UFH Research Team presents paper at 17th International REV 2020 Conference in USA

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A team of UFH researchers presented their paper at the 17th International Conference on Remote, Engineering and Virtual (REV) Instrumentation in the US.  The conference was held at the University of Georgie in Athens from 26 to 28 February.

Led by Mr Phumezo Kwinana, Director of the Forté School of Science and Technology (FOSST) Discovery Centre, the team comprised of Mr Phumzile Nomnga, Computer Science Lecturer and Mr Mncedi Rani a Technology Curator at FOSST. The team also included Professor Mantile Lekala from UNISA who is a specialist in Virtual Laboratories in Nuclear Physics.

Titled: “Real laboratories available online: Establishment of ReVEL as a conceptual framework for implementing remote experimentation in South African Higher Education Institutions and rural-based schools – A case study at the University of Fort Hare”. The paper explores the use and benefits of online laboratories, following the launch of the country’s first Remote and Virtual Education Laboratory (ReVEL)  at UFH Alice Campus in October 2019.

The ReVEL technology which was facilitated by Mr Kwinana, offers several benefits. Using coding and robotics, it enables students to interact with peers from over 20 universities around the world on experimentations to address local and national imperatives in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). It advances teaching and learning to address some technological inadequacies in our communities. It also gives UFH researchers access to various online research equipment worldwide. Users are able to access the facility whenever and wherever, via the internet The lab was jointly sponsored by the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor), Albert Wessels Trust and TOYOTA. Specialists from Labsland deployed the technology.

Mr Kwinana said attending the conference and presenting their work was a great experience for the team. “Many advances have been achieved through the use of Online Instrumentation. It is a huge opportunity for South African Higher Education Institutions to improve their 21st Century research, teaching and learning skills,” he said.

Mr Nomnga applauded the work done by the international community at the REV 2020 conference, saying the experience gained was instrumental. “UFH is now ready to revolutionise research work, teaching and learning in coding and robotics through online instrumentation. The time has come that we change the education equation by implementing modern teaching and researching strategies with the aid of the ReVEL centre,” said Nomnga.

At the conference, the UFH team established relations with several international institutions for future collaborations. Mr Kwinana said the team will meet to reflect on the experience, identify areas of collaboration and outline medium to long term projects for UFH and the wider community.

In light of the university’s adoption of the 4IR advances, the ReVEL technology serves as an ideal platform to position UFH as an active participant in this space.