Emerging tech Africa

Overview & background


Introduction to Emerging Technologies is an open online course delivered in French and English, addressing the concerns and opportunities around the use of technologies for learning in Africa.

In early 2009, the African Association of Universities partnered with University of Manitoba to initiate a project (funded by OSIWA): Capacity building on social networking technologies for teaching and learning transformation in West African universities.

The first phase of the project included a multi-day face-to-face workshop in Dakar, Senegal in May (overlapping with Elearning Africa) with educational leaders in West Africa. Slides from Day 2 of this session are available. The second phase of the project is an open online course on Emerging Technologies for Learning.

In order to increase access and impact, learners from around the world are invited to participate in this innovative bi-lingual (English & French) course. Weekly topics will focus on how emerging technologies and open education initiatives can be utilized in the context of Africa. Discussion will centre on the philosophy and ideology of technology, ICT for communication, creation, and content sharing, changing learner/educator roles, and the utilization of learning networks to increase educational opportunities for Africa.



* Define digital literacy and detail the impact of emerging technology in information validity, online identity, and privacy.

  • Create artifacts that represent digital literacy skills, including (but not limited to): podcast, video, slidecast, concept map, blog posts, wiki, Second Life avatar, webcast, and PLE image.
  • Evaluate the affordances of technology and utilize a technology selection framework to incorporate new tools into teaching and learning
  • Describe the potential impact on teaching and learning of personal learning environments (PLE) in relation to established learning management systems.
  • Create a graphical representation of your PLE and evaluate its suitability in assisting achievement of personal learning goals.
  • Use online communication tools (Skype, Google Talk, ooVoo) to improve conversation opportunities with learners and peers, both within your institution and globally.
  • Evaluate the impact of emerging technologies on power structures within education systems such as like universities, with particular emphasis on 1) changing roles of academics and learners, and 2) social networked learning theory.
  • Critique existing information cycles (academic publication, public relations, news) and evaluate how emerging technologies and societal trends alter this cycle.
  • Utilize aggregation tools (such as Google Reader and PersonalBrain) in managing personal, professional, and academic information.

These objectives will, throughout the course, be contextualized to the experience of African educators and learners (note: as we developed this course, we were conscious of not making assumptions of the regional and cultural concerns of African participants. As such, we considered skills/attributes of a global nature - i.e. "what does an individual need to know and be able to do to participate in global conversations, mediated by technology?" With this as a starting point, we concluded that the major differences unique to African learners would be related to technology access. The needs for learners from Africa to be familiar with emerging technologies is similar to learners from Canada, China, or Europe. Through out the course, we will rely heavily on learners helping to frame the discussions within the technological constraints unique to Africa).

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The initial grant application to OSIWA was completed, and face-to-face workshop conducted, by Boubakar Barry, Kathleen Matheos, and George Siemens.

The second phase of the project - this open online course - will be facilitated by George Siemens and Dave Cormier.

How to participate


French version

English version

Course structure


As an open course, learners are encouraged to participate in forums and discussions of their interest and to initiate new learning opportunities as they see necessary. For example, if a learner feels that a sub-group discussing problems around electricity and technology is warranted, we encourage her to set up the site/forum/discussion area. As facilitators, our objective is to provide a suitable structure for innovating thinking and exploration of important ideas.

Discussions will be held in various forums

Moodle (see the French/English links above to the link to different language courses in Moodle)

Live discussion sessions

Regular emails from course facilitators highlighting discussions occurring on blogs and moodle forums. To sign up for emails, please subscribe to this Google Group.

Start date


October 12, 2009