School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Setting up a Virtual Classroom Explored in Workshop

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies (BEDS) recently hosted a workshop on setting up a virtual classroom, led by Community Development lecturer Dr Zifikile Phindile Shangase.
Participants at the Virtual Classroom Workshop.
Participants at the Virtual Classroom Workshop.

The workshop was a collaboration project – Virtual Classroom Africa – between BEDS and the English Department at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Botswana (UNIBO). The project is funded by a grant from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) and is realised through setting up a virtual classroom for co-teaching of research methods and academic writing for postgraduate students.

Dean and Head of the School Professor Ernest Khalema said: ‘This is important for the School since it enhances student learning, links with our strategic goals and fits into the framework of decolonisation and transformation.’

Under discussion at the workshop were tools to assist students’ collaboration, assessment tools applicable in virtual classrooms, tools for holding effective live lectures and Moodle tools that can be used in this venture.’

‘This workshop was relevant for staff as the virtual classroom is at the planning stage,’ said Shangase.  ‘We held the workshop to determine available resources within our learning management system and whether we need to supplement them with any web 2.0 applications that would allow students to create content, collaborate, share and communicate effectively with each other and also have lecturers across the regions,’

She believes the project will contribute towards building capacity and professional development and sustainable partnerships for staff and students at UKZN and UNIBO to use technology effectively in enhancing the quality of teaching research methods and academic writing.

‘This project will lead to the possibility of technology enhanced distance supervision support for postgraduate students between the two universities. The use of ICT technologies by students will also be enhanced because the critical skills set is essential in the 21st Century,’ said Shangase.

Dr Naledi Kgolo, a collaborator from the University of Botswana, added: ‘Collaborating with UKZN on this project showcases the need for comprehensive student learning. It is evident that there is a need for collaboration between African countries.’

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From left: Mr Niq Mhlongo, Mrs Shantha Maharaj, Ms Darniel Small, Dr Patricia Opondo, Professor Nobuhle Hlongwa, Mr Mbuso Khoza, Dr Saleem Badat, Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize, Professor Nogwaja Zulu and Ms Xoliswa Zulu.

Humanities Academics spearhead research projects through the Mellon Foundation

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Humanities Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize and academics Professors Ernest Khalema, Maheshvari Naidu, Nobuhle Hlongwa and Nogwaja Zulu recently met with Dr Saleem Badat of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation to discuss their research projects that were made possible through funding from the Foundation.

Exhibition images of Quarry Road West informal settlement.

Narratives of Home and Neighbourhood Photovoice Exhibition

The School of Built Environment and Development Studies in partnership with the residents of Quarry Road West (QRW) informal settlement and the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology hosted a photovoice exhibition showcasing photographs taken by residents as part of a broader Narratives of Home and Neighbourhood: Reimagining Urban Planning Project.

Dr Zifikile Phindile Shangase

PhD thesis explores barriers to smoking cessation among drug resistant TB patients

UKZN staff member Dr Zifikile Phindile Shangase received a PhD in Public Health for her study on the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients with regard to smoking; the barriers to cessation among current smokers with DR-TB and hospital staff’s knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices with regard to smoking.