Advancing into new ways of teaching and learning

6 November 2020

By Bongani Ramatsetse

Simplicity and quick access are the new and developing dimensions of teaching and learning, through the use of technology for lecturers and students. 

Dr Ronny Aylward, lecturer at the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Dr Ronny Aylward, lecturer at the Department of Electrical Engineering, has created a website,, to make life easier for students. It simplifies textbook content, has plenty of practical features and students can access it from anywhere.

Dr Aylward got the idea as he observed students issues with learning; from buying textbooks that are expensive and then having to through the volumous of content. content. The driving force of the website was to provide open and easy access to learning activities that are covered in class to students.

“The website simplifies study content, from the introduction through to the purpose and the outcomes. The website advises the student ‘what am I doing, how am I going to do it and where am I doing it,’ Dr Aylward said. 

Although TUT has an iTs system where lecturers can post assignments, notes and updates, Dr Aylward website’s allows students to not just download content, it also allows them to work on particular programmes online, such as extracting and applying codes to view if they work or if their programming aligns with the codes.

He again highlighted one of the most crucial points concerning the practice during lockdown for students that they experienced through multimodal learning. He explained how students found it difficult to study while they were home. 

“The problem when a lecture sends videos to students is often the lenght of the video – it might be up to an hour-long and a student might have to rewind it to repeat a certain part. The student online website divides the content into sections and allows them to search for particular content. This certainly svaes the students time while heping them to focus on one thing at a time,” he said.

Dr Aylward is currently also busy with the development of an app that will enable students to catch up with the content that was covered. One of the most unique features of the app is that it will notify Dr Aylward which students are logged in and who not, much like an attendance register; the only difference is that it can be accessed at any given time. 

Currently, the website contains and provides detailed information of the module that he lectures. His students access the website daily, both during lectures and when preparing homework assignments. An additional benefit is that the site is not only limited to TUT students, but to anyone who wants to learn how to program. 

He aims at introducing the website system for teaching to other departments and lecturers to make things a bit easier for students and lecturers. As the website advances and with the app currently under development, he hopes to add more features and changes, i.e. where the app/website can use or code with other languages within South Africa.                      

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