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- Volume 25, Issue 3, 2011
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 25, Issue 3, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 25, Issue 3, 2011
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 393 –396 (2011)More Less
In this essay I offer an imaginary of postgraduate student supervision focusing on sceptical encounters with the other. Drawing on the seminal thoughts of Harvard philosopher Stanley Cavell (1997), particularly on his ideas on 'living with scepticism', I argue that postgraduate student supervision ought to be an encounter framed by scepticism. I point out that supervising students sceptically might engender moments of acknowledging humanity within the Other, attachment to the Other's points of view with a readiness for departure, and showing responsibility to the Other.
Author D. AyliffSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 397 –411 (2011)More Less
This article describes the effects of an interventionist form-focused course on the written English of first-year second language university learners. For two semester courses the form (or grammar) of the language was concentrated upon. During the first semester the use of correct grammar was focussed on intensively, while during the second semester the focus on the grammar continued, but less intensively, as the focus shifted also to other aspects of language such as tone, register, style, etc. In particular, various common errors that occur in the written English of second language speakers were targeted during the two semester courses. Pre-, post- and delayed-post-tests showed that there was a significant decrease in the error categories after the intervention and that, while some errors were more resistant to the treatment of these form-focussed courses than others, there was a significant decrease in the error count and that this was sustained in the long-term.
Author J. BenekeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 412 –424 (2011)More Less
This article investigates the intersection of student recruitment and relationship marketing in the public high education sector. They key objectives of this analysis are to understand if a strategic fit exists and whether South African institutions are indeed embracing the principles of relationship marketing in order to optimise their student recruitment programmes. Whilst the merits of building and developing student relationships over an extended timeframe are well documented in scholarly literature, the situation on the ground suggests that local institutions remain somewhat conservative in this respect. Despite success stories from a select number of private colleges, local institutions have tended to persist with tried-and-trusted recruitment techniques due to the logistical and financial resources in implementing a relationship-oriented strategy. In this respect, mass marketing and direct marketing techniques remain the order of the day, although relationship marketing is seen as a future platform should intensified competition necessitate a fundamental change in approach.
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 425 –443 (2011)More Less
The challenges involving doctoral non-completion and a lack of academic or scholarly quality are not restricted to putting the blame on doctoral candidates themselves, their supervisors or the institutions where they enrol. As candidates carry huge responsibilities when entering doctoral studies, success can be associated with an array of factors or challenges. Based on relevant literature, this article explores several such challenges related to potentially limiting or promoting doctoral success and quality. It proposes a preliminary theoretical or conceptual framework that might be useful for further investigating the phenomenon of doctoral study success associated with quality. It is suggested that doctoral success in higher education institutions represents a productive inter-relationship among a number of critical factors and in particular between academic mentoring and supervision on the one hand and institutional research and monitoring on the other.
Demographic profiling - a determination of academic performance in a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing ManagementSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 444 –459 (2011)More Less
This article analyses the direct effect of demographic variables on academic outcomes. The study concludes that ethnic group plays a pivotal role in determining the academic performance of students registered for the Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Management at the University of Cape Town. White students (presumed to emanate from a privileged background in most cases) were found to perform strongly whilst black and coloured students (presumed to be from disadvantaged backgrounds in most cases) were considerably more challenged by their studies. Slight variations were recorded for other variables. Here, local students, female students, those emanating from Commerce and Science/Engineering degrees, and those with some work experience performed better than their peers. Performance between Marketing and General Management courses was highly correlated; however both were significantly less correlated with Corporate Finance. The study also finds that students, particularly those from less demanding undergraduate qualifications, tend to find their footing during the first semester and therefore perform better in the second semester of their studies.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 460 –475 (2011)More Less
International trade in higher education services is one of the fastest growing tradable service sectors globally. Apart from the positive externalities international students create through knowledge mobility and spill-over, campus diversity, and local community development participation, spending by international students in the host city and immediate surroundings add significantly to local economic growth. The aim of this article is to show, firstly, the relative strong growth of South Africa's higher education exports vis-à-vis other countries. We also find that South Africa has a strong comparative advantage in exporting higher education services. Secondly, we use a pilot questionnaire conducted in 2009 at Stellenbosch University to estimate the economic impact of these students on the local economy. We find that international students contribute between R159 million and R172 million per semester to the local economy, in addition to the positive - but largely unquantifiable - externalities they create.
The needs and perceptions of academics regarding their professional development in an era of educational transformationAuthor S. HassanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 476 –490 (2011)More Less
As the wave of educational transformation sweeps across the higher education landscape, few academics have been unaffected by its impact. It has been well documented that academics are ill-prepared to cope with the challenges of educational transformation, yet training and development that would provide the appropriate support to meet the demands of educational transformation is often neglected. To help address this problem, a study was done to determine the needs and perceptions of academics regarding their professional development within the context of educational transformation. Respondents expressed a need for training in the implementation of innovative methods of teaching and learning such as: outcomes-based education; problem-based learning and technology-enhanced teaching and learning. The article also argues that there is more to educational transformation than meets the eye.
Effect of active learning techniques on students' choice of approach to learning in Dentistry : a South African case studyAuthor S. KhanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 491 –509 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this article is to report on empirical work, related to a techniques module, undertaken with the dental students of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. I will relate how a range of different active learning techniques (tutorials; question papers and mock tests) assisted students to adopt a deep approach to learning in this large diverse group of students. They then completed an adapted version of the revised study process questionnaire which focussed on the effects of these active learning techniques and how these learning techniques assisted with a change in approach to learning adopted by them. Results indicated that the active learning techniques led to a better understanding of the concepts covered within the module. It also showed how the new exercises guided them to adopt a deep approach to learning. It can be concluded that with this type of educational research, students' learning difficulties are not just emphasized and highlighted but that these problems are also understood. This research also guided the educator to search for practical solutions to these observed difficulties.
Analysis of perceived stress, coping resources and life satisfaction among students at a newly established institution of higher learningAuthor P. MudhovoziSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 510 –522 (2011)More Less
A survey was conducted to analyse perceived stress, coping resources and life satisfaction among university students at an institution of higher learning. Seventy-three students randomly selected from third year Social Sciences class participated in the study. A self-report questionnaire was administered to the participants. The results showed that stress was pervasive among university students. The main factors that affected the students were personal problems, academic problems, relationships and environmental problems. Students mainly relied on emotion-focused and avoidance-oriented coping strategies. They were moderately satisfied with life at university. Future research with a more representative sample should be conducted to get generalisable findings.
Students' perceptions of the effectiveness of their in-service training for the Advanced Certificate in Education programmeAuthor M.C. NdlovuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 523 –541 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this study was to determine in-service students' perceptions of the effectiveness of the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) programme offered by Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in preparing them to be confident teachers of Mathematical Literacy, Life Sciences or Physical Sciences in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase. An open-ended questionnaire was administered at the end of the first year of the two-year mixed-mode part-time study. The university's standard student feedback questionnaire was administered during contact sessions. A Likert-type 5-point scale version of the initial open-ended questionnaire was designed and administered to the cohort after graduation. Findings were that there were process, content, contextual and outcomes aspects of the programme which were consistently positive and needed to be maintained. There were aspects that were initially perceived negatively or positively but sentiment changed after graduation. There were also aspects that were consistently perceived negatively and needed improvement.
Exploring science educators' cosmological worldviews through the binoculars of an argumentation frameworkAuthor M.B. OgunniyiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 542 –553 (2011)More Less
The mandate of the new South African curriculum for educators to enact a science-indigenous knowledge curriculum in their classrooms is not only challenging to their cosmological beliefs, it is equally challenging to their instructional practices. This is because science educators (teachers) in South Africa have been schooled largely in western science and lack the necessary knowledge or skills on how to achieve such a goal. In response to these challenges nine experienced educators were exposed to an activity-based Dialogical Argumentation Instruction (DAI) for a period of 12 months. The DAI served as an exemplary instructional model for the educators to use in their classrooms. A questionnaire and an interview were then used to determine the effects of DAI on the educators' cosmological beliefs about certain natural phenomena. Although DAI seemed to have influenced the educators' worldviews in a variety of ways, their overall cosmology remained essentially amalgamated with their religious beliefs dominating. The implications of the findings for instructional practice are highlighted in the article.
