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- Volume 15, Issue 1, 2001
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 15, Issue 1, 2001
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Volume 15, Issue 1, 2001
Harold Wolpe Memorial lecture presented by Professor S Badat at the Biennial Conference of the South African Association for Research and Development in Higher Education, held at the Peninsula Technikon, July 1999 : editorialSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 5 –12 (2001)More Less
Extracted from text ... 5 Editorial Harold Wolpe Memorial lecture presented by Professor S Badat at the Biennial Conference of the South African Association for Research and Development in Higher Education, held at the Peninsula Technikon, July 1999 Thank you for the privilege of addressing this SAARDHE conference on the life and work of the late Professor Harold Wolpe. It is one that I undertake with the greatest of pleasure, given the significance of Harold Wolpe in my life and in intellectual production in South Africa. Two years ago when AnnMarie and Peta Wolpe brought me back from the United Kingdom to deliver the keynote address at the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust Inaugural Conference to an August gathering of some of ..
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 13 –24 (2001)More Less
Thirteen thinking styles of 223 first year students in the Arts (44%), Natural Sciences (44%) and Education (12%) faculties at Stellenbosch University were measured by means of the Sternberg Mental Self-government Thinking Styles Inventory. Responses were entered on a seven-point Lickert scale. Faculty, gender and language group and their combinations served as categorical variables. The range of the mean rating scores for the thinking styles positioned this group within the scales "somewhat well'' and "well''. The preferred thinking styles of this group are executive, legislative, hierarchic, internal and conservative styles. Significant differences were found for 16% of the comparisons. Faculty and language are differentiating factors in the preferences for thinking styles while gender is not. However, gender is a differentiating factor within faculties and the Afrikaans-speaking group. Possible implications of these styles for optimising learning and teaching at this university are highlighted.
Author A.P. CraigSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 25 –31 (2001)More Less
In this article, I want to capture the puzzlement about understanding that is properly part of thinking about education. Phrased differently, I want to suggest that thinking about curriculum development, in general, avoid the problem of understanding at the peril of not grasping what is central to learning (and teaching). More particularly, I want to show how questions about the specifics of education, ie what to include and how to structure and time this, demand that we confront the problem of understanding in its many guises. I present some of these images against the background of an analysis of the concepts ``educate'' and ``education'', and in terms of the cognitive, linguistic and socio-political consequences of a meeting between the familiar and the strange or alien.
Entrepreneurship development in South Africa : redefining the role of tertiary institutions in a reconfigured higher education systemAuthor T.A. DaviesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 32 –39 (2001)More Less
South Africa's capacity to absorb new recruits into the formal labour market has fallen from approximately 62% to less than 4% in three decades, compelling school leavers, graduates and the unemployed to look towards self employment for survival and sustenance. This article explores the role of tertiary institutions, particularly Technikons, in meeting the challenge of self employment as the option to unemployment. The institutional constraints within the current legislative framework are explored, and suggestions made for appropriate policy changes. The necessary attitudinal shifts required to facilitate a wider implementation of entrepreneurship support structures are also examined.
Accounting for change : the micropolitics of university restructuring : Part two : changing structures, contesting identitiesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 40 –46 (2001)More Less
This second article in a three-part series published in the South African Journal of Higher Education, describes the various ways in which "academic identity'' informed the politics and shaped the outcomes of "restructuring'' at the University of Durban Westville (UDW) in the late 1990s. The authors argue that while "restructuring'' appears to be a process concerned with organisational and programmatic changes within the university, the effects of such reorganisation is to challenge established identities. At UDW the restructuring process generate an intense micropolitics across the campus because it had the effect of recasting ethnic identities (the case of the Indian languages), disciplinary identities (the case of political science, philosophy, and public administration), and professional identities (the case of the engineering faculty). The authors conclude that without grasping the underlying shifts in identity that inevitably accompany restructuring, university leaders and administrators run the risk of alienating the very constituencies from which they seek "buy-in'' for radical change proposals. And without taking account of the politics of identity, attempts to theorise institutional change might falter by mistaking formal or superficial reorganisation for substantive or deep change.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 47 –53 (2001)More Less
Entrepreneurship is regarded as a way of thinking, reasoning and acting that is opportunity oriented, holistic in approach and leadership (Timmons 1999:27). Not enough people in South Africa have the orientation and skills to create new business. This study examines the role that entrepreneurship education plays in the career expectations of students. Although strong emphasis has been placed on entrepreneurship education in tertiary institutions since the early nineties, exposure to one course in entrepreneurship does not ensure entrepreneurial orientation or more positive expectations about entrepreneurial abilities and careers. It is important to teach young children to think entrepreneurially. The research results could be used as guideline for future entrepreneurship education courses. It emphasises the importance of entrepreneurship development in which the media, educational system, business people and parents can work together to promote entrepreneurial thinking. In this way future entrepreneurship education courses can contribute to more positive attitudes of students towards themselves, their careers and their future.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 54 –60 (2001)More Less
The article is a descriptive and illuminative account of two recognition of prior learning (RPL) projects conceived within specific institutional contexts in higher education in South Africa. The two projects are treated as separate case studies in which a ''developmental'' model of RPL was piloted. Each case study provides a profile of the students and programmes in the institution, the RPL practices which were developed, and the difficulties encountered in the process of articulating, assessing and accrediting students' prior learning. The article ends with some questions and tentative conclusions concerning the further development of RPL policy and practice in the field of educator development.
