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Launching Zone Learning at UWC

Author: Institutional Advancement

This year the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and being socially responsive is part of UWC’s DNA. UWC students are reminded daily of the legacy and the context in which their institution was born.

(Published - 23 September 2020)

David Hlogwane’s sculpture on campus, “The Ending and the Beginning”, provides this context. It is a sculpture of a mother in the clothes of a domestic worker and a child that is graduating. It reflects both the legacy of apartheid and the promise of a post-apartheid South Africa. 

It is with this in mind that UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Professor Vivienne Lawack, is launching a new and innovative approach to learning and teaching. This approach is Zone Learning. The University will use this approach to help develop the attributes of the 21st century graduate. 

“There are many challenges that the 21st century graduate faces. For example, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is a dawning reality and with it comes opportunities and challenges. These challenges we cannot ignore,” says Prof Lawack.

“As a University, we are aware of the historical issues that affect our students, and we have to deal with them. Besides this, as a University, we have to look at the employability of our graduates.” 

Zone Learning is a hub for transmedia - storytelling using multiple platforms - in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It is also home to the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, born out of the Law Clinic at the Faculty of Law, to assist law students imagine themselves as entrepreneurs.  The Small Business Clinic from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences will share the space, giving rise to an even more collaborative environment of entrepreneurship and innovation. 

Prof Lawack explains that the aim of Zone Learning is to introduce entrepreneurship and innovation into the curriculum. The model of the Zone consists of three components: Offline, Online and Unplugged. 

The “Offline” aims to create a round table discussion that will borrow from the traditional seminar format and merge it with the "think tank" format of the corporate environment. Ideation and incubation will take place in the “Offline.” These ideas do not only have to be business-related. It can also be about social justice and social innovation. 

The “Online” brings ideas in the Zone to life. The “Online” will use various online platforms such as YouTube, SoundCloud and Spotify to create educational content for different faculties. 

The “Unplugged” is the physical space where ideas come to life. This is the space where ideas will be tested, and where students and staff can get feedback about their products and prototypes. It is also a creative arts space, where many forms of artistic expressions can take place in an effort to stimulate creativity and innovation. 

The Zone Learning at UWC’s “Unplugged” space is located in the Student Centre on UWC’s Main Campus (please see images attached). 

We hope that through this project we will usher in a new era for UWC – an era marked with resilience and a pioneering spirit at an undergraduate level, accompanied with innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills.

WATCH: Prof Lawack and her colleagues explain what Zone Learning is all about in this video




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