March 2021 marks exactly a year since South Africa’s
first Corona Virus case. This pandemic will go down in history as one of the
most challenging times in some people’s lifetimes. Starting your first year of tertiary
amid a pandemic is challenging as you are most likely to miss out on some of
the long-awaited tertiary events such as the freshers’ welcome party and more.
Everything we took for granted is now even more important such as, hugging your
new friends and chatting over a cup of coffee in the cafeteria with your peers.
We cannot change the current situation, but we can make it manageable with a
few hacks to help you get through the year with ease.
TALK TO SOMEONE
We at IIE Rosebank College have made it our duty to
support you academically and emotionally. Should you be struggling to cope with
the transition from high school to tertiary, we have our student wellness
managers who are always ready to listen and help you with a solution to lighten
the load. Registered students can book a session as and when ready, and the
best thing is, all sessions are free and confidential.
KNOW THE CAMPUS COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
The last thing you want as a new student is getting
frustrated with an inquiry and not knowing who to approach for assistance. Our
campuses have different support structures at your disposal, such as the
student portal, student hub, and most importantly, our staff are always ready
to assist – familiarise yourself with all the support structures in
STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
Coping is important, but living is essential.
Tertiary is, without a doubt, different and can be overwhelming. Take the
transition as the end of one era and the beginning of another. Be prepared to
invest your time and energy in the most important things and always remember
the end goal – you need to walk away from experience with a
PLAN YOUR STUDIES AND MAINTAIN A ROUTINE
The pandemic influenced a shift from traditional
methods to primarily connecting digitally. Whether connecting digitally or
face-to-face, it is essential to take time to reboot. Invest in a reliable
internet connection to keep connected and collaborating. Our campuses are also
Wi-Fi-enabled, should you need to connect when on campus.
Asking for help is an essential skill that will
benefit you during and after your tertiary life. Get to know your tutors,
lecturers, and classmates. Collaboration and teamwork are essential to get
through your tertiary years successfully. Take control of your studies and ask
for feedback from your lecturers and use the feedback as an opportunity to do
HAVE A FIRST YEAR BUCKET LIST
Life is more exciting when you have something to
look forward to. Student life is a once in a lifetime experience; find a new
way of connecting, collaborating, and sharing ideas with peers, tutors and
lecturers. Times have changed, and we must adjust and find new ways of enjoying
the things we used to take for granted. There are various student activities in
and around some of our campuses that you can still enjoy safely. The parks and
museums around some of our campuses are a start.
BE FINANCIALLY SAVVY
Times are tough, and the cost of living is high. You
need to make sure that you spend your money wisely and prioritise expenses
accordingly. Avoid spending more than your monthly allowance or what you earn.
Finding part-time work can be a good way of preparing for the world of work and
making money while studying. Having a savings account is a good way of planning
for your dream assets, like your first home.
We wish you all the best for the coming year and
beyond. Remember that the pandemic is not over yet. Stay safe – social
distance, mask up and sanitise.
High school is an exciting if sometimes scary and demanding stage of a young person's life, and it requires of them to balance a daily focus on learning and academic work while also continuously considering their future and where they are headed.
These competing considerations – the focus on now while also not losing sight of tomorrow – can cause uncertainty and anxiety, but using a framework on the way can have a significant impact on creating peace of mind and successful outcomes, says Dr Gillian Mooney, Dean: Academic Development and Support at The Independent Institute of Education, SA's largest and most accredited private higher education provider.
"By getting into the right frame of mind, and armed with a daily plan of action, you can incrementally build your way towards great results in Matric, and opportunities that align with your vision thereafter," she says.
"What Covid has made clear, is that we need to use every day to our advantage. Small wins compound, but if you procrastinate, you might just find yourself in an impossible position down the line."
Dr Mooney says junior high school students should strategise for the long game, and combine that with short-term action plans so that they are able to start senior high in as strong a position as possible, by doing the following:
KEEP ON TOP OF THINGS EVERY DAY
"Make sure that you master the work done in class every day. Do your homework to the best of your ability, and if there are concepts you don't understand, ask for help and assistance until you do. Don't push things to the side and think you are going to deal with them later, because later you may just have too many things to deal with and then you'll start feeling overwhelmed.
