Information Technology and Literacy
It is the task of the IT team within the EDU (EDU IT) to support the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the faculty. This includes making sure students' IT knowledge is at a level where, notwithstanding their background, they are able to carry out the IT-related tasks set out by their curricula.
Also supporting staff so that they are able to concentrate on their teaching without getting bogged down by "how-to's".
And looking at policies and available documents to make sure what the EDU delivers is in line with UCT policies and that the model of support offered by the EDU is sustainable. As such EDU IT is involved in not only delivering support, but making sure that it is aligned with UCT policies and it needs to draw up policies to ensure that the best model of support is made available to the faculty.
EDU IT is also charged with investigating new technologies and its possible use in the faculty.
Other aspects dealt with by EDU IT included updating the EDU's website and investigating how we could integrate the look and feel more tightly of that of the faculty. We do not have a logo at the moment; it was felt that is an important part of the department's identity and EDU IT started the process of having a logo designed for EDU.
UCT Educational Technology Policy
Since this policy is the basis on which all IT usage is based, it is therefore important to keep in mind the principles expressed in the policy:
- UCT encourages and is committed to enabling the innovative and effective use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for teaching and learning in UCT courses and programmes.
- UCT supports a faculty-based approach to implementation.
- UCT believes that the use of ICTs for teaching and learning must be driven by sound pedagogical principles.
- UCT believes that ICT use must be driven by the needs of the institution's students and staff, facilitated by technological advances.
- UCT supports an integrative approach to the use of ICTs
- UCT is committed to ongoing research in the emerging field of educational technology.
As such it is important to remember that the goal of EDU IT is to support the teaching of staff and learning of students at UCT in pursuit of UCT's vision of being an outstanding teaching and research university, educating for life and addressing the challenges facing our society.
IT Education Training - Staff
EDU IT focuses on supporting staff members in the use of ICTs and highlighting the advantages of using ICTs in their teaching and learning. This was done primarily through a series of hands-on workshops, one-on-one training where necessary, seminars and show and tells presenting use cases in collaborating with the Centre for Educational Technology (CET), ensuring we provide the best possible training to staff in the faculty of health sciences.
IT Education Training - Students
Even though much focus has been placed on training staff and making sure they know what is available, there is the parallel need to make sure that students are trained and supported to enable them to focus on learning and not on how to use the IT, which is an integral part of their curriculum.
They are expected to use a computer sufficiently to be able to produce their essays and reports using a computer as well as using the learning management system (Vula) to the degree necessary to submit assignments, communicate with one another and their lecturers, access online exams and online notes and information.
As such the first year students are assessed regarding their level of computer literacy; those who need it the most to do an intensive basic computer literacy course. During the first semester other courses are done addressing possible problematic areas students may have i.e. to develop skills in one or more of the following areas: "PC and Windows Basics", "Internet", "MS Word basics", "MS Word Advance" or "MS Excel". Some sessions were compulsory and had to be attended by all students for example the Vula course.
Other technologies in use at Faculty of Health Sciences
Without feedback we would not be able to find out which areas EDU IT is doing well in and which areas we can improve our service delivery and support.
Other projects include
- XHOSA project which involved adding Xhosa sound clips to PowerPoint files dealing with mostly bedside behaviour.
- Creating a library of PowerPoint slides to which students from multiple years have access.
- Initiated a podcasting pilot involving mostly 4th semester students, feedback will be given at a workshop in December.
- The current video conferencing system has been relooked at. EDU IT has become involved in possible ways of not only encouraging the use of this facility but also looking at expanding the way in which it can be used.
- IT Education and Curriculum Development: staff in EDU is collaborating with Physiology, Biomechanics and Physiotherapy staff to develop software and materials to facilitate course design, course sequencing as well as augment teaching and assessment in the three disciplines; and is intended for both Intervention Programme and 100 level courses.
Faculty Computer Labs (Wolfson and Healthlab)
- IT Education is also the champion for the above computer labs in the faculty, to ensure that educationally the computer labs are put to optimum use, and that staff and students needs are addressed.
- Also the annual computer upgrades which happen in consultation with FHS IT, ICTS PC Acquisitions and Student Computing Services.
- Decentralised Policy
- Online Computer Assessment Policy