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- Volume 27, Issue 2, 2013
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 27, Issue 2, 2013
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Volume 27, Issue 2, 2013
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 267 –274 (2013)More Less
The theme for the 2011 forum of the Southern African Association of Institutional Research (SAAIR) was Enhancement. It was designed to provide opportunities for critical self-reflection to institutional researchers, planners, quality assurance professionals and other administrators, as well as academics, on how evidence-based practices can be used to improve the quality of teaching practices and graduate attributes.
Author G. ScottSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 275 –294 (2013)More Less
This article argues that, in order to manage the powerful combination of change forces currently bearing down on higher education around the world successfully, universities have be good at determining not only what needs to change in their current approaches to learning and teaching (L&T) but also how to ensure that their agreed change priorities are consistently and effectively implemented and sustained. In doing this, the article seeks to: bring together the lessons learnt from 40 years' practical experience in improving L&T in universities and colleges with research on successful approaches to change implementation and leadership in higher education; show how these lessons have been successfully applied to improve the quality and performance of L&T in one university in a demonstrable manner; and provide a framework for the effective management of L&T quality improvements in all universities.
Author S. BadatSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 295 –308 (2013)More Less
Institutional research is critical for informing a university's goals and policies, for effective and penetrating review of a university's performance, for continuous improvements in teaching and learning, scholarship, research, community engagement and for the overall functioning of a university. Institutional research is also a key input into institutional planning, the process of careful and considered deliberation and making of choices on the academic and overall institutional trajectory and development of the university. A university which does not seek to be entirely shaped by historical patterns and contemporary currents and pressures strives to proactively and consciously shape its own future. Institutional research and planning agendas are not purely technical and neutral issues. They are shaped by values and politics, the latter understood as contestation and struggles over social relations, over what kind of institution a university seeks to be.
Author U. TeichlerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 309 –329 (2013)More Less
Reflections on the future of higher education have occasionally been undertaken by supra-national organisations as well as by higher education researchers. They are considered necessary because higher education will have an impact on future scholars and future professionals for several decades to come. Also, research has addressed potentially relevant issues of higher education often before the decision makers themselves, through increased public awareness of respective problems, are obliged to deliver results. Even though many future scenarios are shaped too much by issues of the recent past, a review of major current issues in higher education is the customary starting point for scenario planning. It might be important in the near future that higher education aims to be socially relevant without becoming overly instrumental. Moreover, a scope of diversity has to be found that serves the existing multiplicity of people and functions without ending up in over-competitiveness for positions in a steeply stratified higher education system. Finally, a vision is needed how higher education could serve a 'highly educated society' or a 'mass knowledge society' in which the majority of the population is highly informed, highly reflective and able to share responsibilities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 330 –352 (2013)More Less
Student retention and success in higher education is a major concern worldwide. Students are generally less prepared for higher education studies and more at risk of dropping out, stopping out or taking longer to complete their qualifications. A conceptual model serves as common point of reference to enhance student success, retention, graduation and satisfaction, and in particular the assessment of risk associated with academic readiness for higher education studies. The predictive correlations between average high school marks from the South African National Senior certificate (NSC) and average marks in the first year of study at the University of South Africa (Unisa) were investigated with the intention of assessing aspects of academic readiness to identify associated risk and increase student retention and success. The correlations between first year marks and variables, such as home language, language of study, age, gender, race, qualification level, type of NSC and college, were investigated.
Author J. PymSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 353 –367 (2013)More Less
This article engages with the work of an equity initiative, the Academic Development (AD) programme in the Education Development Unit (Commerce) at the University of Cape Town. The programme focuses on providing access, improving graduation rates and creating a 'value-added' experience, rather than a deficit model approach. The article concentrates on understanding how and why the model has evolved over time with an increasing awareness that the notion of 'disadvantage' needs a more critical engagement and stereotype threat is real issue in any separate programme. The challenge is to draw on students as a resource in the teaching and learning process and develop a way of working collectively and reflectively to help shift both teaching practices and students' level of engagement and reflection. This necessitates shifting away from the notion of a 'one size fits all' approach and moving away from 'preparing' the students to a joint undertaking of transforming both the teaching and learning environment, addressing the great diversity of strengths and challenges that the students bring to higher education. The article is a qualitative exploration of the key issues that guide this work, as well as outlining what this focus means in practice.
Enhancing student learning, participation and accountability in undergraduate group projects through peer assessmentSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 368 –382 (2013)More Less
This article reports on a study undertaken into undergraduate student group projects at Botho College, Botswana. At the college, group projects are assessed entirely by the supervising tutor. This has led to some dissatisfaction on the part of students and staff when students' contributions to the project are unequal and this is not recognised in the assessment. To overcome this, a trial was conducted in which a group of students performed peer assessment of the contributions of individual group members to the project. These assessments were compared to tutor assessments. The results are discussed together with feedback from students and staff and the implications for Botho College and higher education in general are examined.
