5 Ways UWC E-Learning Is Transforming Higher Education
Universities aren’t just places where students sit in lecture theatres and listen to lecturers talk (though that is an important part of it sometimes). They’re also places where new techniques and technologies are explored that make teaching and learning simpler, faster and more effective.
At the University of the Western Cape (UWC), a lot of that is handled by the Centre for Innovative Educational and Communications Technologies (CIECT).
Here are a few interesting things you might not know about their e-learning efforts at UWC:
Skills Training: Technology is amazing - but navigating the maze of ever-changing technologies that make up our lives can be very confusing. That’s why the CIECT offers ICT skills and digital literacies training packages for a whole range of subjects to both students and staff. Trying to figure out Google Apps? Need help with image editing? Suffering from Excel anxiety? They’ve got you covered.
E-Learning Department Partnerships: UWC lecturers are big on blended learning - incorporating e-tools and technology alongside standard classroom operations. But sometimes they need help figuring out how to use iKamva, incorporating Youtube into their digital storytelling, or figuring out how to use Blogger for online discussions - and that’s where the CIECT comes into it. They’ve helped the Arts Faculty create approximately 140 online modules for the first semester of 2016 alone, the School of Public Health create an online educational environment, and helped the English for Educational Development programme set up group activities using Blogger, as well as a discussion forum within iKamva to set up group activities - and much, much more.
Distance Learning: One great thing about the internet (and there are many more) is that it allows people to learn from anywhere in the world. With the help of the CIECT, UWC’s Law Faculty has been offering a Masters Course in Labour Law in the New Global Market (the online course provides students with access to learning material and discussions), a short course Online Executive Leadership Programme has been developed for the School of Government (for working professionals, including local government councillors), and several Social Work programmes have been set up for the Master’s in Child and Family Studies Programme and Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Studies - and there are plans to expand this even further. Watch this space! (Or, at least, that space.)
Teaching & Learning Research: UWC does a great job of educating students - but we can always do better. And the only way to do that is to conduct research into new teaching technologies and techniques. Since 2007, CIECT has published research on topics related to the institutionalising of e-learning at UWC, change management strategies, training interventions, effective use of eTools, and much more - check out a work-in-progress list here.
Sharing is Caring: The annual E-Learning Colloquium gives e-learning experts and amateurs alike the chance to share their experiences and learn from each other, covering everything from blogging to digital storytelling, to clickers and other ed-tech hardware. Check out these videos of the 2014 colloquium for a taste.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Do you want to know more about online/blended learning at UWC? Well, why not check out the CIECT website? Or find out more about particular projects at their blog. You can also follow them on Twitter (@CIECT_Team) and Facebook.