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- Volume 18, Issue 2, 2004
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 18, Issue 2, 2004
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Volume 18, Issue 2, 2004
Cooperative learning at Port Elizabeth Technikon : student attitudes and mathematics scores : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 313 –321 (2004)More Less
The pre-technician course at the Port Elizabeth Technikon (PET) is an intervention programme designed to address the needs of under-prepared and/or historically disadvantaged students seeking to pursue careers in science or engineering. This study investigates whether the mathematics test results of pre-technician students who have been exposed to a cooperative learning strategy are any different to those of students who are exposed to standard strategies, and whether the strategy had any effect on the attitudes of the students participating in the intervention. Firstyear electrical and civil engineering students formed the control group of 51 students, with whom traditional instructional methods were adopted. The pretechnician group, consisting of 23 students, was exposed to the cooperative learning intervention for a period of three weeks. Statistical analyses of the pre-test and post-test data showed a statistically significant improvement in test results. Data generated by a questionnaire designed to ascertain the students' attitudes and feelings in terms of the cooperative learning strategy indicate that students in the pre-technician group also experienced non-cognitive gains in terms of enhanced ability to operate in multiracial and multicultural group environments.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 322 –335 (2004)More Less
The problem that prompted this research was that some students under-performed in tests and examinations in relation to peers who were apparently academically less well prepared for higher education. The Assist questionnaire was used to determine the natural learning approaches of two groups of first- and second-year students. Examination papers of two departments were analysed and questions were classified according to Bloom's Taxonomy. The performance scores on these papers of the two student groups were compared. The final conclusion was that although assessment is only one of several factors influencing student performance, it plays an important role in determining the quality of student learning. Therefore, the nature of assessment should be such that it not only measures performance on all cognitive levels, but that it also challenges those students who have the ability to excel, else they will under-achieve.
Teaching and technology : the traits and attitudes of highly rated lecturers : research in higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 336 –345 (2004)More Less
The emergence of Information and Communications Technology in education, which includes online learning, leads to a 'technological imperative' for institutions of higher learning. A barrier to the successful adoption of online learning is the willingness of lecturers to utilise such technology for learning. In this article we examine a purposive sample of highly rated lecturers' teaching practice in order to isolate their desirable teaching traits. They appear to perpetuate traditional face-toface teaching, and some may resist the use of technology in their teaching. These lecturers claim that their teaching practice is successful, and that there is no need to invest in alternative approaches. A contributing factor to this reluctance is their lack of technological knowledge and skills. We hold the position that lecturers' teaching may improve by embracing online learning. The traits that make them successful lecturers may be easily converted to online teaching traits.
Author R. NicolsonSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 346 –358 (2004)More Less
Multicampus systems are widespread in the American higher education scene, where 80 percent of students study in multicampus institutions. They are increasingly becoming a factor in universities worldwide. The incorporation of teacher training colleges into universities, and now the current trend towards mergers, means that they will become a major feature in South African higher education too. A recent study of the American multicampus systems suggests that the hopes that multicampus systems would deliver more coherent and rational planning did not always materialise. A major reason is that in multicampus systems there seems to have been little will to rationalise resources between campuses. At the same time, the loss of a clear identity and voice for the local campus has meant that the ambitions and goals of local campuses have sometimes been stifled. The local campuses sometimes became discouraged and demoralised. The question is whether a management system can be developed which will tend to both of these opposites.
An integrated mentoring strategy for service learning in higher education : the practice of higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 359 –370 (2004)More Less
Higher education in South Africa, in general, has been charged with the lack of clear strategy and commitment to relevant teaching and research that is grounded in experiential and emancipatory approaches to learning, especially given the dearth of institutional responsiveness to social responsibility. The result is that students have not been sufficiently prepared as graduates to meet the demands of socially responsible citizenship. As a pedagogy, service learning aims to link higher education institutional curricular work to communities and in such a way become responsive in terms of teaching, learning and research which seek to engage the realities and needs of local communities. In this process students and institutions themselves become beneficiaries of this engagement. Against the backdrop of the broader political and social transformation and that of education in particular, most institutions of higher education seem not to be able to respond to the requirements of the National Higher Education Plan in terms of implementing programmes which are in line with the criteria of responsiveness and relevance in their teaching and research. Whilst introducing service learning into their curricular approach may in itself be radical or strange for some institutions, its actual incorporation into their programmes may require very strategic mentoring processes for its adoption and practical rolling out of plans to succeed. This article advocates that mentoring, whatever the local context, is neither the exclusive prerogative nor the exclusive function of the teaching staff. The article argues that, to be effective, mentoring processes should be integrated into the broader domain of student learning and development and will of necessity take on many different hues, shapes and purposes in terms of student and community needs on the one hand and the demands of institutional and academic programmes on the other. With regard to those academic disciplines which seek to introduce service learning into their teaching and research programmes, this article advocates and explores an integrated mentor scheme which ought to meet the personal, academic and future professional needs of students. Instead of focusing on a limited notion in the selection of mentoring strategies for vulnerable students only, the authors argue towards the need for developing a thorough understanding of the nature and purpose of the learning context and its incumbent relationships in which the student, institution and the community creatively develop and, as a result, re-invent themselves to optimise their capital and ongoing growth.
Author Louis Van NiekerkSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 18, pp 371 –374 (2004)More Less