Best eLearning Consultancy Firm in Africa 2020

Eiffel Corp does it Again 

Eiffel Corp is proud to announce another win, taking the title of Best eLearning Consultancy Firm in Africa 2020.  This comes shortly after being rewarded the African Excellence Award as the Most Innovative Higher Education Technology Company of 2020.  

The Small Business Awards 

This recognition comes from Corporate Vision Magazine, who runs the Small Business Awards annually to identify and present small businesses who demonstrate innovative products and services, while upholding an exemplary reputation within their industry. 

According to Awards Coordinator, Steven Simpson, “Small businesses and their dedicated owners form the solid foundation of our global corporate landscape, despite the trying hardships and obstacles they may incur along the path to success! 

Each year, Corporate Vision Magazine proudly seeks out the very best that the small business community has to offer on a global basis. 

How are Winners Selected? 

Corporate Vision Magazine searches across the globe to identify companies who they feel represent the “sheer determination and dedication it takes to establish, run and grow a small business successfully! 

As a company, we had absolutely no role in being nominated for this award, other than excelling at what we do. The awards are purely judged on merit, with an in-house research team who research and analyse information related to the companies they identify. Nominees do support their case with information requested. 

“Being winners of the 2020 Small Business Awards and the African Excellence Awards, confirms that we are on the forefront of edtech technology and development in Africa. We are also grateful that we can contribute to solutions in EdTech, especially now when it is needed most. I wish to thank our incredible team of experts for their dedication and hard work that has awarded Eiffel Corp as a leader in edtech for 2020,” Ian Light, CEO at Eiffel Corp. 

Well done to each and every team member at Eiffel Corp who has played their part in making these awards happen. 

Eiffel Corp Recognised for Setting an EdTech Trend

COVID-19 to change the face of digital education in Africa

COVID-19 to change the face of digital education in Africa

Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, the face of digital education will change forever. Decision-making around providing stable and quality-driven access and productivity to support remote learning and working will be pushed to the top of the list.

So says Myles Thies, director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp, an e-earning and blended learning specialist.

One technology that will be increasingly used to support digital learning in Africa, he says, is the cloud. “We have experienced a gradual migration to cloud-based offerings over the last three years but this is now accelerating quickly due to the challenges revealed by the pandemic.”

Cloud technologies such as those provided by large players like Microsoft Azure have become a critical component of how the company rolls out, maintains and supports its technology services. Clients that had the foresight to embark on a cloud-based strategy have been the least technically affected by the current lockdown restrictions and have had far less security, availability, latency and other challenges to deal with than others, he adds.

Educational institutions are traditionally slower at making big strategic decisions as they tend to involve multiple stakeholders and have smaller budgets to play with, says Thies. Under the current situation, however, plans already in place to move to the cloud are being pushed through far more quickly and decision that affect how the students and learners access their digital learning spaces are getting major focus whereas they were only secondary considerations before.

Maturing open source

“We also see a big shift in the acceptance and application of maturing open source solutions, paired with professional support and services that we offer,” he adds. “With the traditionally more open structures prevalent in learning institutions, open source technology has enjoyed a wider acceptance. This has allowed us to provide highly customised and needs-specific solutions with minimal configuration and development for a fraction of the cost of international proprietary systems.”

This means that Eiffel Corp can service many more customers who would not consider expensive enterprise systems such a learning management system, or student management system, due to the historical costs associated with three to five-year dollar-based contracts. “Our rand-based pricing models guarantees resourcing and budgetary certainty which is critical, particularly at a time like this when exchange rates are causing sleepless nights for any institution with a foreign denominated payment.”

A lot to be done

Thies says there is still a lot to be done in Africa.

“Capable and dependable infrastructure is still lacking in places and access to information and the Internet is well below other parts of the developing world. Authorities in many African countries have only just started or are still in the early stages of enabling digital economies and strategies.”

He says pockets have emerged that are showing how fast things can be changed and caught up. “One of the great benefits of being a latecomer to the development party is that countries can apply the latest innovations without the complicated legacy of past technology and regulation.”