"By doing a little bit every day to cement new knowledge, you are building a strong foundation for the future, and your learning muscles and confidence are strengthened."
DON'T GO OFF THE RAILS – ASK FOR HELP
High school comes with a host of firsts – good ones and not so good ones, notes Dr Mooney.
"You'll be faced with exciting new opportunities but also temptations. Don't lose sight of what you are building towards, and always consider how your choices will impact on your future. Your freedom will be increasing, but so will your responsibilities. Make wise choices and enjoy your journey towards adulthood, while also being careful not to make choices that can turn into hurdles down the line. In particular, be extremely circumspect where social media is concerned as small missteps can have huge consequences.
"If you find yourself struggling – academically, mentally, emotionally, physically – know that there are many avenues you can turn to for help. There could be trusted adults in the community, teachers, organisations and even online resources to which you can turn. Don't despair if you are finding yourself in a difficult spot. There are support and resources available, so keep looking for help until you find it."
CONSTANTLY EVALUATE WHERE YOU ARE HEADED
You may have an idea of what you want to do when you Matriculate, or you may not. Whichever it is, junior high school provides the opportunity for you to consider your options while you still have plenty of time.
"Keep in mind that you will need to make subject choices in Grade Nine, which will impact greatly on your options after you finish school," says Dr Mooney.
So as you progress through the days, weeks and months of junior high, consider where your strengths lie, and how these might match up to a future career.
"This is why it is important to not leave your investigation of your future studies until Matric, because by then you may have dropped the subjects you would have needed to apply for your qualification of choice. If you think you are terrible at Maths and want to drop it as soon as you are able to, consider which careers you will be ruling out if you do so.
"If you don't know the answer to that, it is worth finding out by for instance doing online research, or speaking to student advisors at higher education institutions about fields that interest you, and what the entry requirements for those would be."
START TO BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS
The world is evolving rapidly and by the time junior high learners matriculate, it will look completely different from the way it looks today.
In junior high, young people should start developing themselves holistically, and start learning about things outside of their current field of experience and frame of reference. For instance, they can start keeping up with the daily news so that they know what's going on in the country and the rest of the world. They could also start cultivating a hobby to develop their creative side and ensure they get regular exercise through group or individual sport.
"You are now at the stage of your life where you are starting to develop into the adult you will become. As the saying goes - with some creative licence taken here - there are things we know, things we don't know, and then things we don't know we don't know. Your school will be teaching you about the things you don't know, but it is your responsibility to be curious about the world and start finding out about the things you didn't even know you didn't know.
"You may find that there is a whole world of opportunities that get you excited in terms of your future, that you were never exposed to before. So every day, do your best to ensure you continue to grow academically, while also firmly considering where you are headed by researching where the world is moving and where your future opportunity might lie."
We live online, or do we? We at IIE Rosebank College believe that we live in a blended state, encompassing both offline and online activities – between that is finding time to live. Time to rest and enjoy all the things one loves doing is still valuable, more so than ever. Family and "me-time" are needed; the trick is finding balance.
An option for studying, gigging and living, is online learning. With the improvement in infrastructure in South Africa and data costs becoming affordable, why not study online? We expect the demand for online studies to grow in 2021. To this end, we have increased the number of IIE Online qualifications to give prospective students a choice of several IIE degrees, higher certificates, and a diploma.
A formal qualification is still advisable whether one wants to be an entrepreneur or work for someone else. In the current era of the gig economy, "gigs" are becoming more and more prevalent. Doing a combination of both seems to be the favoured option for having it all.
If you pace yourself, you can fit studying into your lifestyle efficiently with IIE Online learning. IIE Online learning is modular and affordable, enabling students to start with a minimum of two modules per semester. Students are empowered to complete their qualification in line with their schedule and budget. We also understand that it is not just tuition fees that one needs to budget for; we have included ebooks (textbooks) in the tuition fee.
Studying online can feel quite distant. Choose an accredited and registered online provider with support structures in place to increase your chances of securing a qualification successfully and guide you along your journey. 2021 Registrations still open at IIE Rosebank College.
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.