Dear Colleague,

What is the new normal?  What has changed is the way we do things?  What has changed in learning generally?  We are sure that COVID19  has affected each one of us in one way or another, the many changes that have happened in our lives so far is a lesson on how to always be prepared.  Many countries are trying to lift the  LockDown and curfews  as new infection numbers keep going up daily and more people are being taken in for quarantine and it is not easy.  Let us continue with resilience and togetherness, let us support each other and make a difference in each other's lives.  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 lively and intense discussions in our Facebook group and we wish to thank everyone who is and has participated on various issues, including remote learning during the current crisis. We have more events still planned that focus on the pivot to remote teaching and opportunities to meet together informally to talk about our lives, wellbeing and work during the current crisis, as well as to share our practices for remote teaching,  facilitation and much more.  More details below.

We are still recruiting for Facilitating Online Global which starts on 7 September and will be open to colleagues from all over the world.  Please apply before the deadline.   

We 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 the final Cohort of 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.  

If you are unable to join the September cohort we welcome you to join our 2021 waiting list

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 ZAR7000 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

We hope you have been benefiting from the events and webinars we have been organising during this COVID 19 times. We will keep organising more events and we hope you continue to endure and accept a lot of  uncertainty. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2020; Sit & Stretch:Chair Yoga in Online Times 

Date and Time: Wednesday, 5 August 2020 4:00pm SAST

Presenter: Carla Mostert is a Junior Lecturer of Drama and Performance at the University of Kwazulu Natal.

Description:  As COVID 19 continues to test us mentally and physically, many of us are spending extended hours in front of our computer screens. Gyms are closed and it feels like there’s no time to figure out exercise. Join me for an hour of “Sit & Stretch” where we’ll be using Chair Yoga as our basis. We will breathe, twist, and release those scrunched up shoulders, all without leaving our desks. No prior yoga experience is needed, this is for everyone. 

For more information and sign up here


August 2020: EdTech Challenges of Two Worlds: Case of University of Namibia and University of Alabama

Date and Time: August 2020 (Date and time to be communicated) 

Presenter: Angela Benson, University of Alabama



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


14 August 2020: Improving Learning Using Educational Games and Gamification Systems


Date and Time: Friday 14 August 2020; 4:00pm SAST/Cairo Time

Presenter: Dr. Ahmed Tlili,  Co-Director of OER Lab at SLIBNU, China and Associated Editor of the IEEE Bulletin of TCLT.

Description: This webinar aims to; present the importance of using educational games and gamification systems to enhance learning outcomes, including motivation, behaviors and engagement of learners;  explore how incorporating learning analytics in educational games can provide smart learning that could be adapted to everyone’s needs; and develop a small educational game using the game engine “Construct2”.  

More information and registration 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.


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.


Wednesday, 2 September 2020: Advancing the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the Context of Transformation of Higher Education in South Africa


Aim and objectives of the webinar is to provide a platform for interrogating diverse avenues of thought on the Fourth Industrial Revolution as it relates to transformation in higher education with a view towards developing a position for the CHE on this matter. 

The specific objectives are to: 

  • Examine how the Fourth Industrial Revolution would impact on higher education; 
  • Explore how higher education could respond in order to adapt to the new world order of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; 
  • Examine how the processes of responding and adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be pursued within the.broader context of transformation in higher education; and 
  • Identify priorities for research on advancing the notion of the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the context of transformation of higher education in South Africa. 

Speakers and discussants 

Confirmed speakers are: 

  • Prof Rasigan Maharajh (Tshwane University of Technology) 
  • Prof Allison Gillward (Research ICT Africa) 
  • Dr Vukosi Marivate (University of Pretoria) 
  • Dr Celiwe Ngwenya (University of Stellenbosch) 
  • Dr Linda Meyer (Universities South Africa) and 
  • Prof Nelishia Pillay (University of Pretoria) are confirmed lead discussants. 

More about the webinar: Advancing the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the Context of Transformation of Higher Education in South Africa




Going Virtual! 2020 AECT 

Convention Theme is “Towards culturally-situated learning design and research”                                                  Image

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

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


Abstract guidelines available at



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. 

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:

I) how students engage in online learning in various contexts during this emergency period

ii) 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. Further information and submission instructions are available here.



How To Teach Online: Providing Continuity for Students


Explore online teaching with this practical course for educators designed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More Information and registration.


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:





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

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



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

Connect via Twitter Connect via Twitter
Join our Facebook Group Join our Facebook Group
Visit our website Visit our website
View our YouTube Channel View our YouTube Channel
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
2020 e/merge Africa.

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