Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Publications (2011)

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Amin, N.
Alternation 18 2
Title Critique and Care in Higher Education Assessment:  From Binary Opposition to Möbius Congruity
Abstract Using a poststructuralist lens, this paper interrogates, theoretically, the battle between two discourses of assessment in higher education namely, care and critique, a context generated binary structure. This apparent incongruity emerged as students considered critique they received from me as uncaring, and I interpreted their responses as a lack of care for intellectual growth. In this paper, using discourse analysis strategies, I unravel the emergent discourses by drawing on Žižek’s rearticulated notions of the Lacanian Real. Superficially, it appears that critique and care are oppositional stances, but a deeper interrogation reveals the hidden aspects of care in critique and critique in care, and demonstrates that language constructs differences and masks the nature of reality of a singular phenomenon and, more specifically, its paradoxical nature. I argue that a Cartesian plane masks the inherent violence and beneficence of both critique and care and is inappropriate in capturing the fiction of difference. Hence, a metaphor, based on the special characteristics of a Möbius strip is deployed to represent the complex reality of discourses of care and critique.
Keywords: Higher education, assessment, discourse analysis, critique, care

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Bengesai, A.
Alternation 18 2
Title Engineering Students’ Experiences of Supplemental Instruction: Case Study
Abstract This article explores Engineering students’ experiences of supplemental instruction (SI). SI is a student engagement approach that is meant to provide ‘support’ to students with the aim of improving pass rates. The sample population used in the study was constituted from the 2009 Chemical Engineering cohort. From this broad sample, the performance scores of 15 regular SI attendees were tracked over a period of three semesters. Qualitative data was also collected through focus- group discussions with six of the regular attendees. The data was analysed using an interpretive methodology. The findings from the study suggest that SI has the potential to provide positive learning spaces for students, enabling them to effectively engage with learning materials. However, the results also underscore the need to modify the programme to ensure that students do not become overly reliant on it.
Keywords: supplemental instruction ,experiences, engineering students

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Bengesai, A.
Alternation 18 2
Title Addressing difference in engineering education: A case of supplemental instruction at a South African university
Abstract This article explores Engineering students’ experiences of supplemental instruction (SI). SI is a student engagement approach that is meant to provide ‘support’ to students with the aim of improving pass rates. The sample population used in the study was constituted from the 2009 Chemical Engineering cohort. From this broad sample, the performance scores of 15 regular SI attendees were tracked over a period of three semesters. Qualitative data was also collected through focus-group discussions with six of the regular attendees. The data was analysed using an interpretive methodology. The findings from the study suggest that SI has the potential to provide positive learning spaces for students, enabling them to effectively engage with learning materials. However, the results also underscore the need to modify the programme to ensure that students do not become overly reliant on it.
Keywords: supplemental instruction, experiences, engineering students

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Blewett, C., Quilling, R., Bulbulia, Z. & Kanyiwamuyu, P.
Alternation 18 2
Title Student Challenges in a Virtual Collaborative Learning Course Spanning Multiple Countries 
Abstract Web 2.0 technologies have been instrumental in the development of a new collaborative learning space called Virtual Learning Environments. There are a variety of challenges in virtual learning environments, including team issues, technological problems and pedagogical practices. However these challenges can be broadly grouped into student challenges and lecturer challenges. Virtual Worlds such as Second Life (SL) and Social Learning Networks have provided many opportunities for lecturers to explore these challenges and ways of overcoming them. This study focuses on student challenges in these environments. In terms of the findings of this study, student responses were generally positive, with 77% of students finding international collaboration on their project beneficial. In addition, they report spending more time on the course and exerting more mental effort. They are satisfied with the organization and scaffolding of their learning but are still overwhelmingly dependent on campus computing resources, which is a limitation. The limitation points to the potential value of a beta-mindset approach supported by scaffolded learning. This research reports on the experiences and lessons learned during a virtual collaborative learning experience in an Honours module involving fourth year Information Systems and Technology students at both the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and Applied Computer Science fourth year students from Daystar University in Kenya. The research was conducted in March and April 2010. This paper explores the academic, operational and technological challenges, from a student perspective.
Keywords: Collaborative learning, virtual learning environments, virtual worlds, multiple-country, Gen Y, beta-mindset, scaffolded learning, Second Life

