Posts byMerlin Kull

New Platform online soon

Via the DIGI-FACE Project a new Platform for our African Excellence Network is about to be developed. This Platform with its rich functions, like the Learning-Management-System Moodle, a Project-Management-Tool, the blog function, detailled member and profile overviews and a publication section will be accessible via this link: https://www.digiface.org

In the following some insights and impressions of the new platform:

Insight into the Moodle Platform:

Appel à candidature pour les bourses Master CEGLA 2020

Dans le cadre des activités du Centre d’Excellence de Gouvernance Locale en Afrique (CEGLA), nous sommes heureux de porter à votre connaissance le lancement de bourses de formation Master en « Décentralisation et Gouvernance Locale » financées par l’Office Allemand d’Echanges Universitaires (DAAD).

L’ensemble des modalités à respecter et des documents à fournir pour le dossier de candidature se trouve dans les documents suivants:

Appel à candidature national bourse de formation Master de Niamey

Appel à candidature national bourse de formation Master de Bamako

Appel à candidature international bourse de formation Master de Bamako

La date limite d’introduction des candidatures est fixée au 26 septembre 2020.

 

 

DIGI-FACE Kick-Off Meeting: A Move Towards Digital Ecosystems

*Version française de l’article*

A ‘Kick-Off’ Meeting was held from the 3rd to the 6th of March in South Africa to launch the innovative “Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence” project (DIGI-FACE). This event, which brought together pedagogical, media and technical experts from DAAD’s African-German Centres of Excellence, was jointly organised by the University of Applied Sciences Kehl (lead agent) in cooperation with one of its DIGI-FACE consortium partners, namely Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

DIGI-FACE is funded by the DAAD with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The project aims at supporting and improving the digital skills of all members and alumni of DAAD’s African Centres of Excellence and its network via the development of e- and blended learning modules and digital tools. The participants at the Kick-Off Meeting comprised 60 delegates drawn from Centres located in South Africa, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Mali, Namibia and Germany.

Key ideas shared

Professor Cheryl Foxcroft, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Nelson Mandela University, officially opened the meeting. She emphasised the need for all universities to prepare for student learning in digital spaces. Prof Ewald Eisenberg (University of Kehl), Prof Bernd Siebenhuener (Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg), Junes Arfaoui (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management) and Prof Paul Webb (Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth) outlined the structure, objectives and activities of the DIGI-FACE project.

Inspiring presentations and inputs from lecturers and experts with great experience in implementing professional e-learning formats on digital platforms stimulated the participants’ expectations. Prof Michael Samuel, the moderator of the event from University of KwaZulu Natal, gave a mind-expanding presentation on collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalisation through constructive disruption.

Dr Dorothee Weyler, the DAAD programme manager of the African Excellence programme, explained the background of the project from the DAAD perspective. She noted that the DIGI-FACE programme was created to help achieve the overall goals of the African Excellence Programme more efficiently and effectively. These goals include improved teaching and learning and the creation of a better research environment for greater impact via digitalisation. She pointed out that DAAD’s interest goes far beyond the platform that is going to be established. The project has great potential to open its content and outcomes to other users, learners, researchers and projects beyond the African Excellence programme. Consequently, the DIGI-FACE project is a pilot example to show what is possible when using digital components to produce (open) short courses that will be useful for other university staff and students across Africa, beyond this project.

Alexander Knoth, Senior Expert for Digitalisation at DAAD emphasised that DAAD wants to avoid “digital islands” and instead supports the creation of digital ecosystems that bring together different skills, knowledge and experience. The aim is to give students the opportunity to get to know different cultures and languages via intercultural communication, not only through international mobility, but also through “virtual mobility”.

