Sunsets in Stellenbosch

sonsgloed verskroei’t vrae
en ewigheid omvou’t siel
in die uur van verganklikheid

Shot from my windowsill on iPad Air.
Music: “St. Peters” by Michael Stearns & Vidia Wesenlund from “Samsara”.

Dabbling in text mining to study ‘othering’ on Bonfiire Stellenbosch

I originally wrote this article for the MIH Media Lab blog. View the original here.


For my Honours research project this year, I analysed ways of increasing user participation in blog-based social networks. My case study was Bonfiire, a multi-community network for discussion and debate, that I co-founded with a friend in 2012. Since the public launch of Bonfiire Stellenbosch (our first community, targeted at Stellenbosch University students and alumni) in January 2013, we’ve seen the platform evolve into a vibrant virtual space for the discussion of campus issues. In my research project, I focused specifically on modelling Bonfiire using a system dynamics approach. However, along the way, I’ve stumbled across a number of interesting phenomena that I am very curious to examine further.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do, is to use text mining to gain insight into the focus and nature of discussion on Bonfiire, as well as the way in which users express themselves. [Read more…]

Introducing Elea, a crowd-sourced directory of learning opportunities at the University of Stellenbosch

For the past three (and a bit) years, I’ve had the massive privilege of receiving a university education. I’ve studied fascinating subjects, attended thought-provoking talks, met intriguing people, been exposed to compelling perspectives on matters hitherto unknown to me, and engaged with the sometimes wonderful, sometimes exasperating complexity of life and humanity. [Read more…]

Paperless studying with the iPad: the good, the bad and the ugly

At the end of my first year of tertiary study — 2011 — I bought an iPad. Up to that point, I’d taken notes in class with a pen and paper, I’d printed (some) class handouts, I’d organized everything in large ring binders and I’d bought prescribed books from a local bookstore. All this, combined with the fact that I really (really) like minimalism, had left me looking for a simpler, more integrated learning solution — and preferably a paperless one.  [Read more…]

Easy referencing with Zotero

This article is part of a series I wrote for the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Stellenbosch University, on the topic of how students can utilize ICTs for academic success.

It’s safe to say that every university student will write at least one written piece (essay, report, etc.) requiring referencing during his/her time as student. It’s also safe to say that mentioning the word “referencing” to most of these students will, at the very least, make their smiles drop or, in a worst-case scenario, lead to them running away, screaming and wildly swinging their arms in the air. [Read more…]

iPad apps and tips for students: my experience-backed list

Near the end of 2011, I bought myself an Apple iPad 2 (16GB, WiFi). Large files of class notes and stacks of textbooks had put me on a quest  to go ‘paperless’ on my studies; the iPad seemed like the perfect vehicle for this quest. Accordingly, the iPad has truly revolutionized my study experience. The key to this revolution lies in choosing the right apps – a somewhat difficult task if one considers that the iOS App Store now contains well over 200 000 apps. With this post, therefore, I’m going to highlight the apps that currently play a big role in enhancing my studies. I’ll keep the list updated as I find new and better apps. Also, I’ve included some tips that have helped me put the iPad to even better use in my studies.

[Read more…]

Hello world.

After an extended period of only blogging on Tumblr (and limiting my blog posts to creative musings and attempted poetry), I’ve extended my main website to include a WordPress-powered blog. I’ll be using this space to do some more serious writing and write-ups of travels/events. One of my first posts will be on how students can utilize Apple’s iPad to revolutionalize studying.

Watch this space.