The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is offering two free massive open online courses (MOOCs) – one on artificial intelligence (AI) in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the other on African insights – to the public.
The university introduced the course on AI in the 4IR in 2019 and, over the past few years, has intensified its outreach with full-time and fully online short learning programmes to help upskill and reskill people for current and future jobs. This is in line with UJ’s global excellence and stature 4.0 strategic objective underpinned by the 4IR.
The course was developed by the Division of Academic Development and Support and is part of the initiatives driven by UJ vice-chancellor and principal Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.
“Our vision is to position UJ in 4IR, within the context of the changes in the social, economic and political context of the African continent,” he says.
The course offers an AI module for all its students, which it introduced three years ago.
“The module covers what AI is, what it can do, how it's used and some of its implications, ethically and productively. The course won’t teach you how to code but it will show you how you can expect AI to impact your life,” says Marwala.
The module is part of UJ’s strategy to prepare students, staff and the community, in numerous ways, for the 4IR, ensuring that UJ becomes Africa’s epicentre of critical intellectual inquiry and a leader in 4IR.
“There can never be an African renaissance unless we are active agents of 4IR. The important ingredient that will ensure that we are participants and not spectators of 4IR is education; education that is correlated to the demands of the fourth industrial age and that is grounded in the Pan African agenda,” says Marwala.
4IR offers huge opportunity to transform and realign education, economics, politics and societies, as it integrates the physical with the biological and the digital. 4IR is a catalyst which will transform society and its inclusion in the curricula is therefore necessary.
The African Insights course, meanwhile, introduces students to intellectual traditions and debates in Africa.
Members of the public have the opportunity to enrol for free in either or both of these fully online MOOCs offered by UJ.
There are no entry requirements or classes to attend, and all assessments are in the form of multiple choice questions. There are eight units to complete in each MOOC and a digital certificate will be issued on successful completion, which may be viewed and shared with third parties or possible employers through the UJ Digital Certificate platform.
“Both programmes are exciting and relevant, and students are encouraged to complete both programmes during the duration of the formal programme for which they are registered,” Marwala says.