Hearty Discussions During IS Conference 2017 Day Two

Robust conversations ensued yesterday (Thursday, 8 September) at the iMvubu Lodge, Richards Bay, after various academics had taken the podium during the first and second sessions of day two of the 18th Information Studies (IS) Conference 2017 which is being hosted by the University of Zululand.

While the majority of comments expressed were of appraisal and encouragement, there were however some cases where speakers received constructive criticism from their counterparts- a befitting practice when considering that one of the objectives of the conference is to promote excellence in research production.

Lorette Jacobs, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA), focused on the role of academics in information science education and training in the digital era and how this (the role) can be reconceptualised. Jacobs’ research revealed that higher education institutions are struggling to attain and retain academic staff of a sustainable calibre to build a stronger and more socially equitable workforce. The latter thus calls for academic professional development, academics to have the willingness to embrace the changing environment as well as the continuous training of academics to make a shift from traditional to e-learning teaching. In addition, Jacobs highlighted that academics need to utilise technology in various formats to ensure the optimum level of interaction and discussion with students as well as display creativity, confidence and a positive behaviour to motivate them (students) to learn through the use of technology.

UNIZULU Information Studies alumnus, Rexwhite Enakrire, presented on a research project he conducted on the status and development of university libraries in Nigeria. According to Enakrire, university libraries are a fundamental part of an institution of higher education and without them, “formal and proper research cannot be done”. His study showed that there is a shortfall in Information Communication Technology (ICT) literacy among some users of and staff in Nigerian academic libraries, poor funding and inadequate ICT infrastructure and facilities.

To curb these issues, Enakrire emphasised that the preparedness of librarians to learn and exchange existing ideas through a clear policy and strategy was crucial in bringing about a functional management of e-content; adding that librarians needed to be inculcated with a culture of continuous education and training in order for them to remain current in library practices.

The conference ends today (Friday, 8 September 2017).

-Naledi Hlefane

Pictured: Rexwhite Enakrire, UNIZULU Information Studies alumnus, during his presentation at day two of the 18th Information Studies (IS) Conference 2017 which is being hosted by the University of Zululand.