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- South African Journal of Higher Education
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- Volume 29, Issue 2, 2015
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 29, Issue 2, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 29, Issue 2, 2015
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 1 –22 (2015)More Less
South African universities receive a direct monetary reward for the number of doctoral graduates produced. As a result there has been a steady increase in numbers in recent years (from 977 in 2004 to 1 878 in 2012), with obvious implications for doctoral supervision. Against this background a web-based survey of 331 doctoral supervisors at South African universities was conducted in 2011. The findings are discussed with reference to four themes : the burden of numbers, the nature of the doctorate (PhD), screening and selection of doctoral candidates, and supervisory styles. The main conclusion is that many doctoral supervisors in South Africa conduct their supervision under less-than-optimal conditions. Increasing student numbers, demands for constant monitoring and accountability, the pressure of throughput rates and efficient completion together with moderate-to-poor quality students, have resulted in a situation where doctoral supervision has become a challenging and highly stressful undertaking.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 23 –41 (2015)More Less
There has been a speedy increase in the number of higher education providers, including private higher education institutions in the Philippines. This proliferation of providers and institutional types has given rise to a need to address the issues of skills and relevance in the Philippines. The World Bank (2012) has reported on a significant gap between the skills needs of employers and the levels of skills produced by higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Philippines. How does the Philippines manage the increased demand for higher education to provide skills needed to develop the society and the economy? This article analyses the expansion of higher education globally and in the Philippines, in particular, and its impact on skills production. We argue the case for the proper regulation of the higher education system, in general, and private higher education, in particular, to deliver the relevant skills needed for the economic development and global competitiveness of the Philippines.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 42 –55 (2015)More Less
Many university lecturers expect students to be able to read disciplinary texts at the appropriate levels, and reflect critically and multi-dimensionally on those texts, yet are often frustrated by many students' lack of ability to do so satisfactorily. While there is much research to suggest that academic writing needs to be taught within the disciplines as a practice linked to disciplinary knowledge, there is less research to make the same claims about academic reading, which is often referred to, rather, as a 'skill'. This article argues for an overt focus on critical academic reading as part of disciplinary teaching and learning, and draws on a case study and lecturers' responses to questions on critical reading to show how an academic literacies and knowledge-focused approach can be useful to lecturers trying to help their students read in the disciplines.
Teaching research methodology in an online OLD environment : strategies followed and lessons learnt : articlesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 56 –81 (2015)More Less
This article provides an overview of an open and distance learning (ODL) honours online research methodology module. The module was developed to address the requirements of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)for the new Programme Quality Mix (PQM) honours degrees. This semester module involves 15 active weeks of learning, culminating in the submission of a Portfolio of Evidence summative assessment task. Specific features of the module are described to illustrate how teaching the content was approached in an ODL context. The aim of the approach followed was to enhance student motivation, while maintaining consistent progress in achieving the required learning outcomes throughout the semester. Initial results and student feedback are presented.
Impact of a relationships development group on students' interpersonal communication and relationships : articlesAuthor K. Du PlooySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 82 –105 (2015)More Less
Together with the increasing pace of modern society and technological improvements, it appears that students' psychological needs, complaints and methods of communication have also changed. At the University of Pretoria (UP) between January and October 2012 the most frequent problems presented at Division Student Support (DSS) were stress, anxiety and depression relating to academic, personal and particularly interpersonal relationships. Unsatisfactory interpersonal relationships appeared to have a detrimental impact on academic performance, which could culminate in the termination of studies. This highlighted the need for more effective psychotherapeutic interventions to improve communication and interpersonal relationships. Traditional psychotherapeutic approaches no longer appeared to be as effective. Increasing numbers of students suggested group intervention as opposed to individual psychotherapy. It was postulated that a semi-structured relationships development group (RDG)grounded in the inter-psychic approach could address the contemporary needs of students. Such a group of seven UP students was formed in April 2013. Initial findings based on the feedback from these group members show the semi-structured RDG to be an impactful and effective short-term psychotherapeutic tool to improve the quality of communication and interpersonal relationships of students at South African institutions of higher education. This would allow students who may be at risk of academically under performing to improve their academic results and in doing so improve the academic success and through putrates at South African institutions of higher education. Further research is advocated to verify these findings at other South African institutions of higher education.
