Browsing by Subject "Higher education"
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- ItemMetadata onlyAssessing the effectiveness of academic development programmes: A statistical analysis of graduation rates across three programmes(South African Journal of Higher Education, 2015-05-28) Smith, Leonard; Case, Jenni; van Walbeek, Corne
- ItemOpen AccessThe interplay between structure and agency: How academic development programme students 'make their way' through their undergraduate studies in engineering(2015) Mogashana, Disaapele Gleopadra; Case Jennifer; Williams, KevinThe interplay between structure and agency: How Academic Development Programme students 'make their way' through their undergraduate studies in engineering. This study explores and seeks to explain the ways in which a group of Academic Development Programme (ADP) students 'made their way' through their studies in engineering at the University of Cape Town. Underpinned by Bhaskar's realist philosophy of social science, the study uses Margaret Archer's morphogenetic realist social theory to explore the interaction between the university (social and cultural relations) and the students (agential relations). Data was generated through a series of three interviews with each of 12students in the fourth year of their studies and through an analysis of selected university documents. Margaret Archer's morphogenetic approach, which allows for the temporal analytical separation of structure, culture and agency, provides methodological and analytical tools to investigate interactions between their respective emergent properties. It posits that structure and culture predate the actions of agents who transform it. As such, structural and cultural emergent properties condition the situations in which agents find themselves. Furthermore, agents' personal emergent properties, such as corporate agency and reflexivity, allow them to deliberate on their courses of actions. Key to this theoretical approach is the notion that structure and culture do not act in a deterministic way; their properties can only become powers when they are activated by agents' projects. With regard to structure, it was found that the combination of a fragmented curriculum, a shortened examination period, and unfavourable examination timetables all served as potential constraints to students' projects. With regard to culture, it was found that the ideas of mainstream students and lecturers about ADP students exacerbated such ADP students' experiences of marginalisation and exception. Moreover, the study found that the mainly black student enrolment of the Academic Support Programme for Engineering in Cape Town (ASPECT) was experienced by students as racial prejudice. While the findings suggest that students thus found themselves in extremely constrained circumstances, they were also found to have exercised corporate agency and different modes of reflexivity to overcome some of their constraining circumstances. Following an analytical process of retroduction, the study suggests that the ADP, although it facilitated students' entry into the university, simultaneously positioned them within a situational logic of constraining contradiction and as such exacerbated their experiences of exception. Moreover, it is argued that, although the university has made major structural changes to accommodate students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds, the ideas that shape the ADP space perpetuate the view that these students have an educational' deficit'. In conclusion, the study suggests that higher education should reconsider the idea of separate programmes, as their inherent situational logic appears to work against some of their fundamental goals, which are to facilitate redress and to widen participation.
- ItemOpen AccessManaging and Planning Educational Development projects: a critical overview of the large classes project(University of Cape Town, 2021-06-29) Jawitz, JeffIn this article I provide a critical overview of the process followed in a project to identify, support and fund educational development projects in four South African Universities between 2008 and 2013. It draws on my experience as project director in managing the process as well as the data collected to identify and respond to key challenges experienced along the way. Based on this experience I provide recommendations to facilitate the use of central teaching development funding effectively.
- ItemOpen AccessMethodology matters: what methods for quality improvement?(University of the Free State, 2007) Luckett, KathyThis article discusses methodological issues in relation to models of quality assurance for higher education. It first traces the historical development of the widely adopted pragmatic model and shows how this model has been adapted by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) for the South African context. It then sets out some basic tenets of critical realism in order to critique the pragmatic model from a critical realist perspective. Finally it proposes a theory-based approach to evaluation located in a critical realist paradigm as an approach that has the potential to effect the improvement or even transformation of educational practice as a possible outcome of quality assurance.
- ItemOpen AccessMOOCs, openness and changing educator practices: an Activity Theory case study(Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016, 2016-05-19) Czerniewicz, Laura; Glover, Michael; Deacon, Andrew; Walji, SukainaThe practices and perceptions of educators formed through the creation and running of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provide a case study of how educators understandings of ‘openness’ change (Beetham et al 2012, p 3). We are interested in how educators engage with open education resources (OER) and openness as part of developing open online courses, and how this informs their practices and attitudes afterwards. Deepening understandings of these changes is important for informing strategies involving helping educators in adopting productive open educational practices. Our research question is how do educators’ practices change or not change when using - or not using - OER in and as a MOOC? We are interested in whether and why educators adopt open practices in their MOOCs. We employ an Activity Theory (AT) conceptual framework as a heuristic tool to track and thickly describe educators’ practices and perceptions. This frame enables us to locate educators’ practices - in a context of mediating nodes, i.e., tools/artefacts, rules, divisions of labour, and community – as they strive towards and consider their object. The object upon which the educators act is the development of a new interdisciplinary field. We focus on the role of two mediating artefacts introduced into the activity system, namely Creative Commons (CC) licenses and the ‘MOOC design’. We describe how the open aspect of these artefacts mediate and affect educator’s perceptions, attitudes and educational practices in the context of their object-directed activity system. We draw predominantly on semi-structured interviews with the MOOC lead educators and the MOOC learning designers. Interviews were conducted at two time intervals, before and after the MOOC has run. From this we craft two activity systems. We have categorised our findings according to Beetham et al’s dimensions of open practices. Further, two broad themes emerged from the data analysis. These are Affordances of the MOOC and Reflection on educational practices.
- ItemRestrictedPower and Politics in a changing scholarly communication landscape(Purdue University Libraries, 2013) Czerniewicz, LauraIn recent times the nature of scholarship has both remained consistent to its core principles, and undergone profound changes. Despite numerous high-flown claims, no-one knows how these will play out. This paper describes the digitally-mediated changes which are in process throughout the familiar scholarly cycle, and considers the issues – including for librarians, curators and scholars - which arise from these changes.
- ItemOpen AccessSchool-leaving and university entrance assessments in explaining performance in Engineering studies(South African Society for Engineering Education, 2018-02-16) Prince, RobertOnly about 40% of South African first-time entering Engineering cohorts graduate within five years. An argument has been made that selection mechanisms will be needed to identify students who have the prior knowledge and ability needed to succeed in regular programmes and that selection tools such as Grade 12 results and other nationally or locally designed placement tests, such as the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs), be used for this purpose. The NBTs are a set of optional standardised tests that assess whether first-time applicants to South African universities are ready for the academic demands of tertiary education. The contribution of the NBTs to admission and placement has been investigated by a number of authors who have examined their effectiveness at forecasting success and for determining the need for additional academic support. None of these studies have focussed on Engineering or used dominance analysis as a method. This study focusses on cohorts from the Engineering and the Built Environment Faculty at a South African University. It uses linear regression and dominance analysis as well as categorical methods to investigate the contributions made by the national assessments in explaining higher education performance to inform Engineering admission, especially placement, policies as well as curriculum practices. The value of this information has significant potential to enhance retention and graduation if used appropriately. If South African universities are to continue to provide access, redress and success, particularly to students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, they should consider not only students’ school-leaving performance but also their strengths and weaknesses as diagnosed through the NBTs.