Meeting ID: 898 9802 8707
Passcode: 168752

The aim of these interactive webinar series is to provide a platform for stakeholders in higher education and beyond, to reflect and share their perspectives on how we can change mindsets and enhance transformative research capacity development policies and practices in African universities. There is a disconnect between training of upcoming scholars and their real experiences when conducting research, and in their professional life as researchers.  As such, our discussion will draw insights from case studies in the continent that are applying transformative approaches in research capacity development and suggest ways in which we can improve our practice.  Your presence is highly welcome.

Join us for a panel discussion with
1. Dr. Godwin Murunga - Executive Secretary - CODESRIA - Senegal
2. Mr. Darius Mogaka Ogutu - Director, University Education, Ministry of Education - Kenya
3. Dr.  Kendi Muchugi - Lecturer, African Nazarene University  and AFELT- Kenya
4. Dr. E. Akinyi- Owino - Lecturer, Moi University - Kenya
5. Ms. Aurelia Munene- Executive Director Eider Africa - Kenya
Date : Thursday 1st October 2020
Time: 10:00 am to 12.30 pm


Association for Faculty Enrichment in Learning and Teaching (AFELT), Eider Africa and Xponentially organizations are pleased to invite you to a two- part webinar series taking place on 17th September 2020 and 1st October 2020 both at 10 – 12.30 pm.

The aim of these interactive webinar series is to provide a platform for stakeholders in higher education and beyond, to reflect and share their perspectives on how we can change mindsets and enhance transformative research capacity development policies and practices in African universities. There is a disconnect between training of upcoming scholars and their real experiences when conducting research, and in their professional life as researchers. As such, our discussion will draw insights from case studies in the continent that are applying transformative approaches in research capacity development and suggest ways in which we can improve our practice. Your presence is highly welcome.

We invite you register for the two webinars

Event Address: via Zoom – link to be sent 24 hours before the event with details of the panelists
Contact us at or +254 738 831234 (Joyce Waringa)

First Webinar: Changing Mindsets
An interactive session focused on engaging participants in reflecting on their own mindsets and hearing from a successful case study on changing how research training is conducted in Kenya.
Presenters: Kathleen Vaughan/Xponentially and Dr. Rosemary Nyaole/Daystar University
Date: Thursday 17th September 2020
Time: 10am to 12:30 pm

Second Webinar: Transforming Research Training in Universities of Africa
A Panel discussion with
1. Dr. Godwin Murunga – Executive Secretary – CODESRIA – Senegal
2. Mr. Darius Mogaka Ogutu – Director, University Education, Ministry of Education – Kenya
3. Dr. Kendi Muchugi – Lecturer, African Nazarene University and AFELT- Kenya
4. Dr. E. Akinyi- Owino – Lecturer, Moi University – Kenya
5. Ms. Aurelia Munene- Executive Director Eider Africa – Kenya

Date : Thursday 1st October 2020
Time: 10:00 am to 12.30 pm

Register for the workshop here






Being Felt in East Africa: AFELT focused on systemic change in the last two years. Guiding on how best to become a transformative facilitator of learning. Working with partner universities, we have had the opportunity to build multipliers that will transform how learning happens.

During the 2020 AGM, members will seek to establish how best to extend our impact in the region. Join us on September 25 at 10:00 via Zoom and contribute to our discussions.

learn, student, laptop

10 strategies for online learning during a coronavirus outbreak

Prepare and practice 

1. Ensure digital equity.

Equity is the biggest obstacle in preparing for online learning, and the first thing you should be thinking about. If your district is not 1:1 and does not have devices to send home with everyone, survey teachers and families ahead of time to figure out who will need devices and bandwidth. 

Jenna Conan, technology integration specialist at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas, points out that most families don't have one computer per person. During a school shutdown, parents may also be working from home, meaning several people could be competing for one or two computers. Therefore, make sure all online apps work on mobile devices in case a laptop is not available. 

For teachers or students who don't have Wi-Fi at home, districts must figure out how to buy or rent Wi-Fi hotspots and then have a plan for distributing both devices and hotspots. If you have advance warning that a shutdown is imminent, districts can send devices and hotspots home with students before the closure. If a shutdown happens abruptly, plan a pick-up time and location, and arrange to deliver devices and hotspots to those who cannot pick them up. 

Keep in mind that students who have individual education plans (IEPs) need to have access to their specific accommodations during the closure, including video access to aides and logins for apps. 

2. Practice.

Schools that regularly have digital learning days – and have worked through home-connectivity and device issues – are already ahead of the game, says Michael Flood, ISTE Digital Equity PLN Leader. But if your school has not laid the groundwork, consider this to be an opportunity. 

