Recap Apereo Africa 2018

The Apereo Africa 2018 conference took place in Potchefstroom, South Africa on the 8th and 9th of May. The event was co-hosted by the North-West University (NWU) and OPENCOLLAB and was followed by an entertaining Tsugi workshop with Dr. Chuck on the 10th.

This year the African community was fortunate to have had four international speakers representing different Apereo products alongside speakers from African Universities, a South African TVET colleges and other private educational institutions.

The presentations during the conference were well balanced between vision and strategy and the practical use of technology in post-secondary education. Both Apereo and the local African institutions focused on the evolution of education along the lines of the NGDLE in support of the next generation student and their need to be taught in an engaging way.

Ian Dolphin’s presentation on the Apereo Foundation, their products, services, and the strategy moving forward in support of the NGDLE, coincidentally overlapped somewhat with that of the keynote speaker, Prof Robert Balfour (DVC Teaching and Learning, NWU), who focused on the NWU’s teaching and learning strategy.  This set the tone for a great conference that supported so much of what they had shared.

African institutions offered insights into their deployments, work and usage on a number of Apereo products such as Sakai, OPENCAST and CAS. There is great excitement about Sakai 12, the work being done on OPENCAST, the possibilities that Tsugi offers and Equella. An introduction to the open source content creation solution, Xerte, by its creator, Julian Tenney from the University of Nottingham, gave insight into the history of the product as well as a practical overview of the use of the solution. This laid the foundation for its exposure to institutions in Africa.

Ian Dolphin’s presentation on open learning analytics addressed the ethical perspective of being open about working with personal data and how algorithms are being applied.

Anthony Whyte shared the work that has been done to solve the collection of data from a wide variety of learning applications via the Caliper Analytics© standard. As we move into a world where a multitude of applications can be used in teaching and learning, this standard will have significant impact simplifying the collection of learning data for analysis and reporting on it.

As always Dr. Chuck entertained us with views and comparisons on various LMSs, his work on Tsugi, the complexity it brings to analytics, and thus the importance of Caliper.

A total number of 60 delegates from 13 institutions registered, while the Tsugi workshop was attended by 15 people.  While most attendees were from South Africa, we were pleased to have had colleagues from the University of Ghana attend as well.

Many thanks to our sponsors, international visitors and all our speakers - your participation is what makes this conference a great success every year!

In 2019 the Apereo Africa conference will be held in Cape Town, South Africa. Date to be confirmed.