Online learning has fantastic benefits for learners and educators. On the 5th of October each year, we celebrate World Teachers Day. Being an education provider ourselves, we witness the sweat and tears that teaching staff invest in their students daily. The passion for empowering and the vision to see students succeed beyond the classroom is what our educators strive for.
Mfundo Radebe is a seasoned and passionate educator at IIE Rosebank College. He is a dedicated and bubbly individual who believes in using traditional and new age teaching methods to get through the curriculum. His love for life influences how he prepares his students for the world of work. Mfundo outlines his journey below.
How have you adapted to online lecturing?
I am a young lecturer who has been using Blackboard as a teaching and learning resource over the years. I use RC Learn to upload PowerPoint slides, videos, and to attend to student queries. IIE Rosebank College uses RC Learn, a Blackboard based Learning Management System, to teach, engage and collaborate with students.
How do you keep students engaged?
It is essential to keep classes short; fifty minutes is enough time to engage with students online. To keep students engaged, I use a combination of PowerPoint slides, case studies and videos.
I believe in young minds taking control and ownership of their studies. I allow students to make their voice heard by asking for their feedback on the learning experience and content. Feedback is excellent to enhance teaching and to find the most relevant resources for students.
What has been the biggest challenge with online lecturing?
Class attendance can be a challenge due to limited infrastructure in some areas and the cost of data. Students may not have smartphones, computers, or laptops, making it challenging to complete assessments on time or attend classes online. These resources are available on all campuses under normal circumstances. Reach becomes an issue; when you have an anomaly such as the COVID-19 pandemic, where all teaching and learning is online. To overcome this, RC Learn has an option for students to download the content while online and use while offline.
What opportunities does online learning provide students?
Online learning is preparing our students for the new world of work or entrepreneurship. If you look at the communications and marketing industry, particularly public relations, journalism and advertising, digital resources are the norm when executing briefs for clients. We believe that Online learning and some traditional methods are a recipe for success.
HIGHER EDUCATION COVID RESPONSE: CONNECTION KEY TO POSITIVE OUTCOMES - SURVEY
Lack of peer contact and motivation have emerged as two of the key challenges that faced higher education students last year after institutions took teaching online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, a survey has shown.
The in-depth survey, conducted by The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) provides a quantitative and qualitive look at how public universities and privates responded to last year’s challenges, as well as the impact of various strategies and approaches on students.
“As we prepare to launch into a new academic year this March, lessons learned from last year will provide a valuable roadmap for the future, given that we will continue for the foreseeable future to face many of the same challenges we encountered last year,” says Dr Felicity Coughlan, Director at The IIE, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
She says one of the surprising findings of the survey was that students did not cite access to data or hardware as their primary struggles.
“The number one issue, cited by more than 40% of respondents, was that students missed their peers and found it hard to adjust to online learning, ultimately leading to a loss of motivation on the part of many,” she says. By comparison, less than 24% of university students in the study cited fees as a barrier experienced under lockdown, and 29% mentioned data struggles.
The survey tested the sentiment of a demographically representative sample of students from 22 institutions – 8 privates and 14 public universities across South Africa – about their lockdown learning experience.
The survey looked at student perceptions of the responsiveness of institutions to the COVID-19 crisis and the extent to which they felt they were being prepared for the working world.
Although the study was limited, it was clear that there was a considerable difference in the quality of responses across the board. Nonetheless, although many respondents rated the standard of online teaching and engagement as “Good” or Excellent”, more than 27% of students from Universities cited lack of support as an issue, under lockdown. Even within faculties within the same institution, inconsistency was experienced as contained in student comments. “Some were good and some were bad,” said one Engineering student. “I don’t like how things are being done now,” said another, “I feel a lack of enthusiasm coming from everyone.”
“The focus for Higher Education Institutions this year must be on two fronts,” says Dr Coughlan. “Ensuring consistency and effectiveness of teaching and learning, as well as providing the crucial support students need. Students expressed a need for safety, consistency, security and predictability, and as we head into another uncertain academic year, effort must be made to address these concerns.
“Additionally, while students want the transmission of knowledge by for instance coming to class and writing down what the lecturer says, they also need active learning where they are involved and engaged with learning materials. So online platforms where lecturers try to mirror what is happening in class without active engagement will be less effective, because students are inclined to disengage more readily when they are not visible to the lecturer, who then is not in a position to respond to the disengagement.”
