Dear Colleague,

COVID19 continues to bring many changes to our lives and to the way we work especially in teaching.  Many countries are still on LockDown and others have curfews . Individuals or groups are in quarantine and it is not easy.  But the resiliency and togetherness of being online goes on.  Many online veterans have opted to teach others, many resources are being shared and online meetings are the new normal. 

We continue to have very intense discussions in our Facebook group and we wish to thank everyone who is and has participated about various issues, including remote learning during the current crisis. We promised to announce events focused on the pivot to remote teaching and opportunities to meet together informally to talk about our lives and work during the current crisis and to share our practices for remote teaching. One such event is the Facilitating Online for beginners which takes place on Monday 15th June at 3:00pm SAST.  More details below.

We are now recruiting for Facilitating Online Global which starts on 7 September and will be open to colleagues from all over the world.   
e hope that this newsletter will be helpful in planning your engagements and engaging usefully with upcoming trends.

  • Facilitating Online course - the Facilitating Online Global starting on 7 September.
  • Upcoming events - future online events 
  • e/merge Africa Arabic - Arabic language webinars 
  • Upcoming Online Conferences by e/merge Africa and friends
  • COVID19 - Teaching in uncertain times, YouTube Playlist 
  • COVID-19 OERs, Resources and Articles
  • Designing online conferences
  • MOOCs by UCT
  • Ways of getting involved in e/merge Africa Network 


Join in the Facilitating Online Course 2020 

facilitating online


Do you want to become an effective online facilitator? We invite applications to our fully online 8-week online facilitation course.

Our third and Facilitating Online Global course for 2020 will run from 7 Sept – 6 Nov 2020 (Apply by 14 August) This run will have up to 25 participants from Africa and up to 25 participants from other continents. We encourage you to apply early.

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.
This course is aimed at change-agent educational technologists, educators and trainers within the African Higher Educational sector and beyond. Course participation is entirely online and will require up to 8 hours of participation per week. We can offer up to two free places per state funded higher education institution in Africa subject to admission requirements. Participants from other sectors and continents who meet the admission requirements can join us for a fee of R7000 per participant. We have up to 25 spaces for participants from the rest of the world in Facilitating Online Global starting on 7 September. 

Please use the link below for full information and to access the online application form.





e/merge Africa events in English

Due to COVID 19, some of our planned online events were postponed, however, we now have several events lined up in this month.  This is a time when we all need to tolerate a lot of uncertainty. 

Wednesday 10 June 2020: Drawing for Learning, Teaching and Innovation


Date and Time:  Wednesday 10th June 2020: 10:00am SAST 

Presenter: Zaid Ali Alsagoff is a Learning Innovation Specialist with over 15 years’ experience in tertiary and corporate education. He is the founder and CEO of AQL Learning Innovation Consultancy (AQL-LIC), which provides training and consultancy in learning innovation, drawing, visual notetaking, educational technology, memory improvement, speed/smart reading and thinking skills.

He has given over one hundred talks and workshops locally and internationally since 2008. He is known for being an innovative, engaging and inspiring speaker. He has an educational background in Psychology (Bachelor) and IT (Masters). In 2013 and 2014, he was ranked among the Top Ten most influential people in the corporate e-learning sector for the Asia-Pacific region (Bob Little Press & Public Relations). He has also been an AKEPT trainer, member of the National e-Learning and MOOC Committees (under KPM) in Malaysia, and is a certified HRDF trainer. He was recently appointed as a board member of the UNiK school in Istanbul (Turkey).

Description: This webinar will explore how we can use drawing to visualise, simplify and inspire learning, teaching and innovation.

For more information and sign up here

Thursday 11 June 2020:  Using Trauma Informed Approaches to Support Instruction: For COVID-19 and Beyond



Date and Time:  Thursday 11th June 2020: 6:00pm CAT/ 9:00am PT / 


Presenter: Hannah M Grossman, PhD is an instructional designer for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. She specializes in adult learning using a cognitive load framework to create contextually-embedded guiding principles for product design and development. Her work spans low-literacy skill-based learning, cross-cultural collaboration, design-based research, social emotional learning, trauma-informed instructional and process design, and problem-based learning. 


