Quality Education Unlocked
Dear student, parent and sponsors,
Re: Quality Education Unlocked and Sustained at GDC
In a time of unprecedented global change, GDC would like to reaffirm its commitment to providing a “world-class education by design”. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, we remain true to our Vision and Mission and proactively aspire to be
“a leading, future-focussed African institution of higher education that inspires innovation and creativity in students and faculty through practice-led learning; the development of growth mindsets, the advancement of contemporary conceptual thinking and responsible citizenship.”
In this respect, we are proud to say that our pre-emptive migration to online learning has distinguished us from many other institutions, both nationally and internationally. While GDC still has challenges to overcome, we are not alone. Through our extensive international memberships including the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media(Cumulus) and the International Council of Design(Ico-D), we can confidently say that our ability to provide teaching and learning under lockdown matches, or even exceeds that of other institutions. And this includes internationally renowned schools such as Parsons in the USA, Kolding in Denmark, and LUCA in Belgium (with whom we are currently working on a joint, unlocked, and online student project).
What’s Been Done
On Sunday 15 March the President declared a National State of Disaster in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and instructed schools to close by Wednesday 18 March. In response, GDC took immediate action and issued a formal notice to students cancelling all contact classes from Tuesday 17 March, made provision for staff to work remotely and took the proactive measure to design and build an online learning system to safeguard teaching and learning from further disruptions. By Wednesday 18 March, within two days of the President’s address, GDC had launched its online teaching and learning platform, the ‘GDC Student Team’. By the following day, classes had started to commence online and continued to so throughout the week leading up to the declaration of a lockdown. By Friday 17 March, the first day of the lockdown, and the last day of the first term, GDC had been teaching online for a week and a half and was positioned to continue its operations throughout the student vacation period and into the second term. On the other hand, many other educational institutions were left contemplating the academic consequences of an extended April vacation.
The Way Forward
Further to this, GDC would like to provide clarity on the immediate way forward in terms of communication and teaching and learning:
- GDC will continue to monitor events as they unfold and will communicate any necessary steps to safeguard the provision of teaching and learning though the ‘GDC Student Team’ and the ‘@mydgdc’ email accounts.
- GDC will continue to post relevant news and resources on the ‘GDC Student Team’ to assist students in the transition to online learning. Students are encouraged to be proactive and to take advantage of these opportunities as and when they arise, especially with respect to data deals and access to software.
- GDC encourages students to take advantage of the April Vacation period to actively work on their projects for submission in Term 2 as per the established deadlines. To note that staff are only available for consultation during this period as per prior arrangements with the relevant staff.
- Until communicated otherwise, all scheduled events, meetings and classes will continue as per the relevant calendar and timetable (online via the ‘GDC Student Team’ where applicable). In this respect, important dates and or documents to note include the following:
- The Honours Hub on Friday 3 April will be hosted via Teams, 09:00 – 13:00. Honours students will present the progress on their CS Research Reports, 10 min. per presentation.
- Online classes will begin Tuesday 14 April as per the Term 2 Timetable (previously emailed to all students).
- Digital deadlines to be received during Term 2 as per established deadlines. Details regarding ‘Submission Folders’ to be communicated as soon as they are confirmed.
- Contact teaching to resume Friday 17 April following lockdown, circumstances permitting.
We are sincerely grateful for all the effort and hard work that lies behind our collective accomplishments and the significant progress we have made in a very short space of time. We are confident we can rely on our ‘Team Spirit’ to take us into the future and that we will be able to sustain our high academic standard. On behalf of all of GDC, we wish you well during the lockdown period and encourage you to comply with the regulations for the greater good of South Africa.
Prof. Desmond Laubscher, CEO