Social regulation and shifting institutional culture in higher education : a reflective account of a Faculty of EducationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 554 –567 (2011)More Less
This article addresses the question: To what extent did social regulation impact on the institutional culture of a faculty of education at a South African public higher education institution over a ten year period from approximately 1998 until 2007? We engaged in systematic reflections about our experiences as members of the Faculty of Education, University of the Western Cape and analysed relevant Faculty documents. We used the notions of repressive and sovereign power to understand how the Faculty mediated social regulation. We found that there were three discrete periods, each characterised by a distinctive institutional culture. The late 1990s was simultaneously contrarian to, and compliant with, regulatory powers; 2000-2003 was a survivalist period; and from 2004-2007 the Faculty actively moderated the repressive powers in its functional environment. We conclude that the Faculty's sovereign agency that re-emerged between 2004 and 2007 serves as basis for developing a rigorous research-informed teacher education platform.
Teachers as learners : a case study of teachers' understanding of Astronomy concepts and processes in an ACE courseSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 568 –582 (2011)More Less
The research reported here investigates the efficacy of a module in an Advanced Certificate in Education course in promoting conceptual understanding in Astronomy. The research attempted to find out how teachers' understanding of astronomy concepts and processes change after completing this module as well as the reasons for such changes, if any. The conceptual framework applied in the study is based on three constructs which influence learning. A pre- and post-module questionnaire, as well as interviews were the instruments used to collect data from a cohort of students registered for this module. The data revealed that very little conceptual change occurred. Possible reasons for the lack of conceptual change are: Classroom environments and instructional strategies that are not conducive to conceptual change; an emphasis on declarative knowledge with little attention paid to procedural knowledge and lastly, students own epistemological beliefs of what constitutes science knowledge and learning.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 583 –597 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this research project was to explore how Black students perceive the reasons for the low enrolment of Black students in the Foundation Phase teacher education and training programmes at universities. Focus groups and follow up small group interviews were conducted to explore the reasons why Black students choose Foundation Phase and the factors that affected their experiences while enrolled in the programme. All interviews were recorded and transcribed and initially coded independently by each researcher. The codes were reviewed afterwards by all researchers as a team from which three main themes emerged from the interviewed data: (a) personal choices, (b) community influences and (c) institutional factors. Bronfenbrenner's systems theory was used to conclude how students' choices as well as environmental and institutional factors influence the enrolment of Black students in Foundation Phase teacher education and training programmes.
How can we retain them? An investigation into the early cancellation of courses in a distance learning institutionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 598 –611 (2011)More Less
Throughput and retention are important issues in higher education in South Africa mainly due to the stronger emphasis on accountability from funding agencies like the Department of Education. This study, which is set in a distance education institution, was aimed at understanding why students cancel courses early on in the academic year. A telephone survey was conducted with a sample of 333 subjects. The data indicate that 19 per cent of the sample attributed the reasons for cancellation to changes in their work or living conditions. Personal and financial problems were responsible for 17 per cent of the variation while 11 per cent gave reasons that were directly attributable to institutional processes. Incorrect course selection contributed 13 per cent of the cancellations while 23 per cent of the students could not cope with the academic demands. The data are discussed against the framework of a Managed Open Admission Project designed to deal with the identified issues.
On the learning behaviours of English additional-language speakers entering Engineering Education in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 612 –630 (2011)More Less
This article reports the findings of an inductive study on the learning behaviours and language difficulties of a small group of English additional-language students entering a school of chemical and metallurgical engineering in South Africa. Students were interviewed in their home language. While they appeared to have had a reasonable grounding in the basics of effective studying and learning, a range of problematic features were also evident. These included rote learning, a dualistic conception of knowledge, and a problematic degree of dependence on teachers, texts and studying past examination papers. The interlinked nature of these features and the way they seem to derive from educational background suggest that the design of interventions should give particular attention to the 'learning practices' of students and be based on developing these practices as a whole rather than the more traditional approach of providing 'skills courses'.