Centre for Teaching and Learning
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

T&L Seminars

​​During each term, the Vice-Rector (Learning and Teaching), Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel hosts a Teaching and Learning seminar.  The purpose of the seminars is to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning.  During these sessions, teaching champions share their research, innovations and experiences about teaching and learning with colleagues.  

The next Learning and Teaching Enhancement Seminar will take place on 24 October 2019 at 12.45 - 13.45 in room E3008,  Education Faculty, GG Cillié Gebou Building, Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch.

 

​Date​MediaInformation about seminar

5 September 2019

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​Title:  Validating the highest performance standard of a test of academic literacy for students from different home language backgrounds

Presenter:  Dr Kabelo Sebolai

Dr Sebolai was appointed as Deputy Director for Language and Communication Development in the Language Centre of Stellenbosch University (SU) in January 2017. Prior to this, he served as the Research Lead for academic language testing in the Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement at the University of Cape Town.  His research interest has mainly revolved around academic literacy curriculum development and testing.  He has also focused on the relationship between language ability and academic performance.

Dr Sebolai started his presentation by providing some background. In the last two decades of the post-apartheid era, the language policies of higher education institutions in South Africa have been a contested terrain, with many of such policies changing to a lesser or greater extent.  SU is one former Afrikaans medium institution whose current language policy has shifted towards promoting multilingualism with Afrikaans, English and IsiXhosa, the three languages mostly spoken in the Western Cape, at the centre.  While parallel efforts are ostensibly made to promote the other two languages at this university, English continues to be widely used as a language of teaching and learning.  This is why the university uses the English version of the National Benchmark Test in Academic Literacy (NBT AL) to measure levels of academic language readiness among first time entering students.

Dr Sebolai's presentation focussed on the degree of accuracy to which the highest performance standard set for this test can classify students from the three language (English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa) backgrounds of preference to SU's Language Policy, as those that are likely to do well in their first year of university study, as opposed to those that are unlikely to do so. Using a statistical procedure called sensitivity and specificity analysis, Dr Sebolai showed that the highest standard set for the NBT AL, namely the Proficient Band, was more efficient in classifying SU students who come from an English home language background as those who would perform well academically and those who would not than it was for those who come from IsiXhosa and Afrikaans home language backgrounds.  This was, in Dr Sebolai's view, an indication that the test was not predictively fair to the latter two groups of students and alerted the audience to the need for caution on the part of SU faculties that have been using the test for taking medium to high stakes decision about students on the basis of their performance on it. This, Dr Sebolai added, is notwithstanding his recent finding of the test's better overall ability to classify SU students when compared the Grade 12 English results.

For more information about the presentation, feel free to contact Dr Sebolai at ksebolai@sun.ac.za



​9 May 2019​
 
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Topic: Autonomy pathways to compare active teaching methods in undergraduate Physiology classes

Presenter: Faadiel Essop

​Physiology undergraduate students grapple with large amounts of content and mostly memorize facts to pass tests and exams.  Students also struggle to understand how different organ systems cross-talk and/or are integrated within the whole organism. It has also been argued that science teachers should spend more time on how scientists do science, i.e. the process of science, and less on the academic content.  Recently, four broad types of active learning interventions for Physiology undergraduate classes were suggested, i.e. a) posing questions (at start or end of lectures), b) encouraging think-pair-share activities, c) use of multiple analogies, and d) introducing problem-solving activities.  However, it is difficult to compare the efficacy of such methodologies to identify those most suited to be used within the classroom. Here selected examples of in-house developed Physiology class activities at Stellenbosch University - aimed at fostering critical reasoning and problem-solving skills - will be examined using the Legitimation Code Theory’s Autonomy dimension.  An assessment of such active learning techniques through the lens of Autonomy allows for the determination of the putative value and efficacy of each respective method in terms of promoting a problem-solving culture within Physiology undergraduate classrooms.

Essop T L Enhancement Seminar PDF version.pdf

​13 March 2019
 

Topic:  Mariëtte Volschenk​
Presenter:  Examining e-Portfolios for post-graduate learning: A message from Medicine and Health Science

Literature supports the use of portfolios in higher education as tools to promote transformative learning experiences. Portfolios have the potential to increase learners’ self-awareness, foster self-directed learning, promote critical reflection and advance personal and professional development. With the many advances in digital technologies, - the use of electronic portfolios (e-Portfolios) are currently being explored extensively. A longitudinal e-Portfolio module, utilising the Mahara e-Portfolio platform on SUNLearn, was developed for the MPhil in Health Professions Education programme at the Centre for Health Professions Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. 

The aim of this session is to demonstrate how the various facets of the e-Portfolio learning process support students’ interactions with their developing teaching philosophies and contribute to their development as educational scholars and leaders in Health Professions Education. In addition, challenges, pitfalls and student experiences of the intervention will be discussed.

​8 November 2018
 
Topic: Technology and Learning - standing on the shoulders of giants

Presenter:  Martin Butler (USB) 

Technology continues to shape our learning environments and processes. In 2015 University Stellenbosch Business School (USB) introduced a blended learning Postgraduate Diploma and extended the blended mode of delivery to their flagship MBA programme in 2017. Both programmes, including the previous full time and part time delivery methods, make extensive use of technology for teaching and learning.

Central to the success of both programmes and in particular the new mode of delivery was the efficient use of multiple new technologies by students, support staff and faculty. The transition into this technological intrinsic environment required the planning and execution of multiple interventions to ensure that the focus remains on student learning and not the 'sexiness' of the technology. In addition, getting faculty with more than 20 years' classroom experience to embrace the new learning environments, and methods of interaction, proved challenging