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Ruth First Scholar (2010-11)

Tinashe Ruswa is from Zimbabwe but studied in South Africa. He graduated from the University of the Western Cape in 2010 with a BComm Honours in Information Systems. He has worked as an Open Educational Resources coordinator, e-learning assistant and peer motivational speaker at UWC, and contributes to P2PU (Peer-to-Peer University), an international online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. He has also been involved in projects developing computing skills amongst schoolchildren in the Western Cape area. He played cricket for UWC and has worked as a peer mentor for the Sports Skills for Life Skills project in Cape Flats.

tinashe photo

Tinashe at an NUSC practice session at Chester le Street

At Durham, Tinashe took an MSc in Internet Systems and E-Business. He was a member of St Chadís College, which supports the Ruth First Scholarship by providing subsidized accommodation. He played cricket with Northern Universities Student Club-Community Cricketers Elite and with Norton Cricket Club (Stockton-on-Tees).

Tinashe passed his MSc with Distinction. For his final project he developed an online learning management system, which he tested with staff and students at the University of the Western Cape. He has returned to South Africa and is setting up a project with UWC and an NGO to pilot the program at vocational training centres in the mining town of Klerksdorp.

Tinashe receiving his SS4LS award in March 2013

Tinashe sent the following news in April 2013:

"I didn't realize just how much the cultural experience at Durham would equip me to handle the life that was to come after University and also how the principles which were reinforced within me by the Trust and its members would shape my own life.

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that the e-learning system that I created during my Master's at Durham is growing in terms of audience and its application here within the western Cape - to such an extent that the local premiership team here Ajax Cape Town is looking to use it as part of their distance education system for soccer stars.

Further to this, the system has gained stature and importance with the NGO such that at the ten-year awards of the SS4LS (Sports Skills for Life Skills) organization I was awarded the community award for all the work that I have done in making the application work for the NGO. It has been a busy two years, and I hope that we continue to grow in leaps and bounds."

Update December 2015: "Career wise, I have left Cape Town now and I have joined Barclays Bank as an IT architect. My work with the elearning etc got them interested in some of my architectural capabilities. Barclays is busy with a process of reinventing itself and a large part of that is the work that they are doing for and within the community. I get an opportunity to work in IT for a bank and also work on Community upliftment projects using IT. It's an exciting venture, and I'm aiming to make the most of it. We have gone a long way with that e-learning for SS4LS site. We have seen the programme grow and are now planning to relaunch the website in the new year.

Updated Dec 2015 Mike Thompson
m.p.thompson@durham.ac.uk

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