The face of education is changing significantly, as competitiveness is increasingly being driven by continuous learning. Students no longer get by with their degree in the workplace, but need far more support to ensure they have the best opportunity to graduate with the proper knowledge and experience to enter today’s workforce.
Having a future focused mindset, the University of Pretoria is constantly developing and adopting new technology to ensure that the students have access to the latest technology to succeed in today’s environments.
Hybrid learning models are in place and have been for a number of years. Students have access to on-campus lectures, online streaming, and interactive classes through the learning management system (LMS) called Blackboard Learn, branded ClickUP.
Blackboard Learn is a system that allows lecturers to add files, share applications, and use virtual whiteboards, chats, and polls to engage with students in real-time. Students can watch the live stream lecture and be interactive via the LMS or use the voice facility to engage with the lecturer and other students attending the class on campus. As the lectures are all live-streamed, the students can re-watch them if they do not grasp the content the first time around.
UP is still investing in the best technology possible to ensure the online and remote working model benefits the students who cannot attend the in-real-life lectures. UP currently uses the Panopto cameras in the lecture halls.
The learning does not stop there. All of the technology is embedded into a flipped-learning methodology. It ensures that students come to class prepared. They need to complete pre-class assessments, engage in the course, and consolidate their knowledge after class. The lecturers embed quizzes into the videos that use H5P software to track the students’ results.
As the need to be future-focused intensifies, UP is adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive modeling. The dashboards outline each student’s progress and showcase their success level based on quality data. It is easy to see if a student is falling behind or battling to cope with the workload.
The support structures within the university can then intervene early on in the process and offer the necessary guidance to get the student back on track to success.
THE UP WAY is the University of Pretoria’s ethos and support programme, made up of academic (#[email protected]) and social (#UPCares) support.
#[email protected] program offers students’ academic support where Faculty-Student Advisors are on hand to guide the new and existing students to the finish line from physical, emotional, health tips to financial advice.
UP recognises the need to support the students’ social development as well under the #UPCares banner. This engagement ensures that the students receive the mental and emotional support they need while studying and embarking on their new future.
In 2022, a partnership with Wayne State University in Detroit will expose the lecturers and students to a global audience. The South African lecturers get to lecture abroad, and the local students get exposure to the international lecturers.
Students who would not have previously been able to travel to be exposed to international universities are all given the same advantages as those who could.
The future of learning is here, and the University of Pretoria is right on top of the available technology needed to ensure the students benefit today. It’s just THE UP WAY. DM