- A-Z Publications
- South African Journal of Higher Education
- Previous Issues
- Volume 21, Issue 2, 2007
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 21, Issue 2, 2007
Volumes & issues
Volume 21, Issue 2, 2007
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 193 –201 (2007)More Less
Literature about the significance of cultivating democratic relationships in universities and schools abounds. However, very little has been said about the importance of friendship in engendering democratic relations. In this essay I argue for a complementary view of friendship based on mutuality and love - with reference to the seminal ideas of Nancy Sherman and Jacques Derrida. Our view is that human relations ought to be used as pedagogical spaces to nurture forms of friendship which not only encourage mutuality but also love in order to make possible the taking of risks on the part of leaders and their colleagues. And, if leaders and their colleagues act with mutuality and love they would be more favourably positioned in their society to take risks and to sustain democratic relationships.
In this essay we shall show how both Nancy Sherman's (1997) and Jacques Derrida's (1997) ideas of friendship can be used to nurture human relations which involve taking risks. Our argument in defence of taking risks through friendships is hopefully a move away from fostering democratic interactions among leaders and colleagues, which could potentially ignore forms of action which involve challenging, undermining and disagreeing with one's friends.
Author M.M. BothaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 202 –216 (2007)More Less
This research was undertaken in the light of the strong call to Africanise the curriculum at higher education institutions in South Africa and the need for an African approach to internationalisation in higher education. The aim of this research was to investigate the need, nature and extent of Africanising the curricula and syllabi of programmes in a Faculty of Education at a South African university. The objectives were to determine whether academics believe Africanisation of the curriculum should take place; if so, what the nature and extent of such Africanisation should be and whether xenophobia would have an influence on such Africanisation.
A brief overview of the concept Africanisation is presented and some viewpoints on Africanisation in higher education and of the curriculum, as gathered from the literature.
The research approach was qualitative in nature. A questionnaire was used to collect the data - this is not conventional in this type of research, but justification for the choice is provided. The sample focused on maximum variation and information richness. Data was analysed using qualitative content analysis and hence global analysis; by identifying network themes, this made integrated analysis possible.
The findings uncovered a number of themes and recommendations for further research on each of the themes are made in the article.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 207 –217 (2007)More Less
This article investigates the perceptions of 'university of technology' amongst managers and directors at nine higher education (HE) institutions. The analysis in this article is based on transcripts and summaries of eleven interviews. Only one of the interviewees, from a historically white technikon, feels that universities of technology (UoTs) are completely unique institutions. The rest of the technikon interviewees seem to view UoTs as extensions of technikons, but with increased research and post-graduate programmes (though some even voiced reservations in this regard). The university interviewees seemed to stress the 'U' in UoT and assumed that the notion of UoT in South Africa is the same or very similar to UoTs internationally. Generally, the university interviewees felt that it was not possible to create UoTs out of the technikons without significant restructuring and development.
These results indicate that HE institutions do not share perceptions regarding a 'UoT' and accordingly there is some disparity in perceptions on the possible consequences of the change from technikons to UoTs for the profiles of these institutions, as well as to the HE landscape of South Africa. This poses a potential problem for the institutions, as well as for South African higher education in general.
We complete the article with a discussion of some possible directions for the new universities of technologies.
The relationship between personality traits and self-directed learning readiness in higher education studentsAuthor K. De BruinSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 228 –240 (2007)More Less
This study investigated the relationship between personality traits and readiness for self-directed learning in university students. The participants completed the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). The relationship between the SDLRS and the 16PF second-order factors was determined by means of multiple regression analysis. The results indicated that the 16PF Anxiety factor had the strongest unique relationship with the SDLRS total score, followed by Independence, Superego Strength and Sensitivity. It is concluded that certain personality traits act as predictors of readiness for self-directed learning. The results of the study imply that higher education institutions should facilitate environments in which these traits can be developed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 241 –254 (2007)More Less
Since 1998 a new education dispensation has systematically been introduced into South African schools. This new system requires teachers to follow new approaches to planning, teaching and assessment. Teachers have been overwhelmed with all the new jargon and knowledge, and many teachers feel that they are ill-prepared for this paradigm shift.
The National Department of Education (NDE) has decided to retrain all teachers. The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) has decided to contract higher education institutions (HEIs) to do the in-service training. To UNISA (an HEI) the biggest challenge has been to identify and train tutors. This study aims to determine whether the initial training of the tutors and their preparation for the in-service training of teachers with regard to the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS) have prepared them sufficiently for the training of the teachers.
We believe that effective tutor training is essential for successful in-service training. In the recommendations, an in-service training model is presented to illustrate the above statement.
