Friday, October 24, 2008


The most common recurring theme about teaching and learning to reach my ears is the one about UNDERPREPARED FIRST YEARS.
So now I am thinking
How about a SIX WEEK Bootcamp to get ALL our first years on the same page.
The idea would be to remedy their mathematics, their English spelling and grammar, their budgeting skills, their time management skills, and their interpersonal skills.
Much like "Basic Training" in the army is able to convert ANYBODY from a civilian to a soldier in six weeks, I want us to convert a matriculant to a student in six weeks.
The purpose of this sort of exercise would be to give ALL the students in the Faculty the opportunity to
a. Develop academic literacy
b. Get to know ALL the other members of the Faculty.
What are your thoughts?


Anina said...

Yes please. It will greatly assist in getting all the students on the same page as far as computers, software available, the layout for and the process to printing, the how to on internet and printing credits as well as the what/the where/the how of the computer system on campus.

LewisM said...

dieuLewisMbourdieuoH YES! I support this particularly if the Bootcamp is presented in a fun- mock-military manner- from instruction manuals and information bulletins- to daily regimes etc.
Perhaps the ice breaker events each department plans for new recruits may be incorporated so that focussed remedial instruction is counter-balanced by fun physical events. So whose going to pitch in? the corps brigades embedded in each dept- academic , technical in short all staff members!
wE are designers so we could frame and deliver an unforgetable experience!

Coleen Jaftha said...

Great idea! We could walk the students through the entire assignment writing process from project brief/conception to handover/quality assurance. It would have to be very exciting, though, if we are to maintain their interest and enthusiasm (and mine). We are competing with digital media like Skype, MXIT, myspace, facebook, different music genres, etc. We should focus our energy on presenting the key ideas in a way that appeals to this age group yet delivers academically, and also creates a safe space for the students who require more personal attention than others.

Johann said...

Johannes in principle the concept is great. The challenge would be to find a suitable slot on the time table - as well as a venue! (all first years together? - only the Multi Purpose Hall would take all of them!). My (PR) students would ostensibly still be in the Commerce Building next year. They have 7 first year subjects and usually have class from about 08.30 to 16.00 daily - with some exceptions. This is the challenge! But these are operational matters. The issues that you address are the important things: language, basic maths & life skills, etc. Perhaps the Multi Purpose Hall idea is NOT that off the wall for all first years together: a compulsory Friday afternoon session for the first six weeks? Compulsory? Of course! Otherwise no-one turns up! Ten percent added to the major subject of each student who attends all sessions? Ten percent deducted from each student who does not attend all sessions? Something like that ... But the logistics remain the challenge. And, a “one size fits all approach” may not be practical.

Marian Pike said...

Student Boot Camp:
Subjects: Orientation, English, Numeracy, Research Skills (Library), Computer Skills, (Word, Emails and Excel, Blackboard etc), and Assignment Submission Requirements (Will assist in standardising this and thus avoid confusion). Deal with exceptions and registration problems. Code of Conduct etc.
4-6 weeks: Full time classes to start hereafter??
Pluses: Easy integration into Tech, Wider social circles (not just the peope they are on course with).
Questions: Outcomes??? Lecturers & Scheduling???
Yes - I think that it will make life easier for the students in the long run.

jaredb said...

I think this is a great idea. Our students need this and a well structured boot camp would really assist the students. Maybe each programme could handle a topic. I support this idea and would love to see it happen

Estelle said...

We need to do something and is well worth looking into. I would like to see specific course orientation in there, i.e. for IT maths is important but not necessary for other courses.

Roux Rossouw said...

Yes! Sir! Carpe Diem! What a wonderful and exiting teaching and research opportunity!

If we want to win the war on underpreparedness (which is not going to simply go away soon...), we need to be proactive. I strongly support this proposal as a proative way through which we can better prepare our students for the rigours and demands of tertiary education. And, what a wonderful first step to build a strong common foundation for our faculty - Indeed, to build from the grass-root level, enabling our first years to become campions of a dynamic faculty empowering students for the future!

Johan van Niekerk said...

I'm all for a collective bootcamp, we used to have a shared Industrial and Interior first year and it worked well (until we ran out of space and Interior left)
The dynamic was better, the social as well as academic. Students knew each other, they collaborated more and shared skills during the entire course and beyond into industry.