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Monday, 16 September 2019

Innovative lecturer making waves

FINALIST: Dr Bronwyn Swartz FINALIST: Dr Bronwyn Swartz Ilse Fredericks

An innovative lecturer with a passion for her craft has been selected as a finalist in the 2019 International e-Learning Excellence Awards.

Dr Bronwyn Swartz from the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering says she loves hearing her subject come alive in isiXhosa and Afrikaans through YouTube videos created by her students.

Swartz, who teaches statistics, said she realised how well screencasts she made for her students worked when classes were suspended during the Fees Must Fall crisis.

“I started making online lessons for the students to watch at home. The nice thing is you can download it and pause it where you want or rewind it. I have videos on most of the topics but the students wanted more so I decided to let them make it.”

She said that after speaking to Prof Daniela Gachago from the Centre for Innovative Educational Technology she got the idea to let the students make the videos in their mother tongue. A survey found that isiXhosa and Afrikaans were the two dominant home languages.

“I teach them the concepts and provide an example video on the concept and the students, working in groups, then have to make a video in English and a duplicate video in their mother tongues,” said Swartz.

“The students got so excited. They told me they hadn’t realised that to be able to teach the concepts to each other they really have to know their story. Not only can the videos on YouTube help our students but any student watching it online.”

Swart said there were terms that they didn’t have direct translations for.

“But we navigated a way and joked that we ‘isiXhosasised’ it. I’m so proud of my students.”

She said research conducted by herself and Cheryl Belford of Civil Engineering & Surveying showed that students were not only mastering the concepts but had also developed CPUT’s graduate attributes.

The final round of the awards will be held at the 18th European Conference on e-Learning in Copenhagen, Denmark, in November.

Written by Ilse Fredericks

Email: Frederickskennediji@cput.ac.za