One field that is already in tune with the new era of astonishing technological developments is education technology. eish! visited the NWU’s education technologists to find out what they do and how they can assist academics and other staff.




Lecturers are welcome to contact these people if they need assistance:


  • Thamie Ndlovu, Mahikeng
    (018 389 2441)
  • Kobus le Roux, Potchefstroom
    (018 299 2001)
  • Elne van Niekerk, Vanderbijlpark
    (016 910 3317)


Alternatively, lecturers and students can phone these helplines for more technical assistance regarding teaching and learning technologies:


  • Mahikeng: 018 389 2312
  • Potchefstroom: 018 285 2295
  • Vanderbijlpark: 016 910 3038


Kobus le Roux, senior education technologist and coordinator of the Digital Teaching and Learning Environment (DTLE) team, explains that the NWU had units assisting staff with the integration of technology into their teaching strategies even before the recent restructuring of the university.

“During the restructuring these positions have been brought in line with more modern thinking about educational technology support. The DTLE, consisting of the education technologists of the NWU, currently resides within the Centre for Teaching and Learning.”

On a mission to empower

Education technologists are on a mission to provide support to academic staff and students, and to assist them with integrating technology into their teaching and learning.

The NWU has seven education technologists who consult and help with programme and module development within the online environment. In addition, five help desk and resource assistants assist staff and students with using teaching and learning technologies supported by the NWU.

The education technology environment focuses on consulting with staff and advising them on the use of technology, providing end-user support through the helpline and working with Facilities and IT to assess the teaching and learning environments’ infrastructure.

A day in the life of an education technologist

As the main task of an education technologist is to consult with lecturers, they spend a lot of time in meetings and consultation sessions, says Kobus.

“There is a big drive from the university to move more and more learning activities online and we have to assess the teaching and learning technology needs within modules.”

As lecturers must be able to use the online environment optimally, familiarity with educational technology is part of their professional development. The education technologists assist them by presenting work sessions and training through webinars and the like.

“eFundi forms the largest part of our current focus when it comes to the use of education technology, but we would like to support staff in the use of various other teaching and learning technologies as well – both in the physical and the virtual teaching and learning environment.”

Software and solar power

In addition to providing support for the virtual learning environment, the educational technologists also work in conjunction with other stakeholders such as IT and Facilities.

“We don’t take any technology decisions on our own but work hand in hand with our partners to first determine the impact of choices and decisions before implementing any changes.

“Together we are for instance involved in a project to design and develop a prototype informal learning space in the gardens between buildings E8 and the library on the campus in Potchefstroom.”

Similar prototypes are being planned for the other campuses as well. These developments will create spaces where students can sit and work in underused or vacant spaces on campus. These will eventually also have solar panels that will power facilities for the charging of phones, tablets and laptops.

On the computer screen you can see an example of the software used to assist lecturers and students. Here education technologists Fundiswa Ngomani, Naldo Oberholzer and Letshego Mabale are discussing some of the features on the eFundi site.


As the world gears up for the fourth industrial revolution, marked by rapid technological advances in all fields, experts believe many new jobs will spring up and existing jobs will have to adjust.

Kobus le Roux is a senior education technologist.