Prof Johan van Niekerk from the Noroff School of Technology and Digital Media in Norway gave insights and perspectives from an online focused university. He pointed out that a professional production team is not absolutely necessary for the production of technology-supported learning content. He noted however, that there is still a great need for human resources to produce appropriate content. Mike Swanepoel, who leads digital transformation at Nelson Mandela University, encouraged the delegates to address current challenges and accelerate curriculum and classroom design in the future based on mobile and digital learning technology. He emphasised that educators need new skills if digital transformation is to succeed and stressed that transformation is not only about digital technologies, but also about people and their mind-sets. Both Johan van Niekerk and Mike Swanepoel emphasised that the main challenge is to produce content in a way that the material has added value and a relevant benefit for the end user. Simply filming normal teaching activities does not make for a successful online-course – a clear script and concept that provides for meaningful online activities, support and assessment is vital.

Hands-on activities and practical sessions

Following the presentations, hands-on activities and practical sessions enabled the delegates to experience how digital content can and should be developed in an exemplary manner. They developed scripts, short videos and quizzes for an online course in small groups and, with the use of a Padcaster and sequencing tools, they discovered that producing e-learning material is not that complicated. These activities included pedagogical inputs and advice, which allowed the participants to reflect on how to use which tool and scenario to prepare and produce e-learning modules and materials in a worthwhile and proper way.

After the practical sessions, the delegates discussed their own visions and action steps, the challenges and responsibilities of digitalisation, and how DIGI-FACE and digital transformation can be implemented in the Centres and throughout the African Excellence network. Delegates from each Centre reflected together on the profile, skills and needs of their target group in order to identify centre-specific approaches. Upon having outlined the different responsibilities at each Centre for this project, they will report to their universities and create teams that will contribute to DIGI-FACE.

Project leaders and coordinators, pedagogical experts, multi-media and ICT heads of the Centres, as well as representatives of the Alumni association, worked in transdisciplinary and transnational groups. They pooled their experiences and needs to define how the project could contribute significantly towards improving higher education and research activities both within each Centre and between the African-German Centres of Excellence. The heterogeneous nature of the groups ensured that meaningful ideas and fruitful ideas on how to enhance cooperation, build networks and provide opportunities for exchanges via digital solutions.

The Centres welcomed the project’s activities and recognised many positive points and benefits. They believe that DIGI-FACE will enable the Centres to reach more students and a broader public, facilitate cross-national cooperation, enhance the skills of lecturers, staff, alumni and students and will strengthen network activities. The delegates were highly motivated in terms of contributing to the project. They indicated their willingness to integrate existing courses as e-learning material into the platform and look forward with curiosity to the announcement of training courses.

Planning for project sustainability

Following presentations on the results of the group work session, the consortium representatives from the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Nilly Chingaté Castaño and Junes Arfaoui, sketched out ideas and the basis for the project’s activities for developing a business plan. They pointed out the imperative of implementation of DIGI-FACE in a sustainable way in order to cover the costs of operating the platform, investing in innovation and developing content by the Centres beyond the funding period.

To this end, the delegates met in groups independently of their Centre affiliation to work in-depth on various topics of the project, including digital content and skills, training and the production of generic courses, as well as how to create a specific sustainable business plan for the project. They also discussed aspects of the successful management of the project and the necessary digital infrastructure.

The final kick

During the closing session of the Kick-Off Meeting, Dr Weyler presented the upcoming DAAD “African-German Network for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer” (AGRIT) programme to the delegates. This programme aims at enhancing the research capacities of the African Excellence Programme and generating synergies together with the activities and digital tools of DIGI-FACE. After a short introduction by Dr Weyler, the delegates discussed in groups how this programme could be integrated into the African Excellence programme and DIGI-FACE.

The motivated involvement of the delegates and inspiring inputs resulted in better understandings by all of the architecture of the DIGI-FACE project, and an appreciation that the development of the project is a co-determined process involving all of the African-German Centres of Excellence.

After the official closure of the Kick-Off Meeting, everyone enjoyed a joint dinner together and a pleasant excursion on the following day – both which strengthened personal relationships and enabled fruitful informal exchanges.

