Bringing Educational Resources for Teachers in Africa


BERTA (Bringing Educational Resources for Teachers in Africa) is aimed to overcome many of the limitations met by traditional contact-based institutions have in their teacher training purposes. Through ODL (Open Distance Learning), ICT tools and Learning Design methodologies, we want to support teachers and teacher trainers about the use of more flexible means of provision.

The BERTA project aims to provide teacher educators based in African higher education institutions with the opportunity to engage with examples of distance and eLearning courseware made available as OER in an activity-based way that will enable them to subsequently adapt some or all of this courseware to meet the needs of distance and eLearning forms of teacher development in their own countries. By modelling appropriate distance and eLearning practice through activities, feedback and examples, the project hopes to contribute to the expansion of quality teacher development using more flexible means of provision for larger numbers of prospective and in-service teachers. 

BERTA proposes four modules, each including a set of OERs that will introduce you in several aspects related to ODL: 

1. Programme Design

2. Student Support

3. Assessment for teacher education

4. ICT Tools

More specifically, in the fourth module, some participants will have the opportunity to participate in a MOOC course that will be offered from 19/05 to 20/06. In this course you will be introduced in Learning Design, an innovative methodology that encourages  teachers to support the other course participants in developing the design or redesign of learning with digital technologies. With the help of a mentor, you will be able to redesign your learning proposal and face specific challenges through a creative learning design  methodology. Learning design has proven to be a very powerful tool for anyone involved in the curriculum design. The course will follow a structure based on a project design, starting from the identification of a challenge, exploring the context, providing different and creative solutions and implementing a specific one to be validated. It is a very practical and teacher oriented methodology with a lot of potential for the creation of innovative solutions. 

You can join the course during the week from 09/05 to 16/05 through this link:

BERTA is a project funded by ICDE and led by the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) ans SAIDE (South African Institute for Distance Education).


The BERTA environment consists of four modules, which integrate Open Educational Resources for several subjects related to Teacher Training. 

All the modules are accessible from this site. In the top Menu you will find the Outline for each one. 

The fourth module is also linked to a four weeks MOOC course which will introduce teachers and teacher trainers in the practice of design of educational topics and resources through the use of new technologies.

If you want to have a global approach to teacher training in ODeL, we recommend you to take the 4 modules, starting from Module 1 and finishing in Module 4. 

Although BERTA is mainly a repository with OERs, it is a practice oriented environment. Every module has an Outline and provides self-assessment activities, so that you can put knowledge into practice. In the case of Module 4, a module about Design Studio and small MOOC courses are provided in order to facilitate the design of your own ODeL courses, subjects or learning activities.


1. Programme design for teacher development through ODeL

This module will explore how ODeL can be used to train more and better teachers outside of the constraints of a physical campus. It will explore inter alia:

  • The changing face of ODeL and implications for teacher development

  • Programme design for teacher education at a distance

  • Curriculum design for teacher education through ODeL

  • Course design for teacher education through ODeL

  • Materials development for teacher education through ODeL

  • Programme management and administration (including management of   practice

  • (The module would contain examples from practice including sample tools and templates that might be used/adaptede.g  from ACDE, DEASA, Nadeosa, OERAfrica, Saide, Open Unisa etc.)

2. Student support for teacher education at a distance

Retention and throughput are major challenges for distance provision and indicate the need for robust and responsive student support systems and processes. This module will explore inter alia:

  • The need for and nature of student support

  • Models for student support

  • Implications for practice: Initial Professional Education and Training and Continuing Professional Education and Training

  • (The module would contain examples from practice including sample tools and templates that might be used/adaptede.g  from ACDE, DEASA, Nadeosa, OERAfrica, Saide, Open Unisa etc.)

    3. Assessment for teacher education at a distance

In order to ensure expansion with quality improvement in an ODeL context, it is necessary to give careful attention to the ways in which assessment strategies are designed to provide formative assessment feedback in the process and summative assessment that provides evidence of improved practice as a requirement for successful completion. This module willtherefore explore inter alia:

  • Assessment strategy for ODeL provision

  • Formative assessment and feedback

  • Summative assessment

  • Integrated assessment and Work Integrated Learning/teaching practice

  • Formative evaluation

  • (The module would contain examples from practice including sample tools and templates that might be used/adapted)


4. ICT integration for teacher education and for classrooms.

  • Design Studio methodologies for a practical ODeL design

  • Collection of OERs related to the use of ICT tools

Program Outline

The HandsonICT environment is aimed to improve the teachers’ skills with the use of ICT tools and creativity tools.

