About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1488-1497
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain

THE ETHIOPIA-CANADA EDUCATION RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE: POSSIBILITIES FOR AND BARRIERS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION

T. Dobson, A. Asselin, J. Miller

University of British Columbia (CANADA)
Through the last two years, colleagues at two universities in Ethiopia and a university in Western Canada have worked to develop a model of international collaborative research employing a symmetrical design to explore, in parallel, research questions of import in both settings. The collaboration has entailed a series of meetings in Ethiopia as well as ongoing communication via digital means. Having established a focus of the research -- broadly, children's perceptions of literacy in multilingual societies in which new technologies are influencing literacy practices -- a team of Canadian researchers visited Ethiopia in February and March of 2010 to ascertain the feasibility of implementing different communication technologies in facilitating this research collaborative.

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a major research-intensive institution that is deemed to be an international leader in the implementation of digital technologies for learning in face-to-face, mixed-mode, and online settings. Experts in digital literacy and distance education from UBC consulted with key technology support individuals at two Ethiopian universities: Addis Ababa University (AAU), a major research-intensive university situated centrally in Addis Ababa, and Bahir Dar University (BDU), a smaller institution situated on the outskirts of Bahir Dar serving a more rural population.

Both universities viewed digital methods of course delivery and knowledge diffusion as one potential solution to challenges in regards to limited print collections, limited capacity in relation to demand for university education, and the desire to address the needs of students with physical challenges. Further, they stipulated that they had a mandate to build capacity in the area of digital delivery to meet the needs of rural students and students with limited mobility. Given that the Ethiopian Ministry of Education has recently clamped down on distance learning programs delivered by private institutions (Ethiopian Higher Education Proclamation No. 650/2009), the pressure on state-controlled universities such as AAU and BDU to expand capability in distance and digital delivery has increased.

Collaboration in the context of this project has been facilitated to date through electronic mail and a Weblog, as well as the use of project management software for online collaboration, Basecamp. As the project progresses, teams of researchers from the three sites, including graduate and undergraduate students, will collaborate via these technologies as well as through Moodle. Two major challenges we face in facilitating digitally assisted communication are infrastructure and legal issues. As to the first, access to reliable power sources, bandwidth, antiquated hardware, network limitations due to equipment or other failures, limited space to house hardware, and limited funding present the greatest challenges in Ethiopia. As to the second, the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act stipulates that public institutions such as UBC ensure “personal information . . . is stored only in Canada and accessed only in Canada” (FOIPPA, Sec. 30.1), which presents particular challenges in respect to our hopes to situate project servers in Ethiopia to better facilitate access to the project within that country. This paper identifies key barriers to technology implementation within this project and contemplates some potential solutions.
@InProceedings{DOBSON2011THE,
author = {Dobson, T. and Asselin, A. and Miller, J.},
title = {THE ETHIOPIA-CANADA EDUCATION RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE: POSSIBILITIES FOR AND BARRIERS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {1488-1497}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Dobson AU - A. Asselin AU - J. Miller
TI - THE ETHIOPIA-CANADA EDUCATION RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE: POSSIBILITIES FOR AND BARRIERS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 1488
EP - 1497
ER -
T. Dobson, A. Asselin, J. Miller (2011) THE ETHIOPIA-CANADA EDUCATION RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE: POSSIBILITIES FOR AND BARRIERS TO DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 1488-1497.
User:
Pass: