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- Volume 25, Issue 7, 2011
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 25, Issue 7, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 25, Issue 7, 2011
Author J. McNiffSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1253 –1273 (2011)More Less
In this article I argue for higher education practitioners to take focused action to contribute to transforming their societies into open and democratically negotiated forms of living, and why they should do so. The need is especially urgent in South Africa, whose earlier revolutionary spirit led to massive social change. The kind of social transformation I have in mind is where all people are seen as equal in all domains, including capacity to do research and generate theory; especially significant given that social evolution is linked with knowledge creation. Drawing on personal stories of experience, I make a case for universities to create innovative professional pathways that will encourage the fulfilment of intellectual potential by all practitioners, not only elites, taking as a main criterion for judging the quality of practice whether one has contributed to the wellbeing of a township, however this may be construed.
Satisfaction surveys as mechanisms to assess the success of an institution of higher learning as an 'inviting institution' : a case studySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1274 –1287 (2011)More Less
This study reflects on an institution of higher learning's study to determine the satisfaction and importance values of questions that relate to services rendered by the institution. This institution's Academic Plan and its teaching and learning strategies underpin theoretically socio-constructivism. This study was conducted from an invitational education point of view. The above-mentioned 'Institution A' utilised a satisfaction survey questionnaire that measured the respondents' satisfaction per question as well as the respondents' view regarding the importance of the respective issues. The questions reflected a wide spectrum of services rendered to the students of the institution. The information gathered during this study was interpreted within the framework of invitational education and utilised for quality enhancement purposes. The rationale for the study was to collect information that would identify deficiencies and inform remedial action processes as well as the collection and identification of data in order to determine the degree to which the institution could be regarded as an 'inviting institution'. There is strong link between the principles of invitational education, Total Quality Management (TQM) and socio-constructivism. The principles of TQM are generic management principles that can be applied to quality management of institutions of higher learning. The article reflects on the method that was used during the study as well as the outcome of the exercise and the interpretation of the data within the context of invitational education and quality management.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1288 –1297 (2011)More Less
According to a recent study, institutions of higher learning in South Africa fail to a great extent to integrate the key management functions that are fundamental to effective quality management. This article argues that the effective promotion of quality of a university's core business depends to a large extent on the ability of an institution's subsystems to function as interdependent components. The notion of integration concurs with the fundamental principles of the systems theory. This article demonstrates from a systems approach the integration of quality management, planning and resource allocation as fundamental elements in enhancing the quality of an institution's core business.
Profiling learning style preferences of first-year University students : implications for course design and instructionAuthor M.P. CekisoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1298 –1309 (2011)More Less
Widening access to higher education has meant an increasing need for flexibility in instruction and course design to accommodate students who utilize a wide range of learning style preferences. The purpose of this study was to identify the preferred learning styles of students and to plan instruction and course design accordingly. In addition, a comparative analysis was made to ascertain gender differences in learning style preferences. The VAK Learning Style Inventory was administered to 147 B.Ed. I students. The results indicated that the majority of students preferred the auditory learning style. When data were compared by gender, the results indicated that there was no statistical significance between male and female students in their choice of learning style preferences. Knowledge of students' learning style preferences can aid tertiary institutions in class preparation, designing class delivery methods, choosing appropriate technologies and developing sensitivity to different student learning style preferences within the institution.
Executive university managers' experiences of strike and protest activity : a qualitative case study of a South African universityAuthor Y. Dominguez-WhiteheadSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1310 –1328 (2011)More Less
Strike and protest activity at South African universities continues to be prevalent nearly two decades after the dismantling of apartheid, although there has been a shift away from directing strikes and protests against the government (during the apartheid era), to directing them against higher education institutions and management (since the advent of democracy in 1994). Students, academics, and support staff continue to be dissatisfied with certain aspects of higher education, and university management must address ensuing strikes and protests. This article, based on qualitative case study research conducted at a South African university, examines the reported experiences of university executive management team members with respect to strike and protest activity. These reported experiences are analysed in the context of rising expectations that came about with recent higher education policy developments, newly institutionalised managerialism, and broader socio-economic implications.
