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- Volume 9, Issue 1, 2014
The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning - Volume 9, Issue 1, 2014
Volume 9, Issue 1, 2014
Author Dolina DowlingSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 4 –5 (2014)More Less
There can be no dispute that there have been a number of transformative changes in higher education worldwide over the past decades. These were influenced by a number of factors such as globalisation, internationalisation, marketisation, massfication, and quality assurance. Indeed the UNESCO 2009 World Conference Proceedings on Higher Education: Trends in Global Higher Education: Tracking the Academic Revolution states: 'The academic changes of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are more extensive [than those in the 19th century] due to their global nature and the number of institutions and the number of people they affect'. These have altered the way that higher education institutions are viewed by governments and the public as well as the way institutions function and the pressures they face. Such changes not only have implications for the core functions of a higher education institution: teaching and learning, research and community engagement but they also affect the traditional notion of 'a university' and its role in society.
Author Sioux McKennaSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 6 –16 (2014)More Less
The field of Higher Education Studies is a rapidly growing one in South Africa and abroad but there has been little systematic review of the form this growth is taking. This article presents a case study of higher education research by considering a newly formed Higher Education Studies doctoral programme. The programme comprises 29 PhD scholars in 2014, all engaged in research on some aspect of higher education. The description of the PhD programme, the PhD scholars and what their research topics are, reveals a picture of the broad range of concerns within the field of Higher Education Studies and suggests that the field is a region, in Bernstein's terms. This means that it draws on multiple disciplines and looks both to the values and structures of those disciplines and to the professional world of work. It is argued that the strengthening of the epistemological base of Higher Education Studies is necessary for higher education research to move forwards with enhanced relational and positional autonomy.
Author Teboho J. LebakengSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 17 –29 (2014)More Less
This essay advances the thesis that given the history and role of the social sciences and humanities in the colonisation of Africa in general and South Africa as a specific case, the only way in which such disciplines can be salvaged from their crises so that they can thrive and add value is through their indigenisation. Following the independence of many African countries not much changed in the orientation of the academy in Africa as a result the social sciences and humanities still suffer from the coloniality of knowledge. In this respect, there is a need to recognise the historical, institutional and normative baggage of the disciplines so as to explore their appropriation, localisation and grounding in an emancipatory and transformative agenda. The West has made the particular the universal and that is the intellectual project which African intellectuals have been deconstructing.
Cultural factors as predictors of cognitive test performance in information systems and technology educationSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 30 –43 (2014)More Less
A scan of the international literature suggests the existence in various countries of a persistent culture-based academic performance gap across various subjects, including information systems and technology. This study investigated whether, almost two decades after the formal demise of Apartheid, a culture-based academic achievement gap similarly persists in the South African university classroom in the field of information and systems technology. When using post-test scores as the dependent variable the findings showed significant culture-based differences in cognitive test performance. However, there were no significant differences in performance improvement (gain) scores on cognitive testing for the same sample. This suggests that previously disadvantaged students may be capable of responding as effectively as more advantaged students to an equalised educational context once the 'playing fields are levelled' at university.
Source: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 44 –62 (2014)More Less
Forming communities of practice is an important approach for knowledge sharing and well-designed communities of practice may provide mechanisms for innovation in Open, Distance and eLearning environments. However, the specific guidance to establish communities of practice in higher educational institutions does not always exist. The question further remains how willing are the students to share knowledge within communities of practice at institutions of higher education in order to empower learning and knowledge sharing within those institutions. The aim of this article is to explore the attitudes of 502 students at an open distance e-learning higher education institution or university towards communities of practice. The study applied a quantitative approach using a questionnaire and descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse the responses. The students were invited to engage in learning activities within communities of practice. They were free to decline to participate in this research study, and could withdraw their participation from the study at any time. Returning the completed questionnaire to the researchers indicated their willingness to participate. They preferred online forms of communications. The findings can be used to analyse relationships among communities of practice knowledge-sharing enablers and students' willingness to engage in communities of practice processes. This study described several implications essential to successful learning and knowledge sharing through communities of practice.
Source: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 63 –74 (2014)More Less
Graduateness is generally understood to mean the generic qualities that might be expected of any graduate. The issue of graduateness is explored in this article through an initiative at Stellenbosch University which took the form of a Signature Learning Experience (SLE) entitled: 'Being a Matie, being a citizen'. This initiative was designed as a common learning experience for first-year students through which the graduate attributes could be embedded. The article draws on Barrie's research into graduate attributes, to analyse the development and implementation of the initiative. The article maps the SLE initiative against Barrie's conceptualisations of how graduate attributes are understood by academics, as well as understandings of how students acquire generic graduate attributes. Multi-method approaches were used to gather data about the initiative, which was piloted as a semester-long programme in the co-curriculum, with a group of first-year students. The themes emerging from the findings relate to the competing demands of the formal and co-curriculum and the challenges of embedding graduate attributes in the curriculum. The conclusions point to the need for a broader conversation around approaches towards embedding graduate attributes.
Source: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 75 –82 (2014)More Less
Multiple choice questions are a popular method of testing as they are easy to mark. However, they also lend themselves to guessing. True/False questions are particularly prone to guessing. This can be alleviated by deduction of marks for incorrect answers. The University of KwaZulu-Natal currently uses true/false questions in its assessments, which are answered by means of pencil-and-paper sheets that are optically scanned, marks being calculated according to a standard formula. A trial of a proposed new computer program revealed mark discrepancies compared to the current scheme. This study evaluates the program's marking scheme 'internal negative marking' - whereby an overall negative mark for an item consisting of a stem and several true/false questions is 'rounded up' to zero. We enumerate the cause of the discrepancies, demonstrate that the latter scheme diminishes the penalty for guessing and may encourage strategic students to leave out parts of the curriculum when studying.
Developing a framework for managing academic standards, quality and enhancement : addressing concerns and embedding good practiceSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 83 –95 (2014)More Less
The British Council's project Excellence in Higher Education (2005-2010) demonstrated that countries in the Arab region, facing challenges in developing academic quality systems, benefited from sharing experiences with one another and with other countries. This paper suggests that the concept of an overarching framework for managing academic standards, quality and enhancement, now embedded in the UK, could be of assistance in the Arab region. Findings from institutional audits in the UK, Bahrain and Oman were compared, revealing that many recommendations made in UK reports also featured in reports about Bahrain and Oman. Actions taken by UK institutions may therefore be of interest in these contexts. A framework designed by a UK university, using the concept of 'gatekeepers' for those with executive responsibility to manage academic standards and quality and 'gateways' for committees that assure academic standards and quality, is presented to illustrate essential components of an overarching framework.
The appropriateness of curriculum content in promoting small business development : practitioners' cornerSource: The Independent Journal of Teaching and Learning 9, pp 96 –116 (2014)More Less
This study examines the appropriateness of the curriculum content of Small Business Management instructional offerings at Higher Education Institutions. Increased calls for quality and applicability of such offerings stem from the need to develop skills and promote new business creation. Higher Education Institutions cannot assume that small business owners and students know what they would need to learn in order to be successful. Higher Education Institutions need to determine which critical skills prospective small business owners need to possess. Following a quantitative approach, a survey was conducted amongst 249 small business owners in the Johannesburg Metropolitan area. Collected data were subjected to ANOVA and Factor analysis. Most pertinently, the study found that if instructional offerings in the field of small business management are aligned with the requirements of the economy, education could play a more important role in building the skills needed for economic development. The study also showed the topics that small business owners ranked as most important to have knowledge about when starting up their businesses and so makes a number of recommendations with regard to course content in this area.