Browsing by Author "Herman, Nicoline"
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- ItemThe applicability of international benchmarks to an internet-based distance education programme at the University of Stellenbosch(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2001-03) Herman, Nicoline; Bitzer, E. M.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The publication of the Report of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) in 1996, the White Paper on Higher Education (1997) and the Size and Shape Report (2000) has profoundly changed the landscape of Higher Education in South Africa. Institutions of Higher Education have to re-think, among others, their teaching and learning strategies including the integration and use of technology. Although the use of technology in higher education is still in the early stages, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is growing rapidly. The University of Stellenbosch started to integrate the Internet in their teaching in 1998. Research was undertaken to find a suitable on-line course management system and Web Course Tools (WebCT) was chosen for this purpose. Since it was implemented, the use of WebCT has grown exponentially, although in most cases only as an add-on to classroom lectures. The World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care programme was the first programme developed as a full distance education course, delivered completely by means of WebCT and making use of the team approach to programme development. This programme was therefore chosen as the case study for this research. The purpose of this study is to apply 24 internationally developed benchmarks for quality on-line distance education to the WebCT component of the WHO programme in order to determine the applicability of these benchmarks for World Wide Web (WWW) programmes at the University of Stellenbosch. The research strategy for this study is a qualitative case study. Qualitative data was obtained by conducting semi-structured interviews with the individuals involved in the design, development and implementation of the WHO course. The study concludes that the 24 benchmarks cannot be applied to the current University of Stellenbosch context. The systems at the US will either have to be adapted, or established to meet the requirements of the international benchmarks. Another option for the US could be to develop their own benchmarks, taking international guidelines into account.
- ItemCollaborative research in contexts of inequality : the role of social reflexivity(Springer Verlag, 2017) Brenda, Leibowitz; Bozalek, Vivienne; Farmer, Jean; Garraway, James; Herman, Nicoline; Jawitz, Jeff; McMillan, Wendy; Mistri, Gita; Ndebele, Clever; Nkonki, Vuyisile; Quinn, Lynn; Van Schalkwyk, Susan; Vorster, Jo-Anne; Winberg, ChrisThis article reports on the role and value of social reflexivity in collaborative research in contexts of extreme inequality. Social reflexivity mediates the enablements and constraints generated by the internal and external contextual conditions impinging on the research collaboration. It fosters the ability of participants in a collaborative project to align their interests and collectively extend their agency towards a common purpose. It influences the productivity and quality of learning outcomes of the research collaboration. The article is written by 14 members of a larger research team, which comprised 18 individuals working within the academic development environment in eight South African universities. The overarching research project investigated the participation of academics in professional development activities, and how contextual, ie. structural and cultural, and agential conditions influence this participation. For this sub-study on the experience of the collaboration by 14 of the researchers, we wrote reflective pieces on our own experience of participating in the project towards the end of the third year of its duration. We discuss the structural and cultural conditions external to and internal to the project, and how the social reflexivity of the participants mediated these conditions. We conclude with the observation that policy injunctions and support from funding agencies for collaborative research, as well as support from participants’ home institutions, are necessary for the flourishing of collaborative research, but that the commitment by individual participants to participate, learn and share, is also necessary.
- ItemEquipping family physician trainees as teachers : a qualitative evaluation of a twelve-week module on teaching and learning(London : Biomed Central, 2014-10) De Villiers, Marietjie R.; Cilliers, Francois. J.; Coetzee, Francois; Herman, Nicoline; Van Heusden, Martie; Von Pressentin, Klaus. B.; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dept. of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Family Medicine and Primary Care.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a dire need to expand the capacity of institutions in Africa to educate health care professionals. Family physicians, as skilled all-rounders at district level, are potentially well placed to contribute to an extended training platform in this context. To play this role, they need to both have an understanding of their specialist role that incorporates teaching and be equipped for their role as trainers of current and future health workers and specialists. A teaching and learning capacity-building module was introduced into a new master’s programme in family medicine at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. We report on the influence of this module on graduates after the first six years. Methods: A qualitative study was undertaken, interviewing thirteen graduates of the programme. Thematic analysis of data was done by a team comprising tutors and graduates of the programme and an independent researcher. Ethical clearance was obtained. Results: The module influenced knowledge, skills and attitudes of respondents. Perceptions and evidence of changes in behaviour, changes in practice beyond the individual respondent and benefits to students and patients were apparent. Factors underlying these changes included the role of context and the role of personal factors. Contextual factors included clinical workload and opportunity pressure i.e., the pressure and responsibility to undertake teaching. Personal factors comprised self-confidence, modified attitudes and perceptions towards the roles of a family physician and towards learning and teaching, in addition to the acquisition of knowledge and skills in teaching and learning. The interaction between opportunity pressure and self-confidence influenced the application of what was learned about teaching. Conclusions: A module on teaching and learning influenced graduates’ perceptions of, and self-reported behaviour relating to, teaching as practicing family physicians. This has important implications for educating family physicians in and for Africa and indirectly on expanding capacity to educate health care professionals in Africa.