Description: In this webinar, we will explore how traumatic stress can impact learning, both generally and in a COVID-19 learning context. After this we will discuss 6 trauma informed learning principles and explore how they can be applied to support learning. We will conclude with time for a general Q-and-A and some collaborative problem-solving around trauma-related teaching issues.  This is a collaboration between @emergeAfrica and @aectclt @AECT webinar 


For more information and sign up here



Monday, 15 June 2020: How Difficult can Online Facilitation be?




Date and Time:  Monday 15th June 2020: 3:00pm SAST 


Presenter: Tony Carr is the Convener of e/merge Africa and is an educational technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), University of Cape Town

His operational and research interests include online collaboration, communities of practice in staff development, online facilitation, online conferences, and online professional networks. He is a  co-author of the OER Facilitating Online Guide for Course Leaders and is co-convenor of the Facilitating Online course. 


Description: Whether you identify primarily as an educator or facilitator you already know a lot about facilitation before you take your practices online. This event considers how online facilitation is different from face to face facilitation and includes some key factors and advice that will support successful online facilitation. The event will include a lot of interaction with participant perspectives including small group activities in breakout rooms. The webinar also introduces the Facilitating Online course which trains facilitators of online courses, workshops and networks. This is an event in collaboration with International Association of Facilitators (IAF)


For more information and sign up here



Thursday 25th June 2020: Quality in Open Online Learning a Matter of Human Rights and Social Justice





Date and Time:   Thursday 25th June 2020;  3:00pm SAST


Description: During this webinar on quality open online learning a matter of  human rights and social justice it will be discussed why and how open education and the recommendations on Open Educational resources can contribute to the building of open and inclusive knowledge societies, and to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Although the special SDG4 on education is very important, accessible quality education also has an impact on several of the other SDGs such as for example SDG 3, 8, 10 and 16.

An important step was taken towards quality education and access to information for all, as UNESCO’s General Conference adopted the 25th November 2019 a Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER). This new Recommendation will support the development and sharing of openly licensed learning and teaching materials, benefiting students, teachers and researchers worldwide. The UNESCO Recommendation will support the creation, use and adaptation of inclusive and quality OER, and facilitate international cooperation in this field. Its objectives also include the development of supportive policies and the creation of sustainability models for OER.

In addition, the new UNESCO initiative on the Futures of Education: Learning to become will be discussed.The initiative goes beyond the SDG and aims to rethink education and shape the future. The initiative is catalyzing a global debate on how knowledge, education and learning need to be reimagined in a world of increasing complexity, uncertainty, and precarity. Knowledge and learning are humanity’s greatest renewable resources for responding to challenges and inventing alternatives.  Yet, education does more than respond to a changing world. Education transforms the world.


  1. Quality in open online learning a matter of  human rights and social justice 
  2. Quality in open online learning, an ecosystem
  3. There are needs to rethink the educational agenda, and the quality agenda for education
  4. The New Normal: Education post COVID-19. Preparing Tomorrow’s Global Citizens Shaped by COVID-19
  5. Who have an interest in the quality agenda for education

Bio: Prof.Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson, Vice President for the Swedish Association for Distance Education (SADE), ICDE Ambassador for global Advocacy of OER, ICDE OER Chair Advocacy Committee. She also works and is in the EC with both EDEN and ICDE, and a quality reviewer for ICDE and EADTU. Professor Ebba Ossiannilsson's work picks up on national and international agendas associated with online and distance education. Recently  she was honored to be one of the leaders and legends. An interview available  below and the short text say that her work on quality, benchmarking in open online learning and OER is particularly noteworthy, as is her untiring work across multiple professional associations.  Interview podcast  