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Borden, V.M.H
Alternation 18 2
Title Accountability for Student Learning: Views from the Inside Out and the Outside In
Abstract Because of an inherent and desirable diversity of opinion regarding what constitutes quality in postsecondary education, most quality assurance processes rely on institutions to define quality on their own terms in congruence with their missions. This approach allows for considerable autonomy and innovation but makes it difficult to convey to various constituents what specific institutions and the higher education sector as a whole contribute to society at large and to individuals and communities. This essay explores practical and conceptual issues related to increased demand for accountability for student learning outcomes through the U.S. lens of experience and offers a framework for a constructive approach to public accountability applicable to both the U.S. and South African contexts.
Keywords: accountability, Higher Education, educational quality, institutional effectiveness, organizational performance, educational policy.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Dhunpath, R. & Govender, K.
Perspectives in Education 29 3
Title Student experiences of the PhD cohort model: working within or outside communities of practice  
Abstract The Collaborative Cohort Model (CCM) of higher degrees supervision is gaining increasing popularity internationally and, in some contexts, replacing the conventional Apprentice Master Model (AMM). Among the motivations advanced for this shift is that the CCM improves completion rates and enhances the quality of research supervision. This exploratory paper interrogates these claims through the eyes of students, by documenting and analysing their experiences of the CCM currently used by the Faculty of Education, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa. This form of supervision integrates the traditional master-apprentice supervision with cohort seminar sessions. The traditional supervision involves students working one-to-one with what is referred to, in this instance, as the appointed supervisor/s while the cohort seminars draw on the expertise of a team of experienced and novice supervisors referred to, in this instance, as the cohort supervisors. In addition, students benefit from contributions offered by peers within the cohort as they are guided through the various phases in the research process. This paper engages with the experiences of a small sample of students, appraising the key principles of collaboration and collegiality which are integral to the success of the cohort model. The study reveals abundant evidence of successful collaboration and collegiality among students and between the cohort and appointed supervisors. However, there are also instances of students in the cohort working in isolation and supervisors working counter to each other. Through engaging with student experiences of the cohort model, this study offers critical new insights into the strengths, limitations and challenges of using the model to address the unsatisfactory PhD productivity rate in South Africa.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Grant, C.   
Alternation 18 2
Title Diversifying and Transforming the Doctoral Studies Terrain: A student's experience of a thesis by publication
Abstract While a PhD ‘by publication’ in the Human and Social Sciences Faculties is not a new phenomenon in Scandinavian countries, it is a less popular approach in other parts of the world where it is often viewed with scepticism and its uptake is limited. Faculties of Education and Humanities in South African universities are no exception. This article reports on my own experience of completing a PhD by publication and foregrounds my voice, as a University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) student, in this doctoral learning process. Central to a PhD by publication is the notion of connectedness, and this article focuses on my ‘logic of connectivity’ which operated at five levels in the PhD. These levels include the clustering of the articles (which I refer to as chronicles) according to the research questions to guide the synthesis process; the literature thread throughout the chronicles; distributed leadership as the theoretical framing for the thesis; the design of the PhD as a mixed research synthesis study and, finally, the insights gathered as a result of the synthesis process. The article offers a critique of the PhD by publication, highlighting the concomitant benefits and challenges and concludes by arguing that the advantages of undertaking a PhD by publication outweigh the disadvantages. 
Keywords: Doctoral education, PhD by publication, ‘logic of connectivity’, mixed research synthesis study, meta-inference

