UNISA’s reflection on the Digital Records Curation Programme material

Makutla Mojapelo

The Digital Records Curation Programme (DRCP) study school happened at a time when the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa (UNISA) was in the process of reviewing its archives and records management programme curriculum. This review, or “recurriculation” of the programme developed from one of the case studies in the InterPARES African Team project which was coordinated by UNISA. As part of recurriculation, UNISA introduced a new archives and records management honours qualification. I was tasked to develop learning material for one of the modules titled Data Curatorship and Management (DCM). The learning material obtained from DRCP helped a great deal in shaping the content of our DCM module. We used most of it to update and streamline our teaching according to the internationally benchmarked subject matter it provides. Most of the activities suggested in the DRCP model curriculum are used to assess the students’ understanding of the content. As influenced by the DRCP learning materials, some of the subject areas that we have included in the DCM module include (but are not limited to) cloud computing, web archiving, digitization, digital repositories, description and indexing, open and big data. These subject areas attracted many people who are practicing archivists and information specialists in South Africa. Our mode of learning (which is strictly open and distance learning) makes it possible for people who are working to also continue with studies without any disturbance. Most of the qualifications offered by UNISA are on a blended mode but this one is 100% online. 

In addition, our department was invited to conduct a workshop on ‘the development of the new archival programme’ for the Committee on Data International Research Council (CODATA) workshop in Israel. However, the conference was deferred due to the pandemic that has disrupted the world. Lastly, we are currently finalising the paper to be submitted for consideration in a Scopus indexed journal, COMMA: the Journal of International Council on Archives.