Speaking of how Eiffel Corp is addressing Africa’s challenges, he says, as a rule, his organisation thinks about the context in which its technology solutions are used.

“Being born and bred in Africa means we understand the challenges faced by the typical learner who encounters myriad technical and resources shortages on a daily basis. We design and implement systems that meet the needs of data-scarce environments but which are enabled to cater for rapid growth, adaptation and increasingly sophisticated levels of application as our customer and their stakeholders’ capabilities grow.”

This release was featured online

Eiffel Corp Recognised for Setting an EdTech Trend

Trendsetter in EdTech, Eiffel Corp nominated as finalist for global EdTech awards 2020

Guiding Organisations as They Prepare for Tomorrow

Finalists and winners for the prestigious global EdTech Awards 2020, were recently announced to a worldwide audience.  This audience of educators, technologists, students, parents and policymakers all share the passion for building a better future for learners and leaders in the education and workforce sectors. We are proud to announce that Eiffel Corp, a leader in Edtech throughout Africa has been selected as a finalist in the category, ‘Edtech company setting a Trend.’

“Eiffel Corp’s position as finalist recognises our integral role in the education sector, especially in a time where EdTech has become part of a worldwide solution to continued teaching and learning during the COVID-19 crisis,” says CEO of Eiffel Corp, Ian Light.

“The EdTech Awards rewards people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners across the globe, and we are honoured to have been chosen as a finalist, being acknowledged as one of the 50 trendsetters worldwide,“   says Light.

“The finalists and winners of the 2020 Edtech Awards were narrowed from a large field of expertise who were judged based on various criteria which included pedagogical workability, efficiency and results, support, clarity, value and potential. The EdTech Awards, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is a US based program, the largest of its kind, acknowledging the game changers in edtech as well as those who soon will be,” Light explains.

Eiffel Corp, a level-2 BBBEE certified company, celebrating 22 years of success across Africa, prides itself as a leader in digital learning and blended learning development. Our best-of-breed range of products and world-class strategic services empower learners, educators, trainers and faculties across Africa and the globe,” explains Light.

“We are proud to be recognised as a trend setter by Edtech Awards, who has a reputation for choosing the world’s ‘best and brightest’ as finalists for the awards annually. Being a finalist, confirms that we are on the forefront of edtech technology and development in Africa. We are also grateful that we can contribute to solutions in EdTech, especially now when it is needed most. I wish to thank our incredible team of experts for their dedication and hard work that has awarded Eiffel Corp a finalist position this year,” Light concludes.

Academic integrity -Teaching not punishing

Academic integrity -Teaching not Punishing

Could academic integrity tools be used to develop well-rounded, contributing members of society, foster academic writing and be a key teaching tool?

Q & A with Myles Thies, Director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp and Magriet De Villiers, Academic Development Coordinator at Stellenbosch University examine the question of academic integrity at higher education in South Africa.

How do we develop graduate attributes such as:

  • Well rounded, personally & socially accountable human beings
  • An enquiring mind – critical and creative problem solvers
  • Critical Self-Direction & drive
  • Engaged citizens
  • Dynamic & prepared professionals

MT: At such a time in our history, South Africa needs citizens who can take personal and societal transformation seriously and can read the sign of the times: information vs fake news; ethics vs corruption. Fortunately, a common trait among many young millennials is the commitment to personal causes and that address social injustices and global challenges.

According to UCT academic, Greg Boyle, ensuring academic integrity is so important it mustn’t be left to chance, but should become part of the institution’s technology policies.,In actuality, this implies that the technology and its associated policies must only form the framework around which individuals develop their efforts. If a large majority of learners are bumping up against academic integrity policies or are being stalled by the tools, it implies that programmes to address integrity are ineffectual.

The best technologies in any institution, are those that are integrated and work unseen in the background

At Stellenbosch University, for example, Turnitin (Tii), the worlds foremost academic integrity tool, could be used more widely than a fact-checker.  It is usually used summatively, used as the last bar to punish a student – ‘your project just wasn’t good enough’.  There is no opportunity for students to learn during the process.  Generally, students submit an assignment which has a high credit weighting and there is no place to improve, unless with another assignment.

