Division for Learning and Teaching
Enhancement Book Launch: Responding
to the necessity for change: Higher Education voices from the South during the
the closing session of the Stellenbosch University virtual 2020
Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) conference, Dr
Antoinette van der Merwe (Snr Director Division for Learning and Teaching
Enhancement) introduced delegates to a recently published online book entitled Respondingto the necessity for change: Higher Education voices from the South during the COVID-19 crisis edited by Drs Sonja Strydom, Nicoline
Herman, Hanelie Adendorff and Ms Mine de Klerk from the Centre for Learning
Technologies and the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
chapters in the book are authored by professional academic support staff and
teaching academics and describe their experiences around educational challenges
and opportunities during the first semester of the COVID-19 period. The
book attempts to offer honest, reflective insights into the scholarly and
practical activities of a proportion of staff members involved in the
continuous support of sound teaching, learning and assessment (TLA) practices
during this period of emergency remote teaching (ERT). The authors celebrate
lessons learned, but also aim to build on identified opportunities for change
and further critical reflection.
were invited to reflect on their contextualized experiences during the first
semester by asking the following questions based on the framework of Rolfe,
Freshwater and Jasper (2001): What, So-What and Now-What? It was furthermore
suggested to the authors that they align their chapters with the Designing Learning,
Teaching and Assessment (DeLTA) framework. The framework was
conceptualized by the CTL in its mandate of supporting lecturers with their
teaching function. ‘DeLTA’ is the acronym for this process and framework, but
‘DeLTA’ is also the mathematical symbol for change and is represented by Δ.
overarching themes serve as key threads across all the chapters. Firstly, a
reframing of the notion of change can be observed – from merely a disruption to
an invitation to adapt and respond to emerging and discomforting conditions in
the context of TLA. Each chapter illustrates how the COVID-19 crisis in some
way triggered a necessary change, whether this manifested as a new perspective,
a developed professional practice or the implementation of a new TLA approach.
the notion of ‘care’ underpins the narrative of nearly every chapter. The
authors reflect on highly collaborative and iterative processes of finding new
and practical solutions in the ERT period whilst ensuring that they maintain
their awareness of sound pedagogical principles and compassion for peers,
students and themselves.
role-players who may not have worked closely together prior to the pandemic
describe how they became increasingly dependent on one another’s professional
expertise and knowledge domains. They had to invite a larger number of voices
and consider other staff members’ and students’ lived experiences more
attentively in order to balance the implementation of practical solutions
with the shared objective to maintain the quality of SU’s academic offering.
the chapters reveal a heightened awareness of the need at SU for a professional
academic support approach that is firmly rooted in empathy and a TLA philosophy
that draws on a pedagogy of care.
book is published under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License and is freely available. Click on the picture of the cover
page below to access the book:
Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. & Jasper, M. (2001). Critical reflection
in nursing and the helping professions: A user’s guide. Basingstoke: