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Towards future-ready graduates

by Gerrit Bester

The teaching and learning of students studying at the Department of Interior Design got a major boost this week with the launch of their new Tech Lab – another first for the Faculty of Arts and Design.

“This dream became a reality after a successful request for funding was made to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching, Learning and Technology, Prof Ben van Wyk, last year,” says Inge Newport, Head of the Department.

The funding request was for wireless Virtual Reality (VR) headsets with built-in audio, two 3-D printers, a desktop laser cutter, a wireless 360-degree camera, and a computer dedicated to work in/on 4IR.

“We wish to integrate 4IR technologies and design presentation systems into the curriculum, opening new avenues for innovative product development,” says Inge.

“Embedding new technology into the curriculum will give students the confidence to engage with companies and job opportunities that use it for production and presentation purposes.”

Inge emphasizes that to be ready for the world of work, technology is not a luxury but a necessity. “The lab will democratise space and equipment to enable students to own and explore it.”

“We believe 4IR-related technologies will make the Department’s offering even more enticing to applicants as they recognize the value in what we have to offer.”

“This initiative would not have been possible without teamwork between, staff, students and industry. I would like to extend my thanks to everyone involved,” adds Inge.

Approximately 130 students will benefit from the new equipment and staff from other departments will also be able to use it in a formalised way.

The Interior Design programme has grown in popularity the last couple of years. The course, which should not be mistaken for Interior Decorating, has a strong entrepreneurial focus and develops graduates to apply design principles to the professional planning, designing, equipping and furnishing of residential, retail and commercial interior spaces.

The new Tech Lab launched at the Department of Interior Design this week.


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