MdV: Tii could be a formative tool of teachers rather than a punishing tool.

Tii shouldn’t be a once-off for final submission, but used throughout writing and studies and reviewed with a student.  The tool could help the student improve with their writing and grammar?

Many institutions, Stellenbosch University being an example, use Tii with postgraduate students as a sandbox/playpen.  There is no repository, students upload their thesis, if the lecturer picks up something, they notify the student, which improves the writing process.

According to Ernest Hemmingway: “There is nothing to writing, all you do is sit down at a typewriter & bleed”.

There is dissonance in good academic writing – It’s impossible to have good post-grad writers if under-graduates are not good writers.  Tii or other such tools could also foster academic writing skills.

How do we teach and measure without using NOT?

MdV: What if we address writing affirmingly rather than a negatively:  Red scratches on a paper mean nothing.  Facts might be correct, but the formulation might need attention.

We can give up-building critique without NOT, DON’T and still be constructively critical.

The Theology Department at Stellenbosch University embraces the positive rather than a negative starting point.  Instead of so sorry I’m late, rather thank you for waiting for me.

How do you personally use Tii as a teaching and learning tool?

MdV:   At SU, I am allocated one tutorial to discuss academic integrity with under-graduates students per semester.  Students discuss assignment themes – what students have done in the past (anonymously) and not in such detail as to get content, but to use as an example.

Some lecturers use the tool as a sandbox, where students can submit papers prior to the deadline to identify specific problems such as language and translation.

Does Tii fall under the SU technology policy framework?

MdW:   Tii has different outputs depending on the academic integrity philosophy in each department or faculty) eg theology vs arts, science and engineering.  Tii recently celebrated its 1 billionth student paper submission.

Plagiarism is viewed differently in the science and engineering faculty vs the law faculty. Different faculties apply plagiarism differently.  For example, in the law faculty, a student would need to cite past cases to create a precedent, this would not be plagiarism.

SU is positioned as a research institution and this impacts how academic integrity is reviewed.  Other institutions focus on under-graduates or TVET students.

Join us on the 27th of August at 14:00 as Magriet discusses Academic Integrity in 2020.
Magriet will address the important questions of “What is Academic Integrity?” And how things have changed in terms of academic misconduct, specifically in the COVID-19 context of more online and less face-to-face teaching.
Register here to join us:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMuduCrpzwsH9UM-AhRmaI5RZCWW094eFpy

Delivering Top EdTech and Customer Services Sees Eiffel Corp Expand Across Africa

Eiffel Corp, one of Africa’s leading digital education companies, believes that gaining and building the trust of their educators and institutions in delivering world-class education to students, is the reason they have been successful over the past 22 years having expanded their services across Africa and abroad.

Founders Andre and Gwen Van der Merwe are both passionate about education and extremely proud to have been at the forefront of popularising learning technology in universities throughout Africa. Their pioneering spirit has enabled Eiffel Corp to the level of an industry leader and a respected contributor to digital education innovation.

According to CEO Ian Light, Eiffel Corp attributes their success to the ability, throughout their journey, to gain and build the trust of customers whilst assisting them to maximise the use and value of their tech investment.

“At Eiffel Corp, we are fanatical about investing in human capital at university level, in fact, our approach is advising universities to spend less on flashy expensive tech and more on professional development for their staff as well as solutions that have lasting value and applicable outcomes,” says Light. Fit-for-purpose LMS’s (Learning Management Systems) have been a success in the African arena as a functioning and contextualised platform that help universities offer many more learners’ access to quality education even with challenges in place. Eiffel Corp’s systems and approach have helped thousands of learners reach their learning potential to date and they aim to do everything possible to increase access and quality with every new partner and community they work in.

Light explains that Africa has significantly more challenges to overcome than other parts of the world as the socio-economic and political landscape in Africa is very different, which consequently affects factors such as access to education, infrastructure and funding. Creating access to learning through traditional education facilities i.e. bricks and mortar, has been an ongoing challenge to many governments and providers across Africa.  Resources and access to funding have always been and will continue to be a challenge for African universities. This also provides an opportunity to innovate as only Africans can and in this lies a real opportunity to thrive,” said Light.