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Kisoon-Singh
South African Dental Journal
66 10
Title Profile of the dental therapy graduate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
Abstract Dental Therapists were introduced to the oral health team of South Africa in the 1970s by the Department of Health in order to assist in reducing inequities in oral health service provision to disadvantaged communities. Training occurred at two historically disadvantaged universities viz. Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA) and the University of Durban-Westville (UDW). However, disparities in access to basic oral healthcare have continued, in contrast to the success of similar initiatives recorded by over fifty countries around the world. In 2006, the Department of Health recommended that, as Dental Therapists were critical to the provision of primary oral healthcare, their training must be offered by all dental schools. Further, the recommendation proposed that the number trained annually should be increased from 25 (in 2005) to 600 by 2009. In response, concern was expressed by the stakeholders such as the South African Dental Association (SADA) and the Committee of Dental Deans. The SADA position paper on dental therapy called for an immediate moratorium on the training of Dental Therapists until all stakeholders had debated these issues. It is clear that the issue has not been resolved and that additional data pertinent to the training and deployment of this echelon of oral healthcare workers is required.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Maistry, S.M.
Alternation 18 2
Title Transformation through the Curriculum: Engaging a Process of Unlearning in Economics Education Pedagogy
Abstract Debates on transformation in higher education in South Africa have been largely confined to how transformation and social cohesion play themselves out at an institutional level. Much energy has been expended on complex and elaborate plans for transformation, including enrolment and employment equity targets and other strategic interventions. However, there is a dearth of understanding on how tensions around issues of transformation and social cohesion manifest and become contested at the proverbial ‘chalkface’, that is, in our lecture halls. While some academics propose an approach to curriculum development and transformation that endeavours not to ‘contaminate’ either the curriculum or the purity of disciplinary knowledge, others actively embrace and engage the curriculum as a means to facilitate processes that open up spaces for deliberation on issues of transformation. This article reflects on how transformation elicits debate and contestation in a teacher education pedagogy course that is informed by the principles of critical curriculum theory. Using self-study methodology, discourses of transformation are considered at the classroom level. The article argues that while it is possible to scaffold a process of unlearning and relearning, several tensions are likely to emerge which the university pedagogue has to manage.
Keywords: curriculum transformation, economic education, pedagogy, teacher education

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Maphosa, C.
The Anthropologist
13 4
Title Learner's Peceptions of Possible Approaches to Curb Learner Indiscipline in South African Schools
Abstract The study is part of a larger study on the management of learner indiscipline in South African schools. This study sought to establish learners’ views on the possible approaches that could be employed to curb indiscipline in schools. The study adopted a descriptive survey approach encompassing quantitative and qualitative approaches. It sought the insights of 280 learners selected form 15 independent schools in Mthatha district in theEastern Cape Province of South Africa. Data were collected mainly thorough a semi-structured questionnaire administered on selected learners as well as interviews. The SPSS statistical package version 17 was used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data was analysed through content analysis as emerging key issues led to themes that guided the analysis. It emerged from the study that participants felt strongly the need for the formation of teacher/ parent partnership teams in schools, random searches for dangerous weapons, compulsory guidance and counseling programmes in schools, equipping teachers with techniques to identify children with behaviour problems, focusing on prevention of indiscipline, random searches for drugs, compulsory stress management courses for all learners from senior phase, compulsory anger management courses for all learners from senior phase, monitoring school playgrounds and employing child psychologists in every school. The study concludes that a lot could be done to deal with learner indiscipline in schools by adopting preventive and proactive approaches. The study recommends a holistic approach to the management of learner indiscipline in schools in which all important stakeholders play pivotal roles. The study further recommends that under increasing psycho-social pressures there is need to expose learners to compulsory anger and stress management courses in schools specially at senior school level.
KEYWORDS: Behaviour Problems. PreventiveApproaches. Behavior Management. Parents/School Partnerships

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Maphosa, C. & Mammen, KJ
The Anthropologist 13 3
Title How Chaotic and Unmanagable Classrooms Have Become: Insights into Prevalent Forms of Learner Indiscipline in South African Schools
Abstract The study sought to establish teachers’ insights into the most prevalent forms of learner indiscipline and ascertain how the insights reflect on safety and security in schools and classrooms. The study was a descriptive survey which employed a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. It looked into insights of 125 teachers selected from 15 independent schools in Mthatha district in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Data were collected from teachers thorough a semi-structured questionnaire and interviews. The SAS/SAT statistical package version 17 was used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data were analysed through content analysis on emerging key issues led to themes that guided analysis. The study found that the following forms of indiscipline: noisemaking, non-submission of work for marking, leaving learning materials at home, talking without teacher’s permission, teasing other learners, absenteeism, swearing at others and non-completion of given assignments were prevalent in schools participating in this study whereas truancy, bullying, threatening other learners, theft, verbal attacks on fellow learners, assault on fellow learners, graffiti on classroom and toilet walls, vandalising school property, verbal attacks on teachers, substance abuse, sexual harassment, and indecent assaults on female learners were prevalent major forms of indiscipline. The study concluded that there were numerous disciplinary problems in schools as reported by teachers ranging from the minor to more serious ones and recommends that teachers should be always on the lookout for different forms of learner indiscipline in schools and classes in an attempt to create safe and conducive learning environments.
KEYWORDS: Classrooms. Schools. Indiscipline. Prevalent. Teaching and Learning. Safety and Security

