EBIT students show social responsibility

Posted on April 25, 2016

In 2005, the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) implemented a compulsory community-based project module (JCP) for all its undergraduate students. This year 1 820 students enrolled for the module.  

Due to the nature of the discipline and the context of some of the study fields involved, students are not allowed to work in their fields before they graduate. The decision to create a free-standing module was motivated by the need to accommodate community service and service-learning projects in the curriculum of all undergraduate programmes in the Faculty. The scale and national impact, as well as the blended approach to learning that is effective when dealing with large student numbers, set this service-learning module apart from most other service-learning modules.

Students have to work in a community for at least 40 hours, during which they address a specific need in the community. On completion of their project, the students have to complete various assignments reflecting on their experiences. These assignments include a report that is uploaded to the e-learning management system, a YouTube video on the project and a presentation about the final project outcomes.

The module's success can be attributed to the fact that students can choose their own projects (within a set of criteria) and their own groups, as well as when and where they want to work. They have ten months in which to complete their forty hours' community work.

'Spending three days in a rural community with people who live with only the most basic commodities has taught me not to take anything in life for granted. We have so much to be thankful for,' says Nicolaas de Beer, a recent JCP student. Impi Visser, another student, says the experience taught them that many children soldier on to get an education despite having only the minimum books, classrooms and stationary. 'I realise how privileged I was to attend a school where we had an abundance of study materials, etc. The JCP project also taught me that one can do and accomplish so much more in life as part of a team.'

Please view YouTube videos at https://youtu.be/ftiiFvmdgAc


- Author Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (JCP)

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