Teachers not already using a learning management system regularly, need to dive in now so that there will be no interruption in communication in the wake of a sudden closure. Teachers should train themselves and their students on the apps and technology tools they may need to use in the event of closure. Practice in the classroom and then send students off to try using the tools from home, says Sandra Chow, director of innovation and digital learning at Keystone Academy in Beijing. 

Chow, who has been teaching online since coronavirus shut down her school in early February, says educators won’t regret spending time on this. 

"None of this learning will go to waste moving forward," she says, "as many of the skills learned during the online learning period will be equally beneficial in a regular classroom.” 

3. Provide clear expectations to staff and parents.

During a closure, communication between administrators, staff, parents and students is more important than ever. 

"In an online environment, everyone's anxiety is high and channels of communication need to be frequent, clear and succinct," Chow says. 

For big-picture communications, prepare an FAQ outlining all the details of how the school will operate during a closure so staff and parents are on the same page. 

David Lowe, a parent and former assistant principal whose children's district in Washington state switched to remote learning on March 9, recommends the FAQ include where to find the daily assignments; a list of sites and tools the students will need, how to log in and what to do if the technology doesn’t work; and, finally, the expectations of parents. “There’s a lot of information to sift through and parents are working hard to make sure they’re clear on what they should be doing to best support their students.” 

In addition to posting and distributing FAQs, schools should set up communitywide texting to communicate quickly and then advise people where to find follow-up messages via email or on your website.

Next, prepare a step-by-step guide on how to access and use online learning tools and curriculum. Make sure you present this information in various formats including video and text and include screenshots and screen-casting tutorials. 

Ask families to make sure all students – especially the youngest learners – know how to log in to the apps and know their passwords. Teachers need to know how to take attendance. Provide extra tech support and make sure parents and teachers know how to ask for help. 

Communication should go beyond logistics and academics. David Miyashiro, superintendent at Cajon Valley Union School District in California, recorded a video for the teachers in his district outlining what the district has been doing to meet academic and basic needs of students. But he also covered at length the importance of meeting the social-emotional needs of students.  

"Based on the input our principals have received from you and the input we received from our parent leaders, it's obvious that flexibility, human connection and guidance for our staff, students and their parents during this time is most important for the engagement and continued progress of our students," he said in his address to teachers. 

Keep the learning going during COVID-19! Explore the resources.

4. Take time to plan.

If a shutdown occurs before your staff is ready to teach online, invest some time – even if it’s just a day or two – to prepare before rolling out online learning with the students. The brief delay in starting online lessons will pay off in the long run. In the Washington district where Lowe’s three children attend, staff spent time getting ready for an impending closure. 

“The district took a whole day for all the teams to get together to create a plan for online learning,” he said. “It was a really smart move.” 

Teams divvied up and tackled everything from logistical issues, like the setup of Zoom meetings, to instructional ones, like different home support models, and then reported out to the larger group. When the district shut down two days later, teachers got two planning days before fully jumping into online learning with the students. The team and individual planning days helped smooth implementation.

Even if a closure is sudden and offers no time to plan before schools are shuttered, it is still prudent to plan before beginning online lessons.

5. Pack your bag.

Make sure you have access to everything you need from home in case you are not able to return to school or bring home your school computer and move your files into the cloud. 


6. Establish daily schedules.

Expectations should be clear about when teachers and students need to be logged on. A full day in front of a screen is a lot for kids and teachers, especially for families who may be sharing one device. Many schools are choosing two check-in times – a morning meeting and an afternoon check-in – and then allowing families flexibility about how they organize the at-home school schedule. 

Other schools are reorganizing the school schedule, by spreading one school day over two days. Students attend three classes in the morning and have the afternoons to work independently and interact with those teachers during “office hours.” The next day, they attend the rest of their classes online in the morning and then have office hours with those teachers in the afternoons.

Sometimes it can be difficult to anticipate the roadblocks that students might face while navigating this new territory. Nadine Bailey, teacher librarian and technology integrator at the Western Academy of Beijing, suggests picking one student per grade and monitoring their "expected" path throughout the day from tool to tool to make sure everything is working as it should. If not, be flexible and make changes along the way. 

It can be trickier handling specialty classes like PE, robotics or art. Adam Hill is a blogger and teacher at Victoria Shanghai Academy in Hong Kong, which has been closed since Jan. 22 and began offering remote learning on Feb. 5. 

Hill's school found that students were struggling to make time each day for specialist instruction so they decided to allocate one day per week for all elective activities. 