Author R. KillenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 61 –67 (2001)More Less
Do reflections on teaching practice experiences in a group change previously held interpretations? This article reports on an attempt to investigate effects of group learning. The investigation deals with an aspect of the entire meaning making process by University learners from a social constructivist perspective. It involved 107 teacher education students who jointly reflected on practice teaching experiences in a structured group work session. The teaching practice experiences were the vehicle for investigating the ways and the extent in which students were able to reconstruct their understandings in a group discussion. The preliminary findings indicate that changes in students' understanding (meaning reconstruction) did occur and the process of facilitated reflection and group discussions assisted these changes.
Historical legacies hold us captive Ð an analysis of curriculum changes at Vista University, South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 68 –76 (2001)More Less
This case study focuses on recent changes in teacher education curricula at Vista University, a multi-campus institution in South Africa. The University's responses to changes in the policy environment, with specific reference to programme structure and delivery, are documented. The data used in the study includes specific higher education and teacher education policy documents, programme proposals and university policies. In addition, interviews were conducted with members of staff on all Vista University campuses on how curriculum changes are experienced and how issues of teaching and learning are being addressed. Specific emphasis is placed on mathematics education programmes. Findings indicate that the pace of, and progress in curriculum change are more a function of beliefs and practices in teaching and learning, than of the space created by policy changes. Individual staff members related narratives of frustration about the technical discourse and requirements of the new teacher education policies. Data also shows the limited space allowed for a critical language of transformation.
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 77 –83 (2001)More Less
Educational transformation at South African universities invariably involves transforming the teaching and learning processes that occur at these institutions of higher knowledge production. This article is an attempt to show that transforming teaching and learning at universities cannot be exclusively related to an emphasis only on producing countless of policy documents without becoming serious about driving educational transformation from ``inside''. It is my contention that a reflexive praxis offers university academics the pedagogical space to transform their teaching and learning processes to respond to a future that cannot be imagined. By reflecting on a moment in my own praxis, I show how the idea of a reflexive praxis holds much promise for transformation in higher education with particular emphasis on teaching and learning.
Author C.M. FourieSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 84 –91 (2001)More Less
The use of student ratings of teaching effectiveness has become the most widely used, and often the only, source of information to assess and improve teaching effectiveness. Important prerequisites for questionnaires for student ratings should, therefore, be reliability and validity. The research reported in this article presents a methodology for developing a teaching effectiveness rating instrument, based on identified dimensions of teaching effectiveness believed to be important. Results obtained from 11 570 respondents of the RAU student rating questionnaire were factor analysed to an oblique simple structure. A first-order solution with four factors resulted: (1) Preparation of lectures; (2) Presentation of lectures; (3) Interaction with students during lectures; and (4) Assessment practices. One second-order factor was also found, representing General Teaching Effectiveness. The research results support the conclusion that the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) student rating questionnaire is a reliable and valid instrument to implement for formative teaching assessment.
