Balancing Emergency Online Learning and Inequity in a Developing Country
We have learned that a sudden move to emergency online learning disadvantages certain types of students.Looking at the challenges with two different lenses, we will be discussing some strategies to reduce the impact of the inequalities resulting from going online from within:1. a support environment and2. an academic environment.
Herman Van Der Merwe
North-West University, South Africa
Prof Herman van der Merwe calls himself a “recycled Geneticist”, but his previous Vice-Chancellor renamed him “e-Man” to capture his fascination for the use and management of technology in education!
Prof Herman is currently Deputy Dean of the Faculty Economic and Management Sciences at the North-West University, responsible for Teaching and Learning across all three campuses of the NWU.
He is also the CEO of an expert centre called CUTE (Centre for the Utilisation of Technology in Education).
Besides his recognised international experience on the utilisation and management of technology in education, Prof Herman also serves on various national and international workgroups that are engaged in researching the field. He has a keen interest in the manner in which technology can enhance the teaching and learning experience of both lecturers and students, and has read and published several papers, nationally and internationally, on this topic. As chairman and CEO of CUTE, he organises and presents workshops and conferences to promote the empowerment of academic staff, actively.
Prof Herman’s current research focus is more on mobile and handheld devices, open-source software (Android for the mobile platform), social networks and the effective use of that in specifically higher education and everyday life.
He acted as co-chairperson of the mLearn 2005 and 2015 conferences and is a founder member and one of the directors of the International Association for Mobile Learning (IAmLearn) and chairperson of the SABS’s SC71N subcommittee in IT, developing SA standards for IT in e-education.
The Technology Enhanced Learning research niche area (TELIT), Serious Games Institute (SGI-SA), AppFactory and a community of practise in innovative teaching and learning with technology (iTLT) support his research initiatives and the empowerment initiatives of staff and students in a creative environment.
As a true Entrepreneur at heart, he stimulates entrepreneurship on Campus in the bhive Enterprise Development Centre as well as locally in a Faculty supported research entity on Local Economic Development. In 2015 the North-West University recognised his contribution to innovation with an “Innovation Evangelist” award.
He is a keen nature lover and to recharge his batteries he will do something in nature to listen to what the wind and the birds want to share with him.
“As a teacher, researcher, policy advocate, manager and leader, he is a visionary leader whose fascination with technology has been informed by his commitment to serving the highest ideals of people and education.” Prof Reggie Ncobo
 South African Bureau of Standards
North-West University, South Africa
Chief Director of Information Technology at North-West University responsible for setting and executing of IT strategy, management of IT resources and the IT portfolio. Co-responsible for the university Digital Business Strategy.
Board member of Open Apereo, managing director on the board of the assosiation of IT directors in South Africa and board member of Open Collab.
Masters degree in Computer Science and many years of expereince in T/L support.
Recently became a member of the University Covid-19 response team responsible for IT protocols, but mainly to enable emergency remote learning and work from home.