Stefan du Plessis, Chief Commercial Officer at Eiffel Corp, goes on to explain that Eiffel Corp’s focus is innovation, not invention and understands that it is impossible for one organisation to solve learners and partners problems on their own. “Apart from our own research and development, we keep abreast of the latest digital developments across various sectors and continuously explore how we can leverage these to address partner challenges,” says Du Plessis. “EdTech is definitely working in Africa and although there are numerous obstacles, African organisations have come up with some of the most innovative solutions to resolve the challenges. Our educational institutions have been at the forefront of digital adoption for many years. With the next level of unprecedented global growth to come from this continent; it is important that we understand that organisations invest in EdTech solutions to make quality education accessible and impactful to everyone. Eiffel Corp has the experience to deliver fit for purpose EdTech solutions across our continent and that is why we are successful,” Du Plessis added.

Eiffel Corp Director of Digital Learning Services, Myles Thies says there is still a lot to be done throughout Africa.  According to Thies, capable and dependable infrastructure is still lacking in places and access to information and the internet is well below other parts of the developing world. Additionally, authorities in many African countries have only just started or are still in the early stages of enabling digital economies and strategies. “Pockets have emerged that are showing how fast things can be changed and caught up. One of the great benefits of being a latecomer to the development party is that countries can apply the latest innovations without the complicated legacy of past technology and regulation,” said Thies.  “Additionally, demographically, according to The World Economic Forum, Africa has the fastest growing and youngest population in the world which puts it at the forefront of growth potential ahead of everyone else. Leveraging these advantages, Africa can build its own digital future both quickly and sustainably,” Thies explained.

“The difference between achieving success or not will depend on leadership and consistently sound decision making over time to support that digital future. Africa needs strong democratic principles at every level of society, founded on established rights and principles, so that all individuals are enabled and free to contribute in their small way to that future,” Thies commented.

Light says he would like to see Eiffel Corp continue their mission to improve education throughout Africa.  “We are proudly African, and we would like to continue working alongside our African compatriots and colleagues to ensure they achieve the best possible outcomes for their investments with fit for purpose technology, training, innovation and local support”, says Light.

“We have come to realise over the past few years that the big international corporates often have impressive sales and marketing messages, but they do not carry the experience, relationships or local knowledge needed in our African market.  We believe the time has come for African based organisations to collaborate and support our local institutions with the best available technology pioneered right here in South Africa.  Africa has the skills and expertise required, institutions no longer need to look at expensive foreign technology,” he concluded.

 

 

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Eiffel Corp Awarded False Bay TVET College Tender

Eiffel Corp, a leader in all things digital with a strong focus on education, recently won a tender for Academia (academia.eiffelcorp.co.za) for False Bay TVET College, a future-fit educational establishment situated in the Western Cape.

Academia is a world-class student information system, developed by Serosoft, an award-winning educational software company, proudly brought to you by Eiffel Corp.

According to Mark Cramer, Knowledge and Information Manager at False Bay TVET College, Academia, was the best fit for their specific needs and functional requirements. The flexibility and customisation of the software were exactly what the college was searching for to streamline the administrative requirements of the institution. “We shall implement fully-fledged online enquiry, application and registration processes which are currently all manual, paper-based processes,” explains Cramer. “This will make processes so much easier as the various portals will allow students, parents, academic staff and management to easily access the relevant information in real-time. It is the time-saving factor which we currently desperately need,” says Cramer.

“We are extremely proud to have False Bay TVET College as one of our newest Academia clients. We are delighted as to how well Academia has been received by the further and higher education market in South Africa and Africa.  As you may be aware, last year was a big year for us as we signed Stellenbosch University, ADvTECH and several other institutions across the country. Our clients see the value of having scalable and robust student information that comes at an affordable price when compared to other systems on the market,” says Ian Light (CEO Eiffel Corp). It connects all functions and departments in one seamlessly automated system removing the need for manual intervention as much as possible. It automates and streamlines workflows across all departments of the institution, improving processes and assists with accessibility to data which enables better decision making,” Light explains.

