The Covid-19 pandemic’s outbreak has forced many an organisation, not least WSU, to be agile, industrious and forward-thinking in coming up with sound interventions aimed at ensuring minimal disruption to the teaching and learning project.
One such intervention aimed at realizing WSU’s e-Learning and blended learning aspirations has been the installation of Digital Scriptwriting Hubs which provide asynchronous and synchronous teaching and learning services across the university’s four campuses
“Asynchronous service is a lecture recording venue for WSU lecturers for the purpose of creating digital content and upload it on the formal WSU Learning Management System. The venue is furnished with state of the art digital teaching equipment such as interactive whiteboard, projector and a face tracking camera that follows your face as you continue with your recordings,” said WSU e-Access Digital Library Manager Lungile Mdanyana.
Regarding synchronous services, Mdanyana said the hubs enable lecturers to conduct virtual live interactive sessions using platforms such as Ms Teams, Zoom or Bb Collaborate through which students join sessions using a mobile device or laptop to learn virtually as the lecturers are solving equations in real time.
Initially launched in East London at WSU’s Digital Library section of the Phyllis Ntantala Collaborative Library, which has three separate floors catering specifically for students from UNISA, Fort Hare and WSU, the hubs, owing to their potential and effectiveness in advancing the blended learning model, were cascaded down to campus level to mirror the collaborative model.
“Last year, after the appointment of an e-access manager, the university started rolling out digital script writing hubs in the different campus libraries. Though delayed by Covid-19, the project was eventually finalized in January 2021. Training of staff in campuses commenced in February this year so we’re knee-deep in giving life to this project,” said Mdanyana.
He said the university has been working relentlessly to ensure lecturers are familiarized and equipped on the use of the equipment and software – a push designed to guarantee readiness ahead of the beginning of this year’s first semester.
Library technicians across the campuses have forged close working relations with identified staff members picked to lead the charge in advancing blended learning through optimal participation in the hubs.
“Ours was to make sure to procure and install state of the art equipment in all campuses. This intervention is indeed critical in light of the institution adopting the blended learning approach. This will enable lecturers to create teaching and learning experience that is flexible and do-able in the face of continued uncertainty and change,” concluded Mdanyana.
– Thando Cezula