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Maphosa, C. & Mammen, KJ
Journal of Social Sciences
28 3
Title Leaner's Views on the Effects of Disciplinary Measures uses in South African Schools
Abstract This paper is a part of a larger study on learner indiscipline in South African schools. The study was a descriptive survey and made use of a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The paper is based on learners’ views on the effects of disciplinary measures used by teachers in South African schools. The sample consisted of 280 learners who were selected through stratified random sampling from 15 independent schools in Mthatha district in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data whilst phenomenological interviews were used to collect additional qualitative data. SPSS statistical package was used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data were analysed through content analysis and emerging key issues led to themes that guided analysis. The paper documents learners’ reports on the different kinds and forms of punishment currently used in schools. In general, the conclusions from the learners’ views were that the different disciplinary measures used to deal with indiscipline seemingly failed, inter alia, to: help the offenders to understand disciplinary problems; teach responsible behaviour, behaviour accountability, respect for the rights and feelings of others or conflict resolution; avoid resentment of educators; deter offenders. The study also found that the learners view that the disciplinary measures which are currently used in schools largely led to negative rather than positive effects. The study recommends the use of supportive, proactive and cooperative disciplinary measures to deal with learner indiscipline. Such measures ensure positive and long-lasting effects necessary for the development of self-discipline and responsible behavior amongst learners.
KEYWORDS: Learners ’Views. Learner Indiscipline. Punishment. Schools

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Mark, R and Nakabungo, M.,G. 
Adult Learner 2011: The Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education
1 1
Title Irish-African Partnership and Research Capacity Building for Development: Potential to Learn from Research for the Education and Lifelong Learning Sector
Abstract The Irish-African Partnership for Research Capacity Building (IAP) is a research consortium involving all of the nine universities on the island of Ireland together with four African universities, with the overall aim of building research capacity for poverty reduction. The project was supported by a three-year grant from Irish Aid. This article examines the achievements of IAP and argues that the "foresight" approach and methodology used to generate the health and education research priorities can make a useful contribution not only to development research, but also to adult education.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Mgqwashu, E.M.
Alternation 18 2
Title Academic Literacy in the Mother Tongue: A Pre requisite for Epistemological Access
Abstract Freedom from apartheid oppression in South Africa offered opportunities for the reconsideration and eventual recognition and adoption of the languages that, during the colonial and apartheid eras, were seen as backward and irrelevant to the needs of the modern world. The granting of official status to these languages and providing learners an option to be taught in them within formal education after the demise of apartheid oppression is part of the decolonization and liberation processes. It is against this background that this paper argues that local languages could be enriched to convey the international body of knowledge and en able their speakers to be taught and learn in their first languages, something the English and Afrikaans speaking communities started enjoying since the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910. The paper uses isiZulu within the context of a Faculty of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Northern Sotho within the context of a Faculty of Humanities at the University of Limpopo, two of the indigenous languages in South Africa, to advance the argument. The paper suggests ways in which an environment can be created where indigenous language teaching moves from mundane, structure-focused tuition to becoming more relevant and more engaged with the reality of the language as experienced by people on day-to-day basis, both within and outside the academy.
Keywords: university exclusion, university dropout, Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT), isiZulu ontology, isiZulu epistemology

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Mutekwe, E., Modiba, M. & Maphosa, C.
Journal of Social Sciences
29 2
Title Factors affecting Female Students Career Choices and Aspirations: The Zimbabwean Example
Abstract The study sought to investigate the factors affecting female students’ career choices and aspirations in selected Zimbabwean schools. The study adopted a qualitative approach and used focus group interviews with a convenient and purposive sample size of 20 high school girls. Data were analysed through content analysis as emerging key issues led to themes that guided the analysis and discussion. The study revealed that career choices and aspirations for girls are influenced by a whole range of factors most notable of which are gender role socialization, parental expectations, teacher attitudes, the gender-typing of school subjects studied as well as the gendered occupational landscape in which they exist. The study concluded that there is a strong need for significant others, especially parents and teachers, to help girls and females by deconstructing the gender-role stereotypes or perceptions of roles society considers appropriate for girls or boys. The researchers thus recommend that female students be empowered to aspire for a stake in occupations or careers traditionally regarded as male-domains. The school curriculum, teachers, parents and older siblings need to be supportive of the need to minimize gender stereotypes in school subjects and career choices.
Keywords: Gender Role.  Stereotypes. Gender Typing. Teacher Attitudes and Expectations. Career Trajectories