Dr Coughlan says any teaching and learning in higher education must be theoretically sound in the sense that you need to have a theoretical model that accommodates many teaching and learning situations.
“When teaching face-to-face, there will usually be a measure of consistency of deliveryacross modules. However in the online space, there may be a huge variation in terms of how lecturers manage the development of knowledge and skills. It is this varied nature that may have made students hold less positive perceptions, because of the aforementioned lack of predictability and consistency.”
She says going forward and while the current COVID-crisis endures, higher education institutions must make an extra effort to introduce measures that will support students and assist with maintaining their emotional wellbeing.
Another interesting facet of the survey, further highlighting the differences in the experiences and expectations of students, was that only 65% of public university students felt that their online learning experience was preparing them to be successful in the future workplace.Although many respondents believe that studying from home prepares students for a new age of working from home, others were despondent.
“Online does not equal better,” said one respondent, with another adding: “I am just worried about how this mess will translate by the time we start working”. “It’s making me too anxious to even think about my future workplace,” said a commerce student.
“We take important insights from 2020 with us into 2021,” says Dr Coughlan, “and as private higher education institutions and public universities we need to ensure that we not only respond to our ongoing crisis as effectively and resiliently as possible on an academic front, but also that we provide the necessary support for students to prepare them to enter the workplace with confidence, and equip them with the important non-academic skills they will need to thrive in a changing world.”
Online learning is the new norm. We at IIE Rosebank College have long embraced online and blended learning, launching our first blended learning campus in Polokwane in 2015. We now have four blended learning campuses in Bloemfontein, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, and Pietermaritzburg. We have recently increased the IIE Online Learning offering to give students a choice of eight IIE qualifications. Students can now choose to study an accredited IIE degree, diploma, or higher certificate online.
For some, online learning can be a daunting thought; for others, it is readily embraced. As with most things, it seems hard until one starts. We spoke to a believer in lifelong learning, an individual with a postgraduate qualification, to get some tips on acing studies from a distance.
Firstly, we wanted to know why he opted to study online. For him, the choice was natural as it was affordable. In most cases, more so than for full-time studies. With online learning, one can save on transport and accommodation costs. Some institutions even include books as part of the offering.
Choose an accredited education provider
Before choosing an online provider, it is essential to do your homework, to ensure your money will be well spent. Online reviews are a good starting point to see what others are saying about the institution you are considering.
Studying from home requires specific tools which would give you the best chance of completing your studies. Some recommended tools include:
• A laptop for research and submitting your assignments
• An internet connection with enough data for voice, video, and research
• Stationery is also important
Have a vision board of what you would like to achieve once you attain your qualification. This will be a constant motivation for what you are aiming for.
Use provided support structures
Most online providers have programme support tutors to offer student support. Use them if you get stuck. Student support should be an essential consideration when selecting your online provider.
We know that most people make New Year's resolutions, which are often the same as the previous year's, e.g. eating healthy or saving money. These often become a challenge to see through, as the year progresses. January, February pass and by March you are only keeping up with one if any. You start to get that feeling when you can no longer get out of bed for your morning run, and you start knocking off later from work to avoid the afternoon run.
You are more likely to attain your resolutions if you have a plan, a SMART one. Your plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and have a time frame. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve and determine how you will measure your progress and milestones along the way.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, without a doubt, disrupted resolutions that many had for the year 2020. If you have not yet reflected, why not reflect on your previous resolutions? Write down what you were able to achieve during 2020 and what you could not. Decide if you want to change your plan, given the new normal.
Here are some hacks that may assist with attaining your goals for the year 2021.
HAVE A MOTIVATION
There is always a reason behind a goal or a vision, e.g. a student wakes up every morning to attend class to graduate, get a qualification and earn a living. It will help if you have a clear picture of why you want to attain your resolutions in 2021.
You are more likely to attain your resolutions if they are realistic. If they are nowhere near possible to achieve, you set yourself up for failure and disappointment as the year progresses.
HAVE A VISION BOARD
Humans are visual beings. Create a vision board with your resolutions and put them up where you can see them every day. A vision board is a creative visual representation of your aspirations, goals and desires – both current and future. The vision board will be a constant reminder of where you are headed.
2020 has taught us that we must always be ready for change and adapt to situations. Be prepared and agile enough to adapt to any curveballs that may come your way. Adapt, rather than put your goals on hold.
