre for Higher Education Research,Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University

To join via Zoom please register here

Description of the session:

COVID-19 forced a global emergency pivot to online learning, which has led to an increased demand on both staff and students, with major impact on workloads, research careers, and mental health. Across the globe, academics complain of burn-out, exhaustion, and lack of self-care. This has heightened the concern around the well-being of students and staff (Czerniewicz et al, 2020, Imad, 2021) and has led to an increase in interest in approaches to teaching and learning that recognise the importance of care and compassion, such as humanising pedagogies (Pacanksi-Brock, 2020); pedagogies of equity and care (Bali, 2020) or trauma-informed pedagogies (Imad, 2021).

These frameworks create space to ask important questions on how to respond to the affective dimension of teaching and learning, and learning design, how to care for students and ourselves, how to set boundaries and highlight the importance of relationship- and community building. This workshop will briefly introduce some of these terms and frameworks and then explore what compassion means in our context and practice. This will be a highly interactive workshop.

In this interactive sessions, we share a framework that we co-designed that we have titled Compassionate Learning Design (CLD) and discuss how it evolved and how we are developing it further. Our Learning Design Voices chapter grew out of design considerations we developed for context-sensitive networked professional development (Gachago, Pallitt & Bali, 2020; NLEC et al, 2021) and theories of social justice (Fraser, 2005; Tronto, 2015). We used it as a lens to contrast how we supported educators at our universities to create and facilitate context-sensitive and flexible learning experiences with and for students. In our Toward a Critical Instructional Design chapter we explain designing with empathy to co-designing with compassion and further discuss the intersecting praxis of participation, justice, and care.

We view CLD as a praxis that involves anticipation of learner needs and inequities therein, imagination of potential approaches to address diverse circumstances, and respect for learner agency, starting from responsiveness to learner feedback, and driven by a desire for “parity of participation” (Fraser 2005; Hodgkinson-Williams & Trotter, 2018) wherein all learners, including the most marginalised, are involved in decision-making in their learning experience. 

Recent publications by the presenters:

Gachago, D., Bali, M., & Pallitt, N. 2022. Compassionate Learning Design as a Critical Approach to Instructional Design. In Quinn. J, Burtis, M., Jhangiani, S. & Walji, S. (Eds.) Toward a Critical Instructional Design. Hybrid Pedagogy Inc. https://criticalinstructionaldesign.pressbooks.com/chapter/compassionate-learning-design-as-a-critical-approach-to-instructional-design/ 

Pallitt, N., Bali, M., & Gachago, D. 2022.  Academic Development as Compassionate Learning Design: Cases from South Africa and Egypt. In T. Jaffer, S. Govender & L. Czerniewicz (Eds.), Learning Design Voices. Advance preprint. https://doi.org/10.25375/uct.20028431

Pallitt, N.; Gachago, D. & Bali, M. 2021. No Size Fits All: Design Considerations for Networked Professional Development in Higher Education. Conceptualizing and innovating education and work with networked learning.  Eds. Nina Bonderup Dohn, Stig Børsen Hansen, Jens Jørgen Hansen, Thomas Ryberg and Maarten de Laat. To be published by Springer, NY.

Networked Learning Editorial Collective (NLEC): Gourlay, L.; Rodríguez-Illera, J.L.; Barberà, E.; Bali, M.; Gachago, D.; Pallitt, N.; Jones, C.; Bayne, S.; Børsen Hansen, S.; Hrastinski, S.; Jaldemark, J.; Themelis, C.; Pischetola, M.; Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L.; Matthews, A.; Gulson, K.N.; Lee, K.; Bligh,B.; Thibaut, P.; Vermeulen,M.; Nijland, F.; Vrieling-Teunter, E.; Scott, H.; Thestrup, K.; Gislev, T.; Koole, M.; Cutajar, M.; Tickner, S.; Rothmüller, N.; Bozkurt, A.; Fawns, T.; Ross, J.; Schnaider, K.; Carvalho, L.; Green, J.K.; Hadžijusufovi?, M.; Hayes, S.; Czerniewicz, L. & Knox, J. 2021. Networked Learning in 2021: A Community Definition. Postdigital Science and Education, 3, 326–369 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-021-00222-y

Session Led by

Daniela Gachago is an Associate Professor at Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on academic staff development in the use of emerging technologies to transform teaching and learning in higher education, with a particular focus on socially just pedagogies such as digital storytelling. She is also interested in innovative course and curriculum design drawing from co-creative approaches such as design thinking.

