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Mr Willie Louw, a Principal Lecturer in the School of Natural Resource Management at NMMU (George Campus), has been named the NMMU Science Faculty Excellent Teacher for 2013 at an annual gala event presented by the university to acknowledge outstanding contributions made by NMMU academics in various spheres.

Willie LouwMr Louw was acknowledged specifically for his significant contribution in the activity of teaching and learning. “He has served our campus and the institution with outstanding commitment and diligence over an extensive period of time and did some pioneering work in the use of the Moodle Course Management System (CMS) during 2012 and 2013. He has, furthermore, developed a full operational system for a specifically demanding module by producing study guides, course material, Powerpoint presentations, assignments, quizzes, tutorials, memorandums and other relevant material”, says a proud Prof Jos Louw, Director of the School of Natural Resource Management at NMMU (George Campus).

Other initiatives which contributed to this accolade being awarded to Mr Louw, included his participation in a planned research project which will investigate the use of computer tablets to enhance student learning in a blended way.

Mr Louw acted as the NMMU George Campus representative for the Central Blended Learning Committee, a committee which develops innovative means of ensuring that students grasp learning material, especially through electronic means. He has developed several video clips and DVDs of various activities relating to specific modules to enhance and enrich learning and comprehension.

He also participated in the development of glossaries of terminology for natural resource management students in various languages, namely Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

Mr Louw actively participated in the Supplementary Instruction (SI) system implemented by NMMU and initiated several creative mechanisms of assessment to ensure that student progress is satisfactory, to enhance comprehension and to contribute towards formative learning.

“Together, these measures ensured high pass rates in particularly challenging subjects” says Prof Louw.

Students, too, appreciate his contributions to the academic world. This is reflected in the fact that Mr Louw has been nominated by students as Lecturer of the year in the Forestry Programme for several consecutive years.

Staying abreast of recent developments in teaching and learning would be essential for a lecturer who functions at the cutting-edge of delivery. Mr Louw has continuously sharpened his skills by attending conferences such as the Higher Education Learning & Teaching Association of southern Africa (HELTASA) and by doing relevant courses, such as a one year NMMU course in Assessment.

Industry ties

Ensuring the relevance of study material and course content also demands maintaining close contact with relevant sectors in the forestry industry, something which Mr Louw achieves through frequent industry visits and technical committees.

“A range of Short Learning Programmes presented by Mr Louw on specific topics related to Forest Management is also presented to the South African forest industry”. Indeed, a worthy recipient of the Faculty Teacher of the Year Award!

Contact information
Ms Alet van Tonder
Manager: Marketing & Corporate Relations
Tel: 27 44 801 5098