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- Volume 29, Issue 6, 2015
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 29, Issue 6, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 29, Issue 6, 2015
The limits of democratic citizenship education as initiation : cultivating risk-taking through association : leading articleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 1 –12 (2015)More Less
Much of the contemporary literature on democratic citizenship education accentuates citizens' enactment of duties, rights and responsibilities, on the one hand, and a sense of belonging, on the other hand (Benhabib 2011; Nussbaum 1997; Yuval-Davis 2011). Inasmuch as such rights, responsibilities and conceptions of belonging - based on understandings of democratic citizenship education - are not necessarily pernicious to the discourse of education, they do seem to curb students' aspirations to become 'whatever being' (Agamben 1993). 'Whatever being' refers to whatever liberatory stance students might assume in university classrooms. this apparent minimisation of risk-taking in a university classroom vis-à-vis the cultivation of democratic citizenship education is likely to be compounded by the initiation approach to education that has been so aptly articulated by Peters (1966) and Rorty (1999), and extended more recently by Biesta (2014). It is the authors' contention that democratic citizenship education would have a more promising opportunity to be realised if it were to be unconstrained by the act of initiation. Instead, such a form of education would become more risk-orientated if the notion of initiation were to be undermined.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 13 –38 (2015)More Less
The personal cloud is a rapidly emerging technology with applications in both the personal and education domains. Despite the rapid emergence of the personal cloud, there exists limited research into the adoption and utilisation of personal cloud technologies, particularly by university students in a developing country. Using the questionnaire responses of 137 students at various university levels, and using the Personal Cloud Adoption Model (PCAM) as a theoretical lens, this article reports on a study that investigated the factors influencing the adoption of personal cloud technologies by students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa. the authors argue that whilst the personal cloud is crucial in the future of higher education, there are certain institutional challenges that must be overcome before the benefits of the personal cloud in higher education are realised. the need for an appropriate paradigmatic change by universities, in order to effectively use these new technologies, is discussed.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 39 –57 (2015)More Less
this article provides a brief history of enrolment planning in South African higher education; an overview of the institutional setting of the Cape Peninsula University of technology (CPUT), Cape town, South Africa; as well as the operational context of the software company, IDSC, that created an implementable enrolment planning model. The difficulties in projecting detailed enrolment numbers as required by the Department of Higher education and training (DHET) and the main issues in terms of the development, deployment and outcome of the enrolment planning model are discussed. the authors also provide a brief overview of the field of academic analytics and locate the enrolment planning model within it. the usefulness and novelty of the model as an enrolment planning and monitoring tool is outlined in the context of a new approach to higher education funding by the DHET that may result in penalties for universities that either over- or under-enrol students.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 58 –77 (2015)More Less
The extant literature supports the fact that the approach followed in audit education is in need of improvement. This article reports on a study that highlighted the fact that current teaching methodologies employed by audit lecturers are not assisting audit students to master the various inherent requirements of their field of work. The primary objective of the study was to evaluate whether the current teaching methods followed in audit education at universities accredited with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) enable students to master the auditing and assurance competencies stipulated by SAICA in its competency framework. this was achieved through statistical analysis of data gathered from undergraduate chartered accountancy audit students at two SAICA-accredited South African universities, using a questionnaire that was developed for this purpose. The results showed that there is room for improvement in the methods applied by audit lecturers in the audit classroom. The article concludes with recommendations for improvement and future research, followed by a statement on the limitations of the study.
From marginal to mainstream : an argument for locating education development in the academic departmentSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 78 –92 (2015)More Less
This article contends that core responsibility, formation and execution of education development (ED) initiatives should occur in the academic department. For too long, ED has been handed off to peripheral bodies within South African universities. These programmes are limited in their reach, relevance and usefulness to students. Through reporting on a case study of ED in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape town (UCT), Cape Town, South Africa, the authors argue that ED within the academic discipline has three major benefits, namely: (i) initiatives can develop based on effective identification of student need; (ii) ED can be normalised and its stigma can be reduced; and (iii) ED becomes discipline-specific and properly contextualised to student learning.