Cramer says that with implementation, all processes will be reviewed and customised according to the College and DHET standard operating procedures (SOPs) which means a reduction in manual processes and that all fields will be accessible in one place going forward. “All fields are customisable right down to individual need,” says Cramer.

According to Light, the comprehensive student information system streamlines the complete student life cycle from enquiries to graduation as well as the administration processes such as inventory, hostel and library. The solution is built on cutting- edge Java technology and is robust and scalable.

False Bay TVET College will fully integrate all processes from Enquiries to Alumni related matters, including the incorporation of all previous data systems, Cramer concludes.

 

Digital Solutions are the Future

EIFFEL CORP BELIEVES DIGITAL SOLUTIONS ARE THE FUTURE AS WE FACE COVID 19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN

Digital solutions expert, Eiffel Corp who provides a range of online services to hundreds of faculties and educators at every level to ensure a smooth transition to online teaching, believes that the world is seeing a dramatic shift to online learning  “With global lockdown now becoming a reality, everyone is now forced to work and learn remotely,” says director of digital learning at Eiffel Corp, Myles Thies but this can be seen as an opportunity for institutions and educators to hone and improve their online practices and offerings.

“Founded in 1998, Eiffel Corp has enabled many businesses, universities and colleges to pivot quickly to online teaching and learning in order to cope with situations such as the COVID 19 pandemic as well as strikes and disruptions which forced the closure of campuses across South Africa over the past few years,” Thies explains.

“Over the years we have carefully developed 1000’s of digital courses and digital learning artefacts to be used for learning purposes in the online space,” says Thies. According to Thies, the company has also assisted many institutions and companies on a strategic level to move more of their learning programs online in order to become more effective and relevant.

Apart from a lot of free advice, consulting, resources and artefacts, Eiffel Corp believes that they are well placed within the realm of digital solutions to help individuals and institutions to rapidly transition to fully online instruction using an array of tools and platforms. “Eiffel Corp is technology and platform agnostic and works with all kinds of technology stacks, skills bases and contexts to develop online learning situations that suit an institutions environment,” says Thies.

Thies says that at Eiffel Corp, teaching and learning take place in varied contexts, concentrating on the fundamentals of digital teaching, providing everything educators should know, as well as providing the quickest and most beneficial application. “The Eiffel Corp DTX programme is perfectly situated for this purpose and will aid any educator to take what they need and translate that into personal action plans and activities to educate learners,” Thies explains.

Looking at the future, Thies believes that the current global pandemic is forcing all businesses to investigate the limits of virtual working and teaching approaches. “People’s perceptions about the value and opportunities that online learning presents will change rapidly over the next few months, Thies concludes.”

END

Myles Thies (Director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp)

Besides for heading up Eiffel Corp’s Digital Learning Services, Myles has been involved in digital education for over 12 years in various capacities. He is an experienced developer and facilitator of training programmes across multiple formats including blended delivery and fully online. With his strong technical and training administration experience, Myles has responsibility for the successful delivery of the Eiffel Corp Strategic Services portfolio of programmes. Myles has a wealth of knowledge as an eLearning practitioner and has worked in several roles within academia and corporate organizations.  He is involved in the development and delivery of strategic and consulting services in and around learning technology adoption, learning design, eLearning effectiveness and strategy development for Eiffel Corp clientele and partners. Work history includes experience in project management, business analysis and quality assurance well as IT and digital education strategy and research. Qualifications include an MSc in Digital Education, B. Com Business Management, PMD, Diploma in Computer Science and various executive development programmes.

Eiffel Corp’s Services

Dear Clients and Partners,

I would like to take this time to inform you about the services Eiffel Corp can offer any institution.

It has come to our attention that there is some confusion about the services Eiffel Corp can deliver after we announced the end of our partnership with Blackboard.

We are proud to remind you that as a company we have serviced the higher education market for the last 21 years, we have unparalleled local knowledge and experience and fully understand the Southern African climate in which we work.

As a business, we continue to strive to move towards and create products and services that are fit for purpose, priced in local currency and deliver a return on investment.

