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6 April 2018
New facility virtually connects dental campuses
UWC’s Faculty of Dentistry, Africa’s leading dental school, marked its 40th anniversary with the launch of a state-of-the-art video conferencing system at Tygerberg Hospital earlier this year.

The facility is part of the faculty’s plan for interactive video conferencing lecture rooms at the Mitchell’s Plain Clinic and Tygerberg Hospital.
“Innovation is key,” says Prof Vivienne Lawack, UWC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic.”One of the focus areas UWC has eyed since 2015 is being fit for the digital age. We found that a lot of money was spent [by students] on transportation and this technology will save a lot of money.”

The technology lowers commuting costs and places geographically remote and dispersed students directly in the classroom, provided they have an internet connection and a device with a webcam (smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer).

Students facing challenges to gain physical access to campuses can participate virtually in classroom communication. The system allows lectures to be recorded and shared with all students.

The intervention will help eliminate the money and time currently spent transporting students between Mitchell’s Plain and Tygerberg for lectures. It can also be used to broadcast live surgery to online audiences, thereby providing rich, real-time learning and collaborative opportunities for viewers. The new approach to learning and teaching also holds the possibility of improved international linkages and collaboration.

The video conferencing facility was funded by merSETA. MerSETA CEO and alumnus Dr Raymond Patel says it was opportune for MerSETA to invest in the lives of students. “This facility provides the platform to create more competent students and, with UWC producing more than 40% of the dentistry students in Africa, that can make a real difference on the continent.

“We believe in disruption and we are proud to be a partner of the University. I call upon all businesses to do the same, to invest in students and the future,” says Patel.​