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- Volume 22, Issue 6, 2008
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 22, Issue 6, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 22, Issue 6, 2008
Author P.H. Du ToitSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1131 –1137 (2008)More Less
This editorial has a different angle : Instead of an introductory, underpinning article on quality assurance in higher education per se, I look at the SAARDHE Conference from a quality assurance point of view. It is ultimately the conference that served as the stage for the presentation of the papers included in this special issue.
Author J. McNiffSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1138 –1153 (2008)More Less
This article is an account of my ongoing action enquiry into how I can understand and improve my practice. It is a continuation of an earlier paper (McNiff 2008a), delivered originally as a keynote presentation at the SAARDHE 2007 Conference, University of Pretoria, where I made the case that the 'I' should be central in educational research; that academics located in higher education should reconceptualise themselves as intellectuals whose job is challenge existing ideas and practices as a means of contributing to the development of an open society (Popper 1945); and for the maintenance of a free academic press to enable them to publish their accounts of how they are doing so. I develop some of these themes here, showing how I act as a living example of ideas to do with the generative transformational nature of living processes, including forms of enquiry, whose existence is facilitated through the capacity of the thinker to problematise and deconstruct his / her own thinking.
Author C.J.G. BenderSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1154 –1171 (2008)More Less
The curriculum should be paramount in the academic field since the university uses curricula to put its ideas into effect. The curriculum field and community engagement are both comprehensive at universities but research on curricular community engagement (CCE) is imperative. Curriculum theory was used as a theoretical framework for this article, with community engagement regarded as a method, process, programme and practice in higher education. The purpose of this article was firstly to apply analytical philosophical enquiry to the conference proceedings and focus groups (data resources) at two higher education conferences (2006 and 2007) so as to improve concept development and interpretation of CCE. Secondly, it was aimed at using theoretical enquiry to create a conceptual and curriculum scheme for CCE. Thirdly, I consider the meaning of the concept development and interpretation and conceptual scheme for CCE for the Faculty of Education at my research university. The basic curriculum problem for future research is : How do programme and module outcomes, content (syllabus), collaborative partnerships (engagement), and community engagement practice interact?
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1172 –1184 (2008)More Less
The Higher Education Quality Committee's definition of quality (HEQC 2001) includes standard elements familiar to other higher education systems as well as elements specific to South Africa's own contextual priorities and purposes. These elements are fitness for and of purpose, value for money, and individual and social transformation (Singh 2006). This article addresses the latter quality element by assessing whether and to what extent the 2006 / 7 review of teacher education programmes potentially impacted upon these programmes. The study was conducted at one higher education institution where teacher education programmes were reviewed by the HEQC in 2006 and preliminary results have been announced to the institution. Processes, outcomes and follow-up actions by relevant programme committees were explored by means of questionnaires and a post hoc focus group interview involving members of these committees. The results were analysed to determine whether transformational quality had indeed been enhanced by the HEQC review. Indications from the research are that attempts at transformational quality were affected, albeit on a limited scale. The article argues whether or not further measures should be introduced to enhance transformational quality without damaging institutional autonomy and academic freedom.
Author T. GrantSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1185 –1196 (2008)More Less
The commerce faculty at the University of Cape Town (UCT) offers a 1-year, postgraduate management diploma that is regarded as a mini-MBA. It appeals to a wide variety of mainly English-as-second language (ESL) students.
In the past, core course diploma lecturers in marketing, tourism and leisure, enterprise management and sport management 'did their own thing', with little collaboration in terms of group formation, assignment topics and workload. A brutal timetable and crunch hand-in times created unnecessary tensions. As our communication course, viewed as a soft option, bore the brunt, we took the lead in devising an integrated and collaborative teaching / learning model involving the major course convenors. Business groups remained intact across various diplomas and large focus areas, which would act as a pivot for the major group assignments, were forged using scenarios from three core courses. Each general topic thus included at least three separate yet complementary portfolio assignments that differed in genre, purpose, and target audience.
The quality of the work and mood of all concerned improved tremendously. Students found the course 'realistic', 'daunting but exciting', 'relevant' and 'powerful'. Although this approach requires careful co-ordination, the improved results and collegiality are well worth the effort. This article will describe the model used and provide examples. It will also speculate on its relevance to higher education, in particular the needs of ESL students.
Differentiated quality assurance for the African Virtual University's teacher education qualification in mathematics and scienceAuthor A. HattinghSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1197 –1211 (2008)More Less
For the African Virtual University and its consortium of African universities the implementation of quality promoting initiatives are not without challenges and scepticisms. To be discussed in this article is the case of a teacher education qualification in ten different African countries. Seven countries were sampled and visited in 2006 with the aim of understanding quality assurance cultures and practices used for promoting quality. Findings showed that quality assurance processes manifest at various levels of readiness and maturity. The uneven quality assurance landscape led me to propose a ten-tiered differentiated Quality Assurance Framework. In analogy to Vygotsky's theory of the 'zone of feasible development' I suggest the presence of do-able next steps where an institution can set their own priorities and timelines for reform towards quality. Self-paced planning I contend, will not be branded as techno-bureaucratic control, but will serve a developmental purpose towards inculcation and ownership of quality milestones.
