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EBEIT Newsletter

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EBEIT Newsletter

  1. 1. WHAT does the Chief of the Shixini Great Place in Willowvale, young people in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas and school nurses in the rural Transkei have in common? They all benefit from the work of Prof Darelle van Greunen the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Centre for Community Technologies (CCT) which aims to respond to the immediate needs of the Eastern Cape and ultimately those of the larger South Africa. The Centre was officially launched on Thursday, 3 September at the university’s South Campus auditorium. The Centre has already made great strides with its specific projects. Health is one of the areas in which the use of technology to improve school healthcare is making a significant difference. The primary objective is make use of mobile devices with specific mobile applications to improve access to school healthcare and health education based on the needs of the schools in rural Eastern Cape. Developed by (CCT), and originally funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) as the mobile health sector of their Technology for Rural Education (Tech4RED) initiative, a pioneering mobile app has enabled school nurses in rural areas of the Eastern Cape to use tablets and cell phones to more effectively assess the health of learners. The app - piloted in Cofimvaba - has been so successful in its two-year Eastern Cape pilot phase that there are plans to roll it out nationally. In addition, Prof Van Greunen was instrumental in setting up an ICT resources centre, supported by a solar charging station for laptops, tablet PCs and mobile phones among the deep rural villages in the Willowvale area of the former Transkei. This project supports the vision of Chief Ngwenyathi Dumalisile of Shixini Great Place, a leader within the Xhosa Royal Kingdom and of the Amajingqi Traditional Council. His visionary plan is for “rural-based industrialisation”. Vulnerable women and youth is another focus area with a project that aims to change and improve the life situation and living conditions according to the millennium development goals for needy children and exposed mothers in the gang-ridden Northern Areas in Port Elizabeth. This project proposes to implement a Mobile Community Health Learning Space in support of health education for vulnerable women and children in the selected communities Other focus areas are on ICT in higher education for people with disabilities, building capacity on TB/MDR-TB among community health workers and occupational health among mine workers as well as rural development and the creation of a wireless ICT monitoring application for hydroponic agriculture. ‘’The research and engagement work conducted in the CCT has made a significant impact not only in the Eastern Cape but also at a national level. The success of the Centre can be attributed to the strong partnerships with research institutes, community organisations, industry, Government departments and other African countries,” says Prof van Greunen. ‘’There are currently some 27 postgraduate students working on research projects that support the aims and objectives of the CCT. In addition to this, an undergraduate Dev Academy consisting of Software Development students who work in different teams, support the software development projects. The members of the Dev Academy do an internship in the CCT which not only builds capacity but also provides the students with valuable work experience while completing their studies,’’ says Prof van Greunen. It is the vision of Van Greunen to not only build human capacity among women in this male dominated field, but also to ensure that the products deployed in the critical areas are developed for Africa, by Africans in Africa. 2015 page 1 Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Tel: 041 504 3099 | E-mail: | Web: Taking technology to the communities At the recent launch of NMMU’s Centre for Community Technologies (CCT) NMMU Vice Chancellor Prof Derrick Swartz (from left), FamHealth’s Dr Jeff Govender, launch guest speaker Ms Rapelang Rabana, CCT director Prof Darelle van Greunen, Amajingqi’s Chief Ngwenyathi Dumalisile and Mrs Tami Dumalisile.