The influence of student accommodation on NMMU students' dietary patterns, activity and alcohol consumptionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 93 –105 (2015)More Less
Leaving home to study at a higher education institution (HEI) together with changes in their living arrangements may contribute to unhealthy lifestyles in higher education students. the objectives of this study were to describe eating patterns, physical activity and alcohol use among students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in the context of student accommodation. A convenience sample of 619 students participated in a cross-sectional electronic self-administered survey after providing informed consent. Of the 257 students who regularly skipped meals, significantly more were residing in hostels than in other accommodation. Hostel students also reported a significantly lower consumption of fruit, vegetables and dairy products, with 25 per cent indicating insufficient funds as the reason. An inactive lifestyle was reported by 49 per cent of the participants. As long-term health can be affected by lifestyle choices, these findings can be used in intervention strategies to improve behaviour. The researchers recommend that an investigation be undertaken into the social problems that may contribute to health risk behaviour, especially in hostel students.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 106 –123 (2015)More Less
With all the post-democracy policy directives and reform initiatives, education in South Africa is seemingly mechanistic and carrying prodigious productive logic: to produce students, to advance economic development, and so on. The active language of official educational policies is riddled with words such as 'assessment', 'efficient', 'high skills' and 'progression' that speak to a technical rationality bent on turning everything into 'science' to obscure the general meaning. In this way the process of education is comparable to a sophisticated, intellectual machine - the more complex the machine becomes, the less control and understanding the teachers have over it (Braverman 1974). In this article, the authors consider the ways in which classroom and university teachers have been brutalised through bureaucratic processes and an allegiance to technical rationality, even while they imagine hermeneutic rationality and emancipatory rationality as radical alternatives to recovering the subject in a bureaucratic tangle of educational control.
A picture paints a thousand numbers - and tells a story : a post-positivist approach to building substantive grounded theory using decision tree analysisSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 124 –144 (2015)More Less
This article illustrates how decision tree analysis, using quantitative data normally associated with deductive methodologies, can be employed to inductively generate substantive grounded theory (GT). Within the context of academic disadvantage and development, a practical demonstration is provided of how theoretical explanations for student performance may be generated. Specifically, the chemistry, physics and biology modules of a science foundation programme are examined using classification and regression tree (CART) analysis towards an understanding of the factors that best facilitate a pass in each of these modules. Together with research published elsewhere on performance in the mathematics module, and the foundation programme as a whole, the findings allowed a number of 'conceptualisations' to emerge that may become the focus for GT generation. Such a substantive theory can contribute towards an understanding, on a broader scale, of what is needed to enhance student persistence, and improve retention and throughput rates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in South African higher education.
An analysis of a trilingual language policy's dominant skills discourse, theory of language(s) and teaching approaches for university policyAuthor A. KnottSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 145 –166 (2015)More Less
In a post-apartheid context requiring enabling policy frameworks to transform practices, the author draws from pertinent national documents, the research literature and theoretical frameworks to analyse and critique the Language Policy of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU 2009), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for the presence/absence of discourses of literacies, theories of language(s) and teaching approaches. Her analysis shows that a limited skills discourse of literacies embodied in a theory of language as a transparent, autonomous and singular, whole bounded system of discrete elements predominates. This skills discourse conceptualises 'multilingual literacies' as additive sets of linguistic and cognitive 'skills' situated in individuals and in terms of 'functional' or 'situational', 'purposeful communication' and assimilationist 'academic socialisation' approaches to teaching. While the policy designers take up sociopolitical discourses inscribed in national policies, these and its situational approaches are decoupled from a discourse of 'multilingual literacies' as 'social practices'. The author, therefore, argues that the Language Policy (NMMU 2009) cannot enable critical academic literacy approaches and accord with its Guiding Principles 'to promote diversity' and 'be academically justifiable' and 'inclusive'. Moreover, she recommends that participants work meaningfully with each other to become critically aware of the discourses that they inhabit in order to enact more nuanced, comprehensive and integrated views of language(s), literacies and literacies pedagogy in policies and practices.
Postgraduate students' experience of poverty and academic success at a university of technology in South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 167 –181 (2015)More Less
Poverty within a developing context such as South Africa has been deepening, with the pressures of globalisation and neo-liberalism resulting in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. For students from a poor background an opportunity to study at a higher education institution (HEI) is an opportunity to change their economic status at a personal and family level; however, it is difficult for them to achieve this goal when the very economic conditions under which they live have an impact on their ability to succeed academically. This article reports on a study that investigated the poverty under which postgraduate students live, think and learn while studying and how this affects their academic success. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 34 postgraduate students. The main aim of the article is to contribute to an understanding of how funding of academic students by government and HEIs could be utilised to enable their academic success.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 182 –205 (2015)More Less
The construction of meaningfulness at work impacts on individual, psychological and work-related outcomes. The meaningfulness of work, however, in the context of women leaders working in higher education institutions (HEIs), has not yet been comprehensively researched and understood in South Africa and internationally. This article explores the perspectives on meaningfulness of work for women leaders working in HEIs in South Africa and internationally. With regard to meaningfulness at work, limited research exists on HEIs in South Africa and internationally. This needs to be explored in-depth from emic female perspectives to contribute both to the benefit of women working in HEIs and to the transformation goals of organisations. The data from a qualitative research study within the phenomenological paradigm are presented. The research methods included the collection and analysis of 29 in-depth interviews with South African and international women leaders working in academic and administrative positions in HEIs. The findings showed that women leaders in HEIs connect meaningfulness to five main categories, namely, career, life values, spirituality, race and gender identity. HEIs need to focus more on the construction of meaningfulness at work for women leaders so as to provide empowering working conditions. This article contributes to the limited literature on meaningfulness at work for women leaders within HEIs. It also provides conclusions and recommendations.
