South African Journal of Higher Education - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Volume 31, Issue 1, 2017
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 1 –13 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-1329More Less
In this article, we argue that MOOCs (massive open online courses) have the potential to enhance disruptive pedagogic encounters in higher education, especially in relation to a philosophy of African education. In the first part of the article, we expound on MOOCs as an initiative in higher education that grew out of a concern to advance access to higher education. Paradoxically, we show that MOOCs might not strictly advance equal access and inclusion but have the potential to cultivate student capacities of a critically transformative kind, more specifically, rhizomatic thinking, criticism and recognition of others. In the second part of the article, we show, in reference to an emerging MOOC, how an African philosophy of education should be considered as apposite to advance disruptive pedagogic encounters in higher education.
Reimagining education for transformation and social change : a case study of integrated learning at UCBC in the DRCAuthor K. H. BundukiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 14 –28 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-979More Less
This article examines the case of integrated learning at the Christian Bilingual University of the Congo (UCBC) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A description of the integrated learning as an igniter of transformation in learners was obtained through the analysis of data collected from twelve alumni through semi-structured interviews. An explanation of how learners are impacted through integrated learning to serve as change agents in their communities also emerged from the data analysis. In fact, the curriculum at UCBC was described as having multiple components and dimensions. This curriculum equips learners with academic knowledge and skills, and it fosters character and servant leadership skills in them. The major components of the curriculum are the academic training, the special skills training, the work program, service-learning and community life, and its dimensions are affective, social and relational. Learning occurs in a family-like environment characterized by accessibility and free interactions between members of the campus community. The curriculum functions under an overall Christian worldview. As a result of the educational process they underwent students became role models and learning-teachers to their colleagues and community members.
Author F. CilliersSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 29 –49 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-784More Less
Research on the unconscious role behaviour of academic research supervisors is limited. The aim of this research was to study and describe the systems psychodynamic role identity of a group of academic research supervisors. A qualitative in-depth socio-analytic interview was used as the data-gathering instrument. A convenient and purposive sample was drawn consisting of 11 supervisors at a large South African university. Systems psychodynamic role analysis was used as the method of data analysis. The findings indicated an experienced difference between the normative, existential and phenomenal roles demonstrating high levels of anxiety amongst academic research supervisors, being introjected by them and projected onto them. Recommendations for the institution and further research were formulated.
Author C. du Toit-BritsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 50 –65 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-824More Less
This article investigated the relation between learning motivation and self-directedness in learning of first-year teacher students. Self-directed learning is characterized as one of the fastest growing areas of research in the past forty years. Self-directed learning can be regarded as an essential skill in the 21st century and it implies that the acquisition of school subject knowledge alone is not sufficient; skills such as critical thinking, resource identification and responsibility to learn should be emphasised. Furthermore, a student with a high level of self-directedness in learning can set educational objectives and also reach these objectives as well as successfully avail themselves of opportunities beyond the boundaries of formal education, which can accordingly lead to career success and economic growth. Although the value of self-directed learning can be overstated, students find it difficult to keep up with the academic pace due to the leap from secondary to tertiary education. It turns out that first-year students qualify on paper for university admission, but in fact they cannot acquire the necessary academic skills (including self-directed learning). Despite the lack of self-directed learning activities in secondary education De Lange et al. (2010) mention several factors that can affect teaching and learning (as well as self-directed learning) of a student, namely a lack of motivation. From the above statement it is evident that a lack of motivation may have an effect on a student’s self-directedness in learning. Learning motivation is the driving force behind the implementation of self-directed learning activities although learning motivation is characterized as one of the most popular research dimensions in the area of self-directed learning. In an attempt to explain the above context and interpret this study, an interpretivistic qualitative research design was followed. The main research findings of this article included that learning motivation is the driving force behind self-directed learning, and therefore it enables students to learn in a self-directed manner.
An effective pedagogical practice for integrating HIV and AIDS into tertiary education : an interior design case studySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 66 –80 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-924More Less
This article discusses a pedagogical practise used to introduce HIV and AIDS content into an existing Interior Design curriculum from a creative praxis perspective. Curriculum- integration is a key strategy of the Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS), which was established to develop and support HIV-mitigation programmes at South Africa’s public Higher Education Institutions. Students within the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg engaged in a spatial intervention project that was structured around project-based learning strategies and constructivist teaching values. Students’ proposals were analysed against their ability to promote HIV and AIDS prevention and create appropriate meaning amongst the target group. The article suggests that the methodology proved effective because it did not require radical curriculum transformation; aligned with existing programme outcomes; and demonstrated potential to contribute to the ‘new literacy of AIDS’ required to counter ‘AIDS fatigue’.