- ItemGraduate attributes for the public good : a case of a research-led university(SUN MeDIA, 2012) Van Schalkwyk, Susan; Herman, Nicoline; Muller, AndreENGLISH SUMMARY : Hall (chapter two) and Walker (chapter six) stress the distinction between higher education as a private asset and as a public good. Previously, Walker (2002:43) argued strongly that universities have a role to play in the promotion of democracy and in inculcating the sort of ‘cultural capital, values and knowledge’ in its graduates that will contribute to a more just and equitable society. This debate is tightly linked to a growing focus on the nature of the attributes students leave university with, including how these attributes will equip graduates for future employment (Barrie, 2007:439). In South Africa the need for graduates who will be able to participate in growing the national economy was emphasised in the National Plan in Higher Education some ten years ago now (DoE, 2001). More recent mandates emanating from the Department of Higher Education and Training – for example the guidelines provided for aligning programmes with the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) – have also included issues of citizenship and social justice (Government Gazette no 30353 2007).
- ItemThe role of context in decision making about professional learning by lecturers at a research-intensive university(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2015-12) Herman, Nicoline; Bitzer, Eli; Leibowitz, Brenda; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The professional learning of academics for the teaching function inherently is a change imperative and it has become an important enterprise in the delivering of high quality student learning within the changing higher education landscape. The influence of context on the decision making of academics about becoming involved in the process of professional learning for teaching was explored in this study in order to inform the practice of professional learning practitioners. The landscape of higher education has changed extensively across the world over the past few decades. In South Africa, these changes have been the result of international changes as well as national imperatives and associated institutional policies. The changes include larger student numbers; a higher level of state intervention; a discourse of performativity and managerialism; and the marketization of knowledge. Within this new landscape, academics have been confronted with a number of old, and some new issues concerning how they view their roles, set their allegiances, and identify with their work. Being a university lecturer, however, is but one of the roles of the academic – a role which is not necessarily highly valued and for which most are not adequately prepared. Professional learning, as the continuous learning of professionals, is usually the ambit of institutional centres for teaching and learning and the practitioners of professional learning employed in these centres. At Stellenbosch University (SU), the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) was established in 2003. As professional learning practitioners at SU, we have constantly been reflecting on our work, and this PhD, funded by the NRF, forms part of this reflection. In this study, the concept of ‘professional learning’ is defined as the continuous learning of academics and is an interlinked and sequential three-stage process similar to the three phases of decision making. The concept of ‘context’ is defined as a ‘contextual spiral’ culminating in the daily reality of the academic as big-C-Context. The daily reality of the academic emerges at the intersection of the professional and personal spheres of the life-world through the interplay of various personal and professional considerations. The concept of ‘decision making’ is defined as a trade-off between alternatives with an opportunity cost attached to such a choice. The case study design implemented in this research made use of qualitative and quantitative data gathered from permanently employed members of the academic staff at the institution in an attempt to determine the influence of context on the decision making of lecturers for participating in professional learning for teaching. The findings of the research indicate that intrinsic motivation is important for decision making and the emerging individual context is mostly experienced as a constraint to the decision to participate in the process of professional learning for teaching. Creating an enabling environment where care for the wellbeing of academics is evident would raise the level of intrinsic motivation and could indeed be a wise step in the pursuit of reaching institutional goals and aims in relation to the teaching function and high quality student learning. Although the findings of this study is specific to Stellenbosch University as a research intensive higher education institution, it could also contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field of the professional learning of academics, as well as inform other professional learning practitioners within higher education.
- ItemWhat makes a good first-year lecturer(AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, 2009) Leibowitz, Brenda; Van Schalkwyk, Susan; Van der Merwe, Antoinette; Herman, Nicoline; Young, GertIntroduction: The first year is an important stepping-stone in the career of the undergraduate student. Lecturers of first-year students play an important role in guiding students into this new phase of their lives. Much research has focused on the challenges facing new students, especially struggling, or non-traditional students. However, to our knowledge, little has been written about the attributes of the lecturers who actively promote student learning during this phase. The contribution of lecturers of first-year students has tended to be downplayed, especially at ‘research-led’ universities. Our work in Stellenbosch University’s First-year Academy (FYA), an initiative to promote the holistic learning experience of all first-year students at the University, gave us an opportunity to explore this issue. The exploration was based on a sub-activity of the FYA, which aimed to encourage the academic achievement of first-year students and to acknowledge the work of lecturers of first-year students. The activity involved inviting the 30 top-performing students across the University to a dinner hosted by the University’s Rector. These students each nominated the lecturer who, in their view, made the most significant contribution to their academic success. The students were required to write a letter to the lecturer, explaining why he or she had had an impact on the student’s academic performance. The lecturer, in turn, was required to write a letter of support and encouragement back to the student. These letters were then exchanged during the dinner. This initiative was extremely successful and well received, particularly among the academic community. The conversations that emerged during and after the event served as a catalyst for the study.