Author V.G. GasaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1329 –1343 (2011)More Less
The main function of prison-based education is to prepare the inmates for return to society. Many higher institutions of education that offer distance learning have opened their doors to accommodate prisoners who want to further their studies. Thus far, many prisoners have received bachelor's degrees from different higher institutions of education in various academic fields. Research was undertaken in an attempt to gain greater understanding of the reasons behind their outstanding or poor academic performance. Both the benefits and the difficulties experienced by prisoners as a result of their academic work were considered. The statistical documents obtained from the University of South Africa's Department of Information and Strategic Analysis indicated a high pass rate among incarcerated students. On the other hand, the number of those who show poor academic performance, although insignificantly low, cannot be ignored. It indicates a need for support measures such as catering for the diverse needs of incarcerated students.
Exploring the postgraduate research climate and the postgraduate research experience : a conceptual modelAuthor K.K. GovenderSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1344 –1358 (2011)More Less
The objective of this article is to develop a conceptual model aimed at improving the postgraduate research students' experience. Since postgraduate students 'vote with their feet' an improved understanding of the postgraduate research service encounter may result in improving the quality of the encounter and so increasing throughput and the number of postgraduate students.
By drawing on and distilling the organizational behavior and services marketing literature, more specifically literature pertaining to organizational socialization, organizational culture and climate, role, and the service encounter and service quality, relationships are explored among the aforementioned variables in the context of the postgraduate research service encounter and these are postulated to impact on the postgraduate students' service experience. Since employees are one of the key elements in the operation of successful service organizations, this article is an attempt to improve the postgraduate students' service experience through an improved understanding of the role of the postgraduate research supervisor (service employee) as it is influenced by or impacted upon by the postgraduate research (organizational) climate and the process of organizational socialization.
If the conceptual model can be validated thorough empirical studies, then higher education institutions could use it to improve the postgraduate students' research experience and by implication increase the number of postgraduate students and throughput.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1359 –1377 (2011)More Less
This article reports on an investigation into whether writing centre (WC) respondents at an institution of Higher Education (HE) encourage or discourage draft dialogue (a conversation in writing) with students submitting drafts electronically to the WC for feedback. The writing respondents insert local feedback responses or comments directly onto submitted complete drafts using word-processing review functions. The inserted feedback aims to encourage dialogue between students and lecturers by situating the teaching and learning of writing in different genres and disciplinary discourses. The feedback dialogue also aims to promote an understanding of writing as a drafting and responding process. Although the study's findings indicated that the writing respondents encouraged dialogue during the writing-responding process, most drafts included authoritative comments which do not promote dialogue. The study's main recommendations are that writing respondents should ensure that feedback phrasing is dialogical to encourage students to critique and explore discourses and for discipline experts to incorporate draft dialogue as a feedback practice into their writing practices.
The concept of 'first-generation student' in the literature : implications for South African higher educationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1378 –1396 (2011)More Less
In the United States first-generation students (FGSs), those who are the first in their families to attend university, are recognised as disadvantaged and receive government support. Amidst affirmative action debates in higher education in South Africa, an increased awareness has emerged about challenges that FGSs in this country face. A systematic review was done to provide a summary of the literature about FGSs. The key phrase 'first-generation student' was entered on the online databases JSTOR, Academic Search Premier: Ebscohost, Proquest, PsychInfo, SAE Publications and Scopus. This search yielded 59 articles and a thematic analysis was conducted. Themes that arise suggest that identifying FGSs can make a valuable contribution towards assisting institutions of higher education (HE) in South Africa in the debate about who vulnerable students may be in order to provide them with support for success in higher education. However, FGS status is just one amongst a number of factors that may impact on student experiences in HE.
