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- Volume 28, Issue 3, 2014
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 28, Issue 3, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 3, 2014
Towards the development of digital storytelling practices for use in resource-poor environments, across disciplines and with students from diverse backgrounds : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 961 –982 (2014)More Less
Digital storytelling has entered higher education as a pedagogical tool for enhancing students' digital literacies in digitally saturated contexts. Increasing access to freely available software programs for video production and the ubiquity of mobile technologies have made digital storytelling viable in resource-poor environments. This article reports on an on-going project at a university of technology in South Africa employing both quantitative and qualitative research approaches, with the aim of understanding students' perceptions of context-specific digital storytelling practices across various disciplines and student backgrounds. Bourdieu's (1986) notions of field, habitus and capital as well as Yosso's (2005, 70) idea of 'community cultural wealth' were applied to understand students' perceptions of practices of digital storytelling that emerged from this project. The authors argue that complex technology projects, such as digital storytelling, are potentially viable in poorly-resourced environments, across disciplines and with students with diverse digital literacies and backgrounds, provided that: (1) technical barriers are lowered to the minimum and technologies are adopted that are freely available, owned by or easily accessible to students; (2) that the appropriate model is chosen based on these students' social and cultural capital; and (3) that the community cultural wealth of students is considered in curriculum delivery.
'Responsiveness' and 'responsibility' : determining what matters in a computer engineering curriculum : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionAuthor S. WinbergSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 983 –1002 (2014)More Less
This article is a research study related to the restructuring of a four-year Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) undergraduate degree programme. The article focuses on the method by which collaborators from local industry and research institutions provided curriculum requests, and how these requests were organised and prioritised with the objective of defining the knowledge that matters most to the degree programme. The study is part of an on-going department wide curriculum renewal process that started in 2009. Analysis of the data obtained led to the development of a model to guide the curriculum project in identifying ways to prioritise changes that both protect the fundament disciplinary knowledge and cater for the dynamic nature of professional practice and changing technologies. The article argues that two concepts, namely, 'responsiveness' to the needs of industry and 'responsibility' to the disciplinary knowledge bases, are necessary aspects of an effective engineering curriculum.
Translating theoretical perspectives into constructive debate : reconceptualising the curriculum in the South African context : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1003 –1016 (2014)More Less
In the context of the complex challenges facing higher education, this article aims to illustrate how the translation of theoretical insights into a carefully formulated set of questions, can function as a flexible, discipline-specific developmental framework for curriculum development. Drawing primarily on Bernstein's (2000) concept of the pedagogical device and also on the work of Maton and Muller (2007), Muller (2008), Young (2008), and Wheelahan (2010), the authors argue that this process, without either alienating or patronising staff, has the potential to strengthen the theoretical understanding of their curricula by raising awareness about differentiated knowledge domains and the extent to which this impacts on curriculum design. This facilitates a collaborative process of critical discussion and debate which highlights the importance of access to knowledge, and encourages exploration of the nature of disciplines; their shaping values; the kinds of curricula that emerge from them; and the associated student and staff identities.
Improving higher education by linking research with teaching and learning processes : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1017 –1032 (2014)More Less
Improving the quality of teaching and learning in higher education is a current objective in the academic discourse in both Germany and South Africa. Research-based learning (RBL) is meant to be an effective approach towards enhancing students' academic capability. This article illustrates how RBL could be explored in order to contribute to the quality objective in higher education. It aims to answer the following questions: What is RBL about? What is an appropriate organisational structure for RBL activities? What are the guiding principles of linking research activities with academic teaching and learning? How can the RBL approach affect students' performance, motivation and learning success?
Formative computer-based assessments to enhance teaching and learning : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionAuthor N. LeachSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1033 –1046 (2014)More Less
Formative assessment (FA) has the potential to benefit student learning and enhance teaching, as the feedback can assist both students - to assess the quality of their work - and university teachers - to understand students' strengths and weaknesses. This article reports on part of a broader exploratory study, which involved 360 undergraduate law students at a university in South Africa. Weekly formative computer-based assessments (CBAs) were introduced prior to lectures for a period of eight weeks. This intervention could be understood as a variant of FA, which is described by Carless (2007, 171) as 'pre-emptive assessment'. A survey was conducted among students and lecturers at the end of the pre-emptive FA intervention. The study found strong support for the use of FA among students, as well as lecturers, and showed a high participation rate in the FA among students. The study further challenged Biggs' (1989, 7) four-step model of constructive alignment with regard to the role of FA that can precede teaching activities. Hence, it proposes an adaptation of that model.