  2. 2. FOR the past year, the students making-up the NMMU Eco-Car team have been hard at work designing and manufacturing a fully carbon composite prototype vehicle to participate in the first Shell Eco-Marathon: South Africa. The Shell Eco-Marathon is an established event worldwide with current competitions in the Americas, Asia and Europe. The South African event, to be held at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria on the 2-4 October is an effort to establish the competition on the African continent. The objective of the event is for the student teams to design, build and participate in the event in order to build an ultra-lightweight vehicle with maximum efficiency that can travel as far as possible on an effective 1 litre of fuel. The NMMU team is competing in the Prototype class, where passenger comfort takes a back seat, and, as a result, the student driver has to squeeze into a virtually flat space within the vehicle in order to pilot it. Participating teams can enter in multiple categories, but the NMMU team will enter in the conventional petrol category with an internal combustion engine, modified to accept a programmable fuel injection in order to minimise fuel usage. The car also will be outfitted with specialised tyres, custom-made for the event by Michelin in France, that have a rolling resistance of less than a train wheel on a steel rail and some 10 times more efficient than the best road car tyres available. The team, comprising of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Logistics Management students, have managed to secure funding partnerships through local companies and governmental agencies who focus on lightweighting, efficiency and composites, which has greatly assisted in building their programme. If you are interested in viewing the NMMU Eco- Car visit the Renewable Energy Lab (E007) on North Campus and the team members are willing to answer any questions you may have. page 2 It was a case of being first out with the blocks at NMMU when young minds with a penchant for engineering went ahead full speed. Pupils and students gathered at the university to take part in a Lego building competition as part of the Annual Winter School programme. Hosted by the Department of Industrial Engineering, five groups of participants engaged in a battle of wits and speed to build a Lego structure within a short period five successive times, in each instance attempting to improve upon their last result. The winning group’s time for construction was a record at 26 seconds. Tamsen Smith, A Bsc student, said she participated in the Winter School programme because she wanted a broader view of engineering to aid her in her career choice. There were two prize categories, one for the fastest construction and time, the other for the most improved construction time. It was all to help participants- some from high school and others from university- to learn about the career paths within the fields Students take on Shell Eco-Marathon NMMU unblocks Engineering Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Students who are gearing up to witness the Eco Car Challenge… From left: Takuzwanashe Vudjizena (Elec. Eng), Mvume Ndimba (Logistics), Tinashe Maphosa (Elec. Eng), Martin Badenhorst (Mech. Eng) and Oseluole Enabor (Mech. Eng) The Winning team and runner up team that won the Lego challenge. From Left to right: Cobus Joubert (lecturer), Zintle Phekana (Peer Helper), Nganiso Grootboom, Fabian Ferreira, Shannon Farmer, Nosibulele Matota, Mihlali Yelani, Sikelelwa Ngakula, Nosiphiwo Vumisa, Keanan Molosi and Jaco Snyders (lecturer).
  3. 3. page 3 Colloquium Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology ACHEIVERS … Head of the Institute for ICT Advancement at NMMU Professor Rossouw von Solms and his daughter Dr Sune van Solms, received the Best Paper Award at the recent International Institute of Information and Systemics Conference in Orlando, Florida. Sune works as a researcher at the Defense, Protection, Safety and Security (DPSS) Unit of the CSIR. The paper was titled Safety Education in Developing Countries. RENEWABLE ENERGY SLP’S ... Delegates attending the August Renewable Energy Technology course are shown on a site visit to a local wind farm. The intensive 5 day courses include a number of site visits and hands on lab activities mixed with class presentations. The AMTC has been running these courses at regular intervals for more than a year now and demand appears to be growing steadily. WELA INDUCTION: On the 31st July 2015 the wela 1st year ladies were announced. In order to become 1st year wela ladies they were to complete a number of courses. Swimming sensations…School of the Built Environment twin brothers Alaric (left) and Alard Basson have been selected for the SA swim team to participate at the African Games in Brazzaville, Congo next month. Pictured with fellow Madibaz swimmer Edward Johannisen (centre). A total of 45 delegates from nine different UOT’s (University of Technologies) attendedtheannualElectricalEngineering Forum hosted by the Department of Electrical Engineering earlier this year at Pine Lodge. This year’s forum also celebrated 23 years of existence. THE Department of Quantity Surveying jointly with the Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) EC Chapter hosted a two day colloquium where a range of thought-provoking topics were discussed by specialists in the Built Environment. Present at the colloquium was Mr Roy Cumberlege (HoD:QS), Mr Joe Struwig (Architect of the Bay West Mall Development), Ms Christelle Bown (Chairperson, ASAQS, EC), Prof Gaye Le Roux (Colloquium facilitator) and Prof Winston Shakantu (Director: School of the Built Environment). The colloquium was also part of the NMMU QS Legacy programme for third-year BSc Construction Economics students.
