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- Volume 21, Issue 4, 2007
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 21, Issue 4, 2007
Volumes & issues
Volume 21, Issue 4, 2007
Author P.A.D. BeetsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 577 –584 (2007)More Less
Using three recent publications on the state of Geography in higher education in South Africa, this article attempts to (re)introduce ideas focused on supporting quality learning and teaching. Quality learning and teaching require moving beyond assessment processes that are safe and predictable, that are fixed and non-negotiable, measurement-driven and framed in a lecturer-centred approach. While recognising the changing nature of society and that quality is a more complex concept than traditional assessment criteria can acknowledge, I am convinced that sustainable learning and teaching depend on a conceptual shift to develop and use assessment information in collaboration with students to guide current learning and teaching with the aim of self-regulation in future.
The intellectual quality of the arguments in 'The state of the provision of the MBA in South Africa'Author D.J. BlackmurSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 585 –607 (2007)More Less
The South African Council on Higher Education developed and applied regulatory principles with respect to the MBA during 2002-2004. They are being applied progressively to all South African post-graduate education. CHE's assessment of its MBA review process, 'The State of the Provision of the MBA in South Africa', was published in October 2004. CHE has given it the status of a research report. The Report's standard of analysis, reasoning and argument, however, is below the standards which CHE imposes on South African higher education research. This raises serious matters of policy credibility and effectiveness. There are international implications as well. The integrity of mutual recognition systems, together with South Africa's regulatory reputation, may be threatened by a sub-standard performance by CHE.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 608 –627 (2007)More Less
The central question in this investigation was whether there is a common factor providing some explanation why students with similar final school results perform differently at first-year university level. The underlying hypothesis was: the more students believe they are cognitively capable and equipped to achieve success at university level, the better they perform academically. A description is provided of a questionnaire used in this investigation which also forms part of a tracking system at Stellenbosch University. With the results of this questionnaire for three cohorts of first-year students of the years 2002, 2003 and 2004 grouped together in subgroups (based on final school year performance and including a group of Extended Degree Programme students), it is demonstrated that there is a strong relationship between high self-appraised cognition as measured in the questionnaire and successful performance at university level. These findings are corroborated by international research which is referred to in the article. The implications of this investigation are far-reaching in terms of the necessity to regard a student holistically, to realise the importance of how students appraise themselves cognitively, and the need to pay special attention to building a healthy self-concept.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 628 –639 (2007)More Less
The article discusses an exploratory study implemented at three campuses of the Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, in response to weak examination results in one of the subjects in the graphic design curriculum. The aim of the study was to investigate the feasibility of utilising a combination of visual learning and cooperative learning strategies in this setting. A comparative assessment methodologies framework was utilised to measure how graphic design first-year learners experience these. The results suggest that although the learners enjoyed and saw value in some aspects of the visual learning and cooperative learning strategies, a combination was seen as disruptive to the learning environment and is thus unlikely to lead to a significant improvement in examination results in the long term.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 640 –653 (2007)More Less
The Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) has received much attention lately in South African higher education. It has been argued that many institutions have been slow to adapt to ARPL philosophies, policies and practices. This article reports on an institutional case study of ARPL policy at one South African university. An analysis of ARPL policy at both the institutional and faculty levels points to variance in terms of agreed-upon criteria. The nature of and implications this variance holds for ARPL practice are explored in the second part of the article. Specific issues of variance related to the conceptualisation and purpose of ARPL and shared ARPL processes are discussed in greater depth. An analysis of policies at the institution can be used as a starting point to devise an educational support system for ARPL at institutions wishing to implement ARPL.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 654 –667 (2007)More Less
Social presence refers to the ability of students to project themselves as 'real people' in an online learning community. While it is difficult to create social presence in large classes, educational technologies can enhance the social dimension of online learning if educators relinquish the use of technology as an instrument of control. This article argues the importance of social presence as a building block of successful learning environments and presents some of the ways in which lecturers can purposefully create and maintain social presence. An illustrative case study is presented of a technology-assisted course with 3000 students. The narrative explains how the facilitator was able to create and use the social dimension of the course to the benefit of his students. It became clear that there was no trade-off between increased social interaction and academic participation in the course. In fact, social presence seemed to have formed a foundation for learning and teaching.
