First-year students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) will be at the forefront of the technology revolution. A new initiative will allow 2014’s first-year students to integrate technology driven handheld devices into their classrooms.
Starting in 2014, all first-year students at UJ will be expected to have either a laptop or a handheld device such as tablet or an iPad. In short, UJ is going mobile.
This introduction of handheld devices will confirm UJ as a leader in innovative teaching and learning. Technology will be an integral part of UJ students’ learning process and with this, UJ graduates will have the competitive edge and be able to vie for top positions nationally and internationally.
Under the leadership of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic: Professor Angina, UJ has for the last two years prepared for a mobile-rich educational future. Infrastructure, learning resources and interactive systems have been aligned to this vision. Major initiatives include campus-wide Wi-Fi connectivity and charging points.
With the devices, students and staff will be able to access the the UJ one-click portal – a platform that will give students access to various institutional resources. The portal will allow students to access just-in-time support and learning tools such as electronic resources, open access textbooks and learning guidelines. 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.
Says Professor Elizabeth de Kadt, Executive Director Academic Development and Support, UJ: “As one of SA’s top universities, and one of the top 4% globally, UJ is committed to bringing 21st century education to our students. The use of technology is the natural evolution of accessible education. Handheld devices bring a new and powerful immediacy, collaboration and ease of access to studies. Students will be 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.”
The first phase of the handheld device rollout focuses on UJ first-year entrants, but the campaign will impact students already registered with UJ and will be rolled out to other cohorts of UJ students in the future. The University has entered into a partnership with a service provider in order to offer a special rate to students interested in acquiring a handheld device.
UJ’s Enrolment Centre (011 559 4555) can be contacted for more information on the handheld device initiative.