This post represents the first of many posts outlining a particularly large research project/proposal I am working on currently (and have been for about the past year) discussing the role of mobile learning in the practice of History in higher education in developing nations. I started out, if you can believe this, much broader than this in terms of scope. I was originally intending to focus on Humanities practice in higher education in developing nations but upon reflection (and some gentle prodding by some respected professors) I am narrowing it down to History. Each of the Humanities subjects I was intending to pursue, although interdisciplinary, had some unique pedagogical practices and decidedly different output mechanisms so it is best to zero in on History. 

So, back to my point. I am going to post a series of facets about this research here, starting with my research questions and assumptions, followed by a small Review of Literature, etc., in order to be as transparent as possible about my process and intentions, as well as solicit/collaborate with any and all willing to provide feedback. I have written about (and experienced firsthand) the effects of collaboration towards academic writing and am a big believer in it as good academic practice. I just wanted to practice what I preach by opening this up for discussion here. 


I started this project based on my experience working with higher education in developing nations, specifically the African nations of Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tunisia, and Egypt (and yes, I consider the last two to be African in a developmental context). I worked with universities in these nations towards information literacy, research practice, etc. and became enamored, as early as 2007, by the growing rise of mobile technology use towards knowledge dissemination (beginning with medical information, agricultural groups, literacy groups, etc.). Many parts of Africa were leapfrogging over a generation of technology (bandwidth based ICT) towards another (mobile) out of necessity and from this necessity spurred ingenuity. Some were more successful at this than others.

We now see a major push for localized innovation and some wonderful success stories from the region (iHub in Kenya stands out for me). Seeing this happen in informal (medical, agricultural) and private (industry) learning communities had me thinking that it is high time for higher education to embrace its potential as well, hence this research. Much work has already been done in this area, but my research fully intends to focus on expert level practice (the kind of practice commiserate with graduate level or faculty level collaboration in higher education) rather than information dissemination, resource management, etc. I want a full-fledged learning and collaborative community taking place exclusively (if needed) on mobile. As such, my initial (broad) research questions and assumptions for such a project are these:

So that is where I am starting from and if anyone is willing to say I am way off-based here, I would be greatly appreciative. I should probably limit my discussion of developing nations to sub-Saharan African universities, most likely Ghanian universities or Tanzanian universities. Much work is already being done in Kenyan universities by Kenyan academics so I thought my research would be better served elsewhere. 

Like I said, this is merely the first part (next would be the disciplinary practice of History and how it might be applicable to mobile learning-even pedagogical ‘containers’ for such learning (MOOCs?)). I also owe everyone a Review of Literature that is about a year too dated (I started this some time ago), but hopefully will prove helpful to someone. 

More to come!

2 Responses

Leave a Reply to Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of London and my future: plans for 2012-2015 « Michael Sean Gallagher Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.