BE EMOTIONALLY READY
We live in a world full of possibilities, uncertainty and, at times, disappointments. You need to have room for disappointments. It is important to remember self and not be too hard on yourself. Start your new year resolutions journey with an open mind. Understand that your plan may not roll out as envisaged.
CELEBRATE YOUR MILESTONES
Celebrate achievements, no matter how big or small. Putting a plan together is one thing but seeing it through to the end is a big deal. The results that you achieve are testimony that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.
When setting your goals, it is essential to ensure that you start with self and with your desired future, in mind. The goal is not to fit society's expectations of you but to carve out your future.
IIE Rosebank College wishes you the best for the year ahead and beyond.
Starting a business and building a brand from scratch with limited resources and no guarantee that your dreams will take off, is risky. It is said that almost 50% of businesses will fail in their first two years of operation. That did not deter Amogelang Maluleka, an IIE graduate from Rosebank College from seeing his vision through. Amogelang is the proud founder of Lux Photography. He is a go-getter who believed in his dream of becoming a photographer.
Let's get to know this creative.
What did you study, and how did it groom you into the photographer that you are today?
I studied The IIE's Diploma in Journalism at IIE Rosebank College. The qualification gave me a broad view of photography. It taught me the art of telling stories through visuals and words. To a creative like myself, storytelling is everything. I love turning words into pictures, studying empowered me to refine my skill as a photographer. It is essential to have the basic technical knowledge of photography to take beautiful photos. There is a technical aspect of capturing emotions and telling stories through pictures.
How did you manage your studies and building your brand?
I love photography; it's in my blood – so I started my venture while studying. My camera is my best friend, and I take it with me every time I step out of the house. Photography has helped me see new places, make new friends and discover unknown facets about myself. It has helped me make connections with the world, with people, and with myself. Studying while running my business was manageable because when you do something, you are passionate about; time management becomes seamless.
What risks have you taken to build your brand, and do you have regrets?
Photography, like many entrepreneurial ventures, has various risks. The most significant risk for me was to pursue my dream on a full-time basis. I had no guarantees, and I used my savings to get equipment with no certainty that I would get business. I don't have any regrets, and I believe I am in the right space for me. This is my journey, and I am embracing it with everything I have.
What are your aspirations, where do you want to see your brand?
I want Amogelang and my company, Lux Photography, to become a household name in the industry. There is so much to photography, the more I do it, the more layers I uncover. I want to drive impact with my images, and I also want to collaborate with more brands. The internet has empowered businesses like mine. I use social media for advertising, to grow my brand and to manage my clients. A big part of my business is from referrals. Customer service is everything these days; I take pride in what I do and in my clients.
Who do you look up to and why?
There are great people in the industry, but for me, Katlego Mokubyane and Austin Malema are two photographers I admire. Their work ethic and the quality of work inspires me, to keep refining my craft.
Like many others, I had a dream. I am following mine and investing in it. Following one's vision is not an easy journey; there will be many obstacles along the way and naysayers. You have to love and believe in what you do, invest time and money in it and follow through. The biggest advise I would give aspiring photographers is to treat your customers well, referral business is the beautiful result of good customer service.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought both challenges and opportunities. Staying home means living and working from home. For some, it could also mean interviewing from home. Technology has empowered us to carry on, even though the world has slowed down.
Virtual interviews are the new buzz word in the world of work. Like a face-to-face interview, one needs to prepare and practice to ensure you present yourself in the best light. To increase your chances of securing employment, we have prepared the following tips for you to ace your virtual interview.
It is essential to have a trial run before the actual interview to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Set up the device you will be using for the interview and do a test call with a family member. This will ensure that you test the camera angles and sound quality. Test different rooms at home to find the room with the best lighting for your call.
Ensure that your background is tidy and close the door of the room you are in - to avoid distractions. The ideal background would be a plain wall with no pictures.
You still need to conduct yourself professionally. Ensure that you use an appropriate username for the interview, avoid nicknames. Your first name and surname make an ideal username. Ensure that your cell phone is switched off. Close all programmes to ensure you have no incoming calls to distract you during the interview.
Look the part
Dress the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. If you look good, you will feel good and confident. The way you dress represents the kind of person you are. Avoid bright colours as this may be too much on the eye. Go for classic workplace colours such as navy blue or black.