Using the human capabilities approach as a normative framework to evaluate institutional teaching and learning interventions at UWCSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 383 –400 (2013)More Less
This article uses the human capabilities approach to evaluate an institutional approach to teaching and learning at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The human capabilities framework makes it possible to examine the impact of social arrangements and interventions on the expansion of valuable beings and doings in teaching and learning. The institutional approach at UWC which involved the development of a strategic plan for teaching and learning and a case study of the teaching and learning retreats for Heads of Academic Departments is examined using the normative framework of the human capabilities approach. The constraints and opportunities regarding the institutionalisation of teaching and learning are illuminated through an analysis of data from a human capabilities perspective.
Enhancing a culture of evidence : using studentengagement to identify problem areas whichinstitutions can do something aboutSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 401 –418 (2013)More Less
A critical component to furthering enhancement is the ability of institutional researchers to identify problem areas related to the student learning experience which institutions can rectify. By focusing on the nature of the educational process, student engagement surveys are currently used as indicators of the quality of undergraduate education in numerous countries. The second round of Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) institutional reviews will have a strong teaching and learning focus, thereby compelling higher education institutions (HEIs) to provide evidence of how problem areas related to the student experience have been identified systematically, as well as how action plans and improvements are being implemented and monitored. This article demonstrates how four related student engagement surveys can provide a comprehensive, longitudinal assessment of undergraduate teaching and learning in South Africa. Using a hypothetical data set, the article illustrates how this data can be used as a diagnostic and monitoring tool in a 5-year cycle.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 419 –436 (2013)More Less
A gulf is widening between the technologies used by students, those used by educators and those provided by institutions. However, knowledge about the impact of so-called emerging technologies on learning or the readiness of higher education institutions (HEIs) to engage with such technologies in the South African context is relatively thin. This article uses Rogers' (2003) diffusion of innovations model as a conceptual framework to examine the diffusion, adoption and appropriation of emerging technologies in South African HEIs. We report on a survey which examined how emerging technologies are used in innovative pedagogical practices to transform teaching and learning across South African HEIs. The article concludes that, in order to foster a greater uptake or more institution-wide diffusion of use of emerging technologies, institutional opinion leaders need to purposefully create an enabling environment by giving recognition to and communicating with change agents, and developing policies that will encourage institutional-wide engagement with emerging technologies.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 437 –453 (2013)More Less
Globally there is increasing pressure on higher education institutions (HEIs) to enhance the employability of graduates by ensuring that university learning experiences contribute to inculcating the knowledge, skills and attributes that will enable graduates to perform successfully as citizens in the knowledge economy. Graduate employability is evidenced in a mix of personal attributes, understandings, skilful practices, and the ability to reflect productively on experience. This article will provide an analysis of research conducted at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) to investigate graduates' perceptions of the extent to which their particular university qualification contributed to employability. The research was conducted by means of a structured questionnaire administered among NMMU graduates at graduation ceremonies in April 2011, with an online follow-up questionnaire administered two months later. Of a total of 5 397 graduates, 2 379 completed the questionnaires resulting in a response rate of 44.1 per cent. The overwhelming majority of respondents reported that their qualifications and study experiences at NMMU had enhanced their employability and this was supported by the research findings which demonstrated of all respondents had secured employment at the time of graduation. Respondents recommended various courses of action to further enhance graduate employability, including increased exposure to work-integrated or experiential learning and improved relations between university academics and employers. The study revealed that the purposeful design and delivery of curricula and co-curricular activities support the development of intellectual and interpersonal skills that enable graduates to fulfil a role, rather than merely possessing the immediate task-related skills that enable them to perform a specific job.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27, pp 454 –473 (2013)More Less
The postdoctoral sector at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is a growing one, and provides a significant contribution to the institutional research endeavour. Until 2002, this sector was unregulated and the experiences of Postdoctoral Research Fellows (PDRFs) were largely unknown. Since then a range of regulatory developments have taken place and two surveys have been carried out in order to understand the issues and challenges faced by the PDRFs, with a view to putting in place interventions to enhance their experience at UCT. This article provides a brief, post-2002 history of the postdoctoral sector at UCT; describes the survey methodology used and results obtained; and reports on some of the interventions that have flowed from the survey findings. The article also reflects on the effectiveness of the (institutional) research - intervention - further (institutional) research method employed here, and on the importance of embeddingof the work of this kind within the business of relevant institutional committee structures.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 27 (2013)More Less
This special edition of The South Africa Journal of Higher Education is dedicated to the memory of Prof George Subotzky. At the time of completing this edition he passed away, following a long and debilitating illness. George and a colleague from the University of South Africa were scheduled to present a paper at the SAAIR conference that informs this special edition. Unfortunately, George was too ill to attend the conference but his continued insights into higher education, especially in South Africa, and his deep commitment to building the scholarship of higher education studies, remained ever present at the conference.