One-on-one with Sylvester Mackaukau, Campus Principal of Polokwane Connected Campus
You are heading the first Rosebank College Connected Campus, what has been the biggest learning curve for you?
As this campus was the first of its kind, there was no history to refer to; we had to implement and learn at the same time. There was no one who had experience with such to rely on, but we have embraced the challenge and have adjusted and adapted fast.
How many students are currently enrolled at the Connected Campus?
We have 360 students currently enrolled.
How have the students adapted to the new teaching methods?
It was a big challenge, considering the area. Polokwane is still a developing city and it is surrounded by rural areas. We had to do extended orientations on Saturdays to make sure learners were comfortable with the Blended Learning methodology.
How does technology help you on a day-to-day basis to run such a campus?
Technology makes life easy, it enhances the day-to-day management of activities.
What makes the Rosebank College Connected Campus so different to traditional higher education institutions?
Through our Blended Learning methodology, our students don't need to be on campus to learn, but you can learn wherever you are, as long as you have a gadget and Internet connection to access the learning material. Students are also encouraged to become self-driven learners who are in charge of their own learning. Our Connected Campus Blended Learning model operates on a three-phase cycle.
Phase one is a preparation session, which is a face-to-face, where the objectives and activities are outlined. Phase two relates to online engagement, where learning takes place online. Learners do activities on RCLearn and lectures provide support by reviewing what students are doing and providing feedback. Then there is phase three: this is back to class, where lecturer and students link phase one and two and iron out challenges that may still exist after the learning has taken place.
This is the first campus of its kind in Polokwane. How have the people of Polokwane taken to the campus?
It has been received positively. Many of our parents who come to the campus are convinced that our campus is the best in the city.
What is the best thing about being the first RC Connected Campus Principal?
It gives me great honour to be entrusted with such a project, knowing that the success of Polokwane will give birth to more of the connected campuses we would like to eventually open around the country. I would also like to thank my colleagues who have given me the support needed in order to run such a cutting-edge campus.