One of the challenges facing Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa is how, on the one hand, to acknowledge and progress beyond systemic contextual problems inherited from past educational policies (Bozalek & Boughey, 2012; Leibowitz, 2012; Soudien, 2012) to attain participatory parity (Fraser, 2009; 2008) and on the other, to prepare future generations of students using current generation of ‘emerging technologies’ (Broekman, Enslin & Pendlebury, 2002; Veletsianos, 2010) while remaining cognisant of the future possibilities which may become available. Although these challenges are contextual, they are not unique to South Africa.  In this programme we will begin by exploring the specific ways in which South African higher education has engaged with technology in teaching and learning over the past two decades and the way research questions to inform relevant research has tended to shift over time. 

South Africa has a different trajectory to other northern and southern contexts regarding the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning due to its particular history.  This difference strongly suggests a need for an academic programme that responds to these contextually defined challenges hence this programme. It goes without saying, even within South Africa, the differently positioned historically advantaged and disadvantaged institutions, which have been inherited from the apartheid era, have produced different visions on how technology could be used. 


This Master’s programme in Educational Technology will provide a comprehensive understanding of how the use of ICTs in teaching and learning continues to shift, ways that HEIs appropriate technologies in different ways to address challenges and exploit new educational opportunities. The specific outcomes of this master’s degree will be to answer these outlined questions:  

  • What has been the focus of educational technology research to-date?
  • What has been the context of these studies?
  • What was the object of the research and its outcomes?
  • How has e-learning/e-teaching policies, cultural practices, communities and increased personal ownership of devices influenced research in educational technologies?
  • What types of learning is mediated through emerging technologies?
  • How would learners leverage learning from social networks to achieve learning outcomes?
  • In what ways does the use of emerging technologies mediate higher order thinking skills?
  • What are effective approaches for moderating online learning e.g. in MOOCs?
  • What is the ecosystem of an activity system in which educational technologies are used?
  • In what ways do socio-cultural and historical orientations of learners influence how objects are transformed?
  • How does context in which learners are inserted, and technologies that are both familiar and ubiquitous, impact on a learning activity?
  • What is philanthropy and how does one write a funding proposal for an educational technology intervention?
  • What are the challenges / opportunities that have informed education in the 21st century?
  • What is a good educational technology research question?
  • How does one design educational technology research?
  • What is the difference between a conceptual and an analytical framework?
  • What is the difference between a methodology and a method?
  • How does one write an educational technology research proposal, conduct research, analyse results and disseminate findings?

About the course

The course  is offered over 2 years full-time or three years part time. Year 1 is coursework and year 2 is minor dissertation. (A full-time student takes all four modules in a year, and spends the following year on a minor dissertation. A part-time student may take two modules per year whereby completing coursework in 2 years and doing a minor dissertation in year 3). The modules need to be undertaken in sequence as each module develops aspects of the research process from understanding the research problem and relevant literature, to situating the research problem within the appropriate context and choosing an appropriate theoretical framework. The research design process is an explicit part of module 4, the outcome of which is a research proposal, without which a student would not progress the minor dissertation. The minor dissertation is the primary focus in year 2.

These modules are offered in a block release using blended mode (i.e. pre-contact online activities, one-week face-to-face contact session in Cape Town, post-contact independent task.)


  • EDN5508F: Research in Educational Technology - issues & debates
  • EDN5507F: Emerging technologies and educational practices in developing context
  • EDN5509S: Learning with technologies
  • EDN5510S: Research design and methodologies

Eligibility/ entry requirements 

As a minimum, applicants must meet the requirements of one of the following options:

  • A three-year undergraduate degree plus a postgraduate diploma (PGDip), or equivalent qualification, in education, educational technology or a related field.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Educational Technology with a research project, or its approved equivalent from another university or PGDip in any other field that is approved, or an approved equivalent.
  • A BEd (Hons) degree from this university, or its approved equivalent from another university.
  • An Honours degree in any other field that is approved, or an approved equivalent.

In each case, the applicant must have achieved an average of not less than 70% in the PGDip / Honours year and no less than 65% for any individual course to be eligible for admission.

Application Procedure

Apply onlineClosing Date: 31 October every year.

Applications are reviewed in November. Eligible applicants will be contacted and asked to undertake a pre-admission task and telephonic interview.

Programme queries

Please consult the Stream Leader: A/Prof Daniela Gachago

Admission queries

Humanities: Postgraduate Office
Tel: +27(0)21 650 2462
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 5751