Maha Bali is a Professor of Practice at the American University in Cairo’s Center for Learning and Teaching. She is co-founder of virtuallyconnecting.org (a grassroots movement that challenges academic gatekeeping at conferences) and co-facilitator of Equity Unbound (an equity-focused, open, connected intercultural learning curriculum, which has also branched into academic community activities Continuity with Care, Socially Just Academia, a collaboration with OneHE: Community-building Resources, and a 3-month learning journey, MYFest). She writes and speaks frequently about social justice, critical pedagogy, and open and online education. She blogs regularly at http://blog.mahabali.me and tweets @bali_maha

Dr Nicola Palitt is an Educational Technology Specialist at senior lecturer level in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University in South Africa. Nicola’s research interests include learning design, online professional development and online supervision. She supervises postgraduate students and co-teaches formal courses in Higher Education and co-facilitates professional development opportunities for lecturers in various settings. She received her PhD from the University of Cape Town. Read more about Nicola here  – hyperlink to https://www.ru.ac.za/teachingandlearning/chertl/staff/drnicolapallitt/

Facebook page: 




LinkedIn:     https://www.linkedin.com/in/dgachago/







Resources:  https://criticalinstructionaldesign.pressbooks.com/chapter/compassionate-learning-design-as-a-critical-approach-to-instructional-design/

27 September 2022: Dance and Draw: What to grow and what needs to go?


Session format: Interactive Session/Webinar  – 90 minutes

Session Lead: Tony Carr and Irene Maweu, e/merge Africa

Date and Time: Tuesday 27th September 2022, 3:00pm- 4:30pm SAST

To join this session please join via Zoom 

Session Description: 

In our lives, work and organisations we experience cycles of change. The surprise or shock of the new, the reassurance of something reliable that continues, the sadness, separation or relief of letting something go, the energy and delight of renewal. You are invited to use this time together to engage with the questions of what to grow and what to let go that are alive for you. Let’s use dance and drawing to be fully present as we each think and feel our way forward.  

We will introduce a new experimental structure called Dance and Draw which is designed to facilitate an embodied, creative and reflective experience of engaging with your version of the questions in your work or personal life. Dance as is right for you: on or off screen, in or out of your chair. Arrive with anything that you need to draw or paint. Bring your whole self for an adventure in movement and emergence. This short workshop is inspired by the Ecocycle liberating structure and by processes used by some Biodanza facilitators. 

Guiding the session

Tony Carr is an Educational Technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at University of Cape Town and convenor of e/merge Africa. 

Irene Maweu is an Online Facilitator for e/merge Africa Facilitating Online course,  Instructional Designer and an eLearning Content Developer

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/137699809709364

Twitter: @emergeAfrica

5 October 2022: Course Design – Online Teaching for Educators at the University of Eswatini


Session Description:  

The COTE (Certificate in Online Teaching for Educators) is a short, fully online course recently designed and offered at the University of Eswatini. It seeks to empower educators with skills and knowledge on the design and development of online programes, courses and lessons. It examines the creation of digital learning materials, online facilitation and authentic online assessment. In this session, we will discuss its creation, design and implementation process, the wins and gains, as well as the challenges and solutions identified throughout this process.  

To join this session please sign up via Zoom

Session Lead:  

Prof. Karen Ferreira-Meyers: is the Coordinator Modern Languages/Linguistics of the Institute of Distance Education at the University of Eswatini.  She obtained various qualifications: MA Romance Philology (French-Spanish), Honours Portuguese, Post-Graduate Diploma Translation (French-English-French), MA Linguistics, LLM Degree (Legal aspects of new technologies), PhD in French (feminine Francophone autofiction). She has published a monograph on Francophone autofiction, several articles (autofictional feminine writing, crime fiction, 20th and 21st Francophone, Anglophone and Lusophone African authors, distance and e-learning), participates regularly in international conferences and is a keen translator and interpreter.

Facebook page:     https://www.facebook.com/karen.ferreirameyers
Twitter:     @FerreiraMeyers

Facilitating Online Course in 2023


This year the Facilitating Online course ran three well attended course cohorts and we are already now planning course cohorts for 2023. If you would like to be informed as soon as course dates are available please register your details here

About the course

Facilitating Online provides a solid foundation for facilitating online events and courses. It is registered as a short course at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Facilitating Online was developed by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at UCT and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as part of its support for the e/merge Africa network. It is convened by Tony Carr and co-facilitated by facilitators from across Africa.

We consider applications in the order in which they arrive so earlier applications stand a higher chance of being accepted

Recommendations by participants

“I learned many facilitation skills that I am now able to apply with my own students. I would recommend the course highly to anyone embarking on the online teaching and learning journey.”
Dr Judith McKenzie, Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Cape Town.

“This course doesn’t just teach you ABOUT online Facilitation, it actually gets you to facilitate … It’s a real opportunity to learn and develop. And what’s more? It has an African taste…”
Daniel Adeboye, Online Maths Tutor, Tutor for the Future

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21 April 2022: Moving into the post-pandemic future

Date and Time: Tuesday, 21 April: 15:00 – 17:00 SAST

Description of the session:  

This workshop is designed to provoke colleagues to dream, scheme and plan together for the post pandemic future. We will use a range of facilitation processes to unleash the best thinking and creativity in the room about issues such as 

  • the metaphors for our journeys through the pandemic, 
  • our learning that transfers to the post-pandemic future, 
  • structural changes needed in our institutions, 
  • how to ensure that our institutions carry forward lessons from the pandemic, and 
  • how to construct better blended lives. 

Much of the workshop will take place in parallel breakouts on specific questions where participants can choose which room to join.

Session Facilitator:  

Tony Carr is an Educational Technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at University of Cape Town and convenor of e/merge Africa. 

To join this session please sign up via Zoom here