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Wits U puts free courses online

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Wits University has announced that it has developed a suite of online course offerings that will be made available over the next three years to enhance access to higher education.

These include massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the edX platform, short online courses, and ultimately entirely online degree programmes.

In the first phase, Wits has become the first university in Africa to offer MOOCs on edX, an online learning platform established by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.

Says Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic at Wits University:  “There is no doubt that there is a dire need for more places at South African universities and for access to quality post-school training. Wits is proud to be the first African university on the edX platform, where we offer free online courses unique to South Africa.”

Launched today, the first three MOOCs on the edX platform, WitsX, will be available within the next six months:

·         System Dynamics for Health Sciences (launches 3 August 2016)

·         Research Methods: An Engineering Approach (launches 7 September 2016)

·         Results-Based Project Management: Monitoring and Evaluation (launches 5 October 2016)

“Developing these three edX MOOCs has been an exciting collaboration between eLearning staff in the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development (CLTD) and teams of academics. We envisage that the capacity and systems we have developed will inform and strengthen future institutional online course development and other blended learning initiatives,” says Associate Professor Christine Woods, Wits CLTD Director and Head of WitsX.

MOOCs offered by WitsX are free although a certificate of completion can be purchased for approximately $49 (approximately R720.00 at the current exchange rate).

Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, says: “This is a pioneering, innovative project that is unlocking new opportunities for South African universities. We will continue to develop course content to enable students from around the world to access our international expertise in fields ranging from the palaeosciences to infectious diseases and deep-level mining.”

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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