Exploring the transformative potential of collaborative art projects in South African Higher EducationSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 206 –225 (2015)More Less
This article explores the potential of visual art projects in negotiating social transformation within the context of a South African higher education institution (HEI). The experiences of students and staff involved in three collaborative visual art projects initiated at Stellenbosch University (SU), Stellenbosch, South Africa from 2013 to 2014 were explored through interviews, observations and reflective writing. It was found that through harnessing the medium of art as critical dialogic tool operating amidst the embedded differences and divides of the past, institutional culture can be re-imagined and aspects of critical citizenship, particularly tolerance of difference and democracy, can be realised within the collective university community. In conclusion, it is suggested that visual art projects of this kind seem to have the potential to access what Bhabha (1995) terms the 'Third Space' and to facilitate transformative learning. It can play a valuable part in negotiating social transformation in South African higher education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 226 –241 (2015)More Less
Developing students who demonstrate critical understanding of complex problems and the ability to resolve them as well as to generate novel ideas that could be transformed into tangible results, in addition to individually-graded skills that make students more productive, lies mostly at the heart of 21st century teaching and learning. The historical focus on causation rationality in mostly research-intensive universities and replication of industrial processes in former technikons has come under intense scrutiny in this century. At the heart of both this rationality and industrial processes replication is causal logic which has been guiding how knowledge is produced and taught. In this article, the authors problematise and critique causal logic as the underlying motif of teaching and learning in universities and advance the view that effectual logic holds better prospects of undergirding students' triarchic abilities of analysis, synthesis and application. They consider analytical abilities as key to critical understanding of complex issues and thus worthy of consideration in every pedagogic encounter. They also suggest that exploring new possibilities and generating new connections in every pedagogic encounter is a worthy cause. Furthermore, they propose that both these abilities be guided by consideration of means as the starting point with goals remaining open-ended. Iterative testing out of tentative goals developed in consideration of available means within the principle of affordable loss is an equally worthy cause in pedagogic endeavours. The authors explore these ideas further in the article as pivots around which an enabling pedagogy could be sketched.
Regulating research learning spaces : an ethical-juridical perspective from South African and Canadian contextsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 242 –256 (2015)More Less
This article explores the need for formal regulations within South African and Canadian higher education institutions' (HEIs) research assistantships in which postgraduate students acquire research knowledge and skills under the supervision of project leaders. While the relationship between research assistants and project leaders is similar to those in other workplaces, the educational and developmental aspects of research assistantships create a unique type of employment relationship that often is predicated on informal practices and subjective perceptions rather than on labour law or ethical standards. The absence of formal regulations, such as a code of professional and ethical conduct specific to research assistantships, therefore, may expose research members to unnecessary challenges. The goal of the article is to address the dearth of literature on legal and ethical standards related to the employment of postgraduate student research assistants and to draw attention to the benefits of formal regulations within research assistantships as research learning spaces.
A personal reflection of the impact of adopting a student-centred teaching approach to influence accounting students' approaches to learningSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 257 –274 (2015)More Less
The study reported on in this article explored how both the first author's teaching practice and students' learning approaches evolved as she embarked on a project to help students take responsibility for their own learning and acquire specific self-regulated learning (SRL) skills. The intervention involved ten tutorials taught to a pilot group of 28 students studying financial accounting at a School of Accountancy in Johannesburg, South Africa. During the intervention, the author used guided mastery principles and student-centred activities to teach learning strategies and skills. Action research was used as a tool to assist in designing the intervention, reflecting on and then evaluating the findings. Qualitative data was collected in the form of written and verbal feedback from group participants and colleagues, and the use of a research diary. The findings indicated that guided mastery and active learning are effective techniques for teaching specific SRL skills to students. The feedback provided by students also showed that the intervention fostered student learning. The author's own teaching practice also improved through reflecting on and making changes to her teaching approach.