 

Workshops on developing digital and online competencies will be held in East- and West-Africa during 2020. These workshops will include project leaders, academic leaders and multimedia- and ICT staff of the Centres. The format of these workshops depends on national and international travel restrictions and health advisories.

 

 

Digitalisation of the Centres of Excellence – Innovative digital project DIGI-FACE launched

In the frame of the African Excellence program a new project for improving higher education and research at the Centres of Excellence via digital components and capacities has been launched. The new project called

DIGITAL INITIATIVE FOR AFRICAN CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE (DIGI-FACE)

is financed by the funding of DAAD with support of the German Federal Foreign Office. The aim of this new project is to support the African Excellence program objectives by setting up and using digital tools to be developed in order to promote digital learning, teaching and research competencies at the Centres. It addresses all the Centres of Excellence and aims on strengthening the African Excellence Network, so that geographically separated participants become part of a broad community of learners and practitioners of interactive digital learning progress and reflexive research supervision. Students, doctoral candidates, alumni, lecturers and research supervisors will contextualise their learning and research issues within their own disciplines and institutional policy frameworks, and communicate their contextualised view clearly to others via an appropriated range of digital modalities.

DIGI-FACE will develop and implement a needs orientated interactive learning platform based on existing learning management system software and appropriate multidisciplinary online training courses. The platform will provide a wide range of possibilities for connecting learners to tutors and to peers for sharing and online collaborating.

The overall objective of the project is to contribute via better digital learning and teaching facilities to a more effective and efficient functioning of societally relevant areas in African countries through the activities of graduates in key positions in teaching, society and business. Further, the program will contribute via the digital elements to build up internationally competitive, sustainably operating and socially perceivable Centres of Excellence.

DIGI-FACE is managed by the consortium of the German Universities of the Centres of Excellence CEGLA (Centre for Local Governance in Africa), CERM-ESA (East and South African-German Centre for Educational Research, Methodologies and Management), CCAM (Congolese German Centre for Microfinance) and WAC-SRT (West African German Centre for Sustainable Rural Transformation) and will serve all the partners of the African Excellence program.

 

The Kick-Off Meeting of DIGI-FACE project involving all interested Centers of Excellence will take place from 3 to 6 March at Nelson Mandely University in Port Elizabeth.

Alumni Video Contest – Tell us your story!

Tell us in a short video what kind of experiences the DAAD made possible for you.

What this is about?
There are DAAD alumni all over the world. Since 1950, the DAAD has supported more than 2 million academics in their study and research stays abroad. This means, there are countless impressive experiences, encounters and stories to be told.

With our video campaign we would like to showcase your story:

  • In which ways did your stay abroad change you personally?
  • Are there encounters, places and moments from your time abroad that you remember best?
  • How has your career path developed since your stay abroad?

Tell us all of this in a video and win one of three prizes.

 

How can I take part?
You can take part if you are a DAAD alumna or alumnus. Your story is strongly connected to another person’s story? Let one or two additional alumni join your video.

The deadline for the video submission is 09.02.2020.

Further information and conditions of participation can be found here.

We are looking forward to your video!

IFAT 2020: Alumni Special Project – Calls for alumni are out now!

If you are Alumni from developing countries (DAC country nationals) with a proven background in water resources management, water use efficiency, water reuse, water and waste water treatment, waste removal and recycling, sanitation, water distribution systems, measurement and control mechanisms for water quality and pollution, soil remediation, environmental engineering, environment technology, and related fields of work.

APPLY NOW for the DAAD Alumni Special Project (training seminar and trade fair visit) in the framework of

IFAT 2020

The World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

The training seminars (phase 1) will take place from 26 April – 3 May 2020. They are organized by three different German universities, each of which has its own focus for the seminar: University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Siegen and University of Applied Sciences Trier.
The seminars are followed by the visit of IFAT 2020 in Munich, Germany, from 4 – 9 May 2020 (phase 2), organized by the DAAD.

The calls for application are out now!
Single application deadline: 15 January 2020

Please address your application directly to the contact named in the announcements which are available on our website.