The search for ecologies of knowledge in the encounter with African epistemicide in South African education : articlesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 106 –121 (2015)More Less
This article discusses the manufactured absence of African epistemologies, that we refer to as 'epistemicide', in formal education in Africa. The exemplifying case for our argument is the western hegemonic positioning of university and school-based knowledge in South African education during the past 20 years. This is taken up in the first half of the article where we illustrate how this (westernised) knowledge form is instantiated in the education body politik. The article concludes with a consideration of an 'ecologies of knowledge' approach which we argue opens a radicalising space for the inclusion of African-centred epistemologies. The pluralisation of knowledge traditions, via an 'ecologies of knowledge' approach, is the fulcrum of such an epistemological orientation.
Using a curricular spider web to explore a research facilitator's and students' experiences : articlesAuthor S.B. KhozaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 122 –143 (2015)More Less
This article presents an interpretive case study of two groups of students and a facilitator, who were involved in the learning and teaching of a postgraduate research module. The module was face-to-face for a group of 24 students and14 distance learning students. The facilitator had to use different e-resources to create an e-learning environment for the students to learn. Document / Learning Management System (LMS) analysis, semi-structured interviews/discussions and participant observations were used for data generation. Purposive sampling was used in selecting these two specific groups of research students and their facilitator. This article uses the term 'e-learning signals' to aggregate every important element of e-learning environments. Twelve issues of learning are presented for discussing the important activities for learning framed by the curricular spider web. This article consequently recommends that facilitators and students should define, understand, and use or apply the e-learning environment in order to support learning.
A social realist perspective : a quest for understanding quality practices in higher education : articlesAuthor L.M. MasehelaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 144 –162 (2015)More Less
In this article I argue that, for the enhancement of teaching and learning to have its intended positive impact, a 'close-up' look or contextualised understanding of the way academics work with conceptions of quality and the policies and procedures that are intended to promote them is necessary. The article proposes that research located in Bhaskar's critical realism and Archer's social realism provides a means of producing these understandings. This kind of research is important because, in spite of the introduction of quality assurance into South African higher education, the system continues to be plagued by poor performance reflected not only in low success and graduation rates with high attrition rates, but also in the poor quality of graduates. As such, this has led the body responsible for quality assurance, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) to embark on the next cycle of its work, which focuses specifically on teaching and learning.
The human element : self-regulated learning skills and strategies through role-modelling and guided mastery : articlesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 163 –180 (2015)More Less
This article explores the experiences of a black male student as he undertook a challenging academic journey through high school and university to the completion of a four year degree in Accountancy. Data were collected by means of three in-depth, semi-structured interviews, which were then analysed to identify the key themes that shaped the student's academic journey. Two distinct cycles of failure followed by success emerged from the analysis of the data. In both cases, through the role-modelling and guided mastery of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) strategies and skills by a few committed and dedicated persons, the student was able to develop academic resilience and achieve his goals. Drawing on the findings of the case study, the authors identify some of the challenges faced by students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds within the present day South African context, and suggest possible solutions through the adoption of SRL and the principles and practices of Guided Mastery.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 181 –201 (2015)More Less
Research indicates that those employed in the education sector are especially susceptible to psychological violence. This study aimed to determine the nature, more specifically the prevalence, severity and perpetrators of psychological violence at a multi-campus South African Further Education and Training (FET) College. A Psychological Violence Scale was developed and distributed to the study population of 262 staff members at six campuses and Corporate Centre of an FET College; 174 questionnaires were completed and returned. Findings indicated that staff members experienced psychological violence as prevalent, severe and mostly from superiors.
Experiences of teaching practice at the University of Limpopo : possibilities for curriculum improvement : articlesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 202 –217 (2015)More Less
This article reports on a study conducted to establish the experiences of pre-service teachers from the University of Limpopo (UL) placed in different schools during Teaching Practice (TP) and how these experiences could be used for curriculum improvement. A qualitative and interpretative approach was used to highlight multiple realities and interpretations. Data was collected from 36 participants : three focus group interviews of 12 students each representing three streams offered in the School of Education. Content thematic analysis was used to analyse data. Results show that curriculum knowledge and interpretation, workloads, overcrowding, teacher attitudes, lack of resources, mentoring, discipline and coping mechanisms were the key issues from TP experiences. The study concludes that some of these experiences of pre-service teachers could be used to improve teacher education curriculum at the UL. The study acknowledges that there are challenges that need further study.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 218 –236 (2015)More Less
The phenomenon of exceptional academic achievement in South African higher education is under-researched and frequently overshadowed by concerns around failure, underachievement, and poor quality of throughput. This article reports on a study of exceptional academic achievement at a South African university. Taking a selection of contextually relevant and available variables, a logistic regression methodology was applied to a sample of graduates from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) - an internationally ranked, recently merged and rapidly transforming South African university. As an outcome of this application, a model of the socio-demographic and educational variables associated with exceptional academic achievement in undergraduate students was developed. The model suggests that variations in 'race', gender, financial aid allocation, matriculation score and matriculation English symbol are significantly associated with increased odds of exceptional academic achievement. Interaction terms for 'race' and gender were also entered in the model. The study also found that when compared with all other groups, white females were most likely to excel academically. The results from the study provide a basis for connecting discourses pertaining to excellence, exceptional academic achievement, and quality of throughput at an undergraduate level with those of equity and equality in South African higher education. It highlights that although some advances in the equity of academic achievement for different 'race' and social groups at the UKZN have been made, there is considerable room for improvement in the domain of exceptional academic achievement.