For more information and sign up here


 e/merge Africa events in Arabic


Led by e/merge Africa team member Dr. Mohamed Ahmed of Mansoura University, Egypt, we have so far had over (12) online seminars (webinars/workshops) in Arabic. These sessions have been very well attended already. We have planned for colleagues located in the Middle East and Arabic speaking Africa to present mainly on Friday afternoons 4–5 pm (Cairo time – see your local time zone here). For more details of upcoming Arabic events and how to sign up please go to e/merge Africa Arabic


For questions and thoughts about this initiative we welcome your comments. If you wish to present in Arabic please use the Presenter’s form which is available via the e/merge Africa Arabic website.


Friday 19 June 2020: e-Learning in Higher Education -Tools and Best Practices



Date and Time: Friday 19 June 2020, 4:00pm SAST/Cairo Time 

Description: In this Webinar, the presenter will discuss: The current imperative need for e-learning in higher education; The advantages and challenges of e-learning in higher education; Has the e-learning experience succeeded?; Creating online courses and digital educational material; Choosing the right online tools for delivery, communication, and evaluation; Suggestions for developing the e-learning experience

 Presenter: Eng. Nisreen Rawashdeh is an Online Courses Manager at Edraak

Educational Technology Enthusiast, passionate about Online Education, Instructional

Design, Project Management, and finding the perfect harmony between Education and



For more information and registration e/merge Africa Arabic website


Friday 26 June 2020: E-evaluation in Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) 



Date and Time: Friday 26 June 2020, 4:00pm SAST/Cairo Time 

Description: The workshop will discuss the evaluation in Blackboard LMS system, and how to create assignments, pools, e-test in the Blackboard system, how to import and export questions pools, tests and what are the best settings for the E-evaluation in Blackboard.

Presenter: Dr. Ahmad Sawy Khaled Ali is Head of training department - Deanship of e-learning and it - Jazan University - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

For more information and registration e/merge Africa Arabic website



Remote Teaching  - Resources from an African university

As a project e/merge Africa is based within the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town and therefore close to the processes the department had to engage with quite suddenly, all to support the continued teaching at the University of Cape Town.

A number of key resources were created by the CILT department specifically for university teaching staff - labeled as ‘Level 1 Webinars’. We are currently in the process of adapting these key webinars for broader relevance beyond UCT. We are planning to announce dates for these webinars very soon. The topics include:

  • Presenting Content
  • Student activities in a remote teaching context 
  • Communication and organisation in remote teaching
  • Assessment in remote teaching

Please refer to our website for further information and also the CILT Remote Teaching website for a number of great resources.

Free Online Conference 

Open Apereo 2020 Online: registration is open! 



Learn how higher ed is using open-source software to pursue the academic mission, control costs, and develop innovative solutions to institutional challenges. #apereo20 #opensource #highered REGISTER NOW


Going Virtual! 2020 AECT convention theme is “Towards culturally-situated learning design and Research”    


The theme for 2020 AECT convention is “Towards culturally-situated learning design and research.” Culture is broadly defined as a system of shared beliefs, values, goals, customs, and behaviors held by members of a community that distinguish themselves from another community.  In the context of learning design and research, examples include being responsive to the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs that learners bring to the educational setting, and being sensitive to learners’ needs and community culture.  Issues to be investigated may include instructional design and research in cross-cultural contexts from a global perspective, equity and justice issues for underrepresented population, socially and economically disadvantaged learners, or disparity issues regarding access to technologies and resources (e.g., digital divide, pedagogical divide, and resource divide).  
For more information and updates
AECT 2020



International Conference on Teaching, Assessment and Learning in the Digital Age - digiTAL 2020 - 3-4, December 2020



Abstract guidelines available at

Abstract submission open till 15th June 2020 at

More information


Call for papers: The future learning environment, pedagogical and technological perspectives

International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education welcomes submissions to the thematic series on "The future learning environment, pedagogical and technological perspectives".

