The Science is Tough (But So Are You) open textbook initiative is led by Associate Professor Dale Taylor and PhD student Mohammed Kajee in the Faculty of Science at the University of Cape Town in collaboration with DOT4D.  

The textbook development process is focused on engaging a variety of student collaborators to create a resource that supports first-year BSc students in navigating the UCT experience for the first time.  

The aim is for the book to replace the Mind for Numbers book, which is currently given to first-year BSc students in orientation week in order to help them gain a deeper understanding of how the brain works and how learners learn. While valuable as a reference, Mind for Numbers, which was published in 2014, is expensive and lacks appropriate local context and examples. It also does not cater to the specifics of the first-year UCT experience.   

Science is Tough guides students on a year-long journey on ‘how to learn science’ through an African lens and is part of the Science Faculty’s ongoing curriculum review efforts.   

The thematic areas of the textbook include student belonging, decolonising science, thriving at UCT, learning to learn, and exploring a future in science.  

The Science is Tough open textbook initiative is explicitly designed to enable collaborative, student-centered approaches to authorship, quality assurance and publishing.