Re-envisioning the scholarship of engagement : lessons from a university-school partnership project for mathematics and science teachingAuthor M.C. NdlovuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1397 –1415 (2011)More Less
The purpose of this article is to report on a formative evaluation research study of a university-school partnership for mathematics and science education within a community engagement and social justice perspective in higher education in order to inform redesign and replicability. The partnership involved the school-based systemic intervention through teacher professional development in which university-based facilitators embarked on class visits with the aim of identifying teacher needs, co-teaching and offering professional support over a four-year period. This was in contrast to traditional inspection visits which teachers and teacher unions are not comfortable with. Five historically disadvantaged secondary schools and their ten feeder primary schools were involved in this study with a view of providing equal opportunities to learners from marginalized communities in the Stellenbosch region of the Western Cape. That the schools were located in socio-economically disadvantaged communities added a social justice perspective to the partnership goals. Initial results of the study suggest that an intervention programme that is collaborative and responsive to local needs can achieve greater impact if sufficiently funded and efficiently facilitated. Teachers can open up to the change initiative and build self-reflective professional communities of practice that enrich their practice and ultimately impact positively on learner achievement in the gateway subjects of mathematics and science.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1416 –1428 (2011)More Less
Research output affects both the strength and funding of universities. Accordingly university academic staff members are under pressure to be active and productive in research. Though all academics have research interest, all are not producing research output which is accredited by the Department of Education (DOE). We analyzed the demographic and academic factors that affect DOE recognized research productivity of academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) between 2004 and 2008. The results show that the demographic and academic profiles of staff that produce research output differ from faculty to faculty. Thus, the intervention strategies that increase the number of research productive academics should be faculty based rather than being university based.
Service quality and students' satisfaction with the professional teacher development programmes by distance mode in a South African universityAuthor A.B. OduaranSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1429 –1446 (2011)More Less
This article reports on the relationship between seven factors that described dimensions of education service quality and overall service quality on one hand, and students' satisfaction with the professional teacher development programmes by distance mode in a South African University on the other. We sought to find out whether students enrolled in the Advanced Certificate in Education and National Professional Diploma in Education academic programmes offered by distance mode by the School of Continuing Education were satisfied with the quality of service delivery. We were also interested in finding out the factors that contributed most to students' satisfaction with academic programme delivery. The dependent variable in this study was held to be the overall student satisfaction and the independent variable was the education service quality that measured the level of students' satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the service performance. The sample consisted of 313 respondents randomly selected from a population of 916 students enrolled in the School. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire that was tested for validity and reliability. The major finding was that the correlation coefficients of all the clustered quality dimensions and student satisfaction were significantly correlated at 95 per cent confidence level (i.e. P = .05, meaning that the students were largely satisfied). The implication of this correlation is that all service quality dimensions were significantly correlated with student satisfaction as well as significantly correlated with themselves, and this was deemed as good enough for an academic programme that is delivered by distance mode.
Knowledge production and distribution by institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa : opportunities and challengesAuthor E. Ondari-OkemwaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 25, pp 1447 –1469 (2011)More Less
This article focuses on available opportunities and challenges which institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa face in producing and distributing knowledge. Institutions of higher education are also expected to produce knowledge workers for the knowledge economy. Knowledge production falls into Mode 1, in which problems are set and solved in a context governed by the largely academic interest of a specific community, and Mode 2, considered more socially accountable, accessible and reflexive. Knowledge produced by universities falls more into Mode 1. Objectives of the article are: to find out the potential role of sub-Saharan Africa-based institutions of higher education in producing and distributing knowledge; to explore ways of supplementing Mode 1 knowledge with Mode 2 knowledge, which has more social relevance; identify challenges faced by sub-Saharan Africa-based institutions of higher education in producing and distributing knowledge; find out how information technology may enhance knowledge production and distribution by institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa; establish how the environments in which institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa operate impact on knowledge production and distribution abilities of the institutions. A literature review was conducted to establish the state of knowledge production and distribution by institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa. It was found out that institutions of higher education in sub-Saharan Africa face numerous challenges in producing knowledge. Challenges include poor infrastructure, declining budgetary allocations, brain drain and competition in knowledge production. Universities in sub-Saharan Africa can play a major role in producing knowledge and contributing to economic development in the region.