Author N.S. GweleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 92 –99 (2001)More Less
The aim of the study was to examine students' reflections on their experiences in developing personal and academic development portfolios (PADPs) in a graduate programme aimed at preparing nurse teachers for teaching in community and problem-based learning programmes. Students were required to write critical reflections on their experiences while developing portfolios. Furthermore, students' reflective learning diaries were analysed for documented experiences regarding the components of the portfolio. The components of the PADP were an extended curriculum vitae, programme expectations, learning contracts and reflective learning diaries. Themes emerging from the students' narratives of their initial encounter with the PADP were confusion, and stress. Initially students were not impressed by the prospect of the portfolio. Its relevance in education was unclear. The students' overall accounts of their experiences in developing portfolios were on the whole positive. Students referred to the process as rewarding, exciting, pleasant, and empowering.
Are institutional combinations, mergers or amalgamation the answer? An investigation into staff perceptionsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 100 –108 (2001)More Less
Many higher and further education institutions in South Africa are struggling to survive in a context of financial stringency, declining student enrolments and increasing competition. For some of these institutions merging or amalgamation with other institutions in the near future is becoming a strong likelihood. The perceptions of staff who will be directly affected by these processes seem to be very important, as knowledge and understanding of those perceptions will empower decision-makers and ensure that effective management of the merging process can be accomplished. This investigation focused on staff perceptions of a possible merging of three institutions in the Free State Province, which had been identified for possible merging with other institutions. The results indicate that staff are not opposed to the idea of institutional combinations or merging, but that careful consideration needs to be given to particularly personal factors and that staff fears will have to be addressed in the process to ensure effective merging.
Entering the academy as "the other" ± about writing competence and the bridge to the discourse communitySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 109 –128 (2001)More Less
This article argues for an integrated perspective on academic writing, drawing on one primary and two other inquiries conducted with three cohorts of masters students in Education, and a conceptual framework that includes cultural linguistics, cognitive anthropology, social constructivism and `'new literacy'' studies. The sample for the main inquiry consisted of seven purposively selected students from historically Black segregated South African universities who had registered at the Rand Afrikaans University for the first time. The unit of analysis is activities and events at the interface of students' discourse competence and academic writing proficiency. The main interrogative is the role of English language proficiency, socialisation for membership of the academy, and the multiple literacies, comprising what can appear to be, simply, "academic writing'' competence. The findings resonate with the new literacies movement and with the integrated view of student writing models as conceived by Lea & Street, and also with the views about the development of social science concepts expressed by Lev Vygotsky more than seven decades ago. The conclusion of the inquiry is that students in this sample needed more than the average two years to complete their degrees, not only because they needed to acquire skills in the use of English and in academic writing, but also because they had to appropriate the ways of the academy and the eccentricities of the discourse, which together constitute multiple literacies. The significance of the inquiry is that it illustrates the complexities involved in becoming academically proficient, one of which is to gain earned membership of the discourse community by appropriating its conventions (including that of writing) in a personal way. One of the mechanisms that proved to be effective was the students' use of their primary language and early life experiences as anchor for understanding. Maybe I don't know what I will look like if I am a scholar. Maybe it will be that I will be someone else. (Student in masters programme)
Marking standards and the differential predictability of the first-year university performance of different demographic groupsAuthor G.K. HuysamenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 129 –137 (2001)More Less
This study investigates the differential validity and differential prediction of the first-year university marks of two cohorts of students from historically white (HWS) and historically black high schools (HBS) with matriculation marks being the predictor. In agreement with results obtained elsewhere, a common regression line developed for the entire group underpredicted the university marks of HWS women and of HWS students as a group, and overpredicted that of HWS men and of HBS students as a group. To adjust for differences in marking standards, a procedure proposed by Elliott and Strenta (1988) was used. Because HWS women and HBS students as a group tended to prevail in leniently marked courses, as opposed to HWS men who tended to predominate in strictly marked courses, such adjustments reduced the over- and underpredictions for HWS men and women, respectively, but also increased the overpredictions for the 1996 HBS women and for the 1999 HBS men. For all groups, the correlation between matriculation marks and university marks were slightly higher following such adjustments. The effectiveness of the adjustment procedure was impeded by the very small number of students who took courses in more than one faculty.
