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UBOM! production analyses student learning

38UbomThe UBOM! Eastern Cape Drama Company presented their theatre production, Unzip your knowledge, at the Rhodes University Theatre and was met with great enthusiasm by all undergraduate students who attended.

In partnership with the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL), the production aimed to bring the ‘RU Learning Guide: An Undergraduate’s Guide to Learning at Rhodes University’ to life and easier for students to relate to.

Written by the Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Chrissie Boughey, the guide addresses the academic difficulties faced by recently registered students.

The production addressed many issues students face in adapting to university such as academic writing, attaining their Duly Performed Certificates and the ability to balance academics and a social life, amongst others.

Although the production was designed for first years, many students identify with the situations, pressures and absurdities of student life.

According to the director, Jess Harrison, the play does not provide easy solutions to learning but provokes questions, illicits debate and encourages thinking.

“We wanted to humanize the issues of academic life at Rhodes and investigate the fears and stresses regarding the workload, degrees and research which is unique to university students,” Harrison said.

The production captured the audience with the unique and lovable personalities of each character and by highlighting the positive and negative issues students’ experience.

“What we tried to achieve was a depiction of a multitude of different students experiences. We’re addressing the issues, the students who are feeling confused, overwhelmed, or who have questions,” Harrison said.

The cast, consisting of Iman Isaacs, Sisonke Yafele, Luvuyo Yanta, Sparky Xulu, Simona Mazza and Zandile Mentjies, used their personal experiences to create the production themselves.

“We all created the work by drawing on our experiences as students, and from observations and stories we’d heard of other students as well. We interviewed people, listened to stories, did a lot of research, and combine that with our ability to create scenarios from that,” Harrison said.

The audience was given the opportunity to ask Professor Boughey questions related to their educational experiences.

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