Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL)

The State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) through its School of Education (SoE) and the Centre for Digital Learning (CDL) is participating in a collaborative blended learning partnership known as PEBL. PEBL stands for Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL). This is a 4-year project with 6 partners’ university partners from East Africa: The State University of Zanzibar, Makerere University, Strathmore University, Kenyatta University, Open University of Tanzania, and University of Rwanda.

PEBL is led by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)and funded through the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID)-SPHEIR (Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform) programme. SPHEIR’s broad aim is to transform higher education systems in focus countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Middle East to better meet the needs of graduates and employers. It supports diverse, large-scale partnerships working across differentsectors and countries to improve the quality, relevance, accessibility and affordability of higher education.

ACU is working with various project partners around the world to support the PEBL initiative. The partners include The Commission for University Education Kenya (CUE), Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), the Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA), and the University of Edinburgh (UoE).

The partner universities are developing accredited blended learning courses for integration into existing curricula of participating universities within the East African Region. Other partners bring different technical skills and experience to the project: CUE offers guidance to participating universities, CoL provides quality assurance support to participating universities, SEDA delivers pedagogical and tutoring support, and the University of Edinburgh shares their expertise in online and blended learning.

PEBL targets to address the critical academic staff shortages that many East African universities are currently facing. PEBL partnership will enable universities to share scarce teaching resources through quality assured, credit-bearing degree courses, delivered through blended learning. Blended learning is a teaching and learning method that combines both online and face to face teaching.Blended learning (sometimes called hybrid or mixed-mode learning) is the use of traditional classroom teaching methods together with the use of online learning for the same students studying the same content in the same course. It is a “thoughtful fusion of face-to-face and online learning experiences”. On the other hand, PEBL also intends to strengthen pedagogical approaches in institution of higher learning which can be applied to degree programmes within the institutions.In a simple language, PEBL intends to reduce the burden on staff at universities in the East African region, enable them to share resources and uses effective teaching methods in higher education.

PEBL is assisting university partners across East Africa to develop courses with accompanying online resources that can be offered by participant universities across the region through blended learning. PEBL will develop and offer accredited blended learning courses and promote the establishment of blended learning programs within the university system in order to enhance teaching quality, student outcomes, and graduate employability, helping to ensure that students graduate from east African universities with the relevant skills and knowledge needed for the workplace in a dynamic and changing economic climate.

The course materials that will be developed for the PEBL project will be shared as OER under Creative Commons licensing. This will enable other universities across the region and beyond to use the materials freely, subject to appropriate acknowledgement. The course materials will be in the area of Business, Health, Education and ICT.

Currently, Six modules were developed in the first year of the project while in the second and third years 12 more modules will be developed, based on requirements of the participating institutions. Partner institutions will be funded to develop these modules.

Courses developed will start to be offered in 2019.These are:

  • Introduction to Entrepreneurship – Kenyatta University (Kenya)
  • Research Methodology and Design for Business – Makerere University (Uganda)
  • Biochemistry – University of Rwanda
  • Introduction to Critical Thinking – Strathmore University (Kenya)
  • Numerical Analysis – Open University of Tanzania
  • IT Teaching Methods – State University of Zanzibar (Tanzania)

To ensure the courses offered through PEBL are high quality, the project built the educational development capacity of partner universities. The project also built a solid base of expertise amongst academic staff in the use of effective blended learning pedagogies and focusing on developing students’ soft skills.

For more information about PEBL news check:

  1. The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
  2. Partnership for Enhanced and Blended Learning (PEBL)
  3. OER Africa:
  4. University World News:at
  5. Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform


Lead partner: The Association of Commonwealth Universities (UK)

Supporting Partners:
1.   Commission for University Education (Kenya)
2.   Commonwealth of Learning (Canada)
3.   Staff and Educational Development Association (UK)
4.   University of Edinburgh (UK)

University Partners:

  1. State University of Zanzibar (Tanzania)
  2. Open University of Tanzania(Tanzania)
  3. Kenyatta University(Kenya)
  4. Strathmore University (Kenya)
  5. Makerere University(Uganda)
  6. University of Rwanda(Rwanda) 



Recruited/Participating universities:
1.   Africa Nazarene University (Kenya)

  1. Bugema University(Uganda)
  2. INES Ruhengeri (Rwanda)
    4. Kampala International University (Uganda)
    5.   Kenya Methodist University (Kenya)
    6.   Kibogora Polytechnic (Rwanda)
    7.   Kigali Independent University (ULK) (Rwanda)
    8.   Maseno University (Kenya)
    9.   Moi University (Kenya)
    10.Mzumbe University Tanzania (Tanzania)
    11.Riara University (Kenya)
    12.St. John’s University of Tanzania (Tanzania)
    13.St. Paul’s University (Kenya)
    14.Scott Christian University (Kenya)
    15.United States International University (Kenya)
    16.University of Eastern Africa Baraton (Kenya)
    17.University of Nairobi (Kenya)
    18.University of Technology and Arts of Byumba (Rwanda)