Whazzup in UR WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is being used across African Higher Education Institutions for teaching and learning activities in a variety of innovative ways. Join Unity Chipunza (Bindura University, Zimbabwe) and Nicola Pallitt (University of Cape Town) as they share their experiences of using WhatsApp with students in their contexts and facilitate discussion. We want to hear from you too – we invite you to share your practices, tips, challenges and successes. Tell us what’s up in your WhatsApp:)

Tuesday 12 December 2017 at 1 – 3 pm SAST

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Before the chat:

  1. You are invited to join Whatsapp group ahead of time as you will not be able to access the discussion and media shared in the group before you joined https://chat.whatsapp.com/LGlZMP08741EZIjnkQpabH  Joining this group will be your way of signing up.
  2. Please view the introductory stimulus here:

During the chat:

As WhatsApp can be quite a messy space for discussion. Conversation will happen in stages, guided by 1 question at a time:

Q1: How have you been using WhatsApp with students in your context? (first 30 mins of the chat)

Q2: What motivated your choice to use WhatsApp? (15 mins)

Q3: What do you think your students learn through interaction with their peers and/or lecturers in WhatsApp groups for their courses? (15 mins)

Q4: What are some of the challenges you and your students encounter when using WhatsApp with students? (15 mins)

Q5: Do you have examples of particular practices that work well? (15 mins)

Q6: Imagine you have a colleague who is going to use WhatsApp with students for the first time – what tips would you give them? (15 mins)

Q7: Please share your reflections about this chat (15 mins)

* Please do not share irrelevant info or use people’s contacts for marketing purposes. If you wish to correspond with the e/merge Africa team, email us at ten.acirfaegremenull@ofni

* Feel free to post images, screenshots, videos, voice notes, documents – any media that helps you to participate in the discussion more fully.

* By participating in the group you are consenting to research about the use of WhatsApp for professional development by members of e/merge Africa.

After the chat:

  • Activities in the WhatsApp group will be recorded for research but not shared publicly. Instead, we will provide a summary of the discussion where individuals’ contributions are acknowledged. Depending on contributions, we will harvest collective responses to create an OER.
  • Once the chat has ended, group members are welcome to stay and extend the conversation. What happens next is up to all of us:) The group administrators will not delete the group.  


28 November: Why is Adaptive Learning Important as an Elearning tool?

Presenter: Karen Vignare, Ph.D Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), United States

Time and Date: 28 November 2017, 2pm SAST / 8am EDT

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Adaptive learning has the potential to transform student learning by providing students with self-paced individualized learning experiences. How can we leverage emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education? Throughout the elearning world, faculty and universities are exploring the use of adaptive learning technologies. Adaptive learning can be defined as an approach to creating a personalized learning experience for students. Adaptive learning takes a sophisticated, data-driven, and in some cases, non-linear approach to instruction and remediation, adjusting to a learner’s interactions and demonstrated performance level and subsequently anticipating what types of content and resources learners need at a specific point in time to make progress. Active learning occurs when students are no longer just passive participants in the learning process. Active learning can be as simple as students working in groups in the classroom instead of listening to a lecture.

The combination of adaptive and active has been shown to increase student outcomes. These pedagogical approaches provide faculty with data and insight about student performance. As a result, more faculty are changing the tactics they use in the classroom to be active and make sure all students succeed or achieve mastery sooner.

In this webinar, Karen will share some of the experiences of universities in the USA which are scaling adaptive learning. She will also share some of the early research and collective thinking on the following questions:

  • What are active and adaptive learning?
  • What does it involve?
  • What are some of the benefits for students and lecturers?
  • Will adaptive learning grow in African universities?

Do you have a specific question about active or adaptive learning that you’d like Karen to answer? Please register and submit below

How Adaptive Learning Can Make Higher Ed More Customized and Effective (Part 1)
How Adaptive Learning Can Make Higher Ed More Customized and Effective (Part 2)
Lorenzo, G. 2016. Failing Forward With Adaptive Learning in Higher Ed. In EdSurge.

This webinar has ended please refer to the resource page for recording and other resources

Karen Vignare, Ph.D., M.B.A, is a strategic innovator leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education. As Executive Director, for the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Karen manages a network of universities committed to student success through personalization. She also oversees the adaptive courseware grant providing leadership and support to eight pioneering universities which are scaling adaptive courseware in introductory level courses.
Karen previously served as a Vice Provost, at University of Maryland University College, the largest online public open access institution where she led innovations in adaptive learning, student success and analytics. Previous to that work, she served as Director of Project Planning and Implementation for MSUGlobal at Michigan State University where she helped multiple units leverage emerging technologies in extension, non-credit programs, corporate settings, and research projects. She has published extensively on online learning, analytics, and open educational resources. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University and an M.B.A from University of Rochester, William Simon Business School.


23 Nov: Leading Learning for Change: Reportback from the 2017 AECT Convention

Presenters: Tony Carr & Dr. Alice Barlow-Zambodla, e/merge Africa

Time and Date: 23 November 2017, 1 pm SAST / 7 am EDT (US)

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For this year the AECT (Association for Educational Communications and Technology) conference organisers have chosen the theme “Leading Learning for Change” for this year’s convention in Jacksonville, Florida. In this reportback session Tony and Alice will share their reflections, learnings and experiences related to this conference. Over the past couple of years, the AECT has made a significant effort to promote scholarship, best practices, and leadership in the creation, use, and management of technologies for effective teaching and learning. In 2015 e/merge Africa became an affiliate organisation. This session will also discuss what opportunities this could give e/merge Africa members. This report back is also a virtual celebration of the collaboration between the two organisations. Join us by signing up here:

This event has ended – A recording is available!

Tony Carr Convener of e/merge Africa and educational technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), University of Cape Town
I have lived in Durban, London and Cape Town. After an earlier career as a Business and Economics educator a fascination with online interaction led to my work since 2000 as an educational technologist. My operational and research interests include online collaboration, communities of practice in staff development, online facilitation and online professional networks. In 2014 I received a Dewey Winburne Community Service Award. I have co-authored the OER Facilitating Online Guide for Course Leaders. I developed the Facilitating Online course in year which I also convene.

Dr Alice Barlow-Zambodla e/Merge Africa Network Regional Coordinator for Southern and East Africa
I have a multi-disciplinary background in Agriculture, Botany and ICTs for education resulting in lecturing and research experience totalling more than 25 years at the Universities of Transkei and Kwa-Zulu-Natal, South Africa. My more recent experiences involve working as a Programme Specialist for 7.5 years at SAIDE, an educational research and development NGO. This work involved working with various tertiary institutions on the continent focussing mainly on open and distance learning programmes,  the development and use of open education resources, ICTs for Education and development, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of educational interventions. In my capacity as a Vodacom Change the World volunteer 2014-2016  I have been working with the Buffelshoek Trust  to set up and capacitate 11 ICT Centres situated at 9 rural schools in Bushbuckridge Municipality, Mpumalanga, South Africa.