eLearning Africa 2016 (III). Reaping the rewards of open

Notes from eLearning Africa 2016, organized by ICWE GmbH and held in El Cairo, Egypt, on 24-26 May 2016. More notes on this event: ela2016.

Reaping the rewards of open

What are the challenges around the development and implementation of high quality open digital resources across Africa? How can we ensure open content is relevant for classrooms? How can we effectively integrate open resources in schools and institutions?

Chairperson: Alice Barlow-Zambodla, e/Merge Africa Network, South Africa

Wilhelmina Louw, Namibian College of Open Learning (NAMCOL), Namibia
A Case for NAMCOL – Notesmaster Namibia: Open Educational Resources

Main focus on secondary education, but also tertiary education.

NAMCOL realized that, beyond open education, NAMCOL could include online Open Educational Resources (OER) as part of their educational package. OER is offered through Notesmaster Namibia platform.

Notesmaster is a free platform, especially designed for secondary level students. It is structured Namibian curriculum. And, unlike Moodle, Notesmaster Global provides support for the platform.

Development of OERs:

  • Team approach, usually teachers and programme developers. You can do it on your own, but it won’t be public.
  • Use of OERs, by using the millions of videos, images and animations that exist on the web.
  • Quality assurance, a note can only be published once it achieves the approval of 5 peers.
  • OER policy and licensing, CC BY-SA-NC

Besides content, there is capacity building: building the capacity of teachers is key in achieving effective use of technology in the classroom. Teachers are trained on the practical use of ICTs in the classroom, and how to collaborate online using the Notesmaster LMS.


  • Workload of developers
  • Internet accessibility and connectivity.
  • Shortage of equipment to be used for incorporating both multimedia and online content into tutoring sessions.
  • Insufficient skills in the use of technology (computers and software)
  • Know-how of instructional design requirements for online course development and storyboarding.
  • Buy-in from teachers and learners in the use of technology.
  • Insufficient funds for training and acquisition of equipment.

Angelo Raffaele Fazio, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia
Open Online Courses at Universidad Nacional de Colombia by OpenEya

OpenEyA is a lecture recording software use to tape, archive and share lectures — in this case on physics and mathematics. To even decrease more the cost of taping, OpenEyA can be compiled on a Raspberry pi 2 model B, which adds to the zero cost of the software a lowest cost of the hardware.

As the final output is recorded in HTML 5, the videolecture can be comforably watched on a mobile phone.

The video is also uploaded to Didáctica para el desarrollo (DxD, Teaching for development) which provides a platform for sharing also producing analytics on usage.

It is difficult, though, to find colleagues that want to join the project, consisting on (1) taping and (2) sharing it on DxD.

There is not much evidence on the impact of OpenEyA on the performance of students, as measured in their marks on their final exams, but it is true that less students had to go to the office to clarify doubts. On the other hand, the same amount of students attended the classes. Thus, it seems that OpenEyA is good for clearing doubts after attending the lecture, and that’s it — which is not bad. On the other hand, DxD does begin to have a significant amount of users, which at least adds to the common good.

Faraja Kotta Nyalandu, Shule Direct, Tanzania
An Educational Content Repository: The Backbone of ICT for Education

The educational content repository works on a framework that structures the content down to the level of the concept, from the general concept to the year, topic, sub-topic an concept. The digital (Tanzanian) syllabus controls the educational content repository and connects it with course notes in English, learning levels, Englisk-Kiswahili dictionaries, quizzes and games, digital textbooks and audio lessons and videos. The repository becomes then the backend of content and data of the whole Tanzanian syllabus ecosystem. An API is a gateway to content that allows the web portal to browse all content in many ways.

SMS (through Makini), USSD and mobile apps were created so to provide access to content on many platforms. The level of uptake clearly demonstrate that these platforms to fit the needs of the market.

If it is simple, if it is contextual, if it is useful, people will use it and will enjoy using it.

And besides students, also 1,900 digital teachers are already using the content for their own classes, providing new content, etc.

Dina Elkordy, Université d’Alexandrie, Egypt, L’innovation pédagogique en matière d’utilisation des TIC dans l’enseignement et l’apprentissage

New project to put out content in Arabic, English, French and Spanish on several subjets.

Strong focus on teacher training on the use of ICTs and OER.

Main barriers: Internet connectivity, bureaucracy, etc.<(p>


Q: why don’t faculty want to join open educational resources projects? Fazio: people are uncomfortable with new technologies; people are also shy at the camera — even if OpenEyA is not very intrusive; they also want to keep what they teach for them and their students, and not to have it open to public scrutiny.


eLearning Africa (2016)