Orientation is usually an important part of any new student’s introduction to their school, but that isn’t safely possible right now due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown in South Africa. As a distance learning institution even before COVID-19, the University of South Africa (Unisa) will now be hosting its orientation online.
This orientation will take place over two days starting today and ending tomorrow with both presentations taking place on Microsoft Teams.
Despite being eight hours long the orientation will, surprisingly, not be repeated on each day. Instead the entire eight hours will be used to cover studies at Unisa.
This can be better seen in the programme which is available here as a PDF.
There is a wide range of topics that will be covered including standard items related to Unisa (such as student support and library services) as well as subjects that only have recent relevancy.
In the 14:00 to 14:15 slot on day one, for example, the topic is “Understanding how to deal with the impact of COVID-19 on your student well-being your responsibility as a student to plan and self-regulate during such difficult times”. We’re not entirely sure about the rugged individualistic tone of this topic but hopefully it includes information about how Unisa will help this new batch of students with their studies.
“The orientation sessions will provide you with information to help you succeed in your first year at Unisa. We have a line-up of presenters who will talk to you about Unisa’s various support services, the resources you need for your academic journey at Unisa, how to plan for your studies, how to navigate the teaching and learning platform, online assessments, how request library material, who to contact for what, and more,” reads the official announcement.
We do recommend that all new students give this a watch even for sections that may not interest them. The introduction to Microsoft 365, for example, may not seem too serious if you’re already familiar with the suite of programmes, but you may learn something new with how the university expects you to use it.
The start of the higher education year in South Africa has been rocky to say the least. At Wits there has been a death during protests and closer at Unisa there has already been preventative talk to deal with student concerns and demands.