In a first for both institutions, CPUT students studying towards a National Diploma in Optical Dispensing recently undertook a field trip to UCT’s Department of Human Biology.
The first year students familiarised themselves with the anatomy of the eye with the aid of models, plasticised specimens and human cadavers, amongst others. “The trip and demonstration gave students the chance to practically appreciate the aspects they studied theoretically,” says Prasidh Ramson, the lecturer in Ocular Anatomy and Pathology, who helped organise the trip.
Ramson and his UCT colleagues, Prof Graham Louw and Kentse Mpolokeng, supervised the students as they worked their way around the stations and interacted with the material. Leveen Chetty, a practising optometrist, was also on-hand to assist students. At one station students got to dissect a bovine eye balls.
The students spent twenty minutes at each station and according to Louw this workshop opened up new avenues for him to “run practicals [for UCT students studying medicine] in more interesting ways”.
Pebble Kubheka, a CPUT student, believes the whole experience improved her understanding of what she learnt previously. “I am one of those people who learns better when I see the thing for real. It is one thing to look at a diagram and an entirely different thing to see and touch that same thing,” she says, adding that she was very surprised by how “tough” the outside of the cow’s eye was.
Ramson reports that students’ feedback about the practical was overwhelming positive, “Ninety three percent (37 out of 40) of students were either satisfied or very satisfied with the day’s activities.
“The trip was also a success in terms of partnership, inter-institute sharing of resources and intellectual exchange. As this was the first activity of its kind for our Department we cannot thank Prof Graham Louw and his team – Kentse Mpolokeng and Caroline Powrie – enough for availing their time, space and resources, tailored to our student’s needs,” he explains.