Internationalisation and African intellectual metissage : capacity-enhancement through higher education in AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 81 –103 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-821More Less
This article seeks to contribute to the discourse on the appropriate African response to globalisation and internationalisation in higher education by examining the role of internationalisation in capacity-enhancement and development in Africa. In the first part, it explores the theoretical underpinnings of capacity-enhancement through university education and analyses how the intertwined processes of internationalisation and Africanisation can contribute to capacity-enhancement and development in Africa. It is argued that the concept of intellectual metissage, as a form of intellectual cross-fertilisation across international borders, is a necessary and appropriate tool to drive internationalisation with the aim of fulfilling the developmental mandate of African universities. In the second part, a prestigious and highly successful international partnership programme, the LLM/MPhil in human rights and democratisation in Africa is analysed to determine its suitability to drive and actualise the capacity-enhancement aspect of higher education in Africa through intellectual métissage.
The academic experiences of grade 12 top achievers in maintaining excellence in first-year university programmesSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 104 –118 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-812More Less
This article reports on a study focusing on the academic experiences of top achievers in maintaining excellence in first-year university programmes. The study investigated in particular the academic experiences of Grade 12 top achievers from Mpumalanga, South Africa, at various universities. A mixed methods approach was used to collect data, making use of a convenience sample of (n = 14). Data was generated using a closed-ended questionnaire, students’ academic records and standardised individual interviews conducted with eleven students. The results indicate that academic excellence in the first year is influenced by self-discipline, self-motivation, interest in the course, self-confidence, academic preparedness, effort and the belief students have about themselves. The investigation revealed that, generally, top achievers’ academic performance in the first year denoted what Viljoen and Deacon (2013, 242) term ‘academic fit’. The findings of the study emphasise the significant influence of positive ‘compelling forces’ at universities that assist first-year students in adapting to the university environment.
Betwixt and between : liminality and dissonance in developing threshold competences for research supervision in South AfricaAuthor S. M. MaistrySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 119 –134 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-841More Less
Neoliberal performativity imperatives that drive the strategic vision and mission of many higher education institutions in South Africa have begun to shape the higher education project in particular ways. While research and knowledge production will always remain the defining hallmark of a university, the fragility of the system to deliver on this objective in substantive ways remains a challenge. Graduate supervision capacity and competence continues to be a serious obstacle for many higher education institutions in South Africa. Of concern for this article, is that in the quest to rapidly develop supervision competence amongst faculty, to what extent will fast tracking be at the expense of learning as ‘process’ and deep conceptual development of the young academic. How do novice supervisors negotiate liminality as they learn to be researchers while simultaneously teaching the craft to their assigned research students? In this article, I reflect on my experiences of teaching a structured, accredited postgraduate supervision programme at seven merged higher education institutions in SA from 2014 to2016. I argue that high-level research supervision depends on having certain minimum threshold research supervision competences, the achievement of which necessitates a process approach. Young novice faculty however, have to negotiate a precarious liminal space in which they learn the research ‘trade/craft’ as apprentice whilst simultaneously teaching the research ‘trade/craft’ to research candidates they supervise. I engage the implications of this risky and contradictory agenda for novice faculty and a discussion of how this ‘parallel learning’, which entails learning the research craft and simultaneously learning how to teach the research craft is likely to play out in the South African higher education research context.
Students with disabilities’ experience in South African higher education – a synthesis of literatureAuthor O. MutangaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 135 –154 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-1596More Less
This review article offers a synthesis of published studies on students with disabilities’ experience in South African higher education since 1994, when a democratically elected government took office. The article presents a review of published studies describing the experiences of students with disabilities in South African higher education (SAHE) in the period 1994-2017. A synthesis of the findings and implications of South African studies relating to students with disabilities in SAHE is provided. Three aspects will be discussed: (a) conceptualisation of disability; (b) access, inclusion and participation in higher education; and (c) supporting mechanisms for students with disabilities. Challenges, areas needing further study, lessons learnt, approaches and policy implications for policy-practitioners and institutions are suggested.
