Browsing by Faculty "Centre for Higher Education Development"
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- ItemOpen AccessAcademic identities and communities of practice in a professional discipline(Taylor & Francis, 2009) Jawitz, JeffThis paper explores the dynamics surrounding the formation of academic identities in a context where the nature of academic work is contested both as a result of tensions within the discipline and in response to pressure from both the institution and the field of higher education. It is based on a case study which investigated the process of academic identity formation at the micro level of a department at a South African university. The study revealed a complex relationship between identity construction and participation within the particular configuration of teaching, professional and research communities of practice that defined the academic field in the department. Multiple identity trajectories were evident, indicating the role of individual agency, despite the dominance of a professional community of practice within the department. The arrival of new academics in the department without professional practice experience was found to have created the possibility of a changed notion of the academic within the discipline.
- ItemOpen AccessAccess to Africa's knowledge: publishing development research and measuring value( University of the Witwatersrand, 2010) Gray, EveThis paper reviews, critically, the discourse of research publication policy and the directives of the regional and global organisations that advise African countries with respect to their relevance to African scholarly communication. What emerges is a readiness to use the concepts and language of the public good, making claims for the power of technology to resolve issues of African development. However, when it comes to implementing scholarly publication policies, this vision of technological power and development-focused scientific output is undermined by a reversion to a conservative research culture that relies on competitive systems for valuing and accrediting scholarship, predicated upon the systems and values managed by powerful global commercial publishing consortia. The result is that the policies put in place to advance African research effectively act as an impediment to ambitions for a revival of a form of scholarship that could drive continental growth. While open access publishing models offer solutions to the marginalisation of African research, the paper argues that what is also needed is a re-evaluation of the values that underpin the of scholarly publishing, to better align with the continent's articulated research goals.
- ItemOpen AccessAccountability autonomy and authenticity: assessing the development waltz conducted to a 'kwaito' beat in Southern Africa(Taylor & Francis, 2008) Abrahams, Mark AFor the purposes of accountability and uniformity, and as a way of giving insight into their intellectual capital regarding development practices, NGOs in Southern Africa are required by donor agencies to describe their intended activities in very clear, unambiguous terms. These requirements may include the expression of theoretical approaches, the development of logical frameworks, clear objectives, indicators for success, criteria for sustainable development, and relationships to government policies. However, the interface between reality and these planning measures and tools, most often completed without the input and contributions of the communities whom they are to serve/service, produces a much more messy, dynamic, and involved picture of the development process. None the less, the NGOs are still required to be accountable on the basis of their original proposal and planning. The author presents examples of this phenomenon and discusses the challenges facing an evaluator when dealing with competing principles of accountability, autonomy, and authenticity.
- ItemOpen AccessActivists within the academy: the role of prior experience in adult learners' acquisition of postgraduate literacies in a postapartheid South African university(SAGE, 2011) Cooper, LindaThe article takes as a case study a group of disability rights activists who were given access to a master's program via Recognition of Prior Learning. The question explored is "Can adult learners' prior experiential knowledge act as a resource for the successful acquisition of postgraduate academic literacy practices?" The analysis is framed theoretically by Bourdieu's notions of habitus, capital, and field. It is argued that adult learners' acquisition of postgraduate literacies is an outcome of the interplay between three factors: (a) student habitus and dispositions, (b) pedagogic agency, and (c) the nature of the disciplinary field. Although the program under investigation made complex demands on students, lecturers' understanding of student habitus enabled students' prior experiential knowledge to be tapped as a resource. However, students also exercised agency in negotiating the forms of academic habitus acquired, and the trajectory of their agency involved a mix of accommodation, resistance, and challenge.
- ItemOpen AccessAdjusting pedagogy to optimise negotiability and interactivity in lessons using the interactive whiteboard an action research study in a primary school(2012) Jaftha, Cheryl; Hodgkinson-Williams, CherylOne of the recent technological devices that have been introduced in the educational domain is the interactive whiteboard (IWB). IWBs have become established teaching and learning tools, particularly in primary school classrooms in developed English speaking countries and have more recently been deployed in developing countries such as South Africa. The Western Cape Province in South Africa has rolled out a province-wide IWB programme over the last decade, despite limited local research on the pedagogical value of IWBs in South African schools. This research study aims to investigate how the IWB can be used to encourage collaboration amongst the learners in a Grade 6 Technology Education class at a primary school in the Western Cape and specifically to assist the teacher in understanding how her pedagogy needs to change to optimise learner collaboration in association with an IWB. To understand the ways in which the IWB influences the activities in the classroom, Activity Theory is used as a framework to understand the tensions that arise and how the teacher needs to change her pedagogical strategies to successfully resolve these tensions.
