What is so smart about smartboards?

White boards

Have you ever heard of the phrase ‘interactive white board session’ or smartboards, as it is also known, and wondered what it’s all about?  Most of the time you get the picture of a teacher standing in front of the class writing on the board with chalk dust flying wildly all over the place.  When studying part-time (off-campus) – thus being in a classroom – makes the ‘picture’ horribly confusing; it simply does not add up.

In this article I will tell you how smart the Unit for Open Distance Learning (UODL) at North-West University is in bringing the classroom right to your doorstep.  For starters, classes are presented every week at 65 learner support centres throughout South Africa and Namibia.  Here are 7 specifics describing how teaching is done through smartboard sessions.

What are interactive whiteboard sessions?

An interactive whiteboard or smartboard is simply technology that is used to broadcast a live classroom session at a certain time to the learner support centres.  The class is being recorded while the lecturer is presenting the class from a studio at the UODL.  The classes are interactive; the student and the lecturer can thus communicate with each other.

When do classes take place?

These classes or sessions are presented at least once a week and will take place either after working hours or on Saturdays. You can access your specific timetable by going to the UODL website.

Are the classes available to download or watch later?

All the classes are available to download ± five days after the Interactive Whiteboard session. You can access it under “Video Resources”. You will be able to see the Usernames and Passwords for each course and then be able to login.  I hope you are as excited as I am, because now you can watch the lecture as many times as you want to at a more convenient time.

Where are these classes presented?

As mentioned earlier, UODL has 65 learner support centres throughout South Africa and Namibia.  We tried as far as possible to establish a centre in the big centres and where there are many students to justify a centre.  Facilitators are responsible for dealing with all logistics at the venue.  The support centres have been identified where students can interact with fellow students, submit their assignments, participate in group discussion sessions and write tests under supervision and guidance of the facilitator. Click here to view the study centres.

What resources do the support centres offer students?

At the centre you can download the previous whiteboard sessions.  This is made possible as all the centres are equipped with Wi-Fi.  The facilitator will also be there to assist the students with any inquiries.  When attending classes, you should take your study material, device such as laptop, tablet or smart phone and stationary to take down notes.

Can I submit my assignments at the support centre?
Assignments may be submitted at the study centre where you attend your classes or you may drop it in the assignment box at the centre.  Make sure that when submitting your assignment it correlates with the submission date.  No late submissions will be taken.

What to bear in mind when attending these sessions

As with anything in life, punctuality is very important.  With classes being broadcasted, the lecturer cannot stop and repeat to the latecomers.  Adhere to the schedule given and respect your fellow students when you are attending these classes.  It will be wise to attend as many sessions as possible or watch them online to be fully prepared.

Interested in enrolling for a Distance Learning programme?  Complete the form and we will contact you.  Alternatively, you can contact the Unit for Open Distance Learning at distancepotch@nwu.ac.za or call the call centre at 018 2855900.

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