Author A. NdofirepiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 155 –174 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-1071More Less
In this theoretical article, I argue that the interconnection between the excruciating superiority of the West to conflate its own prototype of society with the ideal state of being is manifested through the heirarchisation of knowledge in the name of the university global rankings. My case is that by accepting the centre–periphery disjunction within the knowledge–power dynamic through situating African universities within the global university rankings is only an entrenched fashion of endorsing the legitimation of the heirarchisation of knowledge. Ranking universities on the league table puts western scientific knowledge systems at the epitome against the local and African indigenous knowledges seating at the bottom of the global knowledge ladder. Arguing from a critical theory perspective, I submit that the elite universities domiciled in the world’s wealthiest economies enjoy a disparate influence over the international standards for scholarship and knowledge processes while denigrating African ways and sources of knowing by placing them at the bottom of the knowledge pyramid. While acknowledging the need for excellence and competitiveness on a global scale, I advance and provide strong evidence that knowledge processes in African universities should not be measured against western-dominated processes due to the uniqueness of each. Conversely, I forward the case that each system of knowing is distinct and placing them on an equal pedestal is indefensible and therefore illegitimate. To that end, I make proposals for African universities to find alternatives to global university rankings that measure their own competitiveness.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 175 –190 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-868More Less
Stellenbosch University promotes generic graduate attributes (GAs) as an integral part of its teaching and learning strategy en route to curriculum renewal. The Faculty of Theology targeted the Master of Divinity programme to become the pilot project for implementing GAs as part of a process of programme renewal and held a number of workshops for implementation. The conceptual framework for the research drew on, Cultural Historical Activity Theory. The main research question was: What are the conceptions of lecturers concerning the integration of graduate attributes into a Master of Divinity programme after participation in a process of curriculum renewal? The study entailed semi-structured interviews and the data of the 16 interviews were analysed through qualitative analysis. The curriculum renewal strategy contributed positively to the lecturers’ conceptions of the integration of GAs into the Master of Divinity programme. The gendered and diverse cultural-historical context of the participants (and the students) strongly informed the conceptions of the lecturers. These findings are important for curriculum renewal in the light of cultivating critical and responsible citizenship.
Student teachers’ perceptions of a Wits rural teaching experience project : what to learn and improveSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 191 –206 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-901More Less
In South Africa all universities send education student teachers to schools for teaching practice as part of their preparation for teaching. Of concern is the lack of research investigating pre-service teachers’ experiences of teaching practice, especially in rural and farm schools. Although several rural teaching practice projects have been established by various teacher education training institutions in South Africa, of concern and problematic for the article is knowledge gap that understand student teachers’ perceptions and experiences after undertaking teaching practicum in rural schools. The article present student teachers’ perceptions of Wits rural teaching practicum, and use a qualitative approach, semi-structured reflective discussions, and reflective journals to collect data. The findings show that education student teachers want to be part of the rural community and schools, rather than being ‘tourists’ and ‘scientists’. Collaboration between pre-service and in-service teachers is identified as crucial to share teaching skills and mentor new teachers.
Supporting the academic success of first-year students : a study of the epistemological access they acquired through a lecture and textSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 207 –226 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-1026More Less
Much is at stake with regard to academic success of first-year students in higher education. This article presents the findings of an empirical study which looks at shifts in students’ understanding of a concept through a systematic sequence of learning opportunities in a university-based course. While 89 per cent of participants could satisfactorily identify criteria of the concept following an introductory lecture, only 41 per cent could adequately articulate their understanding of that concept. One third of the participants did not read the prescribed text. For students who did the reading, lectures and the provision of reading materials provided sufficient opportunities for half of them satisfactorily to comprehend the requisite concepts. The findings reinforce the necessity of follow-up sessions to provide opportunities for concept consolidation and students adequately to articulate their understanding.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 227 –242 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-1056More Less
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme Act of 1999 led to the establishment of a national financial aid scheme which aimed to redress past inequities and to ensure representativity and equal access for those historically excluded from accessing higher education (Republic of South Africa 1999). A significant body of research on legislation and policy on widening participation in South African higher education exists. This article aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on widening participation by drawing on a recent study which aimed to investigate the higher educational experiences of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The purpose of the study was to gain insight on the spatialities of widening participation as experienced by students receiving financial aid from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). This was achieved by exploring their experiences of access to and participation at one university in KwaZulu-Natal, a province with a large rural population. To this end, the study sought to investigate the educational geographies of participation and success through narrative inquiry. The study identified both academic and non-academic factors that influence students’ access to the curriculum and participation in higher education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 31, pp 243 –259 (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/31-1-872More Less
South Africa needs higher education to be allied with societal issues, so that a social consciousness is nurtured among university students who can then play a transformative role in combating social inequalities. Social entrepreneurship, as a social change movement, has undeniable application in South Africa where traditional government schemes are unable to satisfy the entire social deficit. Students provide a fertile ground from which seeds of social entrepreneurship can grow, as they possess the talent, interest, and energy to become the next generation of social and civic leaders. This study conducts empirical investigations into understanding the antecedents in the formation of social entrepreneurship intentions. Examining the antecedents of desirability and feasibility to set up a social enterprise is an important first step in fostering social entrepreneurs. The study results show, from a university student survey, that the intent to pursue a social venture is positively and significantly associated with perceptions of desirability and feasibility of the undertaking. Implications for policy-makers relate to recognising that societal improvements can only come about through changes in individual actions and behaviours that are influenced by perceptions. Additionally, an opportunity exists for curriculum designers to develop skill-building exercises and activities that target the antecedents of social entrepreneurship intentions.