The University of the Western Cape (UWC) claims to be the first university in South Africa to offer an accredited postgraduate diploma in e-skills with immersive technologies stream, which incorporates augmented reality and virtual reality.
The one-year programme runs in partnership with a leading immersive technology company – EON Reality.
The objective of facilitating an immersive technology-based knowledge transfer for education, edutainment and industry partnerships is to create, share and collaborate virtual 3-dimensional learning platforms across a broad range of disciplines, the university said.
The programme, along with EON Reality, is a collaboration with UWC’s Department of Computer Science in Information Systems. It responds, in part, to minister of higher education Naledi Pandor’s call during her budget speech for tertiary institutions to produce graduates who are ready for the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, it said.
Professor Antoine Bagula, head of the Computer Science Programme at UWC, said the programme was important for South Africa because it offered enhanced learning that was not possible without the AR/VR technologies.
“Some studies around the world have revealed that learning in an immersive environment leads to improved success rates compared to traditional ways of learning.”
He said a recent study in South Africa on the fourth industrial revolution found that all sectors of industry were planning to use AR/VR to increase their productivity. These include retail, mining, construction, engineering, IT software and services, health, education, logistics, finance, real estate, manufacturing and training simulations.
Dr Mmaki Jantjies, senior lecturer in Information Systems, said: “UWC, in understanding the need to develop skills in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, looked at partnering with EON Reality to upskill young and upcoming Africans in a skill that is much needed – AR and VR. Students will be able to learn to develop the technology for immersive platforms like head-mounted gears and mobile phones.”