Lasting Engineering Legacy
An academic initiative started 13 years ago is still benefiting CPUT staff and students well over a decade later.
In 1998 Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Prof Anthony Staak helped spearhead an initiative to make engineering textbooks more user friendly for a disadvantaged South African audience.
Under the auspices of the Tertiary Education Linkages Program (TELP) the initiative saw no fewer than 13 titles being published, many of which are still in use today.
Prof Staak explained the significance of the textbooks at a Juta relaunch of the titles held at the Bellville IT centre recently.
“At the time Engineering was, and still is, one of the scarce skills,” he says.
“We faced tremendous challenges and one of the problems was that textbooks, many of which were published abroad, were inappropriate for our students.”
Prof Staak says SA students needed a simpler option with a South African context to help them understand complicated engineering theories.
After collaborating with five other SA Technikons and four US universities the project got under way and ended up being one of the most successful TELP projects ever.
In a second phase of the project the textbooks were supplemented with 7 CD’s which lecturers could use in the classroom- an early example of multi-media use in classrooms.
Juta’s Mthunzi Nxawe urged the gathering of engineering specialists to consider adding to the body of work by publishing their own titles.
CPUT Chemistry lecturer Andre Spies and former staff member Alphonso Hendricks along with Ronald Engelbrecht were given a special commendation for their work on the Physics for Engineering textbook.
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