- ItemOpen AccessAffirming a role for specialised dictionaries in indigenous African languages(Stellenbosch University, 2010) Nkomo, DionOne of the main problems facing speakers and language practitioners of indigenous African languages is the shortage of appropriate dictionaries for a variety of purposes. This lack results in users consulting any available but inappropriate dictionaries. Quite often, users are disappointed because a wrong dictionary does not normally provide the required assistance. Various functions, which the dictionary may serve, are sought in vain from inappropriate dictionaries and other terminological products. Consequently, the potential of lexicography in general and specialised lexicography in particular, remains unrealised owing to a variety of reasons. This article which mainly discusses the specialised dictionary, draws insights from Wiegand's (1984) general theory of lexicography and the theory of lexicographic functions (Bergenholtz and Tarp 1995, 2003; Tarp 2000, 2002, 2008) to affirm the role of specialised dictionaries in indigenous African languages and also to give insights into how such dictionaries may be produced.
- ItemOpen AccessAn analysis of the impact of pedagogic interventions in first-year academic development and mainstream courses in microeconomics(Wiley, 2009) Smith, Leonard CThis paper analyses the impact of pedagogic interventions in ﬁrst-year academic development and mainstream courses in microeconomics on students' performance in the ﬁnal examination. The data for six cohorts, covering the years 1999 and 2001-2005, are pooled, and the Heckman two-part procedure is used to account for those students who started the course but did not write the ﬁnal examination. The results suggest that the pedagogic interventions have a positive impact on the performance of academic development students relative to the mainstream cohort and on the performance of mainstream students.
- ItemOpen AccessAn analysis of the textual practices of undergraduate and postgraduate novice writers in law(Stellenbosch University, 2013) Greenbaum, Lesley Anne; Bangeni, AbongweCriticisms in the media and in the law professions about the writing skills of law graduates have drawn attention to the challenges that novice law students experience in acquiring these skills at the foundation level. Our research project attempts to understand the nature of these challenges from multiple perspectives: firstly, by sourcing students' understandings of their challenges with legal writing through semi-structured interviews, followed by a close textual analysis of samples of their writing, as well as through feedback from teaching staff. In this paper, we present the findings of our textual analysis of their writing. We illustrate how their difficulties with legal writing manifest at the levels of content, concept and lexico-grammar and how the students' struggles with legal concepts had implications for their overall engagement with the content of the subject matter. At the level of content, students exhibited problems with the appropriate presentation of subject matter, achieving precision in their writing and showing evidence of an appreciation of what counts as tacit knowledge within the discipline, while at the lexico-grammatical level they struggled with tense, preposition and article use. The paper concludes by recommending some strategies for responding to these challenges while taking into account their resource implications.
- ItemOpen AccessAnonymous examination marking at University of Cape Town: the quest for an 'agonizing-free zone'(Unisa Press, 2006) Shay, Suellen; Jones, BarbaraDrawing on Bourdieu's theory of social practice, the author challenges common-sense notions of objectivity and subjectivity which inform assessment practice, and argues for assessment as a socially situated interpretive act. A case study of an engineering community of practice at a South African university illustrates the multiple subjectivities that shape assessors' interpretations of student performance. This case study contributes to an understanding of academic professional judgment as a 'double reading' - an iterative movement between different modes of knowledge which comprise the objective and the subjective. The author concludes with a brief discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of this for how academic communities of practice come to judge and how these judgments are validated.
- ItemOpen AccessAre pre-compiled citation indexes of peer-reviewed journals an adequate control for research quality? A case study of library and information science(2005) Darch, Colin; Underwood, Peter GLooks at the South African Department of Education’s new recommendations for the evaluation of higher education research in South Africa, and examines two primary aspects: the use of pre-compiled journal lists from overseas, and the apparent reliance on peer review as a guarantee of quality. Pointing out that these are tried and tested standards of quality, the authors argue that there are nonetheless disciplinary differences between experimental sciences – such as physics or chemistry – and other disciplines that make these measures difficult to apply across the spectrum. They present an analysis of library and information science publications in the chosen lists and point to the weakness of the selection of titles in this discipline. In addition, there are extra difficulties for scientists from South Africa and the developing world in securing publication in premier international library and information science journals. The authors conclude by calling for the employment of other, additional evaluation measures in an integrated system.
