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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

South Campus delivers out-of-the-box solutions
2017-11-07

 Description: ' AIO all in one device Tags: AIO all in one device

The AIO device as deployed in an IBP school.
Photo: Elrieka van Dalen

The IDEAS Lab on our South Campus supports learners in 83 schools by means of academic videos transmitted via the Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) and its own custom-built All-in-One (AIO) device. The project is a collaboration between UFS and the Department of Education in the Free State. It includes support for Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Science, Economics, Accounting, and Geography.

The AIO was purpose-built by the team at IDEAS Lab to facilitate the delivery of video lectures from highly-qualified teachers to identified schools. It comprises a projector, speakers, and a computer, which are housed in a custom-made, hard-wearing frame. The AIO is then set up at each school to which lessons are broadcast.

On-the-job training for educators

Educators have not been overlooked, either. UFS was the very first university to provide an Advanced Certificate in Teaching in a fully digital format, the ACT Online programme. It is designed for practicing teachers to upskill themselves in order to better address the needs in the classroom, not only advancing their career, but strengthening their knowledge, competencies, and subject specialisation as well. Ultimately, this leads to an improved quality of education, which has a profound impact on multitudes of students around South Africa.

CSIR joint initiative

Coupled with these projects is a new joint initiative termed ICT For Education. This project sees the CSIR collaborating with the national Department of Education, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and the UFS. For this project, 24 primary and secondary schools in South Africa were identified to promote technological advancement in the education sector. Tablet computers have been allocated and already deployed at these schools, to learners as well as nearly 400 teachers.

South Campus is involved in the training of the teachers and learners in the use of the tablets in the classroom and other educational opportunities. In addition, training for 48 unemployed young people who will be providing first-line support began in March at a school in Thaba Nchu. The course on IT support is structured in such a way that anyone in the community can take it, starting out with topics such as My role in the community.

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