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- Volume 24, Issue 5, 2010
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 24, Issue 5, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 24, Issue 5, 2010
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 679 –682 (2010)More Less
In a recent essay entitled 'Ex and the City': on cosmopolitanism, community and the 'curriculum of refuge', Molly Quinn (2010) introduces her readers to a poetic exploration of cosmopolitanism and curriculum change. She begins and inconclusively ends her essay with poetic language and affirmation of cosmopolitan justice through convincing arguments in defence of a curriculum of refuge. She derives her notion of a curriculum of refuge from Derrida's (2002) idea of a 'city of refuge' which builds on both an 'acceptance of human vulnerability' and a capacity for 'imagining community anew'. For Quinn a curriculum of refuge should in fact be a haven for hospitality and multicultural, intercultural, transcultural and postcultural community, thus making room for imaginative transformation of a 'not-yet', 'yet-to-come' child / children-centred curriculum (Quinn 2010, 33). It is hoped that this curriculum would entertain encounters with otherness, difference and forgiveness - the latter being by far the most pronounced piece of poetic justice that a curriculum of refuge, in my mind, has to offer. In this essay I want to extend Quinn's idea of a 'curriculum of refuge' to one which also connects with democratic iterations and 'forgiveness of the improbable'.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 683 –698 (2010)More Less
Higher education institutions are facing challenges with regard to improving the success and pass rate of students. Mentorship in the life skills programmes should contribute significantly in addressing these issues. A study was undertaken to determine students' perceptions of the life skills programme at the Tshwane University of Technology. The sample for the survey included 146 students from departments that were available at the time of data collection. A factor analysis was employed to determine the most important issues regarding the life skills programme and its mentorship. A number of findings led to recommendations for the improvement of the success rate of students and the life skills programme. The implication of this study for higher education in general involves the adding of value to students through the mentoring in the life skills programmes offered by higher education institutions.
Author G. LautenbachSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 699 –715 (2010)More Less
This article focuses on the many obstacles that lecturers encounter when learning to use educational technologies in their work, including the inhibitory nature of the larger activity system of the institution and its effect on expansive learning. Data illuminate the theoretical arguments around 'learning by expanding' - a notion introduced by Yrjo Engeström as part of his contribution to activity theory. Unlike Engeström, who uses the notion of expansive learning as a developmental, interventionist tool in workplace learning (to change practice), I use it as an analytical, explanatory tool in order to explore the notion of expansive cycles in individual and intersecting activity systems and how they can be used to explain university lecturers' varying engagement with educational technologies in their teaching.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 716 –729 (2010)More Less
In any institution of higher education the student affairs division is an ever-changing environment that necessitates an appropriate management approach. In view of this situation it was deemed necessary to identify a change model that would successfully manage change in student affairs. A literature review was done and an analysis of some existing change models resulted in the development of a proposed model for managing change in the student affairs divisions of higher education institutions. This is a cyclic five-phase model that has communication and participation as key elements embedded in every phase of the change process. Student affairs practitioners are encouraged to use this change model with the purpose of validating and improving it.
Author K.R. MatshedishoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 730 –744 (2010)More Less
This article argues that even though the experiences of disabled students have programmatic implications, their needs should not be isolated from other students'. Instead they should be understood as part of the student life cycle within the pluralistic paradigm of education. In demonstrating the argument this article will: (a) outline some of the literature on experiences of disabled students, (b) outline findings on the experiences of disabled students in some South African higher education institutions; (c) contextualise the findings by explaining the pluralistic paradigm of education and describing the policy framework; and (d) use the idea of the student life cycle and the pluralist paradigm of education to suggest a complementary and extended thinking to the programmatic model of intervention.
Author C. MbaliSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 745 –757 (2010)More Less
The following lines of arguments against the metrics of journal articles is developed: 1) Textual output should no longer be main valued output; 2) Digitalization enables other ways of advancing knowledge; 3) Measures by journal article favours the disciplines of Natural Science and Engineering (NSE) and moulds other disciplines of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) to their values and modes of working; 4) Bibliometrics based on citations should be modified by webmetrics; 5) Even within textual output, article writing is over-compensated compared to editing and reviewing and conference convening; 6) Incentives for textual output disregard output in other media; 7) The current incentives devalue output for public enlightment. As the writer is in South Africa, the main policy references and recommendations relate to the South African Higher Education system.
This activity of writing a journal article against journal articles may at first seem dubious to those habituated to this prime measure of the academic career, but the changing media of publication make it worthwhile to challenge the current scenario in South African Higher Education.
Exploring the use of supplemental instruction : supporting deep understanding and higher-order thinking in ChemistrySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 758 –770 (2010)More Less
Many under-prepared university students do not know how to study (Martin and Arendale 1993) because they have not yet developed the abstract reasoning skills that allow them to learn new ideas simply by reading a text or listening to a lecture. This article draws from selected findings from a PhD study currently being undertaken at a university in KwaZulu-Natal. This article explores the use of Supplemental Instruction (SI) in supporting deep understanding and higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) in stoichiometry in first year chemistry for engineers. The special focus of this article is to investigate whether the quality of teaching and learning in chemistry education is improved through SI and SI leader intervention. The central question guiding this article is: How does an interactive teaching and learning intervention programme (SI) facilitated by SI leaders potentially engage first year engineering students in deep understanding and HOTS in Chemistry? Since this article focuses on change or growth in natural settings, within stoichiometry in chemistry classrooms, it allowed for video-recordings, observations of SI sessions and focus group interviews which have been used in this study.