Nowadays, most teachers face the incorporation of ICT tools in their teaching activities as a burden. However, ICT tools are not the problem per se. The encumbrance is being alone in the process of searching, selecting, setting up, including it in classroom, troubleshooting and evaluating its impact. The teachers that have the courage and time to go through this process tend to be successful but often end up unwilling to attempt it again. The Hands-On ICT (HANDSON) course aims at facilitating the integration of ICT tools in teaching and learning by offering a learning-by-doing environment to be explored by themselves or with the guidance of a mentor.

This course offers teachers a set of learning activities complemented with 1) the competences it addresses, 2) the lesson plan, 3) the ICT tool, 4) the open content, 5) a sandbox for the tool.

The environment will be based on creativity techniques. The HANDSON environment allows for the practice required to really learn a creativity method. Initially, we are offering three courses, with one week duration each .Courses  present three specific creativity techniques: mind mapping/concept mapping, triggering questions and six thinking hats. Each week you will learn one of these techniques, reflect on complementary resources about it and will put it into practice for your specific situation. Throughout this process, you will learn to use several ICT tools that you can potentially incorporate afterwards in your teaching practice.

 These are the three courses:

  1. Mind Mapping & Concept Mapping  (8-14 January)

  2. Six thinking hats (15-21 January)

  3. Triggering questions (22-28 January)

  4. Handson course evaluation

In parallel you will take a course a course on 'e-Mentoring', that as teachers, will provide you with the skills of mentoring in virtual environments. This course will last three weeks, from the 8 of January until the 28 of January.

At the end of the courses, we will request you to answer an evaluation questionnaire about your experience with HandsonICT.

In sum, HANDSON is a holistic environment that provides teachers everything they need to learn in relation to the choice making and use of the most suitable ICT tools for a given pedagogical activity. The end goal is to improve the quality of teaching and learning by increasing the digital skills of both teachers and as a consequence of students.

This is the first edition of the Handson ICT course. During 2014 we will offer two more courses with more activities. We hope you are interested to collaborate with us.

The Handson ICT course is part of the HANDSOICT project. If you want to know more about it, please visit

Mind mapping & concept mapping

Mind mapping & concept mapping

Mind mapping and concept mapping have proved to be effective techniques for enhancing creativity of students.  This unit goes further discussing how the two techniques can be used for other educational purposes such as graphical advanced organizer, note taking, and assessment to mention just a few.  Different tools supporting the techniques will also  be a subject of consideration.  You are going to  explore information on the  theoretical background, examples and procedures  of the two mapping techniques and you will be asked to practice the two mapping techniques with software tools that support them. The main challenge, however, is how  can you implement  mind mapping and concept mapping and relevant technologies in your professional practice.

With this course, you will:

  1. Understand the theoretical background of concept mapping and mind mapping.

  2. Understand the similarities and differences between concept mapping and mind mapping

  3. Use ICT tools supporting mind mapping and concept mapping

  4. Demonstrate how to use concept mapping and mind mapping professional  work of teachers

Six thinking hats

After the completion of this course, you will be ablo to:

  1. Describe the  theoretical background of  the  creativity technique “ Six thinking Hats” and each of the thinking modes

  2. Create and demonstrate how the technique can be used in the teachers’ professional practice

  3. Use collaboration tools for educational purposes

Triggering questions

Triggering questions, or the  technique became popular with its acronym SCAMPER,  is a simple questions-based check-list that supports people to improve  something or create a completely new thing.

Upon completion  of this unit, you will:

  1. Describe the technique Triggering Question.

  2. Use ICT tools to communicate your own understanding of the technique.

  3. Demonstrate how to use the technique in the professional practice of teachers

  4. Learn how to create educational videos

Module 1

On completion of this first module on programme design it is intended that you will have:

    • identified common elements of teacher development programmes that could be support by integration of OER

    • identified key issues to be addressed in designing a distance education programme for teacher development; and

    • you should be better able to:

    • develop or update the outline of a teacher development programme to be offered through distance education

      1. develop a module outline for each constituent module

      2. develop key activities; and

      3. identify initial implications and briefs for appropriate technology integration.

