College of College of Graduate Studies

Facebooking ✔ Teaming ✔ Degrees of change for Unisa postgrad support

With the national lockdown and restriction levels in place, the College of Graduate Studies (CGS) has shifted to using online platforms to facilitate the research training workshops for Unisa’s honours, master’s and doctoral (M&D) students. Since March, the college has been providing research support services using its Facebook group and Microsoft Teams.

Attendees during a digital research workshop

The second week of June saw the School of Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Studies (SIRGS) piloting the facilitation of online workshops on the digital platforms. During that week, four workshops were conducted on Teams for thousands of Unisa M&D students in South Africa, Ethiopia and the rest of the world.

The workshops were facilitated by Prof Patrick Ngulube, Acting Director of SIRGS, and Prof Khanyisile Mbatha, Associate Professor of SIRGS, who is responsible for academic support. They introduced students to the Unisa structures and policies governing research-related activities, such as research ethics and academic integrity, including the revised M&D procedures. Other themes covered included the following:

  • Ethics in research and plagiarism
  • Conceptualising of the research problem and coming up with a research proposal
  • Conceptual and theoretical frameworks
  • Literature review
  • Components of a research proposal

Students were encouraged to participate on Teams where tasks and assignments are posted, and supervisors have been made aware of the pilot project. The advantage of the online workshops is that since workshops are recorded, those who could not attend have a chance of revisiting the posted video and workshop material at their own time and convenience.

This will see CGS and Unisa achieving the conceptualisation of an online suite of modules in current and post-Covid-19 contexts. The success of the programme will see CGS realising the

  • acceleration of excellence in postgraduate research support.
  • improvement of student support by promoting an enabling postgraduate support system.
  • fostering of online academic support/programmes to promote lifelong higher education for all and knowledge creation that is nationally responsive and globally relevant.
  • inculcation of an African perspective on postgraduate support.

The numbers are growing!

For more details on this exciting online programme, please join the future by visiting the College of Graduate Studies’ research resources on the CGS website.

For more on the research workshops and related activities, you can follow us on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: Join the M&D Research Training Workshops Group; Honours Research Training Workshops Group, or enrol at MS Teams: M&D Research Training Workshop, Honours Training Workshop, or Ethiopia Learning Centre M&D Workshops

You can also contact the Research Training workshop team at M& or

* By Tonny Matjila, Research Training Officer, College of Graduate Studies

Online modules set to shape futures of postgrads

Publish date: 2020/07/18