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- Volume 26, Issue 2, 2012
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 26, Issue 2, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 2, 2012
4th Annual SATN Conference 2011 : curriculum transformation at universities of technology : towards development of new generation universities : editor's introductionAuthor T. MthembuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 185 –197 (2012)More Less
The South African Technology Network (SATN) would like to thank the Editor of the South African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE) for the opportunity to publish papers read at the 4th Annual SATN Conference that was hosted by Central University of Technology and held in Bloemfontein in November 2011. The journal makes it possible for universities of technology (UoTs) to share their collective thoughts, plans and strategies on UoT curriculum planning, design and dissemination with the rest of the higher education fraternity. Undoubtedly, this edition contributes to the development, nuance and expansion of curricula at UoTs and in other types of universities.
One may ask a few questions: What is so particular or special about curriculum at UoTs? As universities, do UoTs not employ similar curriculum strategies as others? Should they or should they not? What trends are there internationally and nationally on curriculum transformation that UoTs should find applicable?
The 4th Annual SATN Conference 2011 was organised to provide answers to the questions above and many more. The SATN believes the conference helped, in particular, to promote academic debate and knowledge sharing on philosophies, content and structure of workplace focused curricula at UoTs.
Special elements of a unique curriculum transformation framework that were addressed are the following: Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in its widest sense, institutional differentiation, technology enhanced teaching and learning methodologies, quality and standards and how we might cause a mind shift of academics to embrace technology and focus on student learning rather than teaching.
Author I. NtshoeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 198 –213 (2012)More Less
This articles aims to demystify curriculum and pedagogical discourses and related practices of sectoral occupational fields and qualifications of universities of technology (UoTs). The article takes issue with the academic tradition which emphasises distinctiveness of UoT as a sector that should focus exclusively on applied knowledge that is fixed to practice. This I do by exploring unconventional theoretical and conceptual epistemes to undergird curricula and pedagogic discourses in UoTs. The article makes a case for a conscious shift towards a knowledge-based approach to embed offerings, curriculum, pedagogy, teaching, learning and assessment. I argue that the current emphasis on the applied knowledge devoid of conceptual knowledge base and the principle of matching in UoTs is one-dimensional. I further argue that competence- and outcomes-based models have inherent shortcomings to drive curriculum change, and therefore propose the conceptual and contextual approach to strengthen the knowledge base of offering and programmes of UoTs.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 214 –231 (2012)More Less
Universities of technology (UoTs) achieve developmental impact through differentiated curricula, allowing graduates to undertake mid-level occupations in the workplace. This mandate differs from that at traditional universities in six respects: diploma-level entrants, labour market focus, workplace-oriented learning, applied research and innovation, practical graduate attributes, and symbiosis with the workplace on curriculum development.
These differentia imply criteria for an 'ideal curriculum' at a UoT: demand among employers, affordable class-sizes, available qualified staff members, articulation to higher qualifications, and space to be created in the programme and qualification mix.
STEPS, a process of Strategic Transformation of Educational Programmes and Structures, was undertaken for eighteen months at CUT. Through work by twelve task teams, innovations in curricula and associated support mechanisms have emerged: including nine new qualifications related to environmental sustainability and service delivery, and the comprehensive re-engineering of selected other curricula. The sequence of the process and case studies of the innovations are considered.
Author N.J. NdunaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 232 –248 (2012)More Less
In an attempt to demonstrate the relevance of workplace learning (previously known as 'cooperative education') in guiding student and curriculum development, this article presents findings from a research project on the current practice of workplace learning, drawn from an analysis of evaluation reports in a university of technology. Areas of improvement associated with current planning, implementation and evaluation of workplace education are outlined and reflected as student and curriculum development issues. The article calls for an alignment of academic and workplace practices for the mutual benefit of students and workplaces, for the use of the principle that workplace learning should be appropriate for a qualification and for interaction between the university and the workplace. The article also reflects on institutional attempts to address the shortcomings of current practice in response to the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF). Suggestions for improving workplace learning are also outlined. The article encourages partnerships, collaborative curriculum development and evaluation research and calls for a national strategy for managing the quality of workplace education.
