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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

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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