The effect of video supplemental instruction on the academic performance in mathematics of disadvantaged studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 138 –146 (2001)More Less
This article examines the effect of Video-based Supplemental Instruction on the performance in Mathematics of students whose matric marks did not enable them to be directly admitted to the Science Faculty at the University of Port Elizabeth. Fifteen students who received Video-based Supplemental Instruction in Mathematics were matched with 14 students who received adapted lecturing directed at students at this level. The two groups were then compared in terms of their pass rates and mathematics performance in a Mathematics Special first semester course. The Video-based Supplemental Instruction students' first semester performance was also compared to their performance in a Mathematics pre-test at the beginning of the course to assess their progress. The progress of some Video-based Supplemental Instruction students was satisfactory. The comparison between the Video-based Supplemental Instruction and lectured students indicates the possible usefulness of this programme in areas where access to education is limited. The students who will probably benefit most from this intervention, are students with a minimum level of pre-knowledge in Mathematics and who study in a consistent and responsible manner.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 147 –153 (2001)More Less
In this retrospective analysis of 140 third-year Psychology students, their academic performance was analysed in relation to their performance in the previous two years and, in particular, on a tutorial-based foundation programme in the first semester of their first-year. The results indicate that performance in third-year is not simply a function of initial competence levels. Very different profiles are obtained for students who pass and fail in the third-year, especially for the students in the initial low academic competence group. Students who perform well in third-year had tended to improve their performance on the first-year tutorial foundation programme whereas the performance of those who fail in third-year had declined over the course of the foundation programme.
Author D. RuthSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 154 –170 (2001)More Less
This article discusses the views of selected Heads of Departments at the University of the North, based on interviews conducted to explore their perceptions of research and teaching and link between the two. It was found that there were sharply divergent views on what constitutes research and teaching and different views on how the two are linked. There also appear to be conflicting views on what is available and what is required to support an effective teaching and research environment. Research was more highly rated as an academic activity It appears that many of the problems involved in developing a coherent teaching and research policy, as well as many of the problems in curriculum development, assessment, evaluation and academic recognition, which appear to be practical problems, are traceable to fundamentally different conceptions of knowledge that underlay teaching and research practices. It would also seem that academics find enquiries into their teaching and research quite threatening. It is suggested that the most effective way for the a university to improve its teaching and research practice would be to insist that departments are able to publically articulate the rationale for their practices. The University of the North due to its intrinsic nature, and projected against the background of its inauguration (both political and socio-economic), has in its early evolutionary development concentrated mainly on the function of raining for first degree and diploma qualifications. This resulted in serious neglect of the functions of research, curriculum vitae development of staff members and senior post-graduate training. This unhealthy situation was realized as early as 1975 [in] the Jackson Commission on the Africanization of the University of the North. Document on Research Strategy and Policy of the University of the North (UNIN 1994)
Cognitive ability, learning potential, and personality traits as predictors of academic achievement by engineering and other science and technology studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 171 –179 (2001)More Less
The aim of this study was to evaluate a battery of tests to be used as part of the process of selecting students for engineering and other science and technology courses at a tertiary institution. The predictor variables included Grade 12 results for Science, English and Mathematics, the General Scholastic Aptitude Test Senior, the Senior Aptitude Test and the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire, South African 1992 version. The Learning Potential Computerised Adaptive Test (LPCAT) developed with disadvantaged students in mind, was also included. The average performance for first-year subjects at technikon was used as the criterion variable. Results indicated that school achievement was the best predictor while the GSAT Verbal Scale contributed more than the other psychometric tests to the variance in academic achievement. However, English proficiency seemed to influence performance on both predictor and criterion variables, and some recommendations are made with regard to the importance of enhancing language proficiency when teaching in a multi-cultural context.
Author E. Van RooyenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 15, pp 180 –189 (2001)More Less
This article attempted to predict the academic achievement of 452 educationally disadvantaged students who completed the Career Preparation Programme (CPP) at the University of the Orange Free State during 1998. The mean percentage mark obtained during the bridging year (the bridging year mean) and the mean percentage mark computed for the combination of the bridging year and first year at university (the combined mean) served as criteria in separate multiple regression analyses. The predictor variables consisted of various cognitive and biographical variables. English as home language, obtaining a bursary and residing in a hostel, were predictive of significantly higher bridging year means and combined means than were other home languages, the absence of a bursary and residing elsewhere. Together the biographical variables accounted for 30,49% and 27,74% of the variance in the bridging year mean and the combined mean, respectively. All cognitive variables, however, could together only account for 4,44% and 6,51% of the corresponding means, respectively. The only cognitive variable that significantly predicted the bridging year mean was students' matriculation marks.