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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice
2017-05-17

Description: Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice Tags: Ethics at the heart of healthcare practice

Prof Gert van Zyl during the launch of Health
Ethics for Healthcare Practitioners with
Prof Laetus Lategan at the Central
University of Technology.
Photo: Supplied

The Central University of Technology (CUT) in partnership with the University of the Free State (UFS) launched a newly published book: Health Ethics for Healthcare Practitioners that aims to raise awareness among healthcare practitioners and patients about various unethical challenges faced by healthcare services in both the private and public sectors.

Prof Laetus Lategan, Director of Research Development and Postgraduate Studies at CUT, and Prof Gert van Zyl, Dean of the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences, are the co-editors of the book intended to provide a moral guide to healthcare professionals when dealing with their patients. 

Holistic approach to healthcare practice

Their work places renewed emphasis on the importance of healthcare ethics. This is due to a diversifying range of healthcare services and the imminent collapse of the public healthcare service sector; most notably in developing countries. The authors particularly focus on how their findings can be integrated into real-life situations.  

The book looks at modern-day healthcare ethics and how they apply to both patients and healthcare practitioners including doctors, professional nurses and therapists. It is an elaborate reference book that will help healthcare practitioners to make informed decisions should they be faced with ethical dilemmas in their practices and assist them to gain a better understanding and devise solutions to problems faced by communities.

Academic journey and partnerships forged
Prof Van Zyl said the book had been a joyful journey of collaboration between the two universities, a journey of academic colleagues who become friends. He explained that they wanted to focus on creating new approaches to healthcare from an ethical perspective, to provide a guide and reference on ethics, not only to healthcare practitioners, but also to patients. “We hope this book will make a difference in healthcare delivery,” he concluded.

Prof Lategan said modern science needed to become more interdisciplinary, which would transcend the way science was conceived. “The essence of healthcare is to be of service to other people and have relationships with other people. I think it’s high time for us to start caring for one another, especially in the academic environment. If we are really looking after the health of other people, whether it is mental, spiritual or physical health, it starts with caring for other people.”

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