It’s important to highlight that all services offered by Eiffel Corp are platform agnostic and that our team of experienced consultants is dedicated to realizing the potential of technology in education, no matter the logo 😉

Please do reach out to your Eiffel Corp Account Manager if you have any questions about how we can continue to support you in digital excellence.

For more information on what we can offer you please follow the links below:

Digital Advisory Services

Bespoke Digital Solutions

 

Yours sincerely,

Stefan du Plessis

Chief Commercial Officer

Eiffel Corp

Important announcement from Ian Light(CEO Eiffel Corp) regarding COVID-19

Dear Eiffel Corp Clients and Partners,

Thank you for your continued loyalty and trust in Eiffel Corp in these uncertain times. Our commitment and responsibility towards you have never been stronger as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are continuously monitoring the ever-changing circumstances surrounding the coronavirus and as you start preparing and readying your organisations for limited disruptions during this time, we would like you to know a bit more about what we are doing as a company.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, we have met as a company on several occasions to plan to ensure we have strong processes in place, to (as much as possible) continue with business as usual.

Even though we are a digital solutions company, we have always believed in that personal touch – which meant as a company we have spent many hours travelling to meet our clients either through meetings or events.

Unfortunately, as we ethically practice social distancing to help contain the spread of the COVID-19, we will now continue all meetings, support, training virtually. Your safety, as well as the safety of our team members, is our highest priority.

Please be assured that all our teams are doing their utmost to continue to provide you with the highest levels of service.

In the next few days, we will be sending out further communication as to the different ways in which Eiffel Corp could possibly assist you during this period.

Yours sincerely,
Ian Light
Chief Executive Officer
Eiffel Corp

THE END OF AN ERA: EIFFEL CORP ENDS PARTNERSHIP WITH BLACKBOARD

A recent announcement from Eiffel Corp, a leader in the Higher Education software and service digital education space, has announced that the company has decided to end its 21 year-long partnership with Blackboard, an international e-learning company.

Eiffel Corp has recently sent notice to Blackboard, highlighting its intention to terminate this long-standing partnership. Reportedly the motivation behind this decision was largely based in Eiffel Corp’s desire to structure and tailor its services in such a way that it can be more responsive to its core customer base in African Higher Education sector and beyond. Eiffel Corp believes that the separation will empower the company to align better with sentiments and macrotrends in the African higher education space. In addition, Eiffel Corp is looking forward to improving its multiple offerings to “effectively serve the local higher education landscape to an even greater degree,” says Ian Light, CEO, Eiffel Corp.

Light stated that much consideration had gone into this decision. He outlined that, although Eiffel Corp appreciates the success achieved with Blackboard during the course of the 21-year partnership, the time has come for Eiffel Corp to forge a new and separate path. Light made it clear that this decision was believed to be the best step in Eiffel Corp’s pursuit to align its services more directly with client needs. “Although our partnership is ending, we remain fully committed to our clients’ needs and ongoing contracts and programmes. We greatly value the relationships that we have built over the past two decades,” continues Light. This step also affords Eiffel Corp the opportunity to diversify its services beyond its current core e-learning offerings.

Through the process of working with and learning from experiences within the African higher education market, Eiffel Corp has continued to grow and tailor its services to fully meet the continually changing needs of the higher education space. This experience has afforded Eiffel Corp the position of being considered the number one software and service provider in digital and related services for higher education.

Light believes that this experience, and the resultant industry expertise, equips Eiffel Corp to maintain its premier position and continue to service the South African Higher Education landscape effectively. This applies not only in the present but also in terms of predicting, shifting, and adjusting services to maintain excellence within this ever-evolving space.

“From 2020 onwards, we look forward to building on our mutual successes with all clients and partners and plan to share our exciting innovations with our current and prospective customers. We will be scheduling face-to-face updates with our clients early in the new year, and we are excited for what lies ahead,” concludes Light.

Eiffel Corp has made it clear that the organisation has a deep respect for Blackboard and the valuable connections and personal relationships made over the lengthy period of collaboration. Eiffel Corp wishes Blackboard all the very best both now and in future.

 

Issued by Perfect Word Consulting (Pty) Ltd

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact perfectword2@trinitas.co.za.