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- Volume 21, Issue 1, 2007
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 21, Issue 1, 2007
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Volume 21, Issue 1, 2007
Author D.D. PrattSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 705 –718 (2007)More Less
In this account a model of communicative functions is used in an attempt to clarify the nature of mixed mode learning delivery. Formulated in research on communication in written mode, the model can be seen to offer insights into the nature of hypermedia communication, as well as helping to identify some key features of effective mixed mode course design. The model also suggests that blended learning should be viewed as a multiplicity of combinations rather than 'middle ground' in a continuum of wholesale adoption or rejection of ICT. The tentative hypotheses outlined in this paper are illustrated with reference to doctoral research on communication in written mode and reflective monitoring of mixed mode courses run at the Durban University of Technology from 2002-2006.
Author L.G. KamanjaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 719 –729 (2007)More Less
Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have for long been celebrated as the solution to access in education. New innovations like the internet and mobile technologies provide a great opportunity for mass delivery of education information especially in Africa where governments and institutions are struggling to equip the people with much needed skills for development.
The African ministers of education attending the Regional conference on Education for All by 2015 in Johannesburg in 1999, in advocating the adoption of technologies recommended that 'new, appropriate and cost-effective technologies shall be adopted, to complement the integration of indigenous educational methodologies' (Unesco 2001).
This paper explores the extent to which blending of various ICTs has been successfully used to enhance and supplement learning in a distance learning institution. The paper also examines the constraints that individual learners in Africa face as a result of lack of technological resources and the constraints faced by the institutions of higher learning. It is the author's contention that blending of ICTs is essential in the delivery of education and can go a long way in supplementing and enhancing the lecturers work.
If we build it will they come? Investigating the relationship between students' access to and use of ICTs for learningSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 730 –745 (2007)More Less
Research from a survey of students in higher education institutions in the Western Cape has demonstrated that despite the difficulties being experienced in terms of access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in higher education, students report that they do indeed use computers for their learning.
In this paper we explore the relationship between access and use examining particularly the influence of context on use. We focus on those specific aspects of access where previous studies have highlighted a link between access and use, namely; home computer access, individuals' interest in and aptitude with using computers, and support within social networks.
Although the research findings do reveal quite obviously that students with poor access do make less use of ICTs for learning, this forms only part of the picture. High access does not guarantee high use: differentiation in use is noted amongst students from different socio-economic groups for example. There are also students with low access who exercise their agency in constraining conditions, and make frequent use of ICTs for learning, particularly in the business and engineering disciplines.
The findings reported in this paper suggest that the notion of the digital divide is simplistic and less useful than previously thought; rather indications are that amongst higher education students there is a usage divide, and digital differentiation is a more useful framing concept.
Author R.N. BeyersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 746 –758 (2007)More Less
The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that two schools which were geographically separated could be digitally included using broadband radio connections, interactive whiteboards and other technologies to enable virtual interactive and collaborative lessons. The project was established to overcome a transport problem of bussing learners from Mamelodi to St Alban's College in the Tshwane area as part of an outreach project for them to receive supplementary tuition. The most significant finding was that the results of Grade 10 Science learners in a remote school improved over time.
Computers in schools : implementing for sustainability. Why the truth is rarely pure and never simpleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 759 –780 (2007)More Less
This study investigates influences on the sustainability of a computers-in-schools project during the implementation phase thereof. The Computer Assisted Learning in Schools (CALIS) Project (1992-1996) is the unit of analysis. A qualitative case study research design is used to elicit data, in the form of participant narratives, from people who were involved in the regional management of the Project, as well as teachers who implemented the Project in their classrooms. These narratives are then analysed from a postmodern perspective (Kvale 1996). The analysis reveals personal, programmatic, physical and systemic influences on the Project. These influences can be identified on all structural levels of the education system (Mooij and Smeets 2001). Furthermore, metaphoric patterning across narratives is analyzed in terms of implicatures, postulated by Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995). Analysis of the data provides evidence in support of Fullan's (2005) definition of sustainability as a quality of dynamic, complex systems. Personal, programmatic, physical and systemic influences on the Project are found to be interrelated on, and across, structural levels of the system. In addition, influences are dynamically related to the changing Project in particular host environments (Cavallo 2004). The resulting ecological or viral growth is characteristic of complex systems, where further development is indeterminate. Finally, suggestions are made regarding the possible implications of these findings for the development of a framework for the sustainable implementation of ICT- enabled educational projects.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 781 –802 (2007)More Less
NADEOSA held its 10th anniversary conference during August 2006 on the theme 'Celebrating 10 years of NADEOSA. Exploring the role of ICTs in addressing educational needs: Identifying the myths and miracles'. To conclude the past decade, the conference planning committee decided that the following thematic tracks adequately supported the conference theme.
