During the pandemic, the pivot to emergency remote teaching highlighted the depth and extent of inequalities, particularly in relation to access to resources and literacies, faced by higher education institutions. Imported solutions that failed to take into consideration the constraints and cultures of local contexts were less than successful. The paucity of practitioners with blended and online learning design experience, training and education grounded in diverse contexts made local design for local contexts difficult to carry out. 

Although there is substantial research and guidance on online learning design, there is an opportunity to create a text deliberately oriented to practice. Further, online learning design, as a field of practice and research, is strongly shaped by research,  experiences and practices from a hegemonic centre (usually in the Global North, where peripheries also exist). While many of the textbooks written from this perspective are theoretically useful as a starting point, the disjuncture between theory and practice for practitioners in less well-resourced contexts where local experiences are invisible, can be jarring. This book aims to create a space for learning designers whose voices are insufficiently heard, to share innovative designs within local constraints and, in so doing, reimagine learning design in a way that does not reproduce the binary power relations of centre and periphery.


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Tasneem Jaffer, editor

(@tasneemjaffer) – Tasneem is a senior project coordinator and learning designer at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has worked as a learning designer for the last seven years and has prior expertise in the field of user experience (UX). She has completed an MEd in Educational Technology and is currently an MBA candidate. Her work includes being involved in the development and research of MOOCs, as well as the development of formal online courses. She has a passion for learning, specifically the intersection of learning design and UX.

Tasneem Jaffer

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Shanali Govender, editor

(@govendershanali) – Shanali is a lecturer within the Academic Staff Development unit at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching. Her particular brief in the staff development team is to support part-time and non-permanent teaching staff. She currently teaches on the Postgraduate diploma in educational technologies, co-convening the Online Learning Design module. She has designed several online staff development short courses, and teaches two academic staff development online courses, Core Concepts in Learning and Teaching and An online introduction to Assessment. Shanali also has strong interests in relation to inclusivity and education, working largely in the practice space with colleagues to create more inclusive teaching and learning environments.

Shanali Govender

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Laura Czerniewicz, editor

(@czernie) – Laura is a professor was the first director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), at the University of Cape Town, (2014 to 2020) having previously led UCT’s Centre for Educational Technology, OpenUCT Initiative and Multimedia Education Group. Her many roles in education over the years include academic, researcher, strategist, advocate, teacher, teacher-trainer and educational publisher. Threaded through all her work has been a focus on equity and digital inequality. These have permeated her research interests which focus on the changing nature of higher education in a digitally-mediated society and new forms of teaching and learning provision. She plays a key strategic and scholarly role in the areas of blended /online learning as well as in open education institutionally, nationally and internationally. Check out Laura’s newish blogsite https://czernie.weebly.com/

Laura Czerniewicz

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Michelle Willmers, copy editor and curation advisor

Michelle has a background in academic and scholarly publishing and has worked in scholarly communication since 2008. Prior to that, she worked as an academic journal editor and publishing manager. She was a senior team member in the Shuttleworth Foundation Open Educational Resources initiative, Programme Manager of the IDRC Scholarly Communication in Africa Programme, and Project Manager of the OpenUCT initiative. She was also the Curation and Publishing Manager of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development project. She is currently the Publishing and Implementation Manager of the Digital Open Textbooks for Development initiative.

Michelle Willmers