- A-Z Publications
- South African Journal of Higher Education
- Previous Issues
- Volume 26, Issue 1, 2012
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 26, Issue 1, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 1, 2012
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 5 –9 (2012)More Less
Current trends in higher education learning and teaching focuses on the use of technology, integrated learning through 'blended learning' and writing for academic purposes. This introductory article initiates the debate around the context of South African higher education teaching and learning. It does so by contextualizing the South African scenario within the broader higher education framework and by pointing out some of the issues that are currently being grappled with in South African higher education institutions (HEIs). More importantly, it sets the scene for further engagement on these issues in future articles.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 10 –23 (2012)More Less
This study investigated the challenges that history learners in rural black schools are faced with during assessments when using English as the language of learning and teaching. The aim of the study was to investigate whether English, which is used as a language of learning and teaching in schools, is a barrier to the learning and teaching of history. It is argued that the use of English has implications on the results that learners obtain during summative assessment. The literature reviewed revealed that any language of learning and teaching, which is not the mother tongue of learners, has an impact on the process of learning. Assessment, which determines whether the learning outcomes have been attained or not, is affected by factors like the type of assessment, for example, formative or summative; the purpose of assessment and the rules and regulations that goes along with assessment. In order to gain a greater insight and a comprehensive understanding of the research problem, a qualitative approach was used with some quantitative elements. A multiple-case study design was adopted. The research instruments employed were interviews, document analysis and observations. The findings indicated that the environment in which the learners learnt a second language had an impact on the learners' language proficiency. Furthermore, it was found that assessment poses a challenge to learners, in addition to the challenges caused by the language. The findings also indicated that educators and the learners preferred to use English as a language of learning and teaching and not their mother tongue. This was despite all the challenges they faced when they used English. An important recommendation was to develop mother-tongue terminology in history.
Author N. TshumaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 24 –35 (2012)More Less
South Africa's higher education policies have opened up access to university for students from diverse backgrounds, with different learning styles, levels of motivation and levels of preparedness. This has necessitated a move from the lecture style of teaching to innovative teaching styles that engage the learners and equip them with skills to apply their knowledge to new situations and develop life-long learning skills. Blended learning, which is a combination of face-to-face and online teaching, is used to address some of the issues outlined above. Development of this model is based on Gilly Salmon's five-stage model for online learning (Salmon 2002), as well as active and collaborative activities that engage the students in a face-to-face environment. As the development of the blended learning model is still ongoing, the model is then evaluated, with recommendations and challenges outlined.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 36 –50 (2012)More Less
At Stellenbosch University all first-year students complete an assessment task during the first six weeks of the academic year. Results are made available online to students and staff almost immediately and in response various student support interventions and enhanced learning opportunities are made available to students who are identified as potentially being at-risk. This article draws on student responses obtained during an investigation that was conducted to discern how they experience the system known as Early Assessment. Nine student focus group interviews were conducted. Qualitative thematic analysis of the transcribed data revealed a picture of how Early Assessment is perceived, highlighting a considerable diversity in the way it is being applied resulting in a range of experiences for the students and leading to a variety of responses on their part. This diversity of understanding and experience similarly influence the students' subsequent learning in both positive and negative ways. While many students described how the Early Assessment changed their approaches to learning and contributed to their success, others described it as being too easy or unrelated to summative assessment tasks. We conclude by highlighting the importance of the role of effective assessment planning and the careful co-ordination thereof.
Author J. BougheySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 51 –65 (2012)More Less
In response to perceived academic unpreparedness on the part of first year students, in the second semester of 2010 a number of departments in the Faculties of Arts, Commerce, Administration and Law (CAL), and Science at the University of Zululand (Unizulu) opted to use the Department of Higher Education and Training's Teaching Development Grant to implement a model of academic support comprising a tutorial component (one hour per week) and assistance with academic writing (on demand and by appointment) - preferably in a dedicated physical space designated as a departmental Tutorial Room-cum-Writing Centre. The support was to be given by senior students in the department, who functioned both as 'tutors' and as 'writing respondents'. These activities were overseen by the lecturer(s) responsible for the first year programme. Capacity-building for staff and tutors was provided by Academic Development (AD).
This article first describes the policy context of the University of Zululand, and then outlines the theory underlying the model and the process of gaining initial 'buy-in'. Drawing on feedback received from academic staff, student tutors and students, the article goes on to document the unfolding implementation of the model and its impact on teaching and learning. The article concludes with a set of recommendations for continued implementation in 2011, in the belief that the combination of tutorials and assistance with academic writing constitutes a useful contribution to the promotion of quality higher education.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 66 –76 (2012)More Less
Research papers take a long time to write and in an academic environment where the 'publish or perish' clause applies, writing retreats are a way of creating time and space to write academic articles in a concentrated period of time. This article examines ways in which academics can write more articles for publication. In particular it focuses on the writing retreat as a possible model that institutions can follow in order to increase publication output without over-burdening academic staff. The aim is to examine how the writing retreat model can be used to suit the needs of individual academics. It is often argued that academics' heavy workloads are not conducive to productivity in research. In higher education institutions (HEI) were there is an established culture of research and where there is adequate funding for research, publication output is relatively high. However, in historically black universities (HBUs), this is not the case. The problem is that research output is low and shows no trend of increasing. Therefore, this article argues for use of the 'writing retreat' model to promote writing for research. The literature reviewed suggests that this type of model is commonly used at HEIs with positive impact on research output. The research conducted on writing retreats was based on the experiences of academics who attended writing retreats for various purposes. Data was collected from three sources. The first was from postgraduate students who went on a writing retreat with their supervisor; the second source was a group of 15 academic staff who attended a Ph.D. writing retreat; the third source was the personal experiences of the researcher who attended a few writing retreats aimed at women academics and postgraduate students. Data was qualitatively gathered using interviews, evaluation forms and accounts of personal experiences. The findings from the research indicated that academics and postgraduate students welcomed this model of writing for research. It was found that the respondents wrote more in a concentrated period of time; they could concentrate better without distractions; they were motivated within the group and their research progressed at a faster pace. Based on the findings, a writing retreat model is proposed. The purpose of this model is to encourage academic writing for various purposes. It is also intended to motivate writing for publication in a research environment for different groups of academics so that HEIs, and in particular HBUs, can begin to increase research activity. Finally, a writing retreat model can be used for wider purposes like encouraging excellence in writing, reading and researching.
Author P. KaburiseSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 77 –90 (2012)More Less
This article, first, identifies the reading characteristics of students enrolled in the foundation provision of the extended degree; then determines the responsiveness of the English curriculum to these characteristics and thinking on literacy development. Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and the language ability framework of Bachman and Palmer (1996), a placement test was given to these students and their reading characteristics were isolated. Next, these characteristics were compared to the English curriculum to determine how responsive its contents are to these attributes and literacy development. The results show that students are competent in certain types of comprehension activities, vocabulary manipulation but have difficulties interacting with texts particularly determining relationships between sentences and sections of texts. The results of the second part indicate that the curriculum follows an autonomous concept of language support and only parts of the English curriculum are responsive to the students' reading characteristics.
Teaching digital natives : identifying competencies for mobile learning facilitators in distance educationAuthor M. MakoeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 91 –104 (2012)More Less
The use of mobile technologies in education has had a major impact on the pedagogy as known and understood by many academics in distance education institutions. Teaching using new technologies requires a variety of skills that are different from what most teachers are familiar with. Therefore, teachers need to be trained on how to use these new devices and how to integrate them into their own practice. The aim is to ensure that technology is not perceived as an add-on but as an integral part of the curriculum. The purpose of this article therefore is to identify knowledge and skills that are needed to perform the role of a mobile learning facilitator with the aim of developing a professional development programme that is responsive to the competencies required.
Mindset change prerequisite for academic excellence : a case of four Zimbabwean and South African universitiesAuthor L. MakondoSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 105 –119 (2012)More Less
This article submits that the calibre, attitude and mindset of lecturers/teachers in institutions of Higher Education need drastic improvement and change if academic excellence is to be attainable and sustained in the 21st century. This article builds on the observations by Makondo (2010, 263-276) that most university teaching staff members are consciously or otherwise, playing significant roles in their students' academic underperformance due to their failure to effectively deliver their lectures and examine their learner's performance. This discussion notes that diverse factors account for student underperformance and proceeds by submitting that the calibre, attitude and mindset of lecturers is one such core factor which calls for urgent exploration. Cases in point are the failure of the majority of university graduates to produce convincing passing results from matric and university students, an unacceptable trend as the governments, parents/guardians and donors alike are heavily investing in education. Also, the prevalent trend that undergraduate and postgraduate students require second or third chances to complete their studies says a lot about the challenges rampant in the Higher Education system. Insights for this participatory expository research came from questionnaires, secondary literature and the researcher's experiences as an educator in high schools and universities in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Among others, to circumvent the seeming challenges, this study submits that Academic Development Centres (ADC) or Centres for Academic Excellence (CAC) or Centres for Higher Education (CHE) henceforth called Centres or their equivalent departments have strategic supportive roles to ensure that lecturers are fully empowered to execute their core teaching and research activities. This calls for departments, faculties and individual lecturers' to take initiatives as well as imbibe the new ethos meant to promote the lecturers' service delivery. Among other pragmatic ways forward, lecturers need to be lifelong researchers as can be testified by their research publication output and NRF rating so that they would be abreast with knowledge changes in their diverse areas of specialties. These moves, among others, would help retain motivated lecturers and resultantly universities would benefit through improved student retention, throughput rates, research and publication output.
Toward teaching methods that develop learning and enhance problem solving skills in engineering studentsAuthor K. LojiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 120 –135 (2012)More Less
Problem solving skills and abilities are critical in life and more specifically in the engineering field. Unfortunately, significant numbers of South African students who are accessing higher education lack problem solving skills and this results in poor academic performance jeopardizing their progress especially from first to second year. On the other hand, teaching problem solving to under-prepared first year learners is a challenge to academics that are required to think in innovative ways about teaching and learning strategies in order to respond in an efficient manner to South Africa's high demand for quality engineering graduates.This article discusses two successful sample lessons of how higher-order thinking skills can be integrated into the content of a so called 'bottle-neck' subject namely Electrical Engineering 1 (EE1) with the goal of enhancing problem solving skills and consequently improve under-prepared learners' performance. The importance of developing active student engagement practice as well as conceptual understanding is highlighted.
Using the NBTs to inform institutional understandings of 'under-preparedness' : implications for admissions criteriaAuthor M. Wilson-StrydomSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 136 –151 (2012)More Less
This article presents the results of institutional research conducted at the University of the Free State during the course of 2010. The aim of the study was to explore the ways in which the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) could be used to assist the university to better understand under-preparedness of first-year students, and to use this understanding to review and improve admissions procedures and criteria. An analysis of Grade 12 results, NBT performance and performance in selected first-year modules was conducted across the cohort of 2010 first-year students. The article presents a summary of the research results and concludes with recommendations regarding how the NBTs might support institutional decision making in the area of access and admissions.
Social media for enhancing student engagement : the use of Facebook and blogs at a University of TechnologySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 152 –167 (2012)More Less
This work investigates the promise of Facebook and blogs for enhancing students' levels of engagement in learning. This issue warrants investigation because there is little published empirical work on the subject. The researchers applied a learning ecology perspective to study the potential of Facebook and blogs in enhancing student levels of engagement in learning. In-depth interviews with lecturers who use Facebook and blogs and focus groups with their respective students were carried out to establish: usage in teaching and learning; the context of use; challenges encountered in usage; and whether these technologies enhanced student learning. A significant finding of the study was that appropriate use of blogs and Facebook groups, if accepted by students as a learning tool, enhances students' engagement in learning activities of an academic nature on- and off-campus. The article also suggests strategies for the implementation of Facebook and blogs in ways that are likely to have a positive impact on student levels of engagement.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 168 –180 (2012)More Less
The introduction of outcomes-based education in South Africa placed many challenges on the transformation of science classrooms. The 2009 National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (NEEDU) Report concluded that South African rural and township schools are largely dysfunctional. This article examined some of the reasons for the 'collapse' of rural schools as seen through the eyes of pre-service science teachers. It explored the reflections of 30 pre-service teachers in science classrooms in the Limpopo Province of South Africa where the majority of schools lack infrastructure such as libraries, laboratories and computer rooms. The reflections of pre-service science teachers revealed that the culture of teaching and learning has been negatively affected by lack of resources, poor training of science teachers, incompetent school management teams, overcrowding of science classrooms and a plethora of curriculum policies. Furthermore, teachers had not fully embraced all aspects of curriculum policy. This has resulted in the outcomes identified for science not being completely achieved. Pre-service teachers found it challenging to adapt to the 'realities' of teaching science without science equipment or appropriate resources. Suggestions made by pre-service teachers to improve science teaching in schools are considered in the recommendations of this article. Some of the recommendations are: development of resource packs for teachers in rural schools; a module on improvisation and innovation in science in pre-service and in-service training; establishing science nodal hubs or science resource centres in rural areas; improving awareness of science through competitions, open days and science clubs; developing mobile libraries and science laboratories for rural teachers; and establishing science committees in schools or regions.
Career counselling in South African institutions of higher learning in the 21st century : rediscovering the potential of qualitative approaches : editorialSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 661 –669 (2012)More Less
In South Africa, as in many other countries, concern is growing about rising unemployment. The impact is felt not only on the lives of millions of people but also on the national economy where the required six per cent economic growth rate has not been achieved. A review of the literature on the South African tertiary training system reveals that inadequate career counselling tends to reinforce the low social and economic position of poor and marginalised people in South Africa. Very few disadvantaged students ever receive adequate career counselling at school and often arrive at institutions of higher learning without a clear sense of what their prospective careers will entail. Intervention programmes to correct this situation have not achieved the stateâ??s goals in this regard.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 670 –690 (2012)More Less
Major changes in the global economy over the past decades have resulted in increased levels of work- and career-related uncertainty. Workers are continually confronted with issues of restructuring and transformation in the workplace. The theory and practice of career counselling need reshaping to enable young people to design successful lives and adapt to changing needs, changing interests and novel work experiences. Globally,career counselling theorists have taken on the challenge of revisiting and revising extant career theories to enable them to provide a time-appropriate service to their clients. This article discusses the theoretical base for a novel career counselling strategy that entails guiding clients to reflect and meta-reflect on their own career-related responses. A case study is discussed. It is hoped that the explicated strategy will provide career counsellors with a strategy to help clients choose not only appropriate careers but also use these careers to design and live successful lives.
Archetypal life themes, career orientations, and employability satisfaction of higher education students : a postmodern career counselling perspectiveAuthor M. CoetzeeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 691 –716 (2012)More Less
The objective of the study was to explore the constructs archetypal life themes (measured by the Pearson-Marr Archetype Indicator), and career orientations (measured by the Career Orientations Inventory) from a postmodern career counselling perspective in facilitating students' employability satisfaction (measured by a single item scale). A random sample of 270 predominantly black and female distance learning undergraduate students (meanage = 32) employed in the service industry participated in the survey. Correlational statistics revealed statistically significant relationships between the participants' currentactive archetypal life themes, their dominant career orientations and employability satisfaction. The value of the findings lies in the explanatory utility of the identifiedempirical relationships between the three variables in postmodern constructivist and narrative career counselling approaches interested in combining facets of quantitative with qualitative assessments.
Author A. Di FabioSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 717 –728 (2012)More Less
The aim of the study under discussion was to evaluate the effectiveness of Savickas' (2010) Career Construction Interview in a group of Italian university students. The study was conducted according to Rehfuss' (2009) Future Career Autobiography and from the perspective of Life Designing for the 21st century. It included an experimental group, which received a Career Construction Interview intervention, and a control group. A comparison of the initial Future Career Autobiographies (FCAs) with the subsequent FCAs indicated that the members of the experimental group had more specific life and occupational goals after the intervention thus underlining the effectiveness of the Career Construction Interview.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 729 –741 (2012)More Less
Narrative and storied approaches to career counselling have become more prominent in recent decades. This article presents a case study of a Xhosa-speaking woman who presented for career counselling in a South African higher education career service. It describes how career assessment can be incorporated into a story telling approach to career counselling in order to facilitate a holistic exploration of an individual client's career situation. The My System of Career Influences (MSCI) (Adult) reflection process and a career values card sort were utilized within a career counselling intervention based on a story telling approach to career counselling. Suggestions are offered for career counsellors and also counsellor educators.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 742 –764 (2012)More Less
This study sought to investigate the effectiveness of postmodern qualitative narrative counselling in the South African context, where traditional western approaches have been less successful, by exploring the effects of a postmodern career life story intervention on a sample of eight disadvantaged grade 12 learners. A qualitative research design using pre and post intervention interviews was used to explore whether the participants reevaluated or reinterpreted their responses to the interview questions in light of the intervention. The results of the study indicated that the participants experienced increased self-understanding, self-esteem, initiative and hope, optimism and empowerment through the intervention. The participants appreciated the time and space to be able to reflect on their lives. It appears as if all the various components of the life story intervention had a powerful impact on the participants. Writing life stories and using art materials appeared to be a method that was effective with disadvantaged grade 12 learners.
Author J. SeabiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 765 –783 (2012)More Less
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there was a relationship between the gender identity formation and career decision-making process of Grade 12 learners. Itwas also investigated whether there were any differences between the boys and girls in the study in respect of identity formation and the career decision-making process. Of the 156 learners who participated in the study, 60 were boys and 96 were girls. The Revised Extended Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status and the Study Choice Task Inventory were administered to the learners. The findings revealed a negative correlation between diffusion and foreclosure identity statuses and exploratory behaviour thereby suggesting that identity-diffused and foreclosed adolescents tend to meander and drift aimlessly without actively engaging in career exploration. No gender differences were found in identity formation and the career decision-making process implying that, unlike in the past, the girls considered stereotypical female as well as stereotypical male paths of career development.