Let's stop complaining about low cognitive levels of testing in time-limited examinations : the case for fair testing practicesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 255 –266 (2007)More Less
This article describes the process of determining cognitive levels of testing in first and second-year university chemistry examinations and emanates from a larger study in which explanations were sought for problems experienced by second-year students in chemistry at the University of the Witwatersrand. A user-friendly scheme for establishing cognitive levels of questions was developed and this was used to determine the cognitive level of questions in 25 different examination papers written over a period of three years. It was found that testing at both first and second year level was predominantly at level II (comprehension). Possible reasons for this finding are explored and justified.
Poor through-put rates of distance learners in computing courses : is continuous assessment the answer?Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 267 –277 (2007)More Less
Teaching computer programming through distance education is not easy. The through-put rate of students in computing courses at tertiary distance learning institutions is generally poor. This article forms part of a long-term project investigating ways in which this situation could be improved. In this article, we investigate the extent to which students' commitment to continuous assessment affects their examination results. A summary of research results on the relationship between the examination pass rate and the continuous assessment performance of students during the academic year is given. We also investigate the effect that the introduction of a continuous assessment mark (a year mark) that counts towards the final mark of a student has on the through-put rate. Although this study involved only computing courses, the results may be relevant and of interest to lecturers and researchers in related disciplines such as mathematics, decision sciences and physics.
Relevant resources for teaching and learning information systems design at higher education institutionsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 278 –295 (2007)More Less
One of the major obstacles facing project managers and information system designers is creating an appropriate environment to excel system design skills. Instructors in Information System Design (ISD) environments are responding to the increasing demands posed by time and complexity through investigating a variety of tools, system design methodologies and software technologies. The intention is to help students/information system designers to take more control over their own learning process and to demonstrate system design skills.
The purpose of this article is to identify and discuss the relevant resources, which could enhance the teaching and learning processes necessary for ISD created through the Instructional Web Design Programme (IWDP) motivating the students to excel while trying to learn and understand concepts, and techniques that relate to information systems. This research was based on a qualitative, action-research approach where individual interviews, focus group interviews, observation and document analysis were used to gather data (Yin 1994; Merriam 1998). Seventeen students at an institution of higher education were observed and their experiences were investigated through a focus group interview, journals and essays. In addition, an interview with the lecturer was performed to investigate her thoughts and feelings during the implementation of the IWDP. The most important findings were: Available physical, human and financial resources and their components set a basis for creating an effective climate for teaching of information system design; the components embedded within the physical, human and financial resources assist students in obtaining an understanding of design procedures.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 296 –307 (2007)More Less
Teaching practice is a very important component of any teacher-training programme. A student teacher is given the opportunity to try the art of teaching and face the real world of work before joining the profession. This study makes a closer scrutiny of mentorship, an approach currently in use by most teacher training colleges in Zimbabwe, where student teachers on teaching practice are attached to qualified and experienced teachers who work as their mentors. The study sought to : (a) find out the student teachers views on the effectiveness of the role played by their mentors in developing them to be experts in teaching; (b) determine the mentors' level of preparedness for their role of assisting and guiding students under their care to professionally grow, and (c) assess the implications for teacher education in Zimbabwe. This study used 222 student teachers who had been on a teaching practice stint and teachers who worked as mentors in 31 Zimbabwean primary schools. The study revealed that in the majority of cases student teachers showed that they had not benefited very much from mentorship. The mentors themselves appeared not to be aware of their role in mentoring student teachers attached to them. There is no doubt that experienced and qualified teachers in schools require constant and thorough workshopping to enable them to help student teachers professionally grow.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 308 –320 (2007)More Less
Two descriptive studies were conducted to determine whether there are any workplace policies to deal with personnel having high risk exposure to Human Immunodeficiency virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and dealing with People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and employee benefits among tertiary institutions in the Eastern Cape. Study 1 involved a purposive sample of 136 institutional representatives across 14 tertiary institutions, with whom 14 group interviews were conducted. Study 2 involved a proportionate sample of 872 academic and support staff in eight randomly selected tertiary institutions who completed a structured questionnaire. Study 1 revealed that 57.1 per cent of all tertiary institutions had an HIV/AIDS policy and that generally universities' and technikons' policies complied with the minimum criteria compared to Further Education and Training (FET) colleges. Study 2 revealed that employees generally had a receptive attitude towards HIV/AIDS policies in their institutions.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 321 –333 (2007)More Less