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Narismulu, P.
Alternation 18 2
Title Teaching Social Justice and Diversity through South/ African Stories that Challenge the Chauvinistic Fictions of Apartheid, Patriarchy, Class, Nationalism, Ethnocentrism …
Abstract In a complex world where social, political and economic value systems are shifting, young intellectuals in developing societies need effective tools for reconstruction as much as for deconstruction. Anti-colonial approaches to literary studies can contribute to transformation by developing awareness of the significance of social justice and agency (empowered action) by exploring diverse South/African subjectivities, subject positions, voices and values, even (if not ideally) in exceedingly large level one classes. Students work with primary texts that tackle discursive and more material forms of power creatively. They learn how narrative building blocks are constructed, through formal elements such as character, narrator, plot, theme, style, audience. And they are taught metacognitive skills to enable them to analyse many familiar, naturalised and pervasive chauvinisms behind bigotry. These are taught through a heuristic to help them read and analyse each and all of the formal elements in relation to place, race, gender, class, nation, and culture. This is a synthesizing strategy aimed at countering the histories of systemic violence that persist despite their long-established bankruptcy. These skills are explored and developed through a selection of short stories that deal with the challenges of difference across South/Africa: gender identities (including sexuality and masculinity), inter/intra-gender relations, sexism, racism, ageism, poverty, family violence, sexual violence, HIV-AIDS, inter-group/global oppression. All the stories are in English, with a proto-feminist fantasy translated from isiZulu. Several stories exemplify strong elements of African orature, and contradict colonial logic to produce and recontextualize knowledge developed in contexts of violence.
Keywords: postcolonial culture, identity and literature; teaching social justice and diversity; South/African short stories, voice and agency; chauvinism and bigotry; transformation

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Padayachee I., Kotze, P. & van der Merwe A
Alternation 18 2
Title Course management systems from a usability perspective
Abstract The advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web has revolutionised practices in business, government, health, and education amongst others. In education, the Internet and World Wide Web opened new doors for teaching and learning, thereby affording educators an opportunity to deploy new teaching, learning and administration strategies and affording learners a rich learning experience. In South African higher education institutions, course management systems (CMSs) have been adopted, and are becoming increasingly popular among academics. However, much attention has been focused on the technology, namely the functionalities and tools offered by CMSs. Very little effort has been directed at understanding the usability properties of this class of software and the impact it may have on adoption of this type of software. This paper focuses on the evaluation of selected CMSs used in higher education by using specific usability criteria and principles as the basis for the evaluation. This usability inspection method is termed heuristic evaluation, which is performed ‘as a systematic inspection of a user interface design for usability’ (Nielsen 2005). Results pertaining to the heuristic evaluation of the selected CMSs will be discussed. This paper is part of a larger study that aims at generating knowledge about the interactive properties of CMSs.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Paideya,V.
Alternation 18 2
Title Engineering Students’ Experiences of Social Learning Spaces in Chemistry Supplemental Instruction Sessions
Abstract Over the past three years, Supplemental Instruction (SI) has been introduced to the first year engineering and mainstream chemistry students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal as part of the ‘Throughput in Engineering Sciences (TIES)’ programme. SI is a student academic assistance programme providing regularly scheduled sessions for high risk courses. This programme aims to improve the throughput of the engineering and science students with the aid of support programmes for first year students designed on collaborative learning principles. Often, working in teams, students gain professional experiences that are designed to aid the transition to professional employment, building confidence, generic skills and capability in the discipline. This paper focuses on engineering students’ experiences of the social learning spaces created in chemistry SI sessions. Data was collected using video-recordings of SI sessions, individual interviews and focus group interviews with students. Data was analysed using social constructivism as an analytical framework as it is the intention of this paper to understand students’ experiences of the SI social learning spaces. The data reveals that engineering students experienced chemistry SI as discursive learning spaces offering opportunities for discussion, for reflection and meaning making, motivating students to take responsibility for their learning. It is argued therefore, that the social learning spaces created during the SI intervention session have the potential to develop independent lifelong learners in chemistry.
Keywords: social learning spaces, collaborative learning, chemistry Supplemental Instruction

