Durban University of TechnologyDUT

Durban University of Technology
Article by: Noxolo Memela

South Africa’s first Lenovo Innovation Centre, a state of the art first walk-in technology centre, was launched at DUT last week Wednesday. The launch, which took place at the University’s BM Patel Library, ML Sultan Campus, where the Innovation Centre will be based, was done in conjunction with Lenovo South Africa, which is part of Lenovo Group Ltd., a multinational computer technology company which designs, develops, manufactures and sells personal computers, tablets, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software and smart televisions.

DUT is the first South African University to have the Innovation Centre, which was provided to the University at no charge. The launch was attended by DUT students, staff at all levels as well as library managers. The Innovation Centre is aligned to Student Centredness; one of the two major threads in the DUT strategic plan. It is also aligned to the University’s trajectory on online learning, with 50 percent of the University’s programmes set to be on an e-learning platform by January 2015.

Already, 23 percent of the courses offered at DUT have some level of e-learning incorporated in them, students and staff have access to WIFI on campus, the University’s Ed Tech Division is providing academics with programmes to improve their skills in producing e-learning courses, tablets can be loaned for use inside the BM Patel Library and students can borrow laptops from all DUT libraries. e-Readers are also available on a loaning system from the University’s libraries, which also have 204 000 titles in e-book form accessible to lecturers and students from wherever they are.

The Innovation Centre comes with a multitude of devices, ranging from Thinkpad, Thinkcentre All in One, Ideapad, Multi-mode Yoga tablets and Yoga laptops.
Soren Aalto, ITSS Director at DUT, said the Innovation Centre formed part of the many initiatives and partnerships that the University engages itself in order to improve the lives of its students.

“Having this technology innovation centre at DUT is not only aligned with DUT being a university of technology, it’s also part of the University’s goal to improve the lives of our students, making our students be the best graduates in the world. We want our students to leave the University equipped with knowledge of all aspects. We want them to come here and learn and while doing that (learning), they must have fun and be digitally accommodated so that when the new generation of digital savvy graduates comes up, our students are able to fit in perfectly,” he said.

Mohammed Ramathulla, Relationship Segment Leader at Lenovo South Africa, said education is one of Lenovo’s biggest priorities and strategies. “We understand that education today still remains a global challenge for many countries and nations. Times are always changing and so is technology. Our belief at Lenovo is that as times change and life becomes more advanced, we must also empower students with exposure to technology so that when they enter the corporate world, they are not limited to basic education and technology offered at face value, but their lives are improved and they are already tech savvy,” he said.

DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Ahmed Bawa, said DUT was investing heavily in improving and modernising the services and networks provided to students and staff at the University. He said the Innovation Centre provides the DUT community with a fantastic opportunity to explore and play with new devices. “This is important because the university is in a process of incorporating e-learning into all its programmes,” said Prof Bawa.

Article source: Durban University of Technology