7. Provide robust learning.

In extreme circumstances like an impromptu closure, it’s tempting for teachers to upload worksheets for students to complete and return. But online earning during a closure – especially during extended closures – should be at least as engaging as the classroom experience (if not more) or students will suffer. 

Educator Alison Yang developed an online learning guide, which stresses that online learning should never be an excuse to assign busy work, but rather to address clear engaging learning objectives. Bailey, the Beijing teacher-librarian, adapted Yang's guide into one for parents to help them understand the objectives. 

For key principals that ISTE recommends are: 

  • Break learning into smaller chunks.
  • Be clear about expectations for online participation.
  • Provide immediate (or at least frequent) feedback through online knowledge checks, comments on collaborative documents and chat to keep students motivated and moving forward.
  • Include virtual meetings, live chats or video tutorials to maintain a human connection. 

Chow's leadership team in Beijing met virtually to design an online learning plan, which included training for video production and other tools, online learning pedagogy as well as social-emotional training.

She stressed that the community will need time to adjust. Provide manageable and achievable goals to work on each week, listen to feedback and communicate frequently, she says.

8. Design independent learning.

Keep in mind that parents might either be at work or working from home and unable to help much. It’s important to design learning that does not require a lot of support from parents who might already be overwhelmed. 

Lowe, the parent from Washington state, said expectations about parental support might be the biggest issue for him and his wife. Providing guidance for parents on how they can be supporting their kids in an online learning model is also helpful. 

“It feels similar to homeschooling right now,” Lowe said. “The biggest challenge is parents supervising what their kids are supposed to be doing and at what time.” 

Lowe acknowledges that his family is lucky. He’s a consultant who can work from home and his wife is a teacher, so they are available to pitch in. Not all parents will be able to cope as easily, especially those with small children who can’t work from home. 

“One of the best things our schools have done to support parents is streamlining information by creating one place for all the assignments, schedules and expectations,” he said. “The closer to a checklist you can make these resources, the better.” 

9. Address the emotional toll.

Check in with students and coworkers, especially those who are less comfortable with digital tools to see if they need any help or someone to talk to. Being sequestered at home can be isolating and exacerbate the fear of dealing with a global crisis. Taking time to check in about feelings of anxiety is just as important as checking on academics. 

In his guide to online learning, Rushton Hurley, an ISTE member and founder of Next Vista for Learning, shares a story from expat teachers in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus. After weeks of largely being confined to their apartments, teachers began calling each other and leaving the lines open, even if they weren't talking. They simply wanted the comfort of being able to speak up and have someone hear their voices. If a closure lasts for a long time, you will miss your students, and they will miss you and each other, Hurley said. 

While it may seem fun to work from home, it can be challenging to keep to a regular schedule. Some things that can help include: 

  • Take regular breaks.
  • Making time to exercise.
  • Keep to a regular sleep schedule.
  • Limit distractions when possible (turn off social media notifications, for example).
  • Set daily and weekly goals.
  • Make time to socialize, even if it’s virtually.

10. Choose the right tools and stick with them.

A wide variety of technology tools, many free, are available to help. Jason Reagin, edtech consultant and teacher in Incheon, South Korea, has put together a Wakelet of apps offering free upgrades during the global crisis. 

With so much out there, it can be tempting to try to use everything. Instead, limit the number of tools, apps and platforms so students and their parents are not overwhelmed.

It may be a little harder for students to follow classroom assignments when you are not there face to face. Some ideas from Arizona State University for helping kids focus are using different colored fonts on-screen to help learners distinguish important ideas. Try to keep online instructions short, simple and clear. Consider making video instructions instead of text.

Videoconferencing will take you and your students into each other's homes so it's important to consider privacy. Some programs let users blur your background. Dress as you would for attending school and expect students to do the same. 

virus, mask, coronavirus

What we have learnt from Corona

In 2003, when SARS first emerged in China, it took weeks for laboratories to figure out what was causing new and sometimes deadly cases of pneumonia there and elsewhere.

“The fact that so many tests are out there, the fact that there are so many testing platforms available now, is a remarkable success for science, for collaboration and for public-private partnership,” Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s health emergencies program, marveled earlier this week.

Indeed, the progress has been amazing in some respects. But it has also been too slow in others. We quickly learned, for instance, who is most likely to die from the infection — older adults, especially the elderly, and people with chronic medical conditions — but were slower to recognize the risk the virus poses to younger adults, who actually make up a big portion of cases.

So what now?

It’s helpful to take stock of exactly what we’ve learned about the virus, about the disease it causes, and about pandemics in general. What we know now is important, but it’s critical we come up with answers to outstanding questions if the world is to assist public health authorities and governments in responding to the pandemic in the months ahead.