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Pillay, K.
Alternation 18 2
Title Local Economic Development Postgraduate Education and Mindful Research: Deepening the Practitioner Research Paradigm
Abstract Practitioner research, historically, has grown out of the self-study movement initiated by British teacher educators who saw the need to interrogate their own teaching practices in order to deepen the practices of their learner teachers (Loughran 2004). Parallel to this was the reaction by teachers to the authority of academic educationists making pronouncements on what should happen in the classroom. The movement of self-study was essentially a research initiative where practitioners researched their own practice in order to bring about change in the classroom. In the last two decades a considerable body of research material has emerged (Loughran 2004), which fed into the field now called practitioner research, and which extends beyond teaching into many forms of professional practice, and especially areas where change of some kind is required. This paper draws a distinction between self-study as a cognitive strategy (where meta-critical thinking is employed in the development of professional practice) and self-study as mindful self-observation (which is a form of meta-cognition), where the latter can be regarded as an ontological condition prior to the thinking process, and which makes for more mindful–rather than mindless–living and learning. The implications for research in general will be considered, and in particular specific attention will be given to the context of developing Local Economic Development (LED) practitioner researchers who are engaged in postgraduate study.
Keywords: Practitioner research, mindfulness, Theory U

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Price,S. & Hughes, M.
Alternation 18 2
Title Producing better Quality MCQs at First Year Level: Are  Guidelines and Templates Enough?
Abstract Largely owing to high student numbers and the constraint of having to operate a common curriculum over two campuses (Westville and Pietermaritzburg), the School of Information Systems & Technology (IS&T) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has adopted multiple choice questions (MCQs) as its primary assessment method at first year level. In this paper, the authors reflect on initiatives undertaken within the School to improve MCQ construction against a backdrop of considerable student and staff diversity, particularly in terms of language. These initiatives centre on the use of a set of MCQ guidelines and an MCQ template, together with a structured cycle of review and feedback. This reflection on current practice forms part of the first stage of an action research programme of MCQ construction improvement in the School. The use of the template and guidelines has been beneficial since they have made staff more aware of quality issues. In addition, however, issues such as staffing, the time needed to develop questions, the importance of assessment, and question review also play a significant role in producing quality MCQs. The paper concludes with suggestions for further work.
Keywords: Multiple choice questions (MCQs), MCQ construction, Bloom’s taxonomy, student diversity, staff diversity, teacher-practitioner.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Samuel, L. & Vithal, R.
Perspectives in Education
29 3
Title Emergent Frameworks of Research Training and Learning in Cohort-based Doctoral Programme
Abstract This article argues that alternate models of doctoral research teaching and learning pedagogy could address the challenge of under-productivity of doctoral graduands in the South African higher education system. Present literature tends not to focus on the models of research teaching and learning as a form of pedagogy. The article presents a case study of a doctoral cohort model programme where attention to both quantity and quality of doctoral “production” are engaged in the curriculum design and methodological approaches employed. In this alternate to the traditional “master-apprenticeship”, epistemologies that the programme creates are influenced by its pedagogical methodologies. This reflective theoretical exploration draws on the experiences of supervisors, staff and students as co-producers of knowledge involved in the research pedagogical process. The doctoral graduands that emerge are able to embrace the roles and responsibilities as researchers and knowledge makers. Rather than the PhD being about individualistic learning, the programme attempts to infuse multi- and interdisciplinary notions of responsiveness to knowledge production in community. It concludes with emergent frameworks for doctoral pedagogies–“democratic teaching/learning participation”, “structured scaffolding”, “Ubuntu” and “serendipity”–as useful explanatory shaping influences which underpin and frame the model promoting a contextually relevant and appropriate doctoral research teaching and learning pedagogy.
Keywords: Cohort model of supervision, postgraduate research supervision, learning to become researcher, teaching and learning in higher education, democracy, Ubuntu, serendipity

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Sheik, A
Alternation 18 2
Title My vuvuzela will not be silenced’: Towards Linguistic Equity in South Africa
Abstract This paper interrogates the linguistic landscape of South Africa by surveying the effects and opportunities that globalization, glocalization and emerging technologies present for the cultivation of our language ecology. It argues for the revitalization of our indigenous languages by positing an integrated pluralistic vision invested in strategies for managing the linguistic socialization of our students. Addressing the multilingual realities of our student population means activating a classroom domain of inclusion instead of exclusion and is a norm of best practice intimately aligned with our cherished values of equity and access.
Keywords: Multilingualism, South Africa, indigenous languages, linguistic ecology