  4. 4. THE novel idea of women “balancing” home and work life is a myth, said quantity surveyor Busi Nzo, one of the guest speakers at the Faculty of EBEIT’s Women in Industry Breakfast held at NMMU recently. She was joined by division head of Volkswagen South Africa Dr Lesley Lee in addressing the audience of staff, students and businesswomen as part of the Faculty’s Diversity Month celebrations. Nzo said as a mother of four and a business woman in the building sector, which is traditionally known to be a man’s world, said she is often asked - “how do you do it?” “I have yet to find someone who says to me they can. There is no way you can balance that” she said. Instead, plan ahead and prioritise. After all, ‘life happens’ which can throw even the best laid plans. “Keep calm and position yourself,” she advised particularly referring to women in industry, which was the theme of the morning. As one of the first black female students at what was then UPE, she defied the status quo. She said when she started work, most did not believe she would step onto a construction site. “But I had to do my work, I had a duty to do, a client to satisfy, a goal to reach. Do you think if one woman had marched against the Union Buildings in 1956 it would have made a difference? No but because they did it together, it made a difference”, she said. The faculty’s breakfast was not only an event that celebrated women but one with a purpose, as each guest was invited to contribute toiletries for “dignity packs” for teenage girls assisted through Vision 4 Women matric sponsorship. The reasoning was that if girls did not have sanitary towels, they would not attend school during their menstrual cycle due to the embarrassment of insufficient protection. InformationCommunicationTechnologyprofessor, Prof Darelle van Greunen who handed the boxes of donations to director of Vision 4Women Nosi Ncoyo, said she hoped the donations would make a difference to the academic lives of many teenagers, emphasizing how important education had been to lift women from poverty to success. Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Women in industry breakfast SHARING … Guest speakers at the breakfast were from left Lakhanya Quantity Surveyors’ Busi Nzo, division head at VWSA Dr Lesley Lee, image consultant Solette Rhodes, EBEIT marketing officer Sesethu Gqomo and director of Vision4Academy Nosi Ncoyo. WOMEN IN INDUSTRY … Guests who attended the breakfast listening attentively to one of the guest speakers. BEHIND THE SCENES ... The EBEIT staff that helped orgainse the event Leoni Erasmus (from left), Lizl Blom, Farren Foutie and Amber Share. page 4
  5. 5. Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Marrying literacy and science writing GMSA Chair of Mechatronics showcase CCT News Human Settlements Development hosts University of the Free State page 5 Language and literacy, science and education. Masters in Education student Kholisa Papu succeeded in combining all four aspects and brought science writing and education together which resulted in her winning the South African Society for Engineering Education (SASEE) best submission and best presentation awards at SASEE’s third Biennial Conference held at University of Kwa Zulu Natal recently. Kholisa’s paper, “Investigating the use of argumentation to promote critical thinking in first year Mechanical Engineering laboratory report writing”, was presented in the “academic” support programmes and initiative in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) teaching strand. Her research findings stimulated lively discussion and was considered to be an innovative and meaningful contribution towards engineering education, particularly in light of current re- curriculation imperatives. The paper is part of her Master’s research study on investigating the effect of a Science Writing Heuristic approach in first year mechanical engineering laboratory report writing at NMMU. The Science Writing Heuristic is a laboratory report writing intervention that uses argumentation to promote reasoning about laboratory data and it can be used both by the teacher/ lecturer and the student ie there is a teacher template and student template. The teacher template guides the teaching of content knowledge before laboratory work is done and the student template provides the prompts that scaffold students’ thinking about laboratory work through a writing to learn approach. Importantly, these writing prompts/ thinking prompts offer metacognitive support that is, they seek to make the student aware of their own thinking and how they have come to learn. Well done Kholisa, keep the flag flying high! At the GMSA Struandale plant, the manual car assembly line required additional automation in the area of material handling to improve efficiency. Within this framework, the GMSA Chair of Mechatronics was requested to design a low- cost Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) applicable to the South African automotive industry, as well as to similar low volume GM plants worldwide. This project was accomplished in stages by three postgraduate Mechatronics students, who designed a number of prototypes of low-cost AGV over the period of two years. During the design and implementation processes, the students worked closely with the GMSA production engineers and maintenanceteaminordertoimproveergonomics of the final design and to satisfy the stringent safety requirements. The latest AGV design was recently implemented in real production at GMSA where it has been undergoing extensive trials. The development of a market-ready design of an AGV is an outstanding example of an innovative solution, which can lead to commercialisation of research outcomes. The AGV design is currently in the process of registration. It is envisaged that a spin-off company will be established as a result of this research project, which will produce AGVs for local manufacturers and warehouses. A team of industrial engineering students developed a business plan for this initiative as part of their undergraduate studies. The SWOT analysis results indicate good potential for a sound business case. This example of university-industry collaboration also shows the direct benefit for the univeristy, as the spin-off company will generate an additional income for the university, new jobs for engineering graduates and funds for student bursaries. THE Centre for Community Technologies celebrated the graduation of the first 14 members of the Amajingqi graduating from the NMMU- DG Murray and Amajingqi Skills Development Center with a Computer Literacy qualification. “It was indeed a proud moment for the members of this community and of course the partners in this initiative. We are aiming to double the number of graduates in 2015 and will be adding to the portfolio of courses,” Director of CCT, Prof Darelle van Greunen The official launch of Centre for Community Technologies was in September. The Centre is already well established and has already managed to create a national footprint. CCT has been approached on a regular basis to partner with different organisations on the development of technologies to support national priorities. The Chair for Education in Human Settlements Development and Management under the Faculty of EBEIT, hosted the University of Free State (UFS) as part of an emerging inter-varsity collaborative programme with NMMU The University of Free State was visiting the University for a number of research-related and capacity building programmes for their students in the School of Architecture and Planning and thus requested an opportunity for its lecturers and students to interact with Faculty of EBEIT Mr Andisile Best, Investor Relations Manager in the Human Settlements Development department was the programme director of the event and proposed an expectation for the future and necessary relations to bring funds and bursaries to Bachelor of Human Settlements Development Management, a four year degree offered at NMMU Missionvale Campus. NMMU delegates were Prof Winston Shakantu, Director: School of Construction Management. Dr Franco Geminiani, Head of Department: Building and Human Settlements, Prof Sijekula Mbanga, Head of Chair for Human Settlements as well as Ms Nadia Wessels, a Senior Lecturer in the Department. Presentations from UFS were on Urban Sanitation Scape and Mixed Housing Observations followed by an active and vibrant interaction with students. PROF Mbanga addresses the guests and students of the University of the Free State FINANCIAL SAVVY … Sandras Phiri from UCT Business School addresses third-year engineering students, invited to a Financial Literacy Talk at the New Engineering Building. Sandras spoke to the final years about money with particular reference to budgeting and developing the right attitude towards money.
