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- Volume 2, Issue 1, 2014
Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) - Volume 2, Issue 1, 2014
Volume 2, Issue 1, 2014
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp i –iv (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.30More Less
As was the case with the papers in our first edition, the papers in this second edition of Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning place criticality at the heart of their arguments, making for an interesting set of complex arguments about a range of conceptual issues in higher education teaching and learning.
Author Lis LangeSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp 1 –24 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.24More Less
The article argues that since the early days of the democratic transition in South Africa 'transformation' as a concept has lost its intellectual, political and moral content through becoming institutionalised. In order to undo the institutionalisation of transformation, it is necessary to explore its relationship to two types of knowledge: knowledge for transformation and knowledge of transformation. The paper argues that transformation at higher education institutions needs to be seen in the interface between knowledge for and knowledge of transformation.
Author David GoslingSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp 25 –48 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.18More Less
This paper seeks to explore some persistent issues which impact on externally funded teaching and learning projects. The discussion considers these issues using the lens of 'heterotopias', a concept introduced by Michel Foucault. Utilising insights from Foucault's suggestive comments about 'heterotopias', the paper investigates the conceptual location of projects within different kinds of real, social and imagined space. The discussion draws on research data collected from leading participants in a longitudinal study of a sample of Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) in the UK. These were teaching and learning projects funded over a five year period from 2005 to 2010 by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Within the research sample of CETLs it is argued that examples can be found of projects which were, in Foucault's terms, 'enacted utopias', 'crisis heterotopias', 'heterotopias of deviation', 'spaces of illusion' and 'heterotopias of compensation'. The implications for teaching and learning projects are considered in the context of continuing government funding for teaching and learning projects as a means to achieve change in higher education. Using evidence from a sample of CETLs, it is argued that projects can become 'enacted utopias' - that is a short term actings out of a particular vision of teaching in universities that is disconnected from the mainstream reality of academic life. Projects become an 'illusion' that disappears when funding ends and the pre-existing academic culture continues mostly untouched by the activities within the project. Projects are designed to compensate for long-standing inadequacies but, because of their short-term funding and semi-autonomous status, they are typically not in a position to effect long term reform.
Author Brenda LeibowitzSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp 49 –73 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.27More Less
The article reports on an investigation into constraining and enabling conditions for professional academic development with regard to the teaching role at eight South African universities. The data comprised transcripts of interviews with 10 - 16 academics across a range of levels of seniority, demographic categories and disciplines at each institution. The findings suggest that organisational climate and access to infrastructure and resources are more significant than the literature on professional development to date has implied, especially for institutions in resource-constrained environments. The analysis supports the view that critical realism helps to bridge the psychological/individual and socio-cultural approaches and points to the need for further research on individual properties such as sense of agency. From a methodological point of view the study affirms the need for multi-site investigations, which analyse phenomena occurring across a range of socio-political contexts.
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp 74 –95 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.19More Less
In multidisciplinary technology-based engineering diploma programmes in South Africa, the curriculum is often structured into distinctly theoretical and practical components, each of which is taught and assessed at different stages by different disciplinary or technical specialists. This separation does not necessarily reflect the complexity of such emerging regions, nor allow for the opportunity to assess multidisciplinary competence relevant to real world practice. Although the Exit Level Outcomes, endorsed by the Engineering Council of South Africa, are intended to provide a holistic framework of achievement in engineering qualifications, it is evident that these outcomes mean different things to the various stakeholders involved in curriculum design, delivery and evaluation. The moment of final academic assessment presents a number of challenges. Who is in a position to assess whether or not a candidate has successfully demonstrated the required level of competence? Legitimation Code Theory, a multi-dimensional conceptual framework for the analysis of knowledge practices and their bases of legitimacy, offers a lens through which to consider the relationship between the epistemic and social aspects of the assessment of complex performance. This paper presents the analysis of a single engineering assessment case study in which the knowledge and knower values that emerged among a group of assessors are interrogated. The findings suggest that in the absence of specific epistemic expertise, the default assessment position relies on knower attributes. This may have implications for the assumption in science-based professions that what you know matters more than who you are.
'Like playing with fire under a hut' - you will get burnt if you do not adjust : reflections of social work students on adjusting to university lifeSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2, pp 96 –119 (2014) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v2i1.25More Less
High dropout rates in first year and the enculturation into the academic literacies essential in promoting a successful academic adjustment are some of the challenges faced by many students when entering a higher education institution. The study aimed to understand some of the factors that contribute to student adjustment as social work students negotiate the higher education landscape from first to second year. The study explored the views of twelve first-year and seven second-year students utilising a qualitative research design where purposive sampling was used to recruit two focus groups. The results revealed that what both sets of students recognised as beneficial to their academic adjustment were the familiarisation of context, the use of effective time management skills, and positive attitudes. However, university-driven interventions aiming at assisting first year social work students with their academic life, such as the First Year Experience (FYE), were identified as too generic and not able to meet the unique needs of the participants. Recommendations emanating from the study included the development of discipline-specific academic development programmes that encourage social and academic adjustment. Additionally, collaboration between students within professional disciplines and the use of technology-enhanced learning could facilitate student adjustment.