'Mental models' that students possess about Work Integrated Learning (WIL) with reference to the new curriculum frameworkAuthor D. NjozelaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 249 –267 (2012)More Less
Certain principles, processes and procedures inform the design and delivery of student's lessons in teacher education. In mentoring students, it was discovered that they exhibit 'mental models' during evaluation and monitoring of their lessons that are different from what they were taught. This has a negative impact on the effectiveness of the lessons they conduct. Furthermore, the discovery exhibits tension between 'museum possession of knowledge' as opposed to 'workshop possession of knowledge' (Lubisi, Wedekind and Parker 1998, 100). The article explores the mental models that students possess in the design and delivery of their lessons against what policy requires them to do. The phenomenon is an indication of the 'misfit' between what the policy says and what is happening practically. It is believed that Work Integrated Learning is an important resource for students learning. Whilst this fact may be true, it needs constant monitoring, coaching reflection for it to achieve the desired outcome. For instance, students do not consider the importance of communicating outcomes to their learners. They think it is not important to unpack and discuss the journey that they embark on with their learners. This is an indication that the role of mediator of teaching and learning is strongly sacrificed yet learners take the blame for failure and lack of understanding.
Author G.M. BohlokoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 268 –281 (2012)More Less
This article makes a case, for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) firstly as an integral part of the curriculum in universities of technology and secondly, as a pedagogical issue. I argue that, WIL represents the re-contextualised aspects of specialised knowledge in curricula of the various professions and that WIL should equally draw knowledge from disciplines. WIL is considered an example of re-contextualising conceptual knowledge into procedural knowledge at the workplace. I argue further that WIL tends to be better integrated with curricula and qualifications in the old professions that are strongly regulated by a variety of accreditations by boards and councils, who oversee both the formal curricula and competence levels of graduates. The article proposes the notion of conceptual and contextual approaches to understand WIL in a university of technology. Consequently, the development of an approach to a WIL component of the curriculum that transcends specific contexts and ensures the durability of offerings is proposed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 282 –299 (2012)More Less
Transformation of higher education in South Africa has resulted in an ongoing need to reflect critically on the relevance and responsiveness of higher education curricula. This article describes two inter-related aspects of curriculum mapping, namely the mapping process and the mapping tool. Based on a case study of a career-oriented business qualification, curriculum data such as subject guides are analysed, followed by a discussion on the findings that emanated from this analysis. Using a constructivist framework, the article argues how challenges, such as a lack of staff participation, a teacher-centred technicist approach to curriculum design, as a result of past curriculum development practices at Universities of Technology, can be addressed by using curriculum mapping both as a process and tool for curriculum review. We shall argue in this article that curriculum mapping, both as a process and a tool will encourage higher education lecturers to consider these key issues when designing curricula:
- What do we teach?
- Why do we teach what we teach?
- What do our students learn?
- How do our students learn?
- How do we assess what students have learned?
- How well should students perform in these assessment tasks to show that they have achieved the intended learning outcomes?
Author N. RhodesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 300 –315 (2012)More Less
In terms of technology, accounting education has not evolved to the extent required by industry and has created a gap in the knowledge and skills of accounting graduates. This article reports on how an educational research tool assisted in finding a place for information and communication technology in accounting education. This article also argues the use of design-based research, within the framework of cultural historical activity theory, to augment the evolution of accounting education within the comprehensive structure of the University of Johannesburg's diploma programmes. In conclusion, the need to revolutionise the accounting education arena, to align it with accounting practice, has been shown to necessitate the use of the integration model, through which the planned series of interventions are implemented.
Students' experiences of blended learning in Accounting Education at the Durban University of TechnologyAuthor A. HiralaalSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 316 –328 (2012)More Less
The Durban University of Technology guided by the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQC) identified e-learning as one of their objectives in the curriculum renewal process. To explore the impact of e-learning, blended learning, a combination of online and face-to-face interaction was implemented as a teaching approach in Accounting Education. This article explores Accounting Education students' experiences of blended learning.