- ItemOpen AccessAspects of non-central multivariate t distributions(1973) Juritz, June M; Troskie, Casper G
- ItemOpen AccessAssessment and the quality of educational programmes: what constitutes evidence?(University of the Free State, 2005) Shay, Suellen; Jawitz, JeffreyIn a climate of growing accountability for Higher Education, there is an increased demand on assessment to play an evaluative role. National, professional and institutional quality assurance systems expect that the assessment of student performance can be used to evaluate the quality of teachers, learners, programmes and even institutions for the purposes of programme review, programme accreditation and institutional audits. While affirming the role of assessment as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning, this paper problematises the use of assessment for evaluative purposes. Drawing on an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) accreditation exercise, we illustrate the limitations of particular forms of assessment data as evidence of quality. The paper argues for assessment as a socially situated interpretive act and for validation as the on-going process of strengthening the alignment between our assessment tasks, procedures and outcomes, and the educational, political and social purposes which our assessment systems claim to serve. The central argument of the paper is that key source of assessment evidence for quality assurance purposes is to be found in the strength and effectiveness of programme validation systems.
- ItemOpen AccessAssessment at the boundaries: service learning as case study(Taylor & Francis, 2008) Shay, SuellenThis article explores the value systems which inform assessment practices in higher education, specifically how particular forms of knowledge valued in the curriculum shape and constrain assessment practices. The data for this article is drawn from two courses which participated in a service learning research and development project at the University of Cape Town. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu and Basil Bernstein, the article argues that the location of these courses—within the field of higher education and a particular kind of institution, faculty and department—shapes their assessment systems, practices and outcomes in certain ways. What is valued in this field (Bourdieu) is a form of knowledge production which requires students 'to step out of the particularities'. This form of knowledge operates as a regulative discourse, constituting what counts as legitimate. Using the assessment system as a 'window', this article explores how these service learning courses constitute and are constituted by the regulative discourse of the field. While the constraints of the field are powerful, this project offers some hopeful signs of forms of curriculum, pedagogy and assessment that, at the very least, name and challenge these underlying value systems.
- ItemOpen AccessThe assessment of complex tasks: a double reading(Taylor & Francis, 2005) Shay, SuellenDrawing on Bourdieu's theory of social practice, the author challenges common-sense notions of objectivity and subjectivity which inform assessment practice, and argues for assessment as a socially situated interpretive act. A case study of an engineering community of practice at a South African university illustrates the multiple subjectivities that shape assessors' interpretations of student performance. This case study contributes to an understanding of academic professional judgment as a ‘double reading' - an iterative movement between different modes of knowledge which comprise the objective and the subjective. The author concludes with a brief discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of this for how academic communities of practice come to judge and how these judgments are validated.
- ItemMetadata onlyAssessment of preparedness of first-year chemistry students: development and application of an instrument for diagnostic and placement purposes(Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 2008) Potgieter, Marietjie; Davidowitz, Bette; Venter, ElsieMany universities in South Africa use alternative admissions tests together with results of the Grade 12 examinations for access of placement. These tests focus on academic literacy and mathematical skills and do not provide information about proficiencies in disciplines other than mathematics. The implementation of new curriculum for Grades 10-12 in South Africa generates a need to monitor preparedness of first-year students to align first-year curricula as closely as possible to the content of the new syllabi. The need for a tailor-made instrument to assess preparedness for chemistry at the tertiary level was prompted by the lack of suitable tests with the appropriate focus, depth and coverage for application in the South African context. This paper describes the development and evaluation of a test instrument designed to assess and monitor baseline conceptual understanding in chemistry at the secondary-tertiary interface. The study was carried out with mainstream students at the university of Pretoria and Cape Town (N=513 and 258, respectively). Data analysed using the Rasch measurement model confirmed that the majority of students from both cohorts was reasonably well prepared for chemistry at the tertiary level. The use of the instrument for diagnostic purpose was demonstrated. It was possible to identify gaps in the assumed pre-knowledge of students who have qualified for admission to chemistry at a tertiary level at their respective institutions. Inadequate pre-knowledge was most noticeable in the areas of chemical reactions and electrochemistry. In addition, the instrument also shows promise as a placement tool within programmes. Its predictive ability compares well with non-South African placement tests and with Grade 12 mathematics performance, the latter is widely used for this purpose in South Africa.
