The African Virtual University, the e/merge Africa network and the Educational Technology Inquiry Lab at University of Cape Town invite you to join a unique online research colloquium from 7-10 April 2015  with the theme of  “Transforming Pedagogical Practices  in African Higher Education with blended and online learning”. This colloquium will provide eleven of the best emerging and established educational technology researchers (through the open call) and four invited experts with an online platform for their research. Colloquium authors will be invited to submit improved versions of their unpublished papers for a special issue in either the British Journal of Educational Technology or the new Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning (JRODEL) from the African Virtual University.

African higher education institutions (HEIs) are simultaneously impelled towards the development of blended and online courses by political, educational, financial and technological drivers and impeded in this trajectory by unevenly experienced policy, infrastructure, resourcing, human capacity and organisational constraints. Across Africa a range of technology assisted learning designs are being used in education in general and higher education in particular, to address educational challenges including access to affordable, high quality resources; teaching large classes; access to learning for part time and other non-traditional students; student support; and the facilitation of engaged learning by individuals and groups. Unfortunately many of these innovations are unsustainable and opportunities for transforming pedagogy remain largely unexploited. The last 10 years have seen growth in the literature of the success factors for the improvement of online and blended learning processes in African higher educational institutions (Butcher, Mawoyo, Latchem and Levey 2011; Mtebe, Dachi and Raphael, 2011; Nagunwa and Lwoga, 2012; Uys, Nleya and Molelu 2004).

How can African HEIs enable the effective and sustainable use of blended and online learning to transform learning of domain specific and graduate attributes through interventions at the levels of policy, management of emerging technologies (Ng’ambi and Bozalek, 2013), organisational capabilities ( Awidi 2008; Czerniewicz and Brown, 2009; Sife, Lwoga and Sange, 2007), learning design (Rambe and Ng’ambi, 2014, Botha, Van der Westhuizen and De Swardt, 2005; Duveskog, Sutinen and Cronje, 2014)  and teaching and learning practices (Adedoja, Adelore, Egbokhare and Oluleye, 2013; Magogwe, Ntereke and Phetlhe, 2014; Ng’ambi 2013)? The research in this online colloquium will use these lenses to consider a range of factors needed for successful mainstream adoption of online and blended learning in African higher education.

While most of the colloquium will be in English with some translation into French and Portuguese a limited number of presentations and discussions in French or Portuguese will be supported. We envisage that the special issue of the Journal of Research in Open, Distance and e-Learning (JRODEL) will provide an opportunity for some publications in French and Portuguese.

Programme Committee

Dr Atieno Adala, Manager, Research & Development, African Virtual University
Tony Carr, Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town
Associate Professor Dick Ng’ambi, School of Education, University of Cape Town

The e/merge Africa network thanks the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York for their support for the Transform 2015 Research Colloquium.


Adedoja, G., Adelore, O., Egbokhare, F.,  and Oluleye, A., (2013) Learners’ Acceptance of the Use of Mobile Phones to Deliver Tutorials in a Distance Learning Context: A Case Study at the University of Ibadan, The African Journal of Information Systems, 5,3,  Article 3, from

Botha, J., van der Westhuizen, D., & De Swardt, E. (2005). Towards appropriate methodologies to research interactive learning: Using a design experiment to assess a learning programme for complex thinking development, International Journal of Education and Development using ICT, 1,2, from

Awidi, I.T., (2008) Developing an e-learning strategy for public universities in Ghana, Educause Quarterly, No 2, 66-69.

Butcher, N.,  Mawoyo, M., Latchem, C., and Levey, L., (2011) Distance Education, 32,2, 149–158.

Czerniewicz, L. and Brown, C., (2009) A study of the relationship between institutional policy, organisational culture and e-learning use in four South African universities, Computers & Education, 53, 121–131.

Duveskog, M.,  Sutinen, E.,  and Cronje, J., (2014) Design milieux for learning environments in African contexts, British Journal of Educational Technology, 45,4, 581–594.

Magogwe, J.M., Ntereke, B.,  and Phetlhe, K.R., (2014) Facebook and classroom group work: A trial study involving University of Botswana Advanced Oral Presentation students, British Journal of Educational Technology (2014), from doi:10.1111/bjet.12204.

Mtebe, J.S., Dachi, H.,  and Raphael, C., (2011) Integrating ICT into teaching and learning at the University of Dar es Salaam, Distance Education, 32,2, 289-294.

Nagunwa, T., and Lwoga, E., (2012) Developing an eLearning strategy to implement medical competency based curricula: experiences from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, 2012 International Conference on Education and e-Learning Innovations.

Ng’ambi, D. and Bozalek, V. (2013), Leveraging informal leadership in higher education institutions: A case of diffusion of emerging technologies in a southern context. British Journal of Educational Technology, 44: 940–950. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12108

Ng’ambi, D., (2013) Effective and ineffective uses of emerging technologies: Towards a transformative pedagogical model, British Journal of Educational Technology, 44,4, 652–661.

Rambe, P. and Ng’ambi, D. (2014). Learning with and from Facebook: uncovering power asymmetries in educational interactions. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 30(3). From:

Sife, A., Lwoga, E., & Sanga, C. (2007) New technologies for teaching and learning: Challenges for higher learning institutions in developing countries, International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 3,2, 57-67.

Uys, P.M., Nleya, P.,  and Molelu, G.B., (2004), Technological Innovation and Management Strategies for Higher Education in Africa: Harmonizing Reality and Idealism, Educational Media International, 41,1, 67-80.