Revolutionizing teaching in Higher Education

This year the SAWC has embarked on a journey to develop a full three-year Diploma in Applied Natural Resource Management. What will set this qualification apart from other conventional diplomas is the ‘flipped classroom’ approach that the SAWC team has embraced.

Whereas, the theoretical part of a course is generally covered face-to-face in a classroom and the practical part is often part of homework or the responsibility of the student, the theoretical component of the new three-year diploma will mainly be independent study online whilst the practical component will be offered face-to-face on campus and in the areas in and around the Greater Kruger National Park.

To get the materials for the online component of a diploma in place involves creating materials to replace much of what a facilitator would have done in class. To tackle this task a team of internal and external experts were put together at the beginning of 2020. The team worked right through the COVID-19 lockdown and managed to put together nine (9) modules of online learning materials. The content is in the process of being uploaded onto the SAWC’s new online learning management system called TalentLMS, whilst we are awaiting feedback from an external reviewer from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on the layout of the curriculum.

External parties involved in much of the development included Peter Mills (Game Rangers Association of Africa), Dr. Louise Swemmer (SANParks), Dr. Julia Baum, Rozanne Ernst, Bea Coetzee, Naomi Haupt (University of the Free State) and Prof. Brian Reilly (Tshwane University of Technology). An internal champion led development of each of the major module themes and included: Dr. Cleo Graf on Conservation Technology, Dr. Yolanda Pretorius on Biology, Ashwell Glasson on Conservation Business Administration, Altin Gysman on Resource Protection, Dr. Richard Fergusson on Sustainable Development and Elna de Beer on Social Ecology. Fanuel Nleya assisted with much of the content research and Anelle Rautenbach with compiling an orientation programme.

The practical component of the Diploma will be developed in 2021 and the planned date for implementation is January 2022.

The opportunity to embark on this journey would not have been possible without the support of our funders, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and we sincerely thank them for their generous contribution.

We encourage conservation organizations who have sent students on our Higher Education Programme in the past to already identify and encourage staff who are earmarked for management positions to enroll in this Diploma in 2022.