The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is committed to empower students for the future in a conducive world-class learning and teaching environment.
To this end, the University embarked on various initiatives to ensure that its students are equipped with the necessary tools associated with a higher education environment and secured essential funding to support its most financially vulnerable students.
One such initiative, to ensure that students are at the forefront of the technology revolution, was the investment of R10M for mini iPad devices. 3 000 first-year NSFAS funded students will each be provided with a mini iPad, which is an essential tool for teaching and learning at the University.
Says Prof Thea de Wet, Director of the Centre for Academic Technologies, UJ: “The University attracted 31% of first year students that come from Quintile 1 and 2 schools for the 2017 academic year. These schools serve the poorest in our nation. This demonstrates that UJ has become the ‘university of choice’ for many working class and first generation students.”
She underlined that technology is an integral part of UJ students’ learning process. In 2014, UJ introduced handheld devices to support students’ learning. The University ensures that infrastructure, learning resources and interactive systems are aligned to a mobile-rich educational environment. This includes campus-wide Wi-Fi connectivity and charging points.The introduction of technology in the classrooms provides UJ graduates a competitive edge and the opportunity to vie for top positions nationally and internationally,” she said.
With the devices, students and staff will be able to access the UJ one-click portal – a platform that gives students access to various institutional resources. The portal allows students to access just-in-time support and electronic resources, e-textbooks and learning material. Specially designed applications will allow students, to among other things, search for library information and track their studies from enrolment to alumni membership with access to assignments, course guides and administration. They will even have the UJ bus schedule at the tips of their fingers. It will be like holding the University in the palm of their hands.
Prof De Wet concludes: “UJ is committed to bringing 21st century education to our students. The use of technology to support student learning is the natural progression of accessible education. Handheld devices bring a new and powerful immediacy, collaboration and ease of access to studies. Students are able to respond when lecturers ask them to find information online, take an in-class quiz – or to let lecturers know when they need to make their explanations clearer. It puts students’ learning in their own hands and allow them to actively participate in their education.”