This article discusses the implementation of peer assessment in the tutorials system of an introductory macroeconomics course of 600+ students at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in order to improve their access to formative feedback. Peer assessment was introduced to improve the quality of feedback and learning pay-off for the students from the weekly tutorial tasks set for the course. The problems with tutor-graded, weekly tutorial exercises included the poor quality and poor presentation of work submitted by students, complaints by tutors (postgraduate students) of an overwhelming workload and complaints by students of the poor quality of the feedback from the tutors. Formal evaluation data on the effectiveness of using peer assessment from the point of view of the student experience and that of the tutors is presented. Results show that learning was enhanced for the majority of the class, but that some of the negative outcomes found in other studies, like stress and time consumption, were also experienced.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 334 –345 (2007)More Less
An outcomes-based dental curriculum has necessitated revision in course structure, content and teaching methodologies, to ensure horizontal and vertical integration. This study compared the Oral Biology courses taught at the four universities involved in training undergraduate dental students in South Africa. The relevance of each topic was then assessed by 120 practising dentists on a five-point Likert scale. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were used to evaluate the data. All four universities presented similar topics, but differed widely in their modes of tuition. However, lectures were still the predominant form of teaching. More than 75 per cent of the respondents rated all the topics as extremely relevant except for embryology, calcium and bone metabolism, taste and deglutition, and forensics (rated relevant by only 57 per cent, 60 per cent, 70 per cent and 45 per cent respectively). More than 25 per cent of the respondents were unsure of the relevance of embryology (28%); calcium metabolism (30%) and forensic dentistry (37%). This study confirmed the need for peer review to help design new, outcomes-based courses.
Author A. Van WykSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 346 –359 (2007)More Less
This article discusses the merits of an extensive, graded reading programme for low-proficiency first-years at tertiary institutions. Drawing on the work of Krashen (1982), Van Patten (1996), Van Lier (1996), Day and Bamford (1998), Elley (1991) and Grabe and Stoller (2001), the advantages of extensive reading as a means of improving academic reading proficiency are explored. The article surveys the results of extensive reading experiments conducted locally and internationally, highlighting the pedagogical implications. Finally, the implementation and small-scale testing of such a reading programme at the University of the Free State is described.
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 360 –363 (2007)More Less
Worldwide higher education seems to be biased towards the achievement of techno-rationalist aims of education such as to produce students capable of serving the economic interests of societies. Such a view of education is limited in the sense that primarily attending to economic interests would ignore the concomitant political and social concerns to which higher education ought to be attentive as well. Monica McLean's book entitled Pedagogy and the University: Critical Theory and Practice of 2006 (London and New York: Continuum, 187 pp.) is a much needed theoretical and pragmatic contribution which poignantly illustrates how critical pedagogy can potentially contribute towards undermining the techno-rational pursuit of university education with its over-emphasis on economic purposes. In this essay I shall firstly explore some of the conceptual spaces McLean's book offers to subvert an unchallenged techno-rational pursuit of higher education. Secondly, I shall briefly highlight some of the obstacles higher education needs to overcome to cultivate a critical pedagogy. I conclude my review essay with a discussion of the role of democratic justice in building on and sustaining McLean's 'critical pedagogy'.
Democratizing higher education policy : Constraints of reform in post-apartheid South Africa, Molathlegi Trevor Chika Sehoole : book reviewAuthor M. NkomoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 364 –367 (2007)More Less
It is slightly over a decade since the historic event struck South Africa in ways that are both profound and as yet inconclusive. Democracy's birth in 1994 was prickly and delicate. The profundity of the event lies entombed in the intricacies of the nature of the birth and the attendant midwives eyeing each other's moves as that was the only way, it seemed, to assure the safe delivery of a baby that would safeguard the self interest of those witnessing this epochal spectacle: the delivery of the Constitution. It has turned out, arguably, that the self interest has transformed itself into an uneasy but pragmatic collective interest.
Education and social transformation : An Eastern Cape study. Landscapes, spirit and journeys..., Lorraine Lawrence and George Moyo (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor M. SamuelSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 368 –371 (2007)More Less
I don't know exactly why the house near my grandmother's home was called 'Journey's End'. Someone told me that it was because at the time when the house was built it stood as the last property on the formal street grid of the town plan of this rural settlement. Others told me that it marked the boundary between what was the so-called town and natural barrier of bush that separated the African township on the other side. All of this did not make sense to me as a child since 'Journey's End' in fact now stood as a gateway linking onto the new freeway that connected the town to the outside North Coast and hinterland. A more sinister story was told by my grandfather: that a previous owner had hung himself from the rafters when he had given up hope in the threat of financial ruin. 'His spirit still lives there!'