Prof Ramogale interrogates student experiences of COVID-19 at Focus Conference

Professor Ramogale, middle, chairing a session

MUT’s Acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Marcus Ramogale chaired a session on students’ experiences of COVID-19 on the last day of the Focus Conference.

Speaking at the Conference, Professor Ramogale said the current times have seen the emergence of the digital academic. He said now there is great possibility of academics becoming consultants. They will be able to teach in more than one institution.

“This will give students a chance to learn from the best in the business,” he said.

This is going to be of benefit to such academics, as they will earn more from working for more than one employer. It will also level the playing field; the students from the previously disadvantaged institutions will also benefit from this new normal.

Students from DUT, MUT and the UK’s Open University also made an input. Yolanda Dimba, a second year Office Technology student at MUT, said that she was adapting to the new normal although there were difficulties.

Other students said that the transition from the normal classroom teaching to virtual was hard, and that they needed more assistance.

Sarah Jones from the Open University said that UK students were also hit hard. “We are still struggling with many issues,” said Jones. “We have to make some major adjustments.”

One of the steps taken was to protect students from suffering possible mental breakdown. “The University listens to students. We also have to question how sustainable our ways of teaching are. In addition, whether we should change the times at which lectures are conducted online,” said Jones.

Kelron Boosi, a Master’s student at DUT, also highlighted that it was necessary to give the students a chance to air their views as authorities are planning.