Let’s start with something we’re learning the hard way right now.

It’s not just older populations.

If you look at who is dying from this disease, known as Covid-19, you are looking largely at older adults. The risk of death starts to climb noticeably after age 60. With each passing decade, the ratio of deaths to confirmed infections look grimmer. Without question, this virus is going to reshape the world’s demographics.

But the focus on fatalities among older populations — a focus fueled by the media — may have obscured the full picture of who is getting sick, sometimes severely so. The virus, SARS-CoV2, is not ageist.In South Korea, where an explosive outbreak took off when the virus was introduced into a large religious sect whose members were mainly young people, 44% of the country’s 9,137 cases so far are in people under the age of 40. People in their 20s make up 27% of the cases.

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And a recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that one-fifth of cases in the United States were among people between the ages of 20 to 44.

“Regionally we are also seeing that there are some young people and otherwise healthy people who are really, really sick,” said Megan Ranney, an emergency physician in Providence, R.I. “Needing to be hospitalized, needing intubation,” — to be put on a ventilator — “needing intensive care. … People who are millennials and Gen Xers are still getting critically ill, even when they have no underlying medical problems.”

Very few deaths — fewer than a handful so far — have been recorded in children and teens. But kids do get sick and little children in particular can get very ill.

This virus has great transmission tricks.

It has been becoming clearer as time has worn on that this virus is exquisitely suited to spreading.

Whereas its older cousin, SARS, was mainly transmissible when people were really sick — and almost always hospitalized — Covid-19 transmits very early in infection, even before people start to become unwell.

When people have a disease that is only contagious once they start to get sick, it’s much easier to order them to isolate themselves the moment they feel unwell. But that doesn’t work with this virus.

A number of studies have reported that a significant portion of people are even spreading the virus while presymptomatic — in the day or two before they start to feel ill. Presymptomatic spreaders are, well, gonna spread. It’s not their fault. (It’s also why safe physical distancing — the preferred term for what you’ve seen described as social distancing — is important. It reduces the risk of presymptomatic spread.)

How much this type of transmission is driving the pandemic is unclear but it could be significant. Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, has estimated about 40% of cases transmit before symptoms develop. A recent preprint — a study that has not yet been peer-reviewed — from China pooled data from seven countries and estimated a very similar 43%.Related: 

When can we let up? Health experts craft strategies to safely relax coronavirus lockdowns

Unless public health authorities can find all — or at least most — cases and then quarantine the vast majority of their contacts, it’s hard to see how this kind of transmission can be stopped.

Likewise, a big portion of cases, perhaps as many as 40%, have very mild symptoms. Some people who had no idea they were infected have tested positive. Italian authorities say 6% of people there who have tested positive had no symptoms and another 12% were paucisymptomatic — barely symptomatic. It’s still unclear, though, how often these people spread the virus to others.

“We don’t know how much those people actually transmit. We just don’t know if they do,” veteran coronavirus expert Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa told STAT.

A respiratory virus can be stopped or at least slowed.

It’s long been thought that transmission of viruses that cause influenza-like illnesses can’t really be stopped. Even with a vaccine — a modestly effective vaccine, admittedly — flu wreaks havoc every winter, for example. And there is no vaccine for Covid-19 at present.

That dogma may have contributed to the sense of skepticism among some experts when, in early February, Ryan, the WHO’s health emergencies chief, insisted that Covid-19 could still be contained. At that point, tens of millions of people in China were on lockdown, but the rest of the world hadn’t yet realized what was in store.

Then came explosive outbreaks in Italy and Iran, when the virus entered undetected and spread until sick people started to flood hospital emergency departments. Country after country joined the fray, struggling to stop spread of a virus that seemed intent on sickening and killing people and crippling economies.

And yet: China’s aggressive actions have beat down transmission. For more than a week, most of China’s cases have been people infected abroad and detected on their return home.

Exclusive analysis of biopharma, health policy, and the life sciences.

Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan have managed to stay on top of their outbreaks, aggressively testing to find cases, quarantine contacts, and keep transmission from going into an exponential growth phase.

A report published Wednesday by infectious diseases modelers at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London concurred that China has managed to contain its outbreak through aggressive physical distancing and that Hong Kong has managed to so far avoid large outbreak with somewhat less stringent measures.

With so much SARS-CoV2 virus spreading globally, none of these places is out of the woods. But they have shown it’s possible to do what was once considered impossible.

Death rates will differ by location.

This was true with the infamous Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and it will be true when the history of Covid-19 is written. With so little testing still and good evidence that mild cases are being missed, it’s impossible to come up with a reliable infection fatality rate.