Module 2

On completion of this module on assessment it is intended that you will have:

  • identified common principles and concerns regarding effective assessment practice

  • identified key issues to be addressed in designing the assessment strategy in a distance education programme for teacher development; and

  • you should be better able to:

  • develop an appropriate assessment strategy for a teacher development programme in your context

    1. develop an appropriate assessment strategy for each module in your programme

    2. develop sample key assessment activities; and

    3. identify  initial implications and briefs for technology integration.

Module 3

On completion of this module on student support it is intended that you will have:

  • Identified the role and nature of student support in distance education provision generally

  • Identified specific student support needs for teacher development in particular

  • Identified key issues to be addressed in designing student support in an online learning programme for teacher development; and you should be able to:

  • Evaluate and refine the student support elements of your own teacher development programmes offered through distance education.

Last modified: Friday, 11 July 2014, 1:56 PM

Module 4

The Module is aimed to facilitate the design of ODeL courses, subjects or resources by teachers. In the context of teacher training, it presents a powerful methodology to support teachers in the creation of ODeL contents ans resources. This methodology is called Learning Design Studio (LDS). The objective of LDS is to transmit teachers a structured approach that guides them in the process and main decisions related to objectives, contents, resources, target group, activities, evaluation, etc.  The methodology also proposes easy to use tools and templates to facilitate the design work of teachers.

Secondly, in the Module 4 you will find a comprehensive list of OERs that will support you in the creation of educational resources by using specific ICT tools: blogs, wikis, eportfolios, videos, etc.  The list of resources in the web is enormous, so we have selected a few of them we consider easy to use and understand.

Finally, in order to be able to practice with LDS and the specific ICT tools, a 4 weeks MOOC course will be proposed, in which participants will design their own resources with the support of classmates and mentors.


FAQs about the use of this  Moodle environment

How can I to Access the BERTA resources?

You have to visit the web address create your own account. After that you will receive an email with a password which will give you access to the

What is the language of the modules?

Initially, modules are offered only in English

How can I join the modules?

Click on the module/course you want to take and join it. 

What sections do I need to know?

In the main navigation menu you will find the list of Modules, the guidelines to study with the OERs and information about the BERTA project. To join the courses, go to the main page and scroll down to find them.

Who are other users of BERTA?  Where do they come from?

BERTA in an open repository, mainly addressed to African teacher trainers. Most of the users may come from different regions of Africa, although the space is open to anyone in the world.

Should I follow a specific itinerary?

If you don't want to especially focus on a section of content, we recommend you to start from module 1 and finish on module 4. This will give you an overall vision of ODel.

Can I create groups or forum spaces?

Yes, you can.

Can I contact other BERTA participants?

Yes, you can. 

What can I expect from the people who is supporting the BERTA environment?

We will try to answer your doubts and solve your technical issues

FAQs about basic concepts in Open Distance Learning  (ODL)

What is asynchronous interaction?

Asynchronous interaction is the learning or sharing of information within a group outside the constraints of time and place: e.g. the access to and use of email, discussion forums etcThis is useful when we don’t want to oblige learners to be online at a particular time and would like to provide them with time to make more measured contributions.

What is blended learning?

Blended learning refers to the provision of structured learning opportunities using a combination of contact, distance, and/or ICT-supported opportunities to suit different purposes, audiences and contexts. It can also refer to the use of a variety of teaching models and styles of learning.

What is BYOD?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) refers to the policy of permitting students to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to their educational setting, and to use those devices to access institutional information and applications.

What is distance education?

Distance education is concerned with a set of teaching and learning strategies (or educational methods) that can be used to overcome spatial and/or temporal separation between educators and learners. It is a collection of methods for the provision of structured learning. It avoids the need for learners to discover the curriculum by attending classes frequently and for long periods. Rather, it aims to create a quality learning environment using an appropriate combination of different media, tutorial support, peer group discussion, and practical sessions.

Since distance education methods are employed in a variety of contact, mixed and blended learning approaches, and may be used in more or less open ways, distance education may also be used to refer to a mode of delivery based primarily on the use of distance education methods. Institutions opting for distance education as a mode of delivery need to establish systems and processes for decentralised distribution of learning resources, communications, learner and learning support, and formative and summative assessment.

What is an LMS?

Learning management system (LMS) – see Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Management System (LMS).

What is meant by “mode of provision”?