- ItemMetadata onlyAvailability of books as a factor in reading teaching and learning behaviour in twenty disadvantaged primary schools in South Africa(Stellenbosch University, 2011) Nassimbeni, Mary; Desmond, SnoeksThe purpose of the research project was to investigate the effects of the provision of story books in twenty disadvantaged primary schools in rural South Africa. The recipients of the donation were children in deprived areas, growing up in print-poor environments. The programme theory of the donor organisation, Biblionef, is that access to attractive age-appropriate books will have beneficial effects such as improved literacy skills, the promotion of confidence and improvement in learning. A qualitative approach was adopted to collect data before the intervention, and six months after the book donation, which included a comprehensive training programme in the use of the books. During the site visits, observation schedules were used; also focus groups of both teachers and children. We were able to chart impact in a number of areas such as improved availability and use of books in fifteen of the schools, with respect to both classroom activities and voluntary reading. In five schools there was no appreciable change. We recommend that innovation in teaching approaches associated with the use of books should be accompanied by careful training, and benign monitoring.
- ItemOpen AccessAvoiding frustrations of unprepared students with online quizzes(Clute Institute, 2013) Campbell, Anita; Rajaratnam, KanshukanThe hierarchical nature of many degrees enables higher-level courses to build on knowledge that has been developed in earlier courses. However, when students enter with weak prior knowledge, lecturers have to spend time addressing this before starting with the new material. This adds time pressure and frustration to lecturers as well as students who have strong prior knowledge. In this paper, we discuss a strategy that we implemented in order to encourage students to revise or learn prerequisite material at the beginning of a master's level module. Students were asked to take an online quiz on the prerequisite topics. Immediate feedback directed the students to resources which could enhance their knowledge and understanding of the material prior to course commencement. We discuss the multiple benefits this had, for both students and the lecturer, drawing on students' written responses to reflective questions about the experience and reflections from the lecturer on the use of online quizzes.
- ItemOpen AccessThe balance between excellence and equity on admission test: contributions of experiences in South Africa and Costa Rica(RINACE, 2010) Cliff, Alan; Montero, EilianaTwo experiences are described related to the challenge of maximizing excellence and equity in admission for Higher Education. At the University of Costa Rica (UCR) a test of reasoning with figures is being developed and validated to measure fluid intelligence, taking as a frame of reference the concepts by Raymond Cattell. On the other hand, the University of Cape Town in South Africa applies dynamic assessment methods, with tests that "teach" through their solution and based on Vygotskian approaches. These South African instruments have already provided predictive validity evidence in survival analysis studies and belong to an alternative admission program for students that come from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom belong to groups who were segregated during "Apartheid". Whereas in the University of Costa Rica (UCR) the project is recent and currently it is being carried out in a diagnostic and research phase, the University of Cape Town possesses a trajectory of more than 20 years implementing its alternative admission program. Both proposals aim to identify in a more precise way students who have academic and cognitive potential for Higher Education, who come from environments with educational disadvantages, and whose abilities could be underestimated if only "traditional" admission tests and evaluations are employed. This article was published in both Spanish and English and the Spanish version is included.
- ItemOpen AccessBarriers to students' use of electronic resources during lectures(South African Institute of Computer Scientists, 2008) Ng'ambi, Dick; Rambe, PatientThis paper highlights one of the barriers for implementing an educational technology policy at a higher education institution. As more courses use a Learning Management System (LMS), learning resources are electronic and an increasing number of students are using Notebook computers for accessing electronic resources and reading on the screen. However, there is a dichotomy between provision of electronic resources and students being allowed to use Notebooks during classes. This paper explores lecturers' ambivalence towards student use of Notebooks during classes and illustrates how such perceptions are becoming a barrier to successful implementation of an educational technology policy.
- ItemOpen AccessBeyond social constructivist perspectives on assessment: the centring of knowledge(Taylor & Francis, 2008) Shay, SuellenOver the past few decades assessment has been heralded for its key role in the improvement of teaching and learning. However, more recently there have been expressions of uncertainty about whether assessment is in fact delivering on its promised potential. Against this backdrop of uncertainty and circumspection this paper offers a critical reflection on higher education assessment discourses with a particular focus on the discourse of criterion referenced assessment. The central argument is that while the social constructivist perspective has significantly illuminated our understanding of assessment, inadvertently the very object of assessment-knowledge has been eclipsed. I propose that a fruitful way forward for our assessment practices is the centring of disciplinary forms of knowledge as an explicit component of the object of our assessment. Drawing on sociologists of education - Basil Bernstein and Karl Maton - I stake out some of the theoretical ground for reconceptualising the relationship between knowledge and assessment.