Author A. LootsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1212 –1228 (2008)More Less
The evaluation of educational or social programmes is paramount for establishing success or impact in higher education. Evaluation questions about programme goals (e.g. better performance of first-year students) or about the quality of programme strategies (design and implementation) and effectiveness of delivery (coordinator inputs and management) reflect not only sound research methodology, but also the desire for real knowledge claims regarding programme effect.
The model for programme evaluation presented in this article is generic and could be applied to any academic or support programme. The research is presented here as it pertains to a structured mentoring programme for undergraduate students and focuses on programme implementation and programme monitoring. While programme monitoring focuses more on programme delivery, outcome evaluation or impact assessment looks at the actual benefits experienced by the clientele or beneficiaries (Babbie and Mouton 2003), in this case students in higher education. The evaluation of programmes is important to establish success or impact of interventions. Therefore, a logic model to enable programme coordinators to evaluate their work is presented and discussed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1229 –1240 (2008)More Less
A multi-stakeholder-driven model for excellence in higher education curriculum development has been developed. It is based on the assumption that current efforts to curriculum development take place within a framework of limited stakeholder consultation. A total of 18 multiple stakeholders are identified, including learners, alumni, government, local and international universities, research institutions, SAQA structures and consultants.
The model is further based on significant NQF and OBE alignment of all learning programmes within a multiple stakeholder framework, thereby ensuring that the need of all stakeholders are firmly embedded in curriculum development. Additionally, the principles of learner empowerment, employability, transparency and world-class quality form the foundation of this strategic-driven model for curriculum development.Six phases are postulated with stakeholder engagement during all phases. Three broad areas of quality planning, quality management system implementation and quality review are followed throughout the process. The result is the achievement of excellence in higher education.
Author T.P. MoremoholoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1241 –1248 (2008)More Less
The aim of the study was to determine whether the animation of a linear process, requiring explanatory text, can assist students to form a better understanding of the text. Tertiary students (N = 61) participated in a pre-test, post-test experimental study during which they were exposed to 4 treatment variables : text (T), video and text (VT), illustration and text (IT), and animation and text (AT) were explored. It was hypothesised that the group who received the animation and text treatment will comprehend the linear process better than the control group (text only) and the other two groups (text and illustration ; text and video). The illustration, the video and the illustrated animation complimented the text and illustrated the process during which items were transported, scanned, recognised, sorted and removed from a conveyor belt. The results indicated that no significant differences in achievement existed among the treatment groups.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1249 –1259 (2008)More Less
The use of RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) in higher education to assess RPL candidates for admission into programmes of study met with a lot of criticism from faculty academics. Lecturers viewed the possibility of admitting large numbers of under-qualified adult learners, as a threat to the institution's reputation, or an erosion of academic standards. Although RPL rests on the assumption that some equivalency between prior learning and academic learning is possible, RPL assessment and validation demands special expertise, which few faculty academics and administrators possess. An evaluation of the RPL assessment practice in the Faculty of Education at a South African University is used to substantiate the arguments raised in this article. Findings from interviews with assessors, observations of the assessment process, questionnaires administered on RPL candidates and documents analysed indicated that there is a credible process of RPL assessment in this Faculty, with a few areas of concern.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1260 –1278 (2008)More Less
This article focuses on the longitudinal evaluative strategies used in the development of a new teaching approach for a university course with high failure rates. The subject is compulsory for all first year engineering students at our university.
The evaluation has been conducted as part of a process of developmental action research, and has focused on the cognitive and implementation theories represented in the course's instructional approach. It has been based on qualitative focus group, interview and questionnaire analyses, and quantitative pre-experimental, predictive and quasi-experimental studies.
The research has been conducted over a twenty five year period to validate the theory on which teaching has been based, to establish effects of the intervention and to identify ongoing needs for the type of instruction offered in the course. Based on improvement in both spatial ability and pass rates, the materials used in the course have been published in workbook form.
What's in it for me? An analysis of the need for credit-bearing professional development modules on the topic of e-learningSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1279 –1291 (2008)More Less
Worldwide, institutions offer various professional development programmes that empower lecturers (or 'faculty', as they are called elsewhere) to use technology properly in the classrooms. Once lecturers have completed these development programmes, they are typically awarded a certificate that serves to indicate their successful attendance of the programme. However, no recognized credits are awarded to participants for having completed this type of programme.
This article will investigate the need for awarding credits to professional development programmes at Higher Education institutions, focusing on programmes that deal with the use of technology in education.
Author C.N. Van der WesthuizenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 22, pp 1292 –1303 (2008)More Less
The aim of the action research project is to improve my own practice as research methodology lecturer to facilitate effective student learning to enable students to become reflective practitioners with responsibility for their own professional development through action research in their own classrooms, and to motivate the students and increase their interest in the research modules. In the theoretical section I focus on teaching research methodology, teacher professionalism and action research for pre-service teachers. The findings show that I have learnt to improve my practice as well as student learning. I also found that students have learnt to take responsibility for their own learning generally, to treat their peers with respect, and to develop a professional work ethic regarding campus and school-based work. The research is ongoing.