INVEST Africa/Glossary

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Invest Africa Glossary

Term What it stands for Definition Links

Web Log
A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries ("posts") typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject. The rise of Twitter and other "microblogging" systems helps integrate multi-author blogs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Commonwealth Association of Polytechnics in Africa
An association of the polytechnics and colleges of technology of 17 English-speaking countries of Africa. They hold Forums twice a year on topical issues to encourage exchange and collaboration.CAPA is a founding member of the World Federation of Collegs and Polytechnics.
Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia
COL's regional agency, the Commonwealth Education Media Centre for Asia implements COL's mandate in the eight countries of Commonwealth Asia. It is also very actively and effectively engaged in the use of mass media for development, particularly community radio. Working with the Government of India, CEMCA is facilitating the development of community radio stations on campus and in the community, with civil society organisations, for use by disadvantaged and marginalised groups, particularly women. CEMCA also serves as a regional networking and collaborating centre for open and distance learning and technology enabled learning services
Commonwealth of Learning
The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training.
CLN Community Learning Network Invest Africa's Community Learning Network (by invitation-only)
CFSD Community for Flexible Skills Development Twelve institutions have been selected on the basis of their readiness for new, flexible approaches to TVET delivery.

Institutional managers, administrators and teaching staff are participating in a series of capacity building activities which included online training, workshops and institutional visits. Through the COL Moodle Learning Management System (LMS), courses are offered in FSD for managers and policy makers and Flexible Teaching and Learning in TVET.

An online community of practice has been established on a social networking platform. Through this platform, 750 members of the INVEST Africa community interact with each other, the COL Team and other invited TVET experts and are involved in discussion, collaboration and informal learning. COL has assisted partner institutions with managing their ICT infrastructure. An expert review was made of each institution and Principals are currently implementing the recommendations made in the report.

EDEA Excellence in Distance Education Awards
The Excellence in Distance Education Awards (EDEA) have become a highly-prized and sought after recognition of achievement by institutions/organisations and individuals around the Commonwealth.

There are four categories of awards designed to recognise excellence. This time COL is introducing a new award for Open Educational Resources (OER) that have been developed, used and reused by institutions and organisations. The awards are:

  • at the institutional level;
  • in the development of learning materials;
  • in student accomplishment; and
  • for a lifetime achievement in and contribution to open and distance learning.
Information and Communication Technologies
Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the fields of socioeconomic development, international development and human rights. The theory behind this is that more and better information and communication furthers the development of a society.

ICT4D also requires an understanding of community development, poverty, agriculture, healthcare, and basic education. Richard Heeks suggests that the I in ICT4D is related with “library and information sciences”, the C is associated with “communication studies", the T is linked with “information systems", and the D for “development studies”. It is aimed at bridging the digital divide and aid economic development by fostering equitable access to modern communications technologies. Other terms can also be used for "ICT4D" or "ICT4Dev" ("ICT for development") like ICTD ("ICT and development", which is used in a broader senseand development informatics.
Innovation in Vocational Education and Skills Training (Africa)
Innovation in Vocational Education and Skills Training (INVEST) responds to 3 characteristics of African technical and vocational education and training (TVET):
  • Expanding informal sector and shrinking wage employment opportunities
    * Huge numbers of poorly-educated, frustrated and unemployed youth who are ‘locked out’ of the formal skills training system
    * Unequal training opportunities fostered by inequities based on geographical location, gender and socio-economic factors

In order to help TVET institutions respond to the reality of these challenges in their own communities, INVEST Africa strengthens capacity to harness the potential of ICT in flexible and blended approaches to provide effective technical and vocational education and training. Working with 12 partner institutions in 6 countries, COL is supporting the application of open and distance learning approaches to TVET through the enhanced use of educational media and technology.
Computer screen image sharing
Jing gives you the basic tools to start sharing images and short videos of your computer screen. Capture what you see, Record what you do; Share quickly and easily.
Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment
Moodle is a free source e-learning software platform, also known as a Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). As of October 2012 it had a user base of 70,793 registered and verified sites, serving 63,204,814 users in 6.7+ million courses with 1.2+ million teachers. The first version of Moodle was released on 20 August 2002.

The Moodle Community, an open network of over one million registered users who interact through the Moodle community website to share ideas, code, information and free support. This community also includes a large number of non-core developers, with Moodle's free source license and modular design allowing any developer to create additional modules and features that has allowed Moodle to become a truly global, collaborative project in scope.
ODL Open and Distance Learning Open learning and distance learning refers to approaches to learning that focus on freeing learners from constraints of time and place while offering flexible learning opportunities. For many students, open and distance learning (ODL) is a way of combining work and family responsibilities with educational opportunities.

Distance education (sometimes referred to as ‘distributed learning’ or ‘distance learning’) is any educational process in which all or most of the teaching is conducted by someone geographically removed from the learner, with all or most of the communication between teachers and learners being conducted through electronic or print mediums.

The ‘open’ nature of distance learning might be formally institutionalized in such policies as open admissions, and freedom of selection of what, when and where to learn. The openness of distance learning is also seen in relatively flexible organizational structures, delivery and communication patterns as well as the use of various technologies to support learning.


OER Open Education Resources Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or that can be used under an intellectual property license that allows re-use or adaptation (e.g Creative Commons). The potential of opening up educational resources for use and adaptation by everyone, especially those in resource-poor environments, is a great opportunity to achieve quality education for all. UNESCO OER Declaration

PCF Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning
COL's Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning is held biennially. It is co-hosted with different partners in different regions of the Commonwealth each time. The five-day programme is designed to explore applications of open and distance learning in widening educational access, bridging the digital divide and advancing the social and economic development of communities and nations at large. The Forum's focus is on topics relating to developing countries and participation of practitioners from these countries. COL's Excellence in Distance Education Awards are also presented at the Forum.
Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (7th conference)
COL’s Seventh Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF7) will be held in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 - 6 December 2013, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). The Forum will address "Open Learning for Development: Towards Empowerment and Transformation" through five themes: "Girls’ and Women’s Education", "Skills Development", "Promoting Open Educational Resources (OER)", "Innovation and Technology" and "Institutional Development".
Technical and Vocational Education and Training
TVET comprises formal, non-formal and informal learning for the world of work. Young people, women and men learn knowledge and skills from basic to advanced levels across a wide range of institutional and work settings and in diverse socio-economic contexts.

TVET Library -

Virtual University of the Small States of the Commonwealth
The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC) is a network of small countries committed to the collaborative development of free content resources for use in an educational context. It is not a tertiary institution - but a mechanism for small countries to collaboratively develop, adapt and share courses and learning materials.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) co-ordinates the development of the Virtual University of Small States of the Commonwealth on behalf of Commonwealth Ministers of Education.
A wiki (Listeni/ˈwɪkiː/ WIK-ee) is a website which allows its users to add, modify, or delete its content via a web browser usually using a simplified markup language or a rich-text editor. Wikis are powered by wiki software. Most are created collaboratively. "Wiki" (pronounced [ˈwiti] or [ˈviti]) is a Hawaiian word meaning "fast" or "quick".

Wikis serve many different purposes, such as knowledge management and note-taking. Wikis can be community websites and intranets, for example. Some permit control over different functions (levels of access). For example, editing rights may permit changing, adding or removing material. Others may permit access without enforcing access control. Other rules may also be imposed to organize content.

CLN Coordinator's Note: if there are other acronyms and abbreviations you would like added, please post them in the comment section below.

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