Even though you may be at home, remember that the prospective employer can still see you. Be sure to mind your body language, pay attention to hand movements, facial expressions and avoid fidgeting. It is highly recommended that you look directly at the camera, it makes it easier to engage with the interviewer.
The last thing you want when having a virtual interview is to run out of data or lose an internet connection. Ensure that you have enough data and a strong signal to cover the entire conversation. Move around the house to find a spot with the best network signal. Make sure that your device is charged and keep a charger nearby in case of emergencies.
Be honest. If there are small children or pets in the house, say so. We live in a blended world where work meets home life. Try to minimise distractions and remember that a barking dog or a giggling child is not the end of the world. It's life.
Media, what a world - exciting, interesting, and glamorous! Media can be all these things if you have the grit and the endurance to follow through. Media is still a popular study option for many - with courses like marketing, social media, journalism and public relations still seeing significant growth year on year. These courses have evolved over the years to cater to the dynamic nature of the industry. It remains, however, a craft that requires hard work and passion.
Now, more than ever is the time to stay relevant to remain employable in a highly competitive industry. The industry is also getting smaller with some media owners having been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke to Karen Bailey, co-founder of Cinevation, an innovative media agency, specialising in marketing, advertising, design, and activations.
Karen has the following advice to offer graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs. She believes that a starting point could be some research on the media industry, as this will empower one to align passion, skills, and abilities to the right media role.
Karen values the following in current and potential employees.
I am always on the move, and so is the media industry. I love individuals who are bright-eyed, interested, enthusiastic, and have something to offer.
I love sports and prefer people who have played or still play sports. I believe sports brings out the best in people and shows whether one can work within a team and play their role. This attribute is essential when hiring salespeople. Teamwork is not an option for us; it is a must.
Piranhas dressed as goldfish
Sales is a huge part of our business. When we hire salespeople, we prefer hungry and determined individuals who are also personable and likeable. People buy into people, after all. It is essential to have individuals with strong networking abilities who are also client centric.
Attitude, Attitude and Attitude
We started Cinevation to empower people and make a difference in the media industry. I hire for attitude, I can teach skills, but I cannot teach attitude.
Karen believes an internship can be an excellent way to learn and gain experience. Work for free, if you must. Show interest and always go the extra mile. Find a mentor to help guide you. If you show potential, you could be asked to stay on after your internship. The future is in your hands, take charge, and make it happen.
At The IIE’s Rosebank College, we believe in changing lives and empowering South Africans in every industry because every industry has a role to play in our society. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of the movement of goods and services, with some logistics companies making moves during this time to ensure that we receive our goods on time and intact.
We have also seen entrepreneurs making moves and setting up delivery businesses in the townships and other areas, creating opportunities where there are seemingly none. The logistics and supply chain management industry has experienced considerable change, including the creation of digital apps to improve the movement of goods and services. Embracing the 4th industrial revolution has been a must for most industries and individuals. Technology enables efficiencies and, in most cases, empowers businesses to scale and cater to more industries, thereby improving their reach.
Every industry requires training and therefore quality affordable education is paramount to the empowerment of both individuals and businesses.
WHY CHOOSE IIE ROSEBANK COLLEGE TO KICK START YOUR LOGISTICS CAREER?
Our brand purpose is to change lives. Quality is at the forefront of everything we do. IIE qualifications are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and are registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) and is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education and training institution.
You can be assured that The IIE Higher Certificate in Logistics and Supply Chain Management and The IIE Bachelor of Administration in Logistics and Supply Chain Management is the best choice to kickstart a career in the transport industry.
WE OFFER A VERSATILE TERTIARY EXPERIENCE
Studying through online allows you the flexibility to up-skill yourself, work and spend time with your loved ones. We know that not one size fits all, so we also offer face-to-face teaching and learning with dedicated lecturers and support staff to take you seamlessly through your tertiary years.
Student life is an essential part of the overall tertiary experience - it allows students to take a break and engage in cultural and social activities making life on campus fun. We also have a dedicated wellness team on campus to look after our mental well-being.
When choosing a tertiary education provider, look for one that is accredited, affordable, and that offers the opportunity to start with a higher certificate and progress to a diploma or a degree. Learning should never stop. Why not start today?