Author P. HiggsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 668 –679 (2007)More Less
Issues of intellectual and cultural hegemony have long been critical foci in education debates in South Africa. This is evidenced in present times by the call for an African Renaissance in education, as well as, a growing discourse that demands the acknowledgement and inclusion of indigenous knowledge systems in the South African education system. This article considers the epistemological question that centres around the debate of whether there is, in fact, an indigenous African way of knowing, and if so, what the implications for higher education research would be.
Author A.M. LeeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 680 –693 (2007)More Less
Educating our early career researchers is becoming more complex. The range of doctoral degrees, the fast moving nature of knowledge, internationalisation, the demands of funding bodies and employers are all pulling on Ph.D. supervisors. The untrained Ph.D. supervisor will copy (or avoid copying) the way that they were supervised themselves. Current literature on Ph.D. supervision focuses either on lists of tasks that the supervisor must undertake or on conceptions of research. There is a need for a conceptual approach to research supervision. This phenomenological review of the literature relating to research supervision identifies six main concepts all of which contribute to our understanding. These are not competing concepts. Supervisors, supervisory teams and co-supervisors might use them to define or illuminate their practice.
It is proposed that the range and depth of concepts that a supervisor holds will dictate how they supervise and the type of researcher who emerges at the end of the process. In an age of supercomplexity, when demands of academic and other employers are unpredictable, the skills of the effective researcher, and thus their supervisor, are likely to become even more important.
Author M.W. MailaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 694 –705 (2007)More Less
Excellence in educational quality provisioning and accountability is an obligatory function for higher education. Currently certain scholars allege that poor provisioning and lack of accountability are rife in most higher education institutions. They cite varied reasons for the failures. Of note, African higher education institutions are also subject to these shortcomings. As is the case with most higher education institutions worldwide, governments and communities require African higher education institutions to comply with globally acceptable standards for quality provisioning and accountability if they wish to compete in the global arena. However, this 'global measuring yardstick' should consider the contextual dynamics of African higher education landscapes when deliberating on issues of quality. In this article, I endeavour to provide a critical analysis of the provisioning-accountability approach, as a foundation and pillar for the enhancement of excellence in African higher education with due consideration to contextual issues. It is hoped that this exploratory inquiry based on a literature study will provide useful insights for higher education management and their partners needed to engage in globalised yet locally grounded standards and sustained educational quality practices.
Author K.R. MatshedishoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 706 –716 (2007)More Less
This article argues that part of redressing unequal access to higher education for disabled students is the challenge of transforming formal rights into real rights. Four sections build up to the argument. The first section outlines some of the challenges facing support provision for disabled students in South Africa. The second section describes and analyses the principles of disability rights in South Africa. The third section explains the limits to rights and how they may affects support provision for disabled students. The final section points at some considerations of the nature of rights in thinking about widening access to higher education for disabled students.
Students' and lecturers' perceptions of some factors influencing students' academic success or failure at a historically black university in South AfricaAuthor D.P. NgidiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 717 –732 (2007)More Less
This study investigated the perceptions of students and lecturers of some factors influencing students' academic success or failure at a university. To this end, the 'success' scale and 'failure' scale were used. The results indicated that the correlation between lecturers' and students' ratings of factors that contribute to student success was strong, positive, and significant while the correlation on the ratings of factors that contribute to failure was very weak, positive, but not significant. The results also indicated that the correlation between the ratings given by first-year students and senior students with regard to factors contributing to success was strong, positive, and significant while the correlation on the ratings of factors contributing to failure was weak, positive, and significant. The findings are discussed and suggestions are made with regard to measures to improve lecturers' and students' understanding of factors that are likely to contribute to students' academic success or failure at a university.
