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- Volume 19, Issue 3, 2005
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 19, Issue 3, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 19, Issue 3, 2005
An open letter to the president of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. T.M. Mbeki : guest editorialAuthor N. Barney PityanaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 5 –13 (2005)More Less
Extracted from text ... Guest Editorial An Open Letter to the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Mr. T. M. Mbeki 6 April 2005 On Higher Education Policy in Contemporary South Africa Dear Mr. President: 1. First, kindly allow me to note with appreciation that you have not followed the trend that has become very prevalent in South Africa, of calling yourself `doctor' on the strength of an honorary degree. You would otherwise have demanded to be addressed as `Dr' many times over because of the many honorary doctorates that you hold, and which you richly deserve. I know you ..
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 14 –34 (2005)More Less
It appears that learning and instruction in technology education are emerging from an atheoretical perspective. Research indicates that the grounding of learning and instruction in technology education within a theoretical base is long overdue. This article explores the role of conceptual frameworks derived from learning theories relevant to content as an essential feature of technology and technology education. To illustrate the effectiveness of conceptual frameworks derived from relevant learning theories, an instructional programme was developed and implemented at a College of Education. In gauging learners' experience, a qualitative case study involving 20 learners was undertaken over a six week period. The effectiveness of the instructional programme was measured against a set of criteria derived from the conceptual framework representing relevant learning theories.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 35 –57 (2005)More Less
The University of Pretoria offers a masters degree in computer-integrated education, incorporating a module called <I>Internet-based learning.</I> This module uses constructivist and collaborative techniques via web-based distance learning to portray aspects of a real classroom in a web-environment. The Hexa-Metamodel (HCMm) is a synthesis of paradigms of contemporary learning and instructional theory, comprising six elements relevant to e-learning events and environments, namely: (i) cognitive learning theory, (ii) constructivism, (iii) components of instruction, (iv) collaborative learning, (v) customisation, and (vi) creativity. Using the HCMm as an evaluation approach, this article investigates the module's webclassroom and collaborative environment to examine conformance to contemporary learning theories. We present findings of a survey among students, identify strengths and their causes, and note problems and recommendations.
Author N. GodukaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 58 –72 (2005)More Less
We hope that this presentation provides educators, researchers, and students with a sense of cultural foundations of Indigenous and Western ways of knowing that serve to open up intellectual and intercultural dialogues that go beyond oppositional, divisive, and polarizing discourses that have characterized the colonial/apartheid eras within the academy. Throughout this discussion we illustrate that around <I>eziko</I> and <I>Ganma</I> exist the spirit of connectedness, humility, and respect that affirm diverse stories participants bring, and validate new knowledge they co-create. Therefore, to those wedded to the European/Western culture and science, we hope that this article will provide deeper insight and appreciation of the ancient knowledge and wisdom of indigenous peoples. What all of us need in the new era is a mutually beneficial bridge and dialogue between Indigenous and Western scientists and educators. This article and our other work of the same genre constitute the first step.
Giving students greater responsibility for their own learning : portfolio assessment and peer-marking as tools for promoting self-directed learning in a second-year law courseAuthor C. LuminaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 73 –88 (2005)More Less
This article describes and reflects upon two elements of the assessment scheme - portfolio assessment and peer-marking - which I adopted for a second-year law course at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2003 in order to promote self-directed learning. The article also presents students' perceptions of the scheme. An analysis of the findings indicates that most students designated themselves big gainers from this assessment scheme and in particular that it facilitated self-directed learning, or at the very least, some form of self-directed learning. The basic assumption underlying this article is that assessment strategies (such as portfolio assessment and peer-marking) in which students assume greater responsibility can play an important role in promoting self-directed learning.
Author J. MullerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 89 –103 (2005)More Less
This article sounds a warning about threats to the continued good health of the Humanities globally, but especially in South Africa. It begins by examining the `canonical position' of the knowledge enterprise and the academy, namely, that innovation can only be driven from within, not from without. This establishes the idea that a healthy academia requires `necessary distance' from endogenous interests and agents, principally the state and the market, in order to survive. The article goes on to discuss contemporary threats to `necessary distance', ranging from changes in the global model of university governance, to pressures for external attunement to external needs, the market, or to `relevance', resulting in a new strategic regime of science. It next proceeds to review South African empirical work that assesses the degree to which the relevance imperative has had an impact in South Africa, and concludes that although curriculum change has by and large been patchy, that patterns in research and publishing show an alarming tendency to `follow the money'. It is suggested that some disciplines are able to respond to relevance pressures whilst maintaining their disciplinary integrity more easily that others. One cluster of disciplines that is manifestly not thriving is the Humanities. An explanation for this incapacity is sought in the concept of knowledge structure, which is related to differential capacity for external attunement. The article concludes that, under the present strategic regime of science, the Humanities seem damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 104 –118 (2005)More Less
The Internet offers a new dimension to distance learning: there is no arguing against the advantages of online learning ± it transcends time and space in offering convenient (anywhere, anytime, own pace, etc.) access to learning. It seems, however, that despite the extensive research into cognitive aspects (e.g. content and instructional design) and the technology that supports online learning, the affective aspects have been neglected or dealt with very superficially. This article presents an analysis according to Krathwohl's taxonomy (Bloom, Krathwohl and Masia 1973) of the affective domain, of email messages sent during an online course. It finds that most messages relate to the category of valuing.
Factor analytic model for evaluating the effects of HR profile on organizational productivity : case study of university academic staffSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 119 –130 (2005)More Less
The major assets of an organization are man, money, machine and time. It is proven that the poor procurement and management of the human component often leads to the poor procurement and management of the other assets. The research being reported in this article proposes factor analysis by principal components as a tool for evaluating the effects of HR profile on organizational productivity. A case study of the effects of academic staff profile on the investment portfolio of the university is carried out. Three factors, namely: teaching, research and community development were extracted as the major investment foci of a university and each loaded on a number of the academic staff profile related decision variables. The results obtained from the factor analysis provides a basis for deriving a system of equations desirable for evaluating the contributions of each academic staff to teaching, research and community development. Moreover, the results obtained place a higher premium on research activities in the university than on teaching and community development.
Author L.S. WrightSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 131 –146 (2005)More Less
This article argues that to rehabilitate humanities research in South Africa by setting out to coordinate a substantive research agenda for these disciplines, as the NRF is currently attempting to do, is hardly an adequate response to the predicament in which the humanities find themselves. Instead, the article argues for a more radical re-think of the humanities throughout the education system, paying particular attention to post-graduate training, the character of research work encouraged, and the orientation of the disciplines in South Africa in relation to the imperial ambitions of the western academy. Substantial recommendations for the renovation of many aspects of humanities education are put forward, concluding that a rigorous process of strategic reassessment and reorientation is essential. Specific comments on research in the Fine Arts and Education are included.
Author T. GrantSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 147 –157 (2005)More Less
In this article the nature of mindfulness is explored in conjunction with its mental neighbour, mindlessness. At first glance, mindfulness conjures images of alert consciousness and willing responsibility whereas mindlessness reflects a far more negative perception of attitude and behaviour; a state of mind seemingly detrimental to effective learning. <br>In Eastern philosophy, however, emptying the mind, a positive mindlessness if you will, is a recommended state of consciousness where learners intuitively act from a state of grace with seeming ease and prowess. This mindful mindlessness is a worthy educational pursuit which belies the simplicity of polarised opposites. <br>The mindful-mindless equation impacts our lives as teachers and learners as potential partners-in-education and thus carries potentially positive and negative societal and educational consequences.
A case study of factors influencing choice between print and on-line delivery methods in a distance education institutionSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 158 –171 (2005)More Less
This study argues in favour of the distance education student as being a decisionmaker and scrutinises his choice criteria against the `open' education background. In particular, the study investigated the relative contribution of influential decision factors, as identified by previous research, in the choice higher education students made when they chose between print-based and on-line modalities. A quantitative study, drawing data from 233 participants in two modules at a South African university was employed. The study shows that influential decision factors are transferable to a choice between printed or on-line instructional content, but their effects are less significant. Differences pertaining to previous experience with the delivery mode were apparent between students who selected the print-based option and students who selected the on-line option. The results also confirm that of other research that a significant relationship exists between self-concept and optimal decision-making and self-concept and social environment.
First-year students' perceptions of generic skills competence and academic performance : a case study at one universityAuthor E. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 172 –187 (2005)More Less
In view of the complex expectations of higher education and the difficulty of predicting the needs of constantly changing societies, it is important to determine the perceptions and expectations of students in higher education. In South Africa, strategies must be devised to determine whether, in what respects and what directions student development takes place. One way of determining this is by assessing students' perceptions of their own development by collecting relevant pre-entry data and comparing it to follow-up data for cohorts of students. <br>This article describes work at one university in South Africa where a number of comprehensive models of student development assessment were explored. Theoretical considerations are discussed to establish pre-entry, end of first-year and end of undergraduate studies instrumentation to determine change in students' perceptions of their own development. Analytical results from comparisons within one cohort of students and descriptive results of three consecutive student surveys are provided. The relationship between student confidence on eight generic skills areas and end of first year academic results of the 2002 cohort of students are explored and discussed.
The consequences of the absence of a `norms and standards' legislative framework for institutional accreditation in private higher education : a disconnect between policy, expectations and quality assurance practiceAuthor N. CeleSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 188 –202 (2005)More Less
This article uses policy analysis to provide a rigorous reflection on the state of quality in private higher education institutions. It is based on a case study analysis of twenty private higher education institutions across South Africa that were evaluated for accreditation in 2003 and 2004. The analysis reveals that the majority of these institutions remain ill-informed regarding the norms and standards that shape the higher education teaching and learning enterprise and that which is expected of them before they apply for accreditation through the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC). The article investigates how the deafening policy silence on clear-cut <I>norms and standards legislative framework for institutional accreditation of private higher education institutions</I>, has created unevenness in the system and colluded with the creation of inequalities in private higher education. It also reflects on the trends of quality assurance inside these institutions within the context of untold policy expectations and it maps the policy gaps that need to be closed. While it is acknowledged that the study focuses on institutions that seemingly provide a negative perspective while there are cutting-edge examples going unrecognised, this negative perspective as a unit of analysis necessitates the writing of the <I>norms and standards legislative framework for institutional accreditation of private higher education institutions</I>. The article concludes by identifying areas that need further investigation for purposes of policy formulation and the redesign of the quality assurance enterprise in South African private higher education.
The merging of Further Education and Training colleges - challenging factors in three provinces of South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 203 –217 (2005)More Less
The workplace of today is characterized by global competition, cultural diversity, technological and management processes that require people to think critically, solve problems and communicate effectively. This requires a well-founded Further Education and Training system. The researchers have indicated that the provision of vocational training under apartheid, that is, prior to 1994, was characterized by unequal access to learning opportunities based on the vestiges of legal, financial and other distinctions between formerly advantaged and disadvantaged institutions (Department of Education 2001, 9). The National Department of Education decided to merge the above institutions in attempt to remove the aforementioned vestiges. Education systems do not, however, just change because there is a change in the government, but the existing structures and vested interests, material constraints and the interplay of competing ideologies do warrant changes in education systems (McGregor and McGregor 1992, 17). At the same time, education transformation goes hand in glove with political transformation as a result of the shift in the balance of political power (African National Congress 1994, 3). However, education is a fundamental process, which can be expected to reflect the values, principles and practices of a new democratic dispensation at all levels and in all sectors (Nkoe 2002, 129). The article purports to investigate the perceptions of stakeholders on the merging of the Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in bringing about transformation of the South African FET sector. The reform of the FET colleges, which resulted in the formation of the new FET institutional landscape, is seen as a means to address and fulfil the aspirations of the democratic society as set in the preambles of the new legislation, namely, the Further Education and Training Act 98 of 1998, the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998, the South African Qualification Authority Act 57 of 1995 and the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998. In order to achieve this, the legislation will be examined and the perceptions of the FET colleges' stakeholders will be explored to help achieve this objective.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 218 –229 (2005)More Less
Language service courses at South African tertiary institutions are nothing new. However, traditional perspectives on the nature and purposes of these courses have been challenged. One of these challenges is the view that the language (discourse) of the subject cannot be taught in external language courses for academic or even specific purposes, but that subject specialists need to do this teaching. This paper reports on an investigation into language as a contributory factor to academic failure amongst first-year Accounting students at the University of Port Elizabeth, to provide some empirical support for this view. The results of the investigation indicated that students' problems are in most cases related to conceptualisation. This indeed implies language, given its fundamental facilitating role in all higherorder cognition, but it is suggested that the most appropriate form of remedial support may be neither a course in English for academic purposes, nor even English for Accounting specifically, but rather some form of team teaching that involves both language teachers and subject specialists.
Author C. BougheySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 19, pp 230 –242 (2005)More Less
The need to increase the number of African students studying at tertiary level, particularly in science, technology and commerce, has led to the establishment of foundation programmes at many institutions. In spite of attempts to provide formal access in this way, the issue of what constitutes `epistemological' access still remains under-researched in South Africa. This article uses an ethnographic study of students in a first year class at a historically black South African university in order to engage with the issue of epistemological access to the university in general and, more particularly, with what constitutes access in terms of language development.