  6. 6. LIVING out its value of respect for the natural environment, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan recently handed a 100% electric vehicle to Nelson Mandela Bay mayor, Danny Jordaan. Mayor Jordaan was keen to start his three-day stint of silent, emission free motoring behind the steering wheel of the Nissan Leaf vehicle. The initiative was part of an awareness campaign driven by the uYilo e-Mobility innovation program run by acting director Hiten Parmar. uYilo was established in March 2013 by the Technology Innovation Agency hosted by eNtsa to fast-track development and commercialisation of keytechnologiestosupporttheSouthAfricanElectric Vehicle (EV) industry. The five-year multinational multi-stakeholder programme seeks to ready South Africa for the introduction of e-mobility by creating new business opportunities and generating the know-how to support electric vehicles. Currently supporting relationships existing with BMW South Africa, the Department of Science and Technology, Eskom, First National Batteries, General Motors SA, the Industrial Development Corporation, Imperial Green Mobility, Mercedes Benz SA, Nissan SA, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Powertech Batteries, the South African National Energy Development Institute , Shamwari Conservation Experience and the Department of Trade and Industry. In addition to the uYilo programme that is also running a number of projects to promote e-mobility and serve platforms which will enable the knowledge creation and technical know-how in the field of EV technologies. One such project, run in partnership with Imperial Green Mobility, Shamwari Game Reserve, Tracker and Powertech Batteries sees an electric 4x4 ATV being used by Shamwari Game Reserve in their rhino poaching programme. uYilo also approached Nissan South Africa to use one of its Leaf EV’s as part of a field testing programme. The car will be used to determine user patterns, usage modes and energy cycles. It is not intent of the programme to modify the vehicle systems in a way, but to use it as a tool to facilitate the development of other technologies. The deployment of these platforms will service to identify technology gaps, test new business models and eliminate inter-operability issues between eco-system components. Emphasis will be placed on creating credible data that can be used for marketing purposes and to create awareness of e-mobility as a viable alternative. “There is a global revolution in technology and electric vehicles are at the forefront of many of these innovations which are being used to accompany electric vehicles. These are very exciting times, not only for the South African industry but also for uYilo programme,” says Parmar. Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Showing South Africa the e-mobility way Champions of change… The 100% electric Nissan Leaf vehicle showcased at the New Engineering Building. page 6 Dr Andreas Tostmann, ex-Volkswagen Group South Africa Managing Director, and current Executive Vice President for Production for SEAT in Spain, visited the NMMU Engineering students with Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA). This year’s topic was on current and future automotive engineering. During the presentation the students stepped outside to witness for themselves, a demo car with the feature of auto parking. Students also, had an opportunity to stand a chance of winning an iPod and received VWSA branded merchandise. Student Orientation Programme in Automotive Manufacturing (SOPAM)
  7. 7. Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology Teacher of the Year Cheryl Schroder - more like mom than lecturer Welding coup for NMMU engineers Chair for human settlements page 7 As NMMU lecturer Cheryl Schroder was about to invigilate an exam, she came across a panicky student who could not find his name on the list. She helped him find out where he should have been, gave him a lift in her car as the venue was on another campus, and even walked in with him – to ensure he was allowed in despite being late. She turned a student’s worst nightmare into a situation of calm, and enabled him to have a good start to his exam. The student later tracked her down to thank her. He told her: “I didn’t feel like I was riding around with a lecturer. I felt like I was riding around with a mom.” Schroder’s warm approach as a lecturer – both in and out the classroom – makes a huge difference to those she teaches, and led to her winning one of two NMMU Excellent Teacher of the Year awards. “I care and I’m interested . . . It’s a privilege to be in this position and to make a difference in someone’s life,” she said. “Lecturers forget that – you can make or break a person.” Her prestigious win comes not long after she received the Golden Key Society lecturer of the year award in her faculty. “These awards are totally chosen by the students – it was very touching,” she said. Schroder lectures Information Systems 2 (software development) to second-year students and