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1010 –1019 (2007)More Less
Author A. HolbrookSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1020 –1041 (2007)More Less
This article explores two themes, the first is what examiners look for when judging a doctoral thesis or dissertation, the second is what constitutes an acceptable 'level' of doctoral scholarship. The focus of the analysis will be the literature review, chosen because it is in the presentation and use of the literature that scholarliness will be evident. The article draws together for the first time the findings of two large independent research studies on the doctorate that took place around the same time, one in the USA, the other in Australia. The aim of both studies was to make the expectations for the dissertation more transparent to graduate students. What academics expect of the literature component of the dissertation is examined in relation to 'coverage' and 'use'. The findings indicate that examiners have more modest expectations of a thesis than those generally implied in the notion of academic scholarship.
Author S. BourkeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1042 –1053 (2007)More Less
The Ph.D. is clearly the pinnacle of formal education qualifications internationally, representing excellence and attracting resources and prestige to universities. In Australia, normally the only assessment of a Ph.D. is the reports on the thesis by two or three external examiners. The examiners effectively set Ph.D. standards. This study provides empirical information on doctoral assessment. From 2121 examiner reports on 804 theses across all discipline areas at eight Australian universities, discipline and other differences, and thesis quality are discussed. What examiners comment on, and therefore presumably value, should be of considerable use to candidates and supervisors in meeting examiner expectations. Because examiner recommendations are intended for another specific purpose, there are problems in identifying thesis quality directly from them, except in distinguishing between the best and the marginal theses. However, more fine-grained distinctions between theses would seem to be possible from a detailed examination of the written comments.
Author H. RoebkenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1054 –1066 (2007)More Less
In many European higher education systems, doctoral education is considered a rather unsystematic educational path. The candidate does not participate in course programmes nor is the Ph.D. candidate selected or evaluated according to any common standards. Since the 1990s, this unstructured approach to doctoral education has come under increasing scrutiny from politicians, scientists and has been the subject of public debate. Central issues include the employability of doctoral students and the lack of quality assurance and proper supervision. A considerable number of European higher education systems, including the German, are therefore shifting their doctoral education to a more structured approach. However, there is little consensus on just how much structure is necessary. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the tensions in the reform debate on doctoral education in Germany and to provide suggestions for how to cope with the conflicting pressures and demands.
Author R. MurraySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1067 –1077 (2007)More Less
Academic writing is a complex process in which a range of elements are at work. This article is an attempt to tease out the elements of this complexity: it suggests that rhetorical, social, behavioural and psychological elements are involved in academic writing. In addition, this article proposes that these elements can be combined in a model called incremental writing. Implementations of this model in writing programmes, run in different educational cultures, and evaluations of this approach in three research projects, suggest that it can have benefit for developing writers. It has been shown to help writers engage with the complexity of writing and develop productive writing practices. The incremental model has relevance for thesis writers, for those who supervise them and for professionals facing the imperative to write for publication.
Author J. MoutonSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1078 –1090 (2007)More Less
The article interrogates some of the current views and myths around the so-called 'inefficiency' of the management of postgraduate studies in South Africa. In this regard data are presented on recent trends in postgraduate completion rates at the doctoral level; as well as on comparative data on throughput rates. I argue that the current discourse in South African higher education is obsessed with concerns of efficiency rather than effectiveness and quality. In this process, we focus too much on managerial and administrative solutions rather than on the challenges posed by academically underprepared postgraduate students.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1091 –1102 (2007)More Less
The purpose of this article is to describe and discuss the role of support services in doctoral studies in an art university. The special question for art and design universities is the role of the supervisor when the dissertation contains art or design productions or projects. Two supervisors are usually appointed, one holding a doctorate and another being highly qualified in the artistic field. The required dialogical and analytical relation between the written thesis and the productions is sometimes difficult to solve, and the definition of these key words has given rise to much debate. Likewise the question of practice-led research has provoked intense discussion. At its best a doctoral thesis containing experimental projects would succeed in finding new ways to analyse the affiliation between art, science and technology. From the supervisors, this type of approach requires not only a knowledge of the subject of the research, but also a creative mind and an ability to understand the artist's or designer's methods and approaches.
Author J.H.F. MeyerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1103 –1116 (2007)More Less
In contrast to the voluminous literature on undergraduate student learning there are relatively few studies that have set out to explore variation in postgraduate students engagement with research. The analogy is that research engagement represents a process of postgraduate learning, of comparable multivariate complexity to that of undergraduate learning, that explains variation in learning outcomes. In modelling terms, the conjecture is that there are multivariate sources of explanatory variation that shape the quality of learning outcomes. The research question is whether there is such variation, and whether it is amenable to statistical modelling. Based on the analogy between undergraduate and postgraduate learning, a simple prior knowledge and process core model of postgraduate learning is posited. Empirical findings from a number of studies that have reported variation in students' conceptions of research are used to explore some postulated properties of the undifferentiated core model and confirm its sensitivity to various response contexts. These implications of these findings are discussed in relation to research training and supervision.