Digital animation for 'going public' on curriculum integration of HIV and AIDS in higher education : articlesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 237 –259 (2015)More Less
As an interdisciplinary team of researchers, we sought ways of encouraging discussion, reflexivity and generative thinking around HIV and AIDS integration in higher education curricula. We facilitated conversations in three higher education research settings through the medium of a digital animation based on a storyboard prepared in response to experiences of university educators who integrate HIV and AIDS-related issues in their teaching. We screened the digital animation and encouraged responses from the three audiences, then used these responses together with our own deliberations to explore the 'what' and 'how' of making public our work. Using digital animation for generative action, we found that the four conceptual and methodological features of generative processes (playfulness, passion, perspicacity and participation) that we identified through previous research may be extended to a fifth - that of publicising research, or 'going public', which played an important role in our innovative and responsive use of digital animation.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 260 –278 (2015)More Less
Since the early 1950s, only four funding formulate have been used for public funding of higher education institutions in South Africa. From the introduction of the Holloway formula in 1953 to the current New Funding Framework (NFF), implemented in 2004, the underlying factors that determine the base of funding for higher education have stayed the same. Some principles, such as weighted student numbers, changed the calculation of students, but student intake, student output and research output still determine funding. While the basis of funding did not change much, the amounts per unit changed significantly, especially since 2001. Research became the focus of some universities, while others increased their student intake in order to generate the maximum amount South African of income from government subsidies. The NFF continues to evolve and managerial staff needs the necessary knowledge on the basics of subsidy to make informed decisions. With the new cycle for enrollment planning being done from 2014 to 2019, knowledge of the NFF is more important than ever.
Author H. Van der MerweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 279 –297 (2015)More Less
A growing scholarship links quality-assured multiple-choice testing to accountable outputs. This article looks at the use of multiple-choice assessment and the quality assuring of item development through a structured process of systematic steps. A qualitative investigation was undertaken based on individual e-interviews with participants who are experts in the use of multiple-choice question assessment. The investigation was conducted at the College of Education of a higher education institution. The findings confirm the potential of multiple-choice assessment to test factual knowledge and higher-order learning. The findings also show that the main components in a systematic process of quality assuring the construction of multiple-choice items include training in the skills of item development, peer reviewing of constructed items, professional editing, and the interpretation of statistical analysis of student performance and student feedback for future constructions. The findings contribute to the literature that argues for credible assessment practices to ascertain relevant outputs.
On the Democratisation of science education through Facebook : implications for autonomy, equality and teacher education at universities : articlesAuthor F. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 298 –314 (2015)More Less
In this article I offer a defence for using educational technology to democratise classroom practices in relation to science education and teacher education at universities. My contention is that educational technology, more specifically using Facebook, can engender pedagogical action among learners and educators that resonates with democratic practices. In other words, using educational technology in science and teacher education can enhance learner autonomy and equality, so that critical, self-reflexive thinking and disruptive thought and action, respectively, can be cultivated through technology-assisted education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 315 –325 (2015)More Less
Institutions of higher learning in the Muslim world are generally under pinned by an Islamic ethos; but, despite this, they have encountered numerous challenges from various stakeholders inside and outside their structures. This article undertakes a review of Bakar, Eric Winkel and Amran's co-edited conference proceedings titled Contemporary higher education needs in Muslim countries : Defining the role of Islam in 21st century higher education (2011). The reason is basically twofold : the first is that there are few English publications that have dealt with themes that the conference set itself out to explore, and the second is to assess whether the set of papers in this publication satisfactorily succeeded in addressing the themes.