Mode of provision refers to the dominant mix of methods by which institutions mediate their curricula. In a single mode institution, all courses and programmes are mediated either by distance-or contact-based methodologies; in a dual mode institution, courses and programmes may be mediated by either distance- or contact-based methods, and often equivalent forms of the same course or programme may be offered in either mode; in a mixed mode institution, all courses and programmes involve a mix of methods associated traditionally with distance- and contact-based provision – with the blend of methods varying from context to context. Some course provision may tend more towards distance provision and some may tend more towards campus-based provision.

What is a MOOC?

Massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the Web. However, the learning resources themselves are not necessarily openly licensed.

What is ODL?

Open (and) distance learning (ODL) refers to the use of distance education methods to support the realisation of open learning purposes and principles. An ODL approach typically involves making provision to support a wider range of student choices regarding access, curriculum, pacing, sequencing, learning modes and methods, assessment and articulation. Students studying through ODL approaches typically take longer to complete their studies as they need to balance study and other commitments. Guiding students towards making informed choices based on workload, and on the assumption that completion of a course or programme of study will typically take twice as long to complete, is an important feature of responsible ODL practice – as is trying to assist students not to take longer than three times the minimum time to complete for the sake of coherence and the complications arising from curriculum renewal processes.

What is open content?

Open content is content that is licensed in a manner that provides users with the right to use the content in more ways than those normally permitted under the law – at no cost to the user. This is of particular importance at the postgraduate level, where the ‘learning’ materials are mostly primary sources and journal articles. This term, which is more encompassing than OER, allows for other resources such as open data and open access journals to be considered as open content, to which students and lecturers will ideally have access.

What are OER?

Open educational resources (OER) are educational resources (including curriculum maps, course materials, textbooks, streaming videos, multimedia applications, podcasts, and any other materials that have been designed for use in teaching and learning) that are freely available for use by educators and students without an accompanying need to pay royalties or licence fees. OER is not synonymous with online learning or technology-supported learning. Openly licensed content can be produced in any medium: text, video, audio, or computer-based multimedia.

How is a qualification different from a programme?

Qualification means a planned combination of learning outcomes, which has a defined purpose or purposes, and which is intended to provide qualifying students with specified applied competence and a basis for further learning; it also means the formal recognition of the achievement of the required number and type of credits and such other requirements as may be determined by the appropriate accrediting authority. A programme is a particular learning pathway leading to the award of a qualification. Within a particular country there will likely be one recognised qualification such as a BEd or a PGCE but different institutions may offer different programmes leading to the award of that qualification.

What is meant when we talk about the ‘quality’ of a distance programme?

Quality can usefully be thought of as the interrelated demonstration of fitness of and for purpose, value for money, and contribution to social transformation. A suggested key metric for the quality of a distance programme is the % of a particular cohort of learners who successfully complete the programme within two times minimum time.

What is RPL?

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) involves formal identification, assessment and acknowledgement of the full range of a person’s knowledge, skills and capabilities acquired through formal, informal or non-formal training, on-the-job or life experience.

What is synchronous interaction?

Synchronous interaction is the learning or sharing of information within a group that necessitates taking part at the same time, although it could be outside the constraint of place (if supported online): e.g. a lecture in a classroom with facilitator and all students present, or a lecture via Web-conferencing with some or all students online.

What does it mean to say learning is ‘technology-supported’?

Technology-supported learning refers to structured learning opportunities mediated through software applications using digital resources (usually combinations of text, audio and visual/video files) and communication, and accessed through a range of fixed or mobile hardware devices. Such learning provision may be online and synchronous (e.g. real-time conferencing), online and asynchronous (e.g. text-based discussion forum) or off-line (e.g. interactive or resource-based CD/DVD/flash drive). ICT can support learning in contact, blended and distance education programmes.

What is WBE/WIL?

Work-based education/work-integrated learning (WBE/WIL) is a component of a learning programme that focuses on the application of theory in an authentic, work-based context. It addresses specific competences identified for the acquisition of a qualification that relate to the development of skills that will make the learner employable and will assist in developing his/her personal skills. Employer and professional bodies, together with academic staff, are involved in the assessment of experiential learning. Distance education methods may usefully be used in providing a structured WBE/WIL experience within a larger learning programme; the provision of WBE/WIL, and the need for placement, mentoring, support, supervision and assessment present particular challenges for large-scale, distributed distance education provision and require special attention in the planning, resourcing and monitoring of programmes offered in distance mode. A pre-service teacher education programme usually includes a WBE/WIL component called ‘teaching practice’.

What is a VLE?

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learning Management System (LMS) is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of programmes and courses.