Designing for students at risk in South Africa

Dr Jose Abdelnour-Nocera and Dr Samia Oussena from the School of Computing and Engineering have embarked on a collaborative research project, the Socio-cultural and human interaction intervention designs for Students at Risk in South Africa.

Their project has been funded by the Newton Mobility Grant in partnership with the University of Cape Town and Cape Town University of Technology. Together the Universities will explore how socio-cultural and human interaction approaches can be used to design intervention information systems for students at risk in South African Universities.

An introduction to the research project

A number of students admitted into universities fail to proceed with their academic work. While universities in South Africa (SA) are seeking and implementing solutions to the challenges of student retention rates and desirable throughput, the role of socio-cultural and human interaction approaches in designing interventions has not been explored to complement data currently collected through eLearning platforms and social media.

Deeper and systematic studies to provide innovative systems that support students at risks is critical if retention and pass rates are to be improved. The joint research capacity building project will involve the human approach to systems that incorporate cultural aspects designed to respond and assist students in the Faculties of Humanities with interventions to help those at risk.

Designing intervention systems that assist in early identification of students at risk academically and socially to realise successful completion of programmes of study is very critical in the SA transformation agenda.

Dr Samia Oussena, Dr Jose Abdelnour-Nocera  and Dr. Connie Bitso (UCT)