Guest editors: Simon K.S. Cheung, Lam For Kwok, Kongkiti Phusavat, and Harrison Yang

Before submitting your manuscript, please ensure you have carefully read the submission guidelines for International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education. 

Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2020 More details here.


Journal of Research on Technology in Education Special Issue: Engaging Learners in Emergency Transition to Online Learning during COVID-19

Cover image - Journal of Research on Technology in Education


This special issue focuses on:

  1. how students engage in online learning in various contexts during this emergency period
  2. how to design learning environments, pedagogies, and strategies to engage learners during this quick transition to online learning

Guest editors: Florence Martin, Kui Xie & Doris U. Bolliger

Proposals focusing on various types of data-driven research methods including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods are of interest. Case studies that are systematically conducted also are of interest. In addition, proposals should explicitly and clearly describe the context or setting of the study. 1000-word proposal due on 1 June. Further information and submission instructions are available here.


COVID-19 - Teaching in Uncertain Times Playlist 

We have searched into our YouTube channels and put together a playlist of webinar recordings that we feel will be helpful during this time. 

Here is the link to the playlist. COVID-19 - Teaching in uncertain times Playlist 

The webinar sessions were on:

  • MOOCs in Africa - The Massively Open On Air Courses (MOOAC): Contextualizing MOOCs in Africa - Dr. Rebecca Bayeck, Penn State University (US)
  • Innovative approaches to blended learning during times of disruptions - Part 1 and 2 - Dr. Daniela Gachago, Dr. Bronwyn Swartz and Cheryl Belford, Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).
  • Dr. Bronwyn Swartz on blended learning - via CPUTStories
  • Dr. Cheryl Belford (CPUT): A case of open educational practices during the 2016 #FMF protests - via CPUTStories
  • Alternative Learning Mode: Engaging Students at University of Sierra Leone During the Ebola Outbreak - Dr. Daniel Stevens, University of Sierra Leone

COVID-19 OERs, Resources and Articles

We invite you to share OERs and other resources related to emergency remote teaching on our Facebook page.


Here are a few that may be useful to you:

UCT Remote Teaching Resources


Examples of adapted resources: 


Articles for interest:



Designing Online Conferences

Here are some resources related to designing online conferences:




Does your higher education institution offer MOOCs that are relevant to e/merge Africa?  If yes, please contact us for inclusion in future newsletters




University of Cape Town offers a number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These are free online courses with no entry requirements and are not for university credit. You can choose to purchase a certificate, and in some cases financial aid is available. We hope you find a course from the list below that excites you; sign up or register your interest. Find out more about the UCT MOOCs project



e/merge Africa is a platform for learning and connecting. It provides an opportunity to join a growing Africa-wide network of eLearning professionals. We offer a number of ways for you to get involved and engage with colleagues across the continent:

Propose an event
Whether you are a seasoned lecturer or PhD-student engaged in research you would like to share with our network, please propose a webinar, a seminar or even an online workshop. Perhaps you’ve attended an e-learning related conference recently and are willing to participate in a report back. 

Be part of a peer-assist
Even professionals get stuck at times when facing daunting challenges. If you are one of them, how about considering a Peer-Assist session? Contact us to engage with one of our  online facilitators with your challenge. We will then set up a Peer-Assist session and invite members of our network to provide feedback on your challenge. Renew your ideas and get a new perspective!

Nominate a presenter
Is there a mentor, supervisor, colleague whose research could  be shared with our network? Please get in touch to nominate a presenter!

Share with us via social media
Perhaps you’ve found or created a useful resource or published a paper of interest to other educational technology professionals? Please share via our Facebook group or via Twitter. Please subscribe to our e/merge Africa YouTube Channel

Looking for conference and publishing opportunities? Go to opportunities on the e/merge Africa website

Best wishes,

The e/merge Africa team


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
2020 e/merge Africa.

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