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Singaraam, V.
Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 
16 3
Title For most of us Africans, we don’t just speak”: a qualitative investigation into collaborative heterogeneous PBL group learning. 
Abstract Collaborative approaches such as Problem Based Learning (PBL) may provide the opportunity to bring together diverse students but their efficacy in practice and the complications that arise due to the mixed ethnicity needs further investigation. This study explores the key advantages and problems of heterogeneous PBL groups from the students' and teachers' opinions. Focus groups were conducted with a stratified sample of second year medical students and their PBL teachers. We found that students working in heterogeneous groupings interact with students with whom they don't normally interact with, learn a lot more from each other because of their differences in language and academic preparedness and become better prepared for their future professions in multicultural societies. On the other hand we found students segregating in the tutorials along racial lines and that status factors disempowered students and subsequently their productivity. Among the challenges was also that academic and language diversity hindered student learning. In light of these the recommendations were that teachers need special diversity training to deal with heterogeneous groups and the tensions that arise. Attention should be given to create 'the right mix' for group learning in diverse student populations. The findings demonstrate that collaborative heterogeneous learning has two sides that need to be balanced. On the positive end we have the 'ideology' behind mixing diverse students and on the negative the 'practice' behind mixing students. More research is needed to explore these variations and their efficacy in more detail.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Singaram,V.S., Sommerville, T.E., Van der Vleuten C.P.M. & Dolmans,D,H.J.M.
Alternation 18 2
Title Looking at the glass half full”: Exploring Collaborative Mixed Group Learning as a Transformative Force for Social Inclusion in a South African Higher Education Setting 
Abstract Among the challenges faced in South African education is the need to transform its face, its function and its folk, drawing the three aspects away from the divisive apartheid past towards a more inclusive, affirming and enabling future. The thrust of transformation underscores the tension between eliminating the inequities of our past and remaining conscious of our people’s underlying diversity. Collaborative learning is ideally suited to helping students mediate and explore the tensions of transformation as well as the discomfort of diversity. In this study, data from focus group inter-views conducted among a stratified sample of second year medical students and teachers of problem based learning (PBL) was analysed using Mezirow’s first phase of the process of transformation. The process poses‘  a disorienting dilemma’, which refers to a situation in which new information clashes with past beliefs, leading to self-examination, critical assessment of assumptions and to a new perspective. Four major transformational dilemmas are identified. We show what aspects of diversity are operating in our student population and suggest what may be done to maintain a constructive balance between the polarities. In addition, we argue that collaborative l earning is an effective way of presenting these aspects to a diverse, heterogeneous student population for their reflection towards personal transformation.
Keywords: Collaborative learning, problem based learning, transformation, higher education

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Singh, A.M.
South African Journal of Higher Education
25 4
Title Let the doors of learning be open to all - A case for recognition of prior learning  
Abstract Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process of evaluating an adult learners previous experience, skills, knowledge and informal learning and articulating it towards a formal qualification. Whilst RPL is enshrined in a number of international qualifications frameworks, there are certain barriers which have prevented its application and widespread use. These include personal, institutional, financial and procedural barriers. In 2007, the Graduate School of Business of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, admitted seven students onto the MBA programme on the basis of RPL. The decision was challenged by senior academics at Faculty level on the basis that it was unfair that someone with no prior qualifications could be admitted to Masters Study programme and would obtain a qualification equal to or just below that of academics who had spent at least seven years to achieve a Masters qualification. It was counter-claimed that RPL was a national imperative and one which the University had a moral obligation to meet. Furthermore, it was argued that, on the basis of the University policy on RPL, the School and Faculty had an obligation to comply. This study aimed to determine the academic merit of RPL (a student's performance on the programme) and whether or not RPL students needed additional support or mentorship. Based on the student's results, RPL has been found to have academic merit and RPL students did not require additional support in order to succeed on the MBA.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Tang, V.
Alternation 18 2
Title A Piagetian-Bloomsian Approach to Teaching and Learning Economic Concepts
Abstract The teaching and learning of economic concepts at undergraduate level can be a frustrating passage for both teachers and learners. Students often arrive with a fear of economics and weak cognitive skills. Over the years, I have had to resort to a number of changes in my teaching strategies and eventually adopted a Piagetian-Bloomsian approach to teaching. The approach involves visual representation and communication of an individual’s knowledge structure, of a single or multiple concepts as constructed by the individual. It takes the form of a matrix and is similar to mind mapping. This guided instructional technique is designed to foster students’ cognitive growth. The effectiveness of this teaching and learning approach is validated by the results of a survey which demonstrates that students find this teaching approach useful and that there is a strong positive correlation between higher cognitive skills and the teaching approach. In addition, an improvement in examination scores in four teaching semesters has been recorded.
Keywords: Piaget, Bloom, cognitive mapping, teaching and learning strategies, economic concepts, undergraduate level

