Dear emerge Africa attendees, this is on a lighter note. I got a call from the ICT Directorate at the University of Jos this afternoon, about an hour after this seminar officially commenced. The caller informed me that a certain professor had traveled 313KM from another university to attend the emerge Africa seminar. I explained on the phone that the seminar was held online and there was no need for anyone to travel from his locale to attend, whereupon the professor demanded to see me. Since I had to be in one place to respond to comments online, I declined. But our dear professor is spending a night in Jos and has extracted a promise from me to go to the ICT Directorate and see him tomorrow at 8am (7am SA time) before he travels another 313Km to his destination. That’s how disruptive technology can be. All the talk about a pilot online seminar apparently didn’t sink. There must be many out there who can’t imagine a conference, seminar or workshop taking place ONLINE!
Yes, but it’s a nuisance. I have to make a needless trip of about 7KM just so I can meet the professor and travel the same distance back to continue my interaction online. I decided I will go because I don’t, he will consider his visit to Jos a big waste and a disappointment. I suspect that he will try to at least engage with me for a while and get the psychological satisfaction that he did not travel in vain.
Jerome, we’ve had a similar experience with e/merge in the past. A partcipant once asked us for a letter of introduction so he could get through passport control at the airport! He had planned to fly all the way from north Africa to Cape Town to be at the online conference, and he was dilligently getting all his paperwork together! Somone had to send him a carefully worded email to say that we hoped he hadn’t purchased a ticket yet, because it really wasn’t necessary 🙂
Well the initial e-mail gave no indication of physical venue and made many online references including to the Facebook event and that access details for the website would be communicated soon. The next mail actually gave a URL and information about accessing the website. So someone must have really wanted to go to a seminar at Jos … Other than the waste of time and petrol I hope the Professor has arrived home safely by now.
The visit by the professor to Jos, well is a reminder of where many Africans are in the issues of technology. It also cuts out our job for us. We need to do more to get Africa to change their attitude and to enlighten them more. It was not that the invitation mail was not clear, but simply, to them it didnt make sense. Jerome, its okay you had to travel 7kms to receive the professor, but you changed the perception of not only him but those whom he came into contact with. Some more converts to elearning. Brings us closer to realising our goal.
This is Jerome’s response posted on facebook: The professor did know the seminar would be online, but somehow did not grasp it:
“I just saw the prof off to start his 313Km return trip. Yes, he is very enthusiastic about using technology for teaching and learning. He is a professor of econometrics and has written many books on the subject. He met with Tony at the eLearning Africa conference and was later contacted about emerge 2012 in the first instance, and this emerge Africa seminar recently. His printed email on the subject shows clearly that the seminar would be online. But he felt very sure that the online component would only be additional to the “real”, f2f version in Jos, where I would stand on a lectern and be reading a paper or something like that. He spent 2 hours with me this morning discussing technology and admiring my IT gadgets: ipad, android smartphone, etc. In the end, he promised that we would work together on a certain World Bank project he is involved with that includes the use of ICT. His enthusiasm and excitement at some very basic technologies was impressive. For instance, he screamed when I talked about Turnitin, the plagiarism software.”
- This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by Jolanda.
Since the longest distances for length and breadth of Nigeria are 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) from east to west and 1,046 kilometers (650 miles) from north to south, and this Prof travelled 313 km to Jos, then he must have travelled within Nigeria, unless he travelled from the neighboring countries. Tourism is educative.
It was good you granted him audience because you must have added more e-knowledge to his luggage, more so that there is no traffic offence for knowledge overload in Nigeria. Mistake is part of knowledge and skills acquisition, so the Prof must have returned home to explain what wonderful job Jerome and his team are doing on e-learning in Unijos , and win more converts for the e-fellowship development programme.
Oh Jerome, story telling is part of e-learning tools to engage our online learners, you applied it successfully on us here. You are great!
Thanks everyone. I guess, this fun part is what makes online conferences and seminars really great. At f2f conferences, ones rarely gets time for real fun-talk. Lunchtime is hurried and the entire day is spent running from one hall to another, and by the time a typical conference day is over, participants are so tired, sometimes too tired even to take supper or a shower. I appreciate all of you and your warm participation at this seminar. Once again, Tony has delivered, big time. In Nigeria, we would give him 3 power claps to express gratitude. We call each power clap a gbosaa: So, join me everybody for 3 Gbosaas for Tony: Gbosaa, gbosaa, gbosaa!
An effort rewarding e-seminar, packed with a lot to share, even after the seminar, I thank all for the collaboration and cooperation. I enjoyed my participation. I believe that Tony wont mind sharing the Nigerian form of celebrating successful people using GBOSSA!!!, with Jerome and your team members. With this programme, you both deserve national/international honour award. Till we meet again online or f2f, its bye-bye to all.
“O d’abo” (good bye in Yoruba)
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