But different countries battling outbreaks are calculating crude death rates based on confirmed cases. They range from .5% in Germany to 1.38% in South Korea (its number has been climbing) to 4% in China to 9% in Italy. Using the same formula, the rate in the United States would currently be about 1.4% 

Understanding what works: How some countries are beating back the coronavirus

Another factor to consider is who is getting sick in these countries. In South Korea, a large chunk of the 9,100 cases recorded so far were young people, as we mentioned above. None of them has died. By comparison, Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world; this virus is cruel in the elderly.

Germany’s low death rate is both a puzzle and a beacon of hope. But it remains to be seen if it will remain an outlier.

Pandemics destroy supply chains.

The world has been warned about this over and over again. In the mid-2000s, when it looked like a very dangerous bird flu virus, H5N1, might trigger a pandemic, experts including Michael Osterholm, of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy, warned of the possibility of disaster when it comes to the supply of protective equipment for health workers, essential drugs, and other goods.

And here we are.

In some of the Asian countries where SARS-CoV2 is under control, most people wear at least a surgical mask when out in public. But hospitals in other parts of the world, including the United States, are rationing even surgical masks, reusing for as long as a week or two masks that are typically discarded after seeing a single patient.

Supplies will only get tighter unless and until extraordinary actions are taken to ramp up production.

Now here are some questions we need answers to — and fast.

Why do some people have such severe disease and others barely get sick?

It’s clear that many older people who get infected see severe symptoms. But as noted above, it’s not just them. There have been plenty of severe cases among all kinds of demographic populations.

“This is my big question. It’s really a mystery. I just don’t get it. It’s so variable,” said Susan Weiss, co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s new research center for coronavirus and other emerging pathogens.

How many people have been infected?

Knowing who has been infected might help authorities cast policies aimed at letting those people move more freely or using them in roles people who are still susceptible can’t safely undertake. To figure this out, researchers will need to study the blood of people who were not confirmed cases to see if they have antibodies to the virus.

These are known as serology tests, and the WHO has been urging countries to do this work for weeks. It is unclear why China has not yet published data on these types of studies. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is developing the tests.

Data on Gilead’s remdesivir, released by accident, show no benefit for coronavirus patients. Company still sees reason for hope

Does infection confer immunity?

Knowing who is still vulnerable to the virus is important. For starters: When vaccine becomes available, supplies will be limited initially. In that scenario, it might make sense to delay vaccine delivery for people who have antibodies from a prior infection.

“I don’t think we know,” said Weiss when asked about the immunity question. “I think they’re going to be immune for a while.”

Perlman said some other coronaviruses — the four that cause colds and flu-like illnesses — can be caught more than once. He wonders if people who had asymptomatic infection would not develop enough antibodies to be able to fend off the virus on a later exposure but might have a mild infection on a second go-round.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” he said. “It’s really going to be time that’s going to tell us.”

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Starting with the Big Dream

What dreams do we have for our students as they join our classes? As students come to us, do we think of what they would like to become? Do we teach just for the sake of teaching? Or do we teach to lead our students to BECOME someone?

Our universities have visions that summarize what they would like their graduates to be. Often as we develop our strategic plans we reflect on this vision and its implications on our work. But I have wondered whether as lecturers we reflect on this vision. Does it influence how we teach and the skills we develop in our students?

AFELT has been leading different lecturers in rethinking about their teaching. Leading them to redesign their courses to ensure that they are building critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Skills that are needed in the world of work.

As we redesign the courses, one question we have asked ourselves is what dream do we have for our students? What would I want them to become in five to ten years after they have left my class? What would I want my students to know in order to be able to do during my class so that they can become that person in ten years? Thinking with the end in mind according to the second habit of successful people by Steve Covey.

When we start with the dream, we think of several things. We first think of the knowledge our students need to acquire to be able to be that person. So what content do I need to have in place so that they can know? Then I have to think of how best to guide them to acquire this knowledge. What activities do I need to design that leads them to interact and use this knowledge?  What experiences do I need to bring into the learning space that will lead my students to learn? These experiences should lead the students to question what they know, reflect on what they are learning and be able to apply what they are learning solve problems.

This requires that as a lecturer I design appropriate learning spaces that allow for these kinds of experiences.  Who do they need to interact with? What materials need to be in the space? What experiences do I need to create for them to learn new things? How do I make them reflect on their experiences so that they can learn something new? How do I actually bring their current and dreamt future into this space?

As facilitators of learning, it is important to have a dream for your students. A dream that drives you bring that transformation in their own lives and their communities.