Student news wrap 25/10/18

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News for and about students…

Applications open for free computer coding course

WeThinkCode is revolutionising learning by offering a free coding course without teachers or classes and applications are now open for 2019. The tuition-free training institution has campuses in Johannesburg and Cape Town, where students are monitored by campus managers instead of lecturers.

Applicants need to be between the ages of 17 and 35, and able to study full-time for two years. No prior education or coding experience is required. Applicants provide
basic information as part of the online registration process and then have to play online application games at apply.wethinkcode.co.za to test their ability to solve problems. Those without computers can make use of WeThinkCode’s computers by going to one of the campuses on testing days. Those who pass the online application participate in a month-long bootcamp to decide who qualifies for the full-time course.

The programme is open to students outside South Africa and has already had students enrol from Zimbabwe and Ghana. While the course is free, students from outside of South Africa are responsible for the cost of their study visas. The company was founded in 2015, and relies on big sponsors to cover costs. The sponsors also offer employment to graduates of the programme.- Read more on the Business Inside site

Wits confirms it’s a no-cannabis campus

The University of the Witwatersrand is sticking to its guns when it comes to cultivation and use of dagga at its campus. Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court upheld a ruling by the Western Cape High Court that the private use of dagga by adults is legal. “The ruling is not prescriptive and the university retains the right to regulate activities within its precincts. After a thorough consideration of the ruling by the university’s legal advisors, the university is confident that its rules need not be changed in light of this partial relaxation of the law pertaining to cannabis,” the institution said. “For the avoidance of doubt, no part of the precincts of the university may be considered ‘private’ or a ‘private place’ for purposes of the use, possession or cultivation of cannabis.”  – Read the article on the Citizen site

UCT student produces world’s first “pee brick’

University of Cape Town (UCT) civil engineering student Suzanne Lambert has developed a “bio-brick” that is grown from urine. Urine is collected in fertiliser-producing urinals to make a solid fertiliser and the remaining liquid is then used in the biological process to grow the bio-brick.

“The bio-bricks are created through a natural process called microbial carbonate precipitation. It’s not unlike the way seashells are formed,” said Dr Dyllon Randall, Lambert’s supervisor. While traditional brickmaking requires temperatures close to 1,400°C and produces carbon dioxide, the bio-brick is made at room temperature. An added benefit from the process is that 97% of the phosphorus present in the urine can be converted into calcium phosphate, the key ingredient in fertilisers used in farming worldwide. Randall said this example showed how you can take something that is considered a waste and make multiple products from it as well as changing how society views waste and the upcycling of that waste. – Read the story on the EWN site

Indian law university offers Harry Potter course

The National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata is offering something a bit different this December. A course entitled An Interface Between Fantasy Fiction Literature and Law: Special Focus on Rowling’s Potterverse. Students will be studying the enslavement of house elves, discrimination against werewolves and conditions inside Azkaban.

Those enrolled are “expected [to] have already read all the books at least twice, if not more,” said creator Shouvik Kumar Guha, an assistant professor. “Our students believe the discrimination voiced in the Potterverse is something they all agree is wrong. But in real life there will be things that some see as discrimination and which others do not.” The 40 spots on the course have already been filled. More than 500-million Harry Potter books have been sold worldwide and it is as wildly popular in India as elsewhere. – Read the article on The Guardian site