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26 February 2019 | Story Eugene Seegers | Photo Eugene Seegers
Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Coetzee, South Campus Principal, Tshegofatso Setilo, Director Access, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector Operations
Prof Francis Petersen, Prof Daniella Coetzee (Principal: South Campus), Tshegofatso Setilo (Head: Access Programmes), and Prof Prakash Naidoo (Vice-Rector: Operations) on the South Campus for the welcoming of first-years.


“Welcome to the South Campus of the University of the Free State!” Addressing a packed Madiba Arena, Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, said he was happy to see not only first-year students, but also parents and guardians, student leadership, and support staff from both the Bloemfontein and South Campuses.

 “I would like to congratulate each of our first-year students for making the decision to come to Kovsies to further your studies here. But I would also like to thank you for making this choice,” he continued.

Prof Petersen further emphasised that the students’ experience and success as individuals are important to the UFS as an institution; therefore, academic and support staff are on hand to guide them through their journey to becoming well-rounded individuals. “We will surely take care of you,” said Prof Petersen. He also reassured parents and guardians that their loved ones would be well looked after.

The Rector also focused attention on the role of student-leadership structures, such as the newly-formed Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) and South Campus SRC, members of which were present in the audience. He thanked them for playing a key role in the student constituency, highlighting their support and guidance to help first-years cultivate a sense of belonging at the UFS.

Turning back to first-year students, Prof Petersen stated that they have the unique opportunity to study on a campus specifically focused on developing their full potential, a campus where they can realise their dreams. “Your arrival on the campus marks a new chapter in your life. This chapter is slightly different, as you are the author thereof. The previous chapters in your life were largely written by others—your parents, guardians, families, teachers, and others. You will now be the main author in the next chapter of your unique story.”

“At Kovsies, we believe in developing students in their totality as human beings, not just the academic side. May your time with us equip you to make a success of your life after university!”

Prof Petersen’s Message to First-year Students
  1. Take responsibility for your academic programme.
    • Keep your focus. Study and study hard. You will reap the rewards and see the advantages of making success in your studies a top priority.
    • Make sure that you have enough time for your studies; balance your social life and your time set aside to study.
  2. Realise and remember that you are not alone.
    • If you find things difficult, seek help.
    • Our Department of Student Counselling and Development has trained staff and tailor-made programmes that can assist you.
    • Look after your mental health—and look after each other’s mental health.
  3. Make the most of your time at Kovsies.
    • Join one or more of the student organisations; why not try something new?
  4. Embrace difference and diversity.
    • Get to know students who are different from you.
    • You will lose valuable opportunities to grow if you only associate with your own all the time. It is important to get to know students who are different from you. It could be someone from a different part of the country, or from another country, a different ethnicity, a different religion, someone who has different views from yours, or who has different interests and perspectives.

News Archive

Pianoboost a hit on Google Play Store
2017-03-01

Description: Pianoboost Tags: Pianoboost

Pianoboost is an interactive app developed by
Dr Frelet de Villiers, lecturer in the Odeion School of Music
at the University of the Free State.
Photo: Supplied

“I got the idea after watching my children play Sing Star on PlayStation, where the game can detect how accurately you sing. I realised this could turn my dream into a reality if I looking into the possibility of an app that can do note recognising,” says Dr Frelet de Villiers, developer of the Pianoboost app, about her brainchild.

Dr De Villiers, lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Free State (UFS), developed this interactive app for piano learners to learn music. She started the developing process three years ago, but the project only got momentum when she  approached LivX, a digital developing company in Pretoria, six months ago.

Useful for other instruments
Pianoboost has been live since 9 February 2017 and already received positive reviews, with a five-star rating on the Google Play Store. “In my experience as piano teacher, I know that learners struggle to learn their notes. They can’t recognise the note on the music sheet and therefore cannot play it on the piano,” says Dr De Villiers. Although this app is developed for piano, it is also successfully used for other instruments like the marimba, violin, and guitar, because it can pick up sounds from almost any instrument.

Ideal for use in academic programme
There are students in the certificate and diploma modules at the OSM who haven’t received any formal music training. Therefore, the app is ideal for them to use. “We have instrument-specific methodology in our degree courses. So, those students could also be exposed to the app for use in their own teaching of young learners,” says Dr De Villiers.

Different features sets app apart
The app, available on Android devices, has instant music recognition and impressive features that already sets it apart from existing learning apps. It is used on a real acoustical piano (you do not need to plug the tablet into a keyboard), has instant note recognition, shows the correct position of the note on the piano when you are wrong, and works like a flash card system, to name a few. “By using the app, you also learn the names of notes whether you played it right or wrong,” says Dr De Villiers.

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