The collaborative and research education hub “HEdIS” that seeks to bring together the practical and research orientated aspects of ICT for supporting the country’s sustainability efforts, kicked off at Nelson Mandela University (NMU). The Hub for Education on ICT for Sustainability is a collaborative project of Nelson Mandela University, in Port Elizabeth, the University of Cape Town and Carl von Ossietzky University, in Oldenburg, that will be run through the South African universities’ computing science departments over four years.
The project is based on a well-established and long-standing partnership between the two South African universities involving numerous faculties and schools, tapping into their expertise as comprehensive universities with strong links to the entire Sub-Saharan region. Carl von Ossietzky University is an internationally recognized university from the Global North with a long-standing track record in sustainability research, teaching and community engagement.
At NMU, the Hub will be established and run at the Department of Computing Sciences, getting its full academic and infrastructural support. The HEdIS, primarily funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), will explore six major sustainability topics for research-oriented as well as practice-related teaching that have specific regard to the South African context. These include Water Management, Energy Efficiency, Waste Management, Sustainable Mobility, Education on Sustainability and Sustainability Entrepreneurship.
Within the project runtime, teaching modules for the above-mentioned themes will be developed and each topic supplied with courses and course related offers for the students. In addition to the ultimate extension of existing study programmes at NMU and UCT for students, the project will address vocational training activities for company participants.
A number of activities are lined up and will take place over the project’s four-year timeframe, including workshops, summer schools and overall project management. German and South African researchers, as well as key business partners, will engage in planned activities.
ICT students and other participants elected by networked industry partners will be chosen to attend the summer schools, getting an opportunity to not only improve their competencies in the specific topic, but be afforded exposure to a global network of educators, researchers, innovators, industry experts and academics.
The project activities are structured into module development cycles (MODECs). Each MODEC has a duration of one year and aims to develop two teaching modules. With each iteration, two new teaching modules will be developed. Within the project duration, four MODECs will be performed, which totals the development of up to eight teaching modules.
In the steering group meetings, the module topics will be planned and decided within the specified six themes of ICT for sustainability. In the frame of the workshops, curricula for previously identified existing modules will be developed. ICT modules developed in the DASIK project will be integrated into the module development to ensure high practical relevance. For the same reason, industry partners will be involved in the module design. Innovative and heterogeneous teaching and learning methods will be implemented into the module design.
Once the modules have been designed and developed, summer schools for these modules will be conducted. In the scope of the summer schools, students from NMU and UCT will be further qualified in the field of ICT for sustainability. Industry experts and lecturers from partner institutions will take part in the summer schools as experts. Furthermore, industry partners have the opportunity to participate within vocational training activities.