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Unisa online - Improving the module throughput rates in Engineering distance ed

Ms Corina Ionescu

Education issues have recently caught the attention of almost all South Africans. The topic around this issue is the study material that will enhance the throughput of the students. To address this concern, the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering invited Ms Corina Ionescu (former Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, Doornfontein) to come and share, from her experiences, how to develop quality study materials that will assist students from different backgrounds. The seminar took place at the Unisa Florida campus.

In her address, Ms Ionescu emphasised that study material should cover critical cross-field outcomes required by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). The material should be prepared in such a way that the qualification meets industry needs as well as international standards.

She noted that most first-year students come from poor family backgrounds and are also not well prepared to face the challenges of university study, as there is a major difference between high school and university teaching styles. Because of this, junior level study material should be simplified and should give as much information as possible to cover any gaps from the studentsí school background. At higher levels the material should challenge studentsí analysis and critical thinking abilities.

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