The study was conducted using an action research methodology. Data was collected from the 2011 fourth year cohort of Accounting Education students who were exposed to blended learning for a period of 18 months. This data was gathered and analysed to determine students' perceptions of a blended learning approach in Accounting Education.
Results indicated that students experienced significant improvements in their performance in Accounting Education, they were more motivated to learn, they experienced increased levels of independence in the learning process and they had acquired a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Results also showed that additional learning materials were readily available via hyperlinks to websites, the students got immediate feedback from online assessments, there was greater lecturer-student interaction as well as student-student interaction through meaningful dialogue with peers and finally there was increased convenience, flexibility and access to learning in the blended learning environment.
A curriculum framework for Geographical Information Science (GISc) training at South African universitiesAuthor A. Van NiekerkSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 329 –345 (2012)More Less
Geographical information science (GISc) is one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. Being a relatively new discipline, universities often provide training as part of geography, surveying, town planning, environmental and computer science programmes. This complicates professional accreditation assessments as the content, outcomes, extent and quality of training can vary significantly. In this article one international and two South African GISc curriculum development models are qualitatively compared. Results show that, although there is significant intersection between the three models, some characteristics are unique to specific models. A new framework consisting of 15 components and compatible with international curricula is proposed. It addresses the needs of the South African industry while meeting the requirements of the South African GISc professional registration body. It is furthermore useful for comparing curricula and can support general curriculum design.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 346 –357 (2012)More Less
The development of graduate attributes in higher education is enjoying much attention worldwide. Employers consistently rank communication skills, in particular writing ability, among the most important skills for graduates to possess. The inclusion and development of graduate attributes in undergraduate curricula have received little attention. In South Africa, the National Qualifications Framework provides level descriptors for the inclusion of generic graduate attributes at different educational levels in curricula. Level descriptors for academic writing are rather vague, and have not been explicitly addressed. We propose in this article a possible process framework for the integration of the development of academic writing skills into an undergraduate four year degree in higher education. The vague writing level descriptors provided by South African National Qualifications Framework have been rewritten more specifically. Implementing these remodelled level descriptors for writing will facilitate the integration of academic writing skills into a four year bachelor's degree.
Author A. FosseySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 358 –371 (2012)More Less
Universities of Technology are mandated to provide career-orientated programmes preparing graduates for the workplace, doing research aimed at identifying societal and industrial needs, and finding solutions. Universities of Technology interweave technology with university endeavours; focusing on the know-how for the fabrication of things, and the skill to manage fabricated products. These universities are well placed to offer qualifications in biotechnology. Biotechnology encompasses many technologies using living organisms, their parts and products for commercial purposes. The development of the biotechnology is a national priority and enjoys support from government and funding bodies in South Africa. Challenges faced by educational systems include, curricular content and pedagogies in the rapidly changing biotechnology landscape, diversity of entering students, and expectations of the industry. Graduate attributes were devised and used to devise postgraduate curricula for biotechnology at Universities of Technology following an embedded approach. A flexible integrated curriculum is proposed that addresses student diversity and industry needs.
A conceptual framework for the quality assurance of programme design at the Durban University of TechnologySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 372 –390 (2012)More Less
At the end of 2010 the Durban University of Technology initiated a Curriculum Renewal Project, central to which is the aspiration to become a student centred university through the transformation of teaching and learning and the promotion of quality enhancement. However, the current realities for curriculum development and quality assurance at the university cannot be disengaged from a context shaped by influences such as the history of the technikon sector, the merger, and a changing external regulatory environment. The requirements of national agencies influence the current approaches to curriculum development and the quality assurance thereof. To address these contextual factors, a conceptual framework for the quality assurance of programme design has been developed which favourably positions the university to respond to internal and external requirements. The opportunities that will contribute to the successful outcome of the Curriculum Renewal project as well as the potential challenges are elaborated.