Doctoral identity change towards researcher autonomy during research journeys across disciplines : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1047 –1068 (2014)More Less
A degree of understanding of doctoral identity brings about a focus on the ways in which candidates both shape and are shaped by research milieus and contexts. Doctoral identity is thus both a continuous conscious and unconscious process influenced by interacting elements, such as doctoral candidates' biological characteristics; own unique psychological needs, interests and defences; as well as and the cultural milieu or context in which they operate. This brings forth the idea of doctoral identity formation as a doctoral 'journey' towards researcher autonomy. Employing a researcher development framework, this article elaborates on research conducted on how doctoral education seems to have mattered for seven doctoral graduates across five disciplinary areas in terms of identity change as demonstrated in their becoming more autonomous as researchers. The findings indicate identity changes in six dimensions, namely: curiosity, determination, criticality, organisation, creativity and persuasion. Further, the research findings indicate that doctoral graduates seem to differ in moving towards researcher autonomy within their distinctive doctoral journeys and therefore may also differ in the nature and tempo of identity formation as independent or autonomous researchers. A conceptual framework is suggested which may assist doctoral supervisors in gaining a better understanding of the processes and dynamics involved in doctoral identity formation towards researcher autonomy at research-led universities.
The potential of authentic learning and emerging technologies for developing graduate attributes : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1069 –1084 (2014)More Less
Graduate attributes, such as critical thinking and problem-solving in real-world contexts, are increasingly being recognised as crucial for students to develop in higher education for employability and critical citizenship. The question of how best to create conducive spaces in the curriculum for students to acquire these abilities is, however, less well documented. The authors propose that one way to enable students to achieve these attributes would be for higher educators to engage in authentic learning, using Herrington, Reeves and Oliver's (2010) model as a guide. In this article, one case study is selected from a sample of ten interviews conducted with University of the Western Cape (UWC) lecturers as it rated highly on all nine elements of authentic learning. The curriculum design and teaching and learning practices are analysed using each of Herrington et al's elements for authentic learning and the potential of these elements for developing graduate attributes is considered.
Criticism, self-criticism, generative criticism - developing self-awareness and confidence in students of design : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionAuthor M. Lecanides-ArnottSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1085 –1106 (2014)More Less
In the complex field of design, which bridges art and science, designers need to be critically aware and versatile. They should possess breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and understanding that can be transferred and adapted to new and different situations, enabling sustainable and innovative design solutions. Designers need to communicate within a global 'networked knowledge society'. It has been argued that 'designers create culture' and that the knowledge and hand skills traditionally required of an artist/designer are essential, as design outcomes are purpose driven and practical. Self-awareness and confidence have been identified as necessary attributes for 'creative design action'. This article reports on a longitudinal, interpretive study of the role of tertiary design foundation education and in particular an integrated, multidisciplinary Design Foundation Course in the South African context. In raising students' critical awareness by instilling an understanding of 'core ideas' and the 'visual language' specific to the fields of art and design, emphasis was placed on 'learning to see' through the act of drawing and the use of colour. Transference from one studio-based subject to another, that takes place through studio group critiques applying comparative analysis as a means of formative assessment, was examined. The iterative nature of the design process in encouraging 'design thinking', described as 'reflection in action', and which leads to the development of generative self-criticism, was investigated. It is argued that generative self-criticism in students provides an essential benchmarking instrument for the assessment of practical design outputs.
Career success for women academics in higher education : choices and challenges : Part 2 : HELTASA 2012 Special SectionAuthor N. ObersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1107 –1122 (2014)More Less
The aim of the research reported on in this article was to contribute to an understanding of how women academics experience career success; how their choices and challenges impact on their career advancement; and how the playing fields in academia can be levelled. Understanding the constraints and identifying enabling aspects may help women academics to overcome obstacles in their career development and be more represented in academia and ultimately in society. This research was a case study undertaken at one higher education institution (HEI), Rhodes University (RU). The data was collected from institutional documents; questionnaire data from women academics at the HEI; and in-depth interviews with six women academics. The data indicate that mentoring is a strategy to enhance levels of self-esteem and research productivity and ultimately improve the representation of women in leadership and senior positions.
Author A. ArcherSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 28, pp 1123 –1131 (2014)More Less
This article focuses on academic literacies and access to higher education in South Africa. Specifically, it explores the ways in which multimodal pedagogies can enable recognition of a diversity of student resources, whilst at the same time enabling access to dominant practices. Formal education often closes down access to a range of semiotic resources; thus, multimodal pedagogies could potentially recover 'recognition' of these. Recognition is about noticing resources in terms of some existing framework; utilising them in a range of contexts; and valuing them in terms of assessment. The article highlights the relations between multimodal pedagogies, academic literacies and access to higher education. The importance of writing is acknowledged and ways of using multimodal resources to access writing are discussed, including interrogating metaphorical objects, oral performance and multimodal citation.