December 2020

Dear Colleague,

As the “very long”  2020 comes to an end, we hope that you have had time to reflect on your personal and working life, appreciated the time with family and learnt something new. The support that we have given each other this year has been crucial.  As we move forward and as we start a new year, let the lessons that we have learnt be our guide that makes us better and stronger in many years to come. 

This year, we have had 20 English events (webinars and workshops) and 19 Arabic events. The topics for these events varied from remote teaching during a pandemic, support to learners, to 4IR to trauma care and support and emerging educational technologies. Our presenters, whom we thank whole heartily came from Africa, Middle East, Europe and the USA. We Appreciate you.

As an affiliate of AECT, members of the e/merge Africa team attended the annual convention that was hosted online this year. We participated in a networking event and members of our team contributed to a panel discussion and presentation. And you can hyperlink to the panel and presentation for panel and

In early December we were invited to facilitate two sessions and participate in the digiTAL2020 conference

Our 8 week Facilitating Online course has run three cohorts so far with a total of 108 course delegates completing successfully. Our fourth and last cohort for the year will conclude later this month. We congratulate each of our graduates and look forward to welcoming new course participants in 2021. For more about the Facilitating Online course please see further in this newsletter and our website.  

The AAU did not disappoint, they too had many events and sessions organised and executed very well.  We are proud that one of our members, Nodumo Ndlamini who is the Director of ICT Services and Knowledge Management at the Association of African Universities (AAU) Secretariat, was in the centre of these events.  We are happy for the healthy relationship.

You are all welcome to join the e/merge Africa Facebook group which continues to grow day by day and now has over 2200 members. Our members come from every region of Africa and from at least five other continents. We are from many different sectors and professions with a shared interest in the use of educational technology in African higher education. This year the group has increasingly become a space for real conversation about the challenges and opportunities of online and blended teaching, and a hub for sharing professional development opportunities across the dozens of networks that our members are part of. To all of our members, thank you for the experience, deep knowledge, insight, passion, curiosity and generosity that you bring.

In the December newsletter we have:

  1. Voices of the e/merge Africa Team and members 
  2. e/merge Africa-IRCEES survey
  3. Upcoming e/merge Africa events in English and Arabic
  4. Facilitating Online course - Applications now open for 2021
  5. Upcoming Online Webinars by e/merge Africa friends
  6. Activities and ideas to help build a sense of community online
  7. Designing online conferences
  8. COVID-19 OERs, Resources and Articles
  9. Recent publications by some of our members
  10. Ways of getting involved in the e/merge Africa Network 


Voices of the e/merge Africa Team and Members

Join us on this space to reflect on the year that was.  Tell us what was good, what was bad and what was ugly for you in your working life and if you wish, your personal life too.  Should you have any recommendations, we would love to hear them too.  Get creative and post as many times as you wish.  Remember to add some flavour with a photo or a picture to your post.

e/merge Africa-IRCEES survey

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.

The survey is conducted in partnership with The International Research Collaborative of Established and Emergent Scholars: Supporting Historically Marginalized and Underserved Learners Group (IRCEES:SHMUL) which is a group of e/merge Africa members and international researchers. 




e/merge Africa events in English

Thursday, 10 December 2020:  Are Conferences Really Changing?

Date and Time: Thursday, 10 December 2020: 2:00pm SAST

For more information and sign-up  here

Descriptions: Our range of experiences of conferences is likely to include excitement, stimulation, inspiration, and connection, but also sometimes boredom, disconnection, a sense of exclusion, and especially this year some technological stress. 2020 has become the year of online conferences. Many well established face-to-face conferences went online as the COVID-19 pandemic completely reconfigured the notion of when and how we meet. The proliferation of online conferences raises several issues including the range of online conference designs used, how these relate to good design practices for conferences in general, and how they relate to good design practices for online events.

In this webinar, Tony will engage participants in a critical and creative conversation about the nature and future of online conferences. The presentation will draw on the literature of face-to-face and online conference design, learning and research from the design of the e/merge conferences and online conferences held this year, reflections on participation in recent online conferences, and statements by designers of several pandemic provoked online conferences. This session will be an improved version of his mLearn 2020 keynote, which was voted best presentation in the conference. 

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

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 already had 19 well attended online events in Arabic in 2020. These events are held on Friday afternoons 4–5 pm (Cairo time). For more details of 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.


Apply for Facilitating Online Course 2021

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

facilitating online

 Facilitating Online Global course application for 2021 is now open. The course dates are:

  •  25 January - 19 March 2021 (Apply by 21 Dec 2020)
  •  17 May - 9 July 2021 (Apply by 9 April 2021)
  •  2 Aug - 23 Sept 2021 (Apply by 25 June 2021)
  •  18 Oct - 10 Dec 2021 (Apply by 10 Sept 2021)

If you have already applied for the 2021 waiting list then we will get back to you by 8 December. If your application meets our selection criteria you will be invited to choose the dates that work best for you.

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 ZAR 8000 per participant. 

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


Upcoming Events 


For more information

For registration  

Activities and ideas to help build a sense of community online


OneHE announced that they have teamed up with Maha Bali and Equity Unbound to develop some open educational resources for online community-building. Equity Unbound is an emergent, collaborative curriculum which aims to create equity-focused, open, connected, intercultural learning experiences across classes, countries and contexts. 

Equity Unbound has developed these wonderful and diverse activities for educators to use with their classes (for higher education mainly, but many can work for school age students as well). In this email you will find details of the first five activities we launched earlier this week and the further three resources that we released today. We want to hear you feedback and suggestions for other activities we can include. Get in touch by email or complete the form you will find on each activity page. 


Designing Online Conferences

Here are some resources related to designing online conferences:


COVID-19 OERs, Resources and Articles

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

Examples of COVID-19 resources: 

Articles for interest:


Recent publications by some of our members

Gachago, D., Pallitt, N., & Bali, M. 2020. No Size Fits All: Design Considerations for Networked Professional Development in Higher Education. Proceedings of the Networked Learning Conference. Denmark, online:

Belluigi, D., Czerniewicz, L., Khoo, S., Algers, A., Buckley, LA., Prinsloo, P., Mgqwashu, E., Camps, C., Brink, C., Marx, R., Wissing, G., & Pallitt, N. 2020. “Needs Must”? Critical reflections on the implications of the Covid19 ‘pivot online’ for equity in higher education. Digital Culture and Education. 

Czerniewicz, L.; Agherdien, N.; Badenhorst, J.; Belluigi, D.; Chambers, T.; Chili, M.; de Villiers, M.; Felix, A.; Gachago, D.; Gokhale, C.; Ivala, E.; Kramm, N.; Madiba, M.; Mistri, G.; Mgqwashu, E.; Pallitt, N.; Prinsloo, P.; Solomon, S[MOU1] .; Strydom, S.; Swanepoel, M.; Waghid, F. & Wissing, G. 2020. A Wake-Up Call: Equity, Inequality and Covid-19 Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning. Postdigital Science and  Education.



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 

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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