Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape has released an online orientation programme aimed at introducing students to online learning.
The tertiary institution is also trying to assist students to access the virtual platform.
Calling all students! Don’t forget to check out this online learning orientation video to get a better idea of how this new form of learning will look like. See you online!https://t.co/mYCTKp5WLP
— Rhodes University (@Rhodes_Uni) April 18, 2020
Rhodes University Spokesperson Velisile Bukula says their short term challenge is accessing laptops for students who do not have them.
“Rhodes University has turned to its alumni, business and members of the public for help to mobilise resources to ensure successful completion of the 2020 academic year. In addition, the investors are conducting an extensive survey for our students capabilities to study online,” says Bukula.
A teaser for @Rhodes_Uni online orientation for students. We are excited to start this new journey with you – see you online! Masifundisane kunye ku qhagamshelwano lomoya (Let’s learn together online) https://t.co/c9HocUN9cd #RUconnected #remoteteaching
— Dr Nicola Pallitt (@nicolapallitt) April 16, 2020
Meanwhile, the University of Fort Hare says it is also not in a position to switch over fully to online teaching and learning as the majority of their students do not have access to the internet at home.
University Spokesperson, Thandi Mapukata, says the lack of access is linked to poor households that have no electricity, poor connectivity and the necessary equipment.
“So for that reason we will wait for the president to lift the lockdown and try to work on a catch-up programme that includes contact and virtual learning,” says Mapukata.
WSU not going virtual
The Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape will not be rolling out a virtual learning programme.
University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo says the majority of their students are from rural areas, where even basic wireless connectivity is a problem.
She says it will not be fair to their students to introduce a virtual learning platform.
“The option that we’re looking at the moment, it is the mailing of study material. We are concerned that even when the lockdown is lifted, we might have to slowly reintroduce students slowly to campus and not have everybody return at the same time. At the moment that is where we are as a university,” says Tukwayo.
In the video, various SA universities initiate online learning: