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- Volume 26, Issue 5, 2012
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 26, Issue 5, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 5, 2012
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 865 –872 (2012)More Less
When Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian university graduate, set himself on fire to protest his loss of livelihood and the humiliation he suffered when the government confiscatedhis fruit and vegetable stand - a situation that sparked the subsequent Tunisian revolution on 17 December 2010 - the purpose of higher education again came under the spotlight. The kind of dystopia experienced through the subsequent Arab uprisings in many northern African countries foregrounds what higher education institutionson the African continent are supposed to do in order to deal with the political and ethnic violence we are witnessing on a daily basis. In this article we argue, firstly, that higher education cannot turn a blind eye to the perpetual violence in several African communities and, secondly, that higher education institutions should take more seriously the call for a 'cosmopolitanism without illusions' â?? one that can engender moments of democratic iterations, the recognition of human rights, and the restoration of human dignity.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 873 –890 (2012)More Less
Since 1997 upon the promulgation of Higher Education Act 101 of 1997, the higher education landscape has changed for good. This is partly because 36 public highereducation institutions had to be merged and reduced to 21 as a government agenda to enhance the quality of education at the highest level. This merger process wasexpected to consider several democratic principles in order to facilitate the stakeholder consultation. These democratic principles include transparency, ownership, consultationand legitimacy. However, this article is an attempt to understand the efficacy of a functional structure of Tshwane University of Technology during this merger process. In this regard, a qualitative approach was used to facilitate the undertaking of data collection. In the final analysis, it is observed from collected data that the Tshwane University of Technologyâ??s merger was destined for an implosion.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 891 –907 (2012)More Less
The tremendous workload produced by multiple assessments that aim for a learner-centered approach to learning in huge classes and the inability to provide results timeously, often results in lecturers' maintaining teacher-centered approaches to learning even if they appreciate the benefits of learner-centered approaches. One steptoward a learner-centered approach is to incorporate peer assessment. In this study we went one step further and combined peer assessment with e-learning. Interactive online peer assessment can lessen the workload on lecturers and may be an important step towards designing courses that are learner-centered.
In this study we report on the lessons and experiences of an interactive online peer assessment system. An evaluative case-study approach was undertaken. The theoretical underpinning of this study is activity theory. Lecturers monitored and evaluated the progress of the students who undertook this course and this article is a report of the study.
Interactive online peer assessment can be enhanced if support structures and tools are readily available. For interactive online peer assessment to work there needs to be a paradigm shift at an institutional level, at the lecturer level, as well as role clarity, and a willingness on the part of the students to accept a shift in their role in the learningprocess. The outcome of the intervention was generally positive but some of the findings indicated that technical problems experienced during the course by students contributed to their negative attitudes toward interactive online peer assessment.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 908 –925 (2012)More Less
The need to develop science capacity in South Africa has been recognised as a national priority both to address past inequalities and for economic development. However, many students wanting to enter science-related programmes in universities lack the necessary skills, knowledge and resources and thus access programmes have been developed to bridge the gap. This research takes a marketing approach and thus seeks to establish the needs of science access students at the point of entry into the university. An exploratory design using questionnaires administered to the population of studentsenrolled for the University of KwaZulu-Natalâ??s, Science Foundation Programme, was used. Analysis of the results indicates that the most important needs of these students are for career and counselling advice, financial support and information. Recommendations are provided to universities on how to address these needs so as contribute positively to the development of science capacity in South Africa.
Knowledge, skills and values : balancing legal education at a transforming law faculty in South AfricaAuthor M. J. DednamSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 926 –940 (2012)More Less
Determining curriculum content for legal education is difficult, having to consider the value of universal foundational teaching-learning as opposed to dedicated practical legal education; emphasising generic skills development as opposed to accumulation of knowledge or practical skills. Finding an equilibrium between these competing forces and having to consider 'non-educational' forces, including expectations of transformation and redress, make the task more complex. This article illuminates challenges regarding the balanced development of knowledge, skills, values, and transformation, and introduces specific initiatives to help students develop especially their ability to write well. It contends that any adversary stances of the academia versus the professions will only be solved by clarity and agreement on the meanings, scope and contextual application of concepts like general and subject knowledge, generic skills and practical skills, and scholarly and professional values. Skills training as a generally accepted outcome should be dissected to clearly indicate the generic or specific purpose thereof, implying a narrower definition of outcomes, but also equipping of lecturers witheducational expertise to attain these outcomes.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 941 –959 (2012)More Less
Law faculties are under immense pressure to admit more students but not to produce under-skilled graduates. The endeavour to increase quality by raising the admissionrequirements is to be balanced by the transformational responsibility to allow access to less prepared school leavers. This led to extended curricula programmes wherethe admission requirement was lowered and students were allowed to phase into the mainstream programme. Investigations initiated in an attempt to answer the question whether the simultaneous running of an extended programme is successful or justified in terms of the eventual results and the additional input that is required included the analysis of a set of data entailing the success rates of the two separate groups of students with respect to each LL.B. module over five years. The purpose of this article is to highlight, interpret and remark on certain findings of the evaluative report. It confirms the expectation that the five-year LL.B. groups consistently show a lower success rate than the four-year LL.B. groups for the same module groups, but nevertheless an acceptable general level of success, diminishing differences in relative success, and especially the better relative performance in certain modules.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 960 –972 (2012)More Less
Quality teaching is a central tenet to the retention and success of students in higher education but teaching quality measures and indicators have not enjoyed sufficient debate and discourse within the higher education sector. The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal investigated the use of various programme and module statistics as well as student and peer evaluations of teaching to inform quality improvements in teaching and learning. Quantitative data allowed benchmarking in relation to internal University targets and national norms and pointed to the student cohorts who collectively required teaching and learning interventions but was found to have limited use in improving individual teaching practice. Qualitative data from students and peers was best able to highlight strengths and weaknesses and provided the most useful data to inform changes in teaching practice as it engendered and enhanced reflective practice. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report on quality teaching in higher education found that most evaluation instruments were related to teaching input indicators and that there was a dearth of instruments to evaluate the impact of teaching, i.e. there was no explicit evaluation criteria linking teaching input to learning outcome. The challenge for the second cycle of institutional reviews/audits will thus be (1) identifying suitable qualitative indicators/measures for quality teaching, (2) striking the correct balance between quantitative and qualitative teaching quality indicators/measures, and (3) ensuring that such indicators, both quantitative/qualitative address teaching impact/learning outcomes in addition to teaching inputs.
Author J. HoughSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 973 –986 (2012)More Less
The purpose of this article is to describe a case study for the use of on-line business simulation at Stellenbosch University. The discussion takes into account Information Communication Technology (ICT) developments in Africa and the University's existing technological infrastructure.
The article identifies ICT practices in various global academic disciplines and highlights the purpose, advantages and disadvantages of business simulations. The case of online simulation in a post-graduate business strategy course is described and the results of students' feedback are analysed. The article concludes with the challenge to find the optimal blend of practical higher education learning experiences that can be enhancedby the most favourable and feasible mixture of ICT applications under certain limited conditions.
Author P. MachikaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 987 –1000 (2012)More Less
Since 2006, there has been a shift in the debate from 'alternative access to higher education' to 'access for success' when registering for extended curricula studies.Currently trends indicate that more students take longer than 3+1 years to obtain their extended curricula qualification, despite the accompanying holistic academic support offered by higher education institutions. The purpose of the article is to indicate that it is vital that students pass all first-year subjects if access for success is to be achieved. A descriptive, exploratory study was undertaken using quantitative data from four cohorts of first-year students enrolled for the National Diploma in Engineering at the University of Johannesburg. Results indicated that students who passed all their subjects in the first year were able to complete their studies within the minimum period. This research highlights the need to redefine the term 'access for success' within the South African higher education environment.
Author A. MaharajSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1001 –1015 (2012)More Less
This article reports on the design and effectiveness of four tutorial types in the context of first year mathematics tutorials, at a South African university for the period 2003 to 2011. A model for the design of mathematics tutorials was formulated. This model informed the design, implementation and refining of the mathematics tutorials over the nine year period. It was found that mathematics students get greater benefit from tutorials that are more organised and include a completion of homework unit requirement.
Author M. MathewsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1016 –1032 (2012)More Less
This research set out to evaluate whether the periodic review, adaptations and implementation strategies in the B.Sc. access programs with foundation provision in the Faculty of Science Engineering and Technology at Walter Sisulu University from 1998 to 2007 have had any impact on the number of B.Sc. graduates produced. The study also evaluated whether the programs addressed issues such as redress, access and success for which they were initiated in conjunction with government policies andavailable resources. A longitudinal action research that involved review of program models, selection criteria, curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, monitoring and impactwas carried out. Data was collected annually from 1998 to 2011 and a three phase analysis was made. The overall analysis indicated that the programs afford an alternateentry point to higher education and training (HET) to aspiring science matriculates in a semi urban/rural catchment area providing redress and access. The students from the programs from 1998 to 2007 (without considering the effects of attrition and migration) have made a commendable 14 per cent contribution to the annual FSET number of B.Sc. graduates where the annual allowed intake of access students is about 15 per cent.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1033 –1044 (2012)More Less
The South African higher education institutional audit process was introduced alongside similar endeavors internationally. However, despite many similarities, each country foregrounds different concerns within their higher education quality processes. In their seminal article, Harvey and Green suggest five possible notions of quality, one of which is quality as transformation, and in South Africa the message has been clearly stated: notions of quality are intricately related to transformation. Local research has however suggested that the notion of 'transformation' as quality takes on particular nuances within the countryâ??s context. In the two institutional case studies presented here, the 'quality as transformation' discourse appears to have been largely lost in translation. In one university transformation was not called upon to construct notions of quality; quality was primarily constructed by a discourse of excellence. In the other institution, the transformation aspects of quality seem to have been interpreted in a particularly reductionist way as relating solely to racial demographics. In both cases, this article argues that the 'quality as transformation' discourse prevalent in the audit documentation in the South African context was lost somewhere between the intentions embodied in national documents and the processes embarked upon by institutions.
On creating conditions for the acquisition of Discourse specific literacies in English Studies : the value of integrating language studies and literary studies in English departmentsAuthor E. M. MgqwashuSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1045 –1065 (2012)More Less
Students' acquisition of Discourse specific literacies associated with the field of English Studies depends on the extent to which English departments view the role of language studies discipline in their intellectual pursuit. The article is not arguing for English departments to introduce language teaching in an instrumentalist approach, a pedagogy which is '... all but terminally consigne[s] English to the level of a technical language stripped of expressive and aesthetic characteristics and denuded of any critical or self-conscious dimension' (Said 1994, 369). Instead, by means of empirical, qualitative data, the article argues for 'a pedagogy for an "enriched" English [which] will clearly need to attend to the complex manner in which structure, content and function interrelate in the production of effective, literate English' (Wallace 2003, 93). It shows that the acquisition of 'literate English' by students in English departments will be possible if language studies and literary studies get integrated in pedagogic practice. The article draws from Narrative-style interviews and Systemic Functional Linguistics theory as the research instrument and theoretical framing for data collection and analysis, respectively.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1066 –1079 (2012)More Less
The objectives were to determine risky sexual behavioural trends and health promotion needs among students, to develop an online HIV/STI prevention programme utilising the NMMU intranet portal. Descriptive data regarding demographics, sexual behaviour, internet usage and the relevance of various health promotion messages were included in an online questionnaire. Participants' attitude towards risk behaviour was also assessed using ten outcome questions rated on a five-point Likert scale. Of the 428 students participating in the survey during November 2011, 83 per cent reported to being sexually active, 50 per cent reported using a condom during the last time of sexual intercourse, while 43 per cent reported more than two sexual partners during the past 12 months,reflecting high risk behaviour. The topic 'How to convince your partner to use a condom' was rated 'very important' by 72 per cent of the sample. Study outcomes are being incorporated into an online HIV/STI prevention programme developed in collaboration with NMMU students.
Navigating the postgraduate terrain through a community of practice : Reflections of novice academicsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1080 –1094 (2012)More Less
This article explores how academics make the transition from teaching mainly on undergraduate programmes to teaching a postgraduate module. It reflects on whatenables learning to occur through participation in a community of practice, where the community comprises academics at different levels who teach the same postgraduate module. Through self-study methodology, where data was sourced from the reflective diaries of the authors, entry into and sustained participation in the postgraduate terrain are detailed. The findings reflect the types of support which facilitate professional development of academics. A view is provided into the private narratives of academics as they assume a 'boundary identity trajectory' when they approach the nexus of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching.
To what extent do pre-entry attributes predict first year student academic performance in the South African context?Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1095 –1111 (2012)More Less
This article reports the results of an investigation into the predictive value of 33 pre-entry attributes, divided into six broad categories, for predicting the academic performance of first year students at an urban South African university. Low levels of student success are a salient problem in South African higher education. Students tend to dropout quickly, quietly and for a range of different reasons. An important part of early interventions is to be able to accurately identify students who are more likely to drop out. Tinto's longitudinal interactionist theory postulates that pre-entry attributes are the most important influence on a student's ability to achieve their initial integration during their entry into higher education. In this study, the chi-square test is used to examine the relations between pre-entry attributes and student academic performance. The null-hypothesis of no relationship was rejected for the majority of the predictors, which confirms the importance of pre-entry attributes in the South African academic context.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1112 –1130 (2012)More Less
This article addresses the issue of teacher knowledge in a developing world context of HIV and AIDS. More specifically, it responds to the need for practical 'how to' examples of HIV and AIDS education by describing the pedagogical strategies employed in an initial teacher education programme at a South African university. An overview of the theoretical constructs underpinning the module development and implementation is given, followed by a detailed description and justification of the qualitative research design and methodology employed to answer the research question: 'How can HIV and AIDS education be effectively integrated into an initial teacher education programme?'The findings of the study provide evidence of how the intervention's active learning approach facilitated the teachers' acquisition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for effective HIV prevention education. The article may offer other teacher educators some guidelines on how to integrate HIV and AIDS education into their own programmes.