supervises third- and fourth-year students’ software design projects. From the time she was a young girl, she knew she wanted to teach. From observing her own teachers and lecturers, the best and the worst of them, she learned that “excellent teachershavetobepassionateabout their subjects and strive to instill the same passion in their students”. “I’ve been teaching for 30 years – and I haven’t lost my passion for teaching. “Excellent teachers also have to establish a positive class atmosphere by investing time in building a rapport with their students and encouraging active class participation. “Unless there is a climate of mutual respect in the classroom, students will be reluctant to ask questions and contribute to any discussions.” Schroder say she views herself mainly as a facilitator of learning, rather than as an expert who simply delivers information to the students. SOUTH Africa’s energy sector is set to save billions after researchers were granted international approval for the development of ground-breaking sampling and welding technology earlier this month. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) gave approval for use of WeldCore® – a friction taper hydro-pillar welding and repair process – in the country’s power generation and petro-chemical industries. The new welding technology is in accordance with the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code (BPVC) and will be used at all major energy producers countrywide – saving the industry billions of rands. The approval follows 15 years of research by NMMU’s engineering technology station, eNtsa, which has driven a number of innovative engineering solutions. eNtsa director Professor Danie Hattingh said the approval was like conquering the highest engineering mountain for him and his team. “It’s a major step as this is proof that the local welding solution survived international scrutiny at the highest level,” he said. The ASME code approval places the process on the international front as an accepted procedure, and removes some of the legal compliance risk for users world-wide. The major deal has already seen Eskom making substantial savings from more than R1-billion in deferred expenditure as the technology developed by the WeldCore® process offers reliable feedback on its ageing power stations. This is the first approval by ASME BPVC for a South African institution. Over the next three years, industrial experience in the application of the process will be evaluated, determining if it will be adopted as a new solid state welding process in ASME BPVC – Section IX. Chair for human settlements (CHS) participated in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) career exhibition. This career expo was held at the Science Centre in Uitenhage. Over 20 schools attended, comprising of over 1000 learners in grades 9 to12. This is a long term investment with immense benefit to NMMU, as it also forms part of National Strategic objectives. Beyond recieving guidance on career paths and admission process to NMMU, learners were introduced to the Bachelor of Human Settlements qualification offered by NMMUMissionvale Campus. Many were excited to know about it as this Degree offers skills which they feel are basic needs to our current communities in daily basis. PROBLEMSOLVED…Eskom’sPhillipDoubell(fromleft) andMarkNewbycongratulate Professor Danie Hattingh and Dr Ossie Franks of NMMU on receiving accreditation for a ground-breaking South African sampling and welding technique that will benefit all major energy producers countrywide.
  8. 8. page 8 Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment & Information Technology CELEBRATING DIVERSITY … As part of a Diversity Month Initiative, the Faculty of EBEIT celebrated Cultural Day by showcasing an array of foods from various cultures and encouraged staff to wear their traditional dress and participate in the festivities. Cultural Day BRIGHT MINDS…The Challenge Release workshop which forms part of the First Lego League was attended by 11 schools and their coaches. The School of ICT hosted 87 students and their coaches. Two guest speakers from EP Waste Management addressed the learners and their families. FOR A CAUSE …The Construction Management Student Society held their first event, a bus party which raised over R600 donated to the Charles Duna Public School Library. SECRETARIES DAY …EBEIT Faculty secretaries were treated to a lunch at the North Campus Conference Centre as a token of appreciation for all the hard work and efforts in keeping the administration of the Faculty efficient. SPRING HAS SPRUNG … Supporting National Casual Day in aid of people with disabilities were EBEIT staff Janine Holmes (from left), Meera Naidoo, Phatheka Hobongwana, Eunice Marx, Amber Share, Joshna Daya, Lizl Blom, Leoni Erasmus (front from left), Zandra Joubert and Liesl Stowman. This year the theme was “Spring into action”- which was inspired by the birds and the dawn of a new season of spring.

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