Data analysis revealed that students preferred the more interactive engagement of SI sessions and discussion around chemistry concepts. Students found that having to explain concepts in their own words and being exposed to other students methods of answering questions greatly improved their understanding of stoichiometry. It was also found that SI leaders encouraged HOTS by asking higher-order questions, engaging in activities that required higher-order thinking as well as encouraged students to reflect on their thinking. It is therefore argued that teaching and learning strategies employed during the SI intervention session have the potential to promote deep understanding and higher-order thinking.
Author A. PillaySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 771 –781 (2010)More Less
Through a review of the literature, this article argues that it is imperative that lecturers at institutions of higher education not just embrace multiliteracy for teaching and learning, but accept, incorporate and affirm the many literacies that students bring with them to the lecture room. Multiliteracy in the lecture room supplements traditional literacy pedagogy but focuses on modes of representation much broader than language alone and uses pedagogies that extend beyond traditional face-to-face teaching environments. This article argues that active learning strategies that embrace and affirm multiliteracies, cultural and linguistic diversity, and multimodal textual practices could create dynamic learning environments that will arm students with the skills required to face a rapidly changing world.
Author S. SchulzeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 782 –799 (2010)More Less
The Management of one college at Unisa initiated a structured mentoring programme to develop researchers, among others. This article reports the views of 43 mentees of the programme one year after implementation. The research design was a survey. The items in a questionnaire were influenced by the self-efficacy theory and the constructivist views of learning. The findings indicate that the mentees learnt to set goals, and to plan to achieve these goals within predetermined time frames; they increased their knowledge of, and skills in research and publication; they gained motivation for research and confidence as researchers; and they matured as academics and learnt how to advance their careers. Certain challenges were identified, which included the mismatching of mentoring pairs, the lack of quality time for research projects, and a need for more institutional research support, e.g. in relation to academic leave and a help desk. The article indicates that mentoring can be largely successful even in exceptional contexts, as pointed out.
Defining the 'literacy gate' : analysis of the literacy requirements of professional engineering registrationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 800 –817 (2010)More Less
During and prior to professional registration with the Engineering Council of South Africa, engineering graduates are expected to engage in advanced literacy practices which represent a high level of cognitive demand. This process is the final 'gate' through which engineering graduates must pass in order to be acknowledged as professional engineers. This article attempts to define the literacy practices required at this professional registration 'gate', by analysing the documents, processes and policies pertinent to the professional registration process. The result of this analysis is the identification of nine central literacy practices (divided into three reading practices, three writing practices and three critical thinking practices) that are mentioned in documents pertaining to professional engineering registration. Our estimates indicate that almost two-thirds of the ECSA Exit Level Outcomes' assessment criteria also require mastery of these literacy practices. Furthermore, these practices need to be scaffolded within engineering curricula from entry through to graduation.
Introducing a learning management system in a large first year class : impact on lecturers and studentsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 818 –831 (2010)More Less
The challenges of teaching large classes are well documented in the literature on teaching in higher education. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to address some of these challenges, but, used inappropriately, technology can perpetuate entrenched practices and simply support performance models of teaching that encourage transmission approaches to learning. This article reports on the impact of implementing a learning management system (LMS) in a first year introductory macroeconomics course with 600 students in a blended learning context. Experiences of the course coordinator, lecturers and an educational technologist are discussed and data was also collected on student perceptions via a course evaluation questionnaire. Results show that the LMS was successful in a number of areas, particularly in improving the lecturers' accessibility to students and in encouraging interaction and participations in online discussion forums.
Education for self reliance - South Africa's alternative for addressing skills shortage and job creation : a literature reviewAuthor T. TwaloSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 832 –846 (2010)More Less
South Africa's democratic state has been clouded by various social and economic ills like joblessness, skills shortage, poverty and crime. These are a result of various complex issues which include the apartheid legacy, misdirected education system and poor planning for long term national priorities. This article looks at the lost opportunities to which education could have contributed to change this country's misfortunes. It further advocates that Education for Self Reliance as espoused by Julius Nyerere is a viable alternative for addressing the skills shortage and sustainable job creation in South Africa. It tows Nyerere's line of argument about an education system which disservices the learners by preparing them for something which most will never achieve.
The article further unpacks the Education for Self Reliance concept and customizes it for the South African context. It argues that, regardless of the exit stage of the respective learners, they should be equipped with appropriate skills that would enable them to be self reliant, positively contribute to the country's economy and counter the dependency syndrome.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 847 –869 (2010)More Less
This article charts a research project on higher education and poverty reduction chronologically, mapping the process of thinking through and generating an Index of public-good professional education based on literatures; empirical data from actors-lecturers, students, alumni, professional bodies and NGOs; and participatory dialogue. Amartya Sen's capabilities structured the project theoretically, in particular underpinning the original formulation of 'professional capabilities' to redefine what counts as being professional. The article further addresses what later emerged as the importance of a broader focus on human development as structuring change and quality in professional education and universities. At the heart of the article's argument is that professional education in South African universities is one area which shapes the relationship between the integrity of professional life and the health of civic cultures, and where an 'other-regarding' social consciousness might be fostered through educational arrangements and policy, even in the face of history and social constraints. The Index is presented as an invitation to focus further debate not only in South Africa but globally about higher education, the public good and poverty reduction.