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- Volume 3, Issue 1, 2015
Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) - Volume 3, Issue 1, 2015
Volume 3, Issue 1, 2015
Author Moragh PaxtonSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp i –iii (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.44More Less
With this issue CRiSTaL moves into its third year of publication and over the past two years we have been delighted to see increases in readership around the world. CriSTaL is now read in over 70 countries worldwide. This reflects a growing interest in the more critical studies of teaching and learning on a global scale. Running through so much of the writing on higher education is a concern with language and literacy, particularly student writing, which is understandable as students' written texts continue to comprise the main form of assessment in higher education. In this issue language and literacy is more than simply a thread running through but rather it takes centre stage in two of the articles. Therefore, it seems an appropriate spotlight for this editorial.
Source: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 1 –20 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.37More Less
Postgraduate studies in business faculties pose particular challenges to candidates who have come from practically-oriented undergraduate programmes, particularly those that adopt a 'technical-rational' approach towards the improvement of business practices or organisational efficiency. Research studies in the applied business fields usually expect that the candidate will take a more sociological approach, or be able to work within socio-historical or political frameworks (Hordern, 2014). Candidates who are enrolled for postgraduate business studies have to negotiate this complex transition. The focus of this paper is how candidates acquire the necessary academic and social practices for theorising their research, for conducting research activities and writing up their research findings in Masters level applied business studies. We selected candidates who had experienced difficulties throughout their Masters studies and who had successfully completed, or who were close to completion, despite initial difficulty for narrative interviews. The interview data were analysed with a view to establishing the practices that supported successful transition from practice-based undergraduate business degrees to postgraduate studies in the field. This paper concludes with suggestions for supervisory practices that have the potential to support successful postgraduate research in applied business studies.
The value of understanding students' prior writing experience in teaching undergraduate science writingAuthor Jumani ClarkeSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 21 –43 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.32More Less
How should undergraduate science students' writing be understood when it does not meet the conventions of scientific writing? Studies have shown that the writing that students produce in their course work on tasks that imitate authentic scientific writing practices often do not match the tone, vocabulary and grammatical choices made by professional scientists. However, from the perspective of looking at the students' word and grammar choices alone, it is not easy to understand why students make their particular and varied word and grammar choices and how those choices can be related to their understanding of the goals and discourses that are typical of science practices. Studying the writing of four first year earth and geographical sciences students on a science faculty's alternative access program, from an assignment in a course that introduced them to the research article, it seems that the students persist with the social purposes of their various school writing practices in attempting their new university writing tasks. It is this variety in the social purposes of the writing that the students continue to draw on in university that can explain some of the ways in which student writing does not meet even the broadest writing conventions of the discourses of science. Yet it seems that some of the social purposes and the related writing practices of some students can help them transition their writing more easily into a form that has the usual characteristics of a typical science genre. Therefore, understanding the social purposes that students bring with them can be crucial to successfully introducing them to the discourses of science and showing them how the social purposes of scientific practice can be served in a genre such as the research article.
Presence and absence : looking for teaching and teaching development in the website of a 'research-led' South African universitySource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 44 –60 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.41More Less
This article arises out of a broader study into the contextual influences on the professional development of academics as teachers in higher education in South Africa. Using Fairclough's critical discourse analysis we examine the website of a 'research-led' South African university. We examine the choices made in the use of website space and the presence and absence of texts which refer to teaching or the development of teaching. We compare these choices with those made about portraying other aspects of the university's self-described mission on the website as a proxy for the valuing of teaching. We recognise that marketing spaces cannot be seen to equate to the commitment of institutions, departments or individual academics, but our concern in this project was to understand what publicly accessible claims the university makes about teaching, and whether such claims are borne out by its own self-description. With regard to teaching we found that absences are more frequent than presences, especially in comparison with the way other 'core functions' of the university are presented. Taken together it is difficult to find support for the rhetoric of the valuing of teaching that is conveyed in the university's self-description. We suggest that this lack of valuing of teaching may have an effect on the choices academics make in responding to calls to invest time in developing their teaching.
Flexible learning and teaching : looking beyond the binary of full-time/part-time provision in South African higher educationAuthor Barbara JonesSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 61 –84 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.29More Less
This paper engages with literature on flexible learning and teaching in order to explore whether it may be possible, within the South African context, to have flexible learning and teaching provide a third way which goes beyond the current practice of full-time/part-time provision. This binary classification of students is a proxy for day-time/after-hours delivery. The argument is made that effective, flexible learning and teaching requires a fundamental shift in thinking about learning and teaching in higher education that moves us beyond such binaries. The paper proposes that in order to ensure access and success for students, 'common knowledge' (Edwards, 2010) will need to be co-constructed which understands flexible learning and teaching in ways which will meet needs of a diversity of students, including working students. It will require 'resourceful leadership' (Edwards, 2014) within the university that recognises, enhances and gives purpose to the capability of colleagues at every level of the systems they lead. Also, it will require the building of 'common knowledge' between certain sectors of universities and particular workplaces.
Researching Student Learning in Higher Education. A Social Realist Approach, J.M. Case : book reviewAuthor Sherran ClarenceSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 85 –88 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.45More Less
Higher education systems around the world are complex, multi-layered beasts, increasingly influenced, particularly in the Western, Anglophone world, by discourses of efficiency, managerialism, and the 'knowledge economy'. Universities and colleges are increasingly called upon to produce work-ready and able graduates, and industry writ large often bemoans the lack of 'skills' and 'knowledge' on the part of graduates, turning back to universities to ask for more 'responsive' curricula and teaching approaches. From the top down, and the bottom up, university managers, lecturers, administrators and students are grappling with the complexities of, on the one hand, students gaining access to a university (and ensuring the access to the means to stay there long enough to graduate), and on the other hand, ensuring the successful graduation (and employment) of those students.
Activity Theory, Authentic Learning and Emerging Technologies: Towards a Transformative Higher Education Pedagogy, Bozalek, V., Ng'ambi, D., Wood, D., Herrington, J., Hardman, J. & Amory, A. (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor Antoinette Van der MerweSource: Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 3, pp 89 –93 (2015) http://dx.doi.org/10.14426/cristal.v3i1.46More Less
With so many financial and human resources invested in the increased use of learning technologies in higher education institutions, this edited collection is a very important publication in that it focuses on the potential transformative effect of emerging technologies on learning and teaching practices in higher education. This transformative effect has largely been unexplored in a systematic way and the potential transformative effect is often only described by means of anecdotes or in a hyped-up way, without any supporting theoretical frameworks. Furthermore, with emerging technologies there often is a tendency to focus on the trends and issues (Reiser & Dempsey, 2011), strategies for managing technology in higher education (Bates & Sangra, 2011) or models for implementation (Beetham & Sharpe, 2013; Reigeluth, 2013), sometimes with a very specific focus on just one case study utilising an emerging technology such as Web 2.0 (Bennett et al., 2012). Without taking away from the important contribution of all of these types of publications, this edited collection moves beyond mere description and addresses an important, unexplored aspect of emerging technologies, namely the relationship between their use and the potential transformative effect on higher education.