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Van Laren, L., Mitchell, C., Mudaly, R.,  Pithouse-Morgan, K. & Reddy, S.
South African Journal of Education
31 3
Title Successes and challenges of integrating HIV&AIDS education in higher education
Abstract Since 1999, many South African education policy documents have mandated integration of HIV & AIDS education in learning areas/disciplines. Policy document research has shown that although South African politicians and managers have produced volumes of eloquent and compelling legislation regarding provision for HIV & AIDS education, little of this is translated into action. The impact of HIV & AIDS permeates the social, economic and political arenas in South Africa. Integration of HIV & AIDS education across disciplines can serve as a strategy to further the ideals of social justice. This paper focuses on how integration in the teaching and learning of Mathematics Education provides opportunities to take action for social justice. The inquiry explores the following question: How can the myth that there is 'nothing we can do' about HIV & AIDS, which is linked to social justice issues, be addressed through integration of HIV & AIDS education in Mathematics pre-service teacher education? Drawing on self-study, the work of a Mathematics teacher educator who worked with pre-service teachers to integrate HIV & AIDS education at a higher education institution is described. By considering integration of HIV & AIDS education in Mathematics Education and taking action it is possible to develop strategies which directly relate to social justice.
Keywords: integration; mathematics; pre-service teachers; self-study; social justice

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Zewotir, T., North, D. & Murray, M. 
South African Joutnal of Higher Education
25 6
Title Student success in entry level modules at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
Abstract The University of KwaZulu-Natal is now six years post merger--time to reflect as the institution is now well settled. Modules are offered on multiple campuses, at various levels, ranging from entry level modules through to Ph.D. studies. This article attempts to identify the factors that lead to the successful progression of students to higher level modules. Different academic faculties have different admission and exclusion criteria. Accordingly, the analysis of these factors will be done on a faculty by faculty basis. Among all the factors investigated, first attempt of the course is found to be a common factor leading to student's success across faculties, whilst accommodation (off campus vs. on campus) also plays a role. Good academic results from high school (both Mathematics and English) are further found to be useful in promoting success in some faculties.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Zewotir, T., North, D. & Murray, M. 
South African Journal of Higher Education
25 7
Title Demographic and academic factors affecting research productivity at the University of KwaZulu- Natal 
Abstract Research output affects both the strength and funding of universities. Accordingly university academic staff members are under pressure to be active and productive in research. Though all academics have research interest, all are not producing research output which is accredited by the Department of Education (DOE). We analyzed the demographic and academic factors that affect DOE recognized research productivity of academics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) between 2004 and 2008. The results show that the demographic and academic profiles of staff that produce research output differ from faculty to faculty. Thus, the intervention strategies that increase the number of research productive academics should be faculty based rather than being university based. 


Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2011 Nyika, A.
South African Journal of Science

Title Mother tongue as the medium of instruction at developing country universities in a global context
Abstract One of the factors attributed to poor performance of some indigenous students at universities in developing countries is the use of a second language - mainly English and to some extent French - as the language of instruction at the universities. Consequently, policymakers in some developing countries have introduced, or are debating the idea of introducing, local vernacular languages as the official languages of instruction at their respective universities. Indeed, learning the official language of instruction as a second language is an additional hurdle, which to some extent hinders some students from performing well in their university studies. Thus students whose mother tongue is used as the language of instruction at their universities have an advantage over students whose mother tongue is not the language of instruction at their universities. Policies regarding the medium of instruction at universities have a range of short-term and long-term implications, some of which may be easily overlooked yet they may have far reaching repercussions for current and future generations. In this paper, a repertoire of pertinent issues surrounding the use of vernacular languages at universities is explored. These issues include performance of students, quality of graduates produced in terms of employability, university overall productivity, innovation, university competitiveness in the wake of globalisation, preservation of the vernacular languages and contribution towards national as well as global socio-economic development.
Keywords: universities; medium of instruction; mother language; globalisation; marginalisation




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