Wits taking a digital move

Article from African Independent 24 June 2016

The University of Witwatersrand is to launch free courses which will revolutionise access to higher education.

The university is to introduce free online courses later this year, in a first for Africa.

Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-chancellor Academic at Wits University says: “There is no doubt that there is a dire need for more places at South African universities and for access to quality post-school training.

“Wits is proud to be the first African university on the edX platform, where we offer online courses unique to South Africa.’

Massive open online courses (MOOC) offered by WitsX are free although a certificate of completion can be bought for $49 (about R725 at the current exchange rate). The first three MOOCs will be available within the next six months. They are the System Dynamic for Health Sciences which launches on August 3, 2016, Research Methods: An Engineering Approach launches on September 7, 2016 and the Result-Based Project Management: Monitoring and Evaluation which launches October 5, 2016.

“Developing these three edX MOOCs has been an exciting collaboration between eLearning staff in the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) and teams of academics.

“We envisage that the capacity and systems we have developed will inform and strengthen future institutional online course development and other blended learning initiatives,” says Associate Professor Christine Woods, Wits CLTD director and head of WitsX.

Photo: From left to right: Mrs Robyn Letts (MOOC facilitator, lecturer at Wits), Prof Ivan Hofsajer (MOOC facilitator, Wits), Mr Bongani Khoza (WitsX team, eLearning at Wits), Dr Nico Baird (Head of eLearning and Deputy Director of CLTD, Wits), Prof Andrew Crouch (Wits DVC), Ms Dominique Wooldridge (WitsX team, Team Leader at eLearning, Wits), Prof Christine Woods (Director of CLTD, Wits) and Mr Kieron Crawley (MOOC facilitator, Wits)

Time to blog again

Pushing Green Button Showing Starting Or Choosing

During the past four years I have neglected my blog. To be honest I neglected many things in my life while I completed my Master’s and my PhD, but now I have completed my studies and I will again try my best to post on a more regular basis. This time however when I blog it will not only focus on technological advances and online tools, but also rather focus on areas of interest to me. Primary focus at this stage is leadership, academic innovation and research.

As an update I would also just like to mention that I have moved from Bloemfontein to Johannesburg and from the Central University of Technology, Free State to the University of the Witwatersrand. I have kept quite a low profile at conferences and also limited my public speaking and workshops during the past four years. It would actually be an interesting challenge to see just how long it would take to actually claw myself back into the main stream academic, educational technology and general technology communities. Is this even possible? During the past four years things have changed and the things that I specialised in is now part of everybody’s lives. How to get ahead of the crowd again will be a challenge and being able to present on topics that ahead of the rest will take some time.

The innovative use of technologies in ways that have not been thought of before will take some reflection and research, but I am sure with dedication this will again be possible.

Innovation is key when you deal with technology, the ability to teach with technology should be seen as an art, that is exactly what it is. The ability to create and structure a course in a way that will engage students using technology should not be taken lightly. But let me not get ahead of myself. I want to keep posts short as to make them easy to read and understand.

During the next few weeks my blog will get a facelift! And I will start to post more often. Follow me on Twitter @nicobaird

eLearning Update 2015

About two years ago I went to the eLearning Update conference in Jhb! It was one of the best conferences I have ever attended on eLearning with every single presentation keeping my attention. I contacted Prof Johannes Cronje during the week and asked him to send me marketing material for the conference. He not only did that but also created a discount code for anybody entering the code when they pay for the conference! You can save R500 by entering #‎nicobaird‬ when you pay.

If you attend please also let me know! I would love to meet you!
This is one conference that is absolutely value for money!

Some more info! (and the link where you can register!)

The annual Elearning Update is a key conference in the field of Learning and Teaching with Technology. Now it its eighth year, it will bring together an incredible line-up of key movers and shakers across various fields and professions.

This year the focus is on ‘Tech Trends for Learning and Teaching’. An international selection of speakers will share their experiences of improving teaching and learning with Technology.

What makes this conference unique is the wide range of applications that are covered, from university, to industry to school.

The conference will cover aspects such as:

Emerging technologies – what is around the corner?
Badges and gamification – how to motivate and recognise learning
Achieving cross-platform and online-offline capability
The life of an Instructional Designer
The importance of information literacy
How to develop solutions for distance education
The value and importance of assessment.

Make sure you don’t miss this opportunity to be part of this exciting and unique conference, taking place in August, by registering at the conference website now! Click here: https://sites.google.com/site/elearningatbase/home

Who should attend?
Elearning Practitioners, Instructional Designers, Learning Designers, Elearning Developers, Elearning vendors, Publishers, Human Resource Developers, Teachers, Lecturers, Academics, Learning Managers, Principals, Technology Managers, IT Directors.

(Includes refreshments and lunch, but excludes accommodation and travel)

Full conference R7000
Networking discount R500 (Enter promotion code #nicobaird)
Single day R2500

Bulk offer: Pay for 4, send 5

Best wishes

If you need more motiv8tion to attend, visit our website

Enquiries: base.elearning@gmail.com
Tel +27 84 988 4888

How to write a great research paper

I found this video on Youtube. It really gives a good breakdown of what to do when planning and writing a research paper.

Published on 18 May 2013

An eye-opening talk…

Professor Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research, gives a guest lecture on writing. Seven simple suggestions: don’t wait – write, identify your key idea, tell a story, nail your contributions, put related work at the end, put your readers first, listen to your readers.

Abstract of the talk
Professor Simon Peyton Jones, Microsoft Research, gives a guest lecture on writing. Seven simple suggestions: don’t wait – write, identify your key idea, tell a story, nail your contributions, put related work at the end, put your readers first, listen to your readers. Prof. Peyton Jones’ lecture contained a lot of question and answer sessions with the audience. These have been removed from this video, cutting the original 50 minute lecture down to 30 minutes.

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