WSU spends over R5 million on tablets to improve teaching and learning

MAY 26, 2016

Over 1000 students across WSU’s four campuses have benefitted from a multi-million rand tablet initiative designed to improve teaching and learning in the institutions’ extended curricular programmes (ECP).

Approximately 1 375 first-year ECP students studying, amongst 25 other extended programmes, engineering, IT, analytical chemistry and Public Relations, received Samsung tablets, in May, to the tune of R5, 2 million through DHET’s Foundation Provision Grant.

“The funds used in the initiative are from external ring-fenced funding from DHET aimed at developing teaching and learning in our Extended Programmes. The tablets act as tools to provide electronic copies of student support notes, electronic research papers, and electronic versions of textbooks (e-books),” said ECP Institutional Coordinator Thabile Loqo.

She said the provision of the devices would help mitigate the under-provision of computer laboratories and internet access to student at the University by enabling students to gain access to the internet via Wi-Fi.

Loqo added that students will be able to enhance their own learning by engaging more with IT and research in the English language medium – critical in the performance of first year students in extended programmes (EP).

First-year EP electrical engineering student, Khwezi Mthelekiso, heaped praise upon the University’s innovative endeavours to enhance teaching and learning amongst EP students.

“Though it’s only been about a month since receiving the device, I can confidently say that it’s definitely improved my learning experience. This all-encompassing tool enables me to gain access to all the learning materials, while also using it as a research tool for assessments and tasks,” said Mthelekiso.

The tablets will also allow lecturers to develop E-learning mechanisms which are on par with national and international standards.

Loqo further cited numerous departments in the University’s natural sciences faculty, which have already started purchasing learning software that will be installed in all faculty students’ tablets.

“This learning software will provide video and mp3 tutorials, as well as access to virtual laboratories in which students can conduct laboratory experiments and more. This has massive potential of leading to research on the different teaching methodologies and which methods are beneficial for student success in our first year intake,” she concluded.