With about 30 days left before the start of the 2020 Matric exams, the focus of Grade 12s is now firmly on the final preparation for this important milestone. But they should also take some time to finalise their Higher Education plans for next year, as the clock is ticking on closing dates for applications.
"Matrics cannot wait until they receive their results – currently scheduled for release on February 23 next year - before applying, as this will most likely mean they miss out on a space at their institution and for their qualification of choice as deadlines at many institutions are still in place," says Peter Kriel, General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education institution.
"Beyond a later start to the higher education academic year it is still not clear what else higher education will need to do in response to COVID-19 in 2021, but so many lessons have been learned that most institutions are feeling confident about navigating the year ahead," he says.
Kriel says the deadline for enrolments at many public and private institutions is only a month away, so Matrics should be investigating their options and send in their applications without delay.
"Particularly for full-time, contact undergraduate programmes, where there is much competition for a limited amount of space, prospective students need to make a commitment as soon as possible," he says.
At some institutions and for some qualifications, such as diplomas or higher certificate programmes, applications may remain open for longer, but even for these programmes applications close when capacity is reached, he says.
Some institutions may also have late registration options, or allow registration right up until the start of the academic year, but it is best to secure one's place timeously rather than gamble on space being available later.
"So use your study downtime to investigate prospective higher education institutions and courses that interest you. It'll provide a welcome and interesting break from revision, while also serving as a motivation to do your best when you hit the books again. We all need to focus on the future," he says.
Kriel says those students who don't yet have a clear idea about what they want to study or where, should look at all the institutions that appeal to them, and then contact a student advisor on these campuses for guidance.
"It is particularly important to remember that historic pathways have been all but obliterated by the new world in which we now find ourselves," he says.
"The COVID-19 and lockdown experiences served to realign our priorities and focus, and now, more than ever, it doesn't make much sense to simply go study because of the perceived prestige of an institution or qualification. Prospective students should look at qualifications that make real-world sense and are geared towards getting them ready for a competitive and ever-evolving job market.
"And they need to identify those institutions where students were able to continue studying mostly uninterrupted during the lockdown, with the kind of support that ensured they could continue to deliver to their best ability," he says.
Before settling on a qualification, students should ensure they have a clear idea of their envisioned academic path.
"What do you want to do after qualifying? Have you considered all the options by looking at the prospectuses of more than one higher education institution? Have you considered the track record of alumni from specific institutions, and the value a specific qualification has within an industry? These are all questions that you need to weigh up before signing up," he says.
Kriel says prospective students may be surprised at the range of options available to them that they may never even have heard of before.
"The focus today should be on studying towards a work-focused, real-world qualification, and there is a large number of new and emerging careers from which to choose. So don't wait and see when it comes to next year. The logistics will fall in place, but you need to make your move soon to ensure a smooth continuation of your educational journey in 2021."
Looking for a job is not an easy task. Interviews are challenging for both the interviewee and interviewer. From the interviewee's point of view, the challenge is showcasing one's talents and personality. The interviewer is grappling with which questions to ask the candidate to see past the nerves. Ultimately both parties are looking for an alignment of values, energy, and vision.
The buzz around 3D printing is exciting and presents a world of opportunities for printing companies and their prospective employees and clients. We spoke to Craig Williamson, the manager at Jetline in Rosebank, to find out what traits he looks for when hiring employees.
Craig is known for excellent service and putting customers first. Another admirable quality that makes Jetline Rosebank a choice before many is the level of respect and professionalism Craig displays when dealing with clients. Below are the traits Craig looks for when looking at prospective employees.
As individuals, we expect loyalty from our friends and family. The same applies to the professional world. Employers are looking for loyal employees who give them peace of mind - that their business' interests and clients will be a priority.
Growth is one of the primary reasons for any business being in existence. Employers are looking for go-getters to innovate processes, products and services - to ensure that the company is offering relevant products that meet customer expectations.
Commitment and honesty
A relationship between an employer and employee should be based on trust and honesty. A commitment from both parties to act in the best interests of the business and its clients is vital.
Communication is the heartbeat of any business. Employees need to be able to communicate clearly, respectfully, and professionally with all stakeholders.
The job-hunting process is never easy, ask for help, and never give up. There are various graduate programmes that are there to assist graduates with advice and information, such as the IIE Rosebank College Graduate Empowerment Programme which has placed over 12,000 IIE graduates from Rosebank College in employment, since 2012.