Transformational access : the Upward Bound Programme as a possibility for promoting access to Higher EducationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 733 –752 (2007)More Less
The Upward Bound Programme (UBP) was a model of intervention to redress access of previously disadvantaged students to higher education. Upward bound was conceptualised on the assumption that by exposing school learners to university life and giving them additional academic tuition, their chances of accessing university education will be enhanced. In this article we offer an understanding of the success of such an intervention. We argue that gaining access into higher education goes beyond attaining appropriate pass rates. Data generated through a tracer study project was used to explore the workings of the UBP as a useful tool for creating conditions of hope and possibility. Success and access, however, are shaped by a range of contextual and personal forces that make the educational transformational agenda of the country a challenging responsibility. This article alludes to these challenges through an understanding and critique of the Upward Bound Programme.
Author K.V. ThathiahSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 753 –763 (2007)More Less
Kraak argues that the establishment of South African universities of technology was the result of political lobbying rather than being informed by a rational process of policy development. This conceptualisation has been largely focused on the development of institutional type rather than on academic substance. Broad notions of the economy, globalisation, knowledge and technology are taken as given and, as such, beyond interrogation. In many ways, universities of technology are being conceptualised as modern universities and this trajectory may be detrimental, particularly since they have to operate within a postmodern context. To create a postmodern university, however, one must use postmodernist approaches and this might be more difficult for the universities of technology than it might be for pure and comprehensive universities. Traditionally, technikons have shied away from anything philosophical or theoretical and there is no guarantee that, in its new guise, things are going to be fundamentally any different.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 764 –780 (2007)More Less
A decline in institutional research activity, like that attributed to most South African universities, is alarming because it jeopardises a country's ability to take advantage of world-wide advances in science and technology as well as its capacity to absorb and use new knowledge. However, criticism like this might not be applicable to all areas of research at higher education institutions. The purpose of this article is to highlight pioneering and fundamental contributions by South African researchers to establishing a new paradigm in psychology, namely positive psychology. The article provides an overview of the national and international historic development of this field. Current and completed South African research within this field was analysed, and results reflect the type of research as well as contributing institutions from higher education.
Author C. WinbergSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 781 –798 (2007)More Less
Communication practices in workplace and related higher education sites in the fields of architecture, mechanical engineering, and radiography were studied and compared. A wide variety of communication practices was found in workplaces, each with specific purposes, audiences and contexts; a more limited range of communication practices was found in higher education departments, with less clarity with regard to the intended purpose, audience and context of the communication. The study showed that in their workplaces architects, engineers, and radiographers do not normally write for other architects, engineers or radiographers, but for related professionals; architects would, for example, prepare drawings and documents for structural engineers, mechanical engineers would prepare layout diagrams and instructions for electrical engineers, and radio-therapists would prepare and update patient records for oncologists. The clear sense of purpose, audience, and context that is apparent in workplace writing is related to the inter-professional, inter-disciplinary focus of professional writing. In contrast, the communication practices in career-focused (undergraduate) higher education tend to be intra-professional, and intra-disciplinary; this causes students to experience confusion in terms of the purpose, audience and context of their writing.
An analysis of equal educational opportunities : comparative perspectives in education law : review essaySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 799 –808 (2007)More Less
The focus of this collection (comprised of two main sections, seventeen chapters and a synthesis) is the commemoration of 50 years since the passing of judgment on Brown v. Board of Education in the United States in the landmark court decision against segregation in education. This conference on which this book is based took place in South Africa. Its publication also coincided with the 10-year anniversary of South Africa's change to democratic education after the abolition of apartheid, which promoted separate education.The collection has two sections that mark these two occasions in terms of reflection, recollections and thematic chapters all linked to the manifestation of equal education. While the first part reflects on equal educational opportunities and non-discrimination as opposed to the experience of separate education, the second part considers thematic issues on equal educational opportunities and non-discrimination in relation to issues of education financing, values, discipline, language and accountability. The collection ends with a synthesis by Jonathan Jansen.