Using 'currere' to re-conceptualise and understand best practices for effective research supervisionAuthor R. NsibandeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1117 –1125 (2007)More Less
The article explores a way that could be used to facilitate re-conceptualisation of what is essential to doing research supervision work. It highlights the need to deal with the problematic nature of past supervision experiences and the extent to which they impact on the way students are supervised. It argues that acquiring knowledge and understanding of best practice in supervision requires supervisors to embark on a 'currere' that will encourage them to investigate the nature of their experience of research supervision. This autobiographical method is emphasised as a means to in depth reflection which would subsequently lead to professional development in the area of supervision. The article suggests using currere as a means to expose and critique the influence and assumptions that underlie orientation to the concept of supervision in order to forge new understanding that will guide practice.
Author M.A.J. OlivierSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1126 –1141 (2007)More Less
The purpose of this article is to articulate my systematic and critical reflection on my supervision of postgraduate students and the changed actions that I adopted, based on my self-reflection, in an attempt to improve the quality of my supervision practice and scholarship. The frustrations I often experienced over my years of supervision of Masters and Doctoral students, infused in me a desire for better practices. The significance of an improved supervision practice lays in my elicited critical awareness of my own supervision practice, a positive relationship with my postgraduate students, mutual professional growth and scholarship, as well as the emancipation of postgraduate students.
Postgraduate supervision: the role of the (language) editor : Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Juvenal, Satire 6, 346-348)Author E.S. Van AswegenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1142 –1154 (2007)More Less
The article emanates from the author's current position at a university of technology, where she conducts workshops on research writing. She also has wide experience as a freelance academic editor. The article is therefore largely empirical, in the sense of being guided by practical experience and observation, rather than a theoretical discourse.
While touching briefly on the requirements for research writing, the article highlights deficiencies of postgraduate students in respect of research writing, bibliographic citation and compilation, as well as delineating the role and responsibility of the supervisor in the writing process.
The ethics of editorial intervention, particularly in the case of theses and dissertations, are also noted.
Finally, the author's modus operandi in editing academic texts provides some guidance in respect of the technicalities of research writing. The article concludes with recommendations for improving the writing skills of ill-prepared students.
Managing the student-supervisor relationship for successful postgraduate supervision : a sociological perspectiveAuthor F. HodzaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1155 –1165 (2007)More Less
Supervision is an intensive, interpersonally focused one-to-one relationship between the supervisor and the student. In this process, the supervisor is designated to facilitate the student's academic development. This article will address supervision as a complex process that is influenced by many factors, including the social setting, the personalities of the supervisor and the student, the relationship that develops between them, the expertise of the supervisor, and so on. Patterns of thinking that have influenced supervision will be discussed, while an interactionist framework to project possible strategies concerning the importance of relationship skills in supervision will be highlighted. The article's thrust will be to highlight the social nature of the interaction between supervisor and student. This entails recognizing that as a social process, interaction is as much subject to limits imposed by the structural parameters within which supervision occurs as it, in turn, shapes them. In other words, whilst the interaction between supervisor and student allows a considerable degree of free expression, it is enacted within a wider context of institutional power which itself is continuously modified by that interaction. These arguments are based on the findings from a study that I carried out in the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance of Africa University in July 2006. A qualitative research design was employed to establish how to manage the student-supervisor relationship for successful post-graduate supervision. The study revealed that supervision is a complex social encounter which involves two or more parties with both converging and diverging interests. Therefore, balancing these interests is very crucial to the successful supervision of post-graduate research projects.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1166 –1183 (2007)More Less
The supervisory relationship has been identified as a key feature of the research degree process. Notwithstanding its broadly acknowledged importance, there is often little formal institutional provision to support supervisors and candidates to establish effective educational relationships. In responding to the identified needs of students and supervisors, an online resource has been developed at Monash University, Australia. Informed by the literature on academic writing skills instruction, genre studies and disciplinary discourse, it seeks to provide students with accessible educational content to enhance and support each stage of the process. The article focuses primarily on the components of the site which relate to the issues arising from the scoping study. It outlines the development within a framework of adult learning theory, as well as social interactionist and constructivist learning models, and highlights the stages of the construction of the project, as informed by content evaluation and usability tests.
Author M.R. DavidsonSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 1184 –1193 (2007)More Less
This article describes the impact of generic research skills training on the supervision process, and the implications for training supervisors, in a northern Irish university. It seeks to find appropriate conceptual and theoretical frameworks with which to provide training for supervisors that recognise a pedagogy of supervision, which embraces the transferable skills agenda. The study is a case study, grounded in current and proposed work at the University of Ulster, which has around 900 Ph.D. or early-stage researchers, a growing number of research only staff who supervise, and increasing numbers of experienced researchers and principal investigators. Ph.D. students are required to accumulate evidence of competence in all (A-G) skills listed in the Joint Skills Statement, to the extent of 180 Research Training Credits (RTCs), over a three year registration. The article also describes a web-based personal development plan (PDP) known as the PDSystem, recently adapted for the benefit of research students and their supervisors to track efforts to engage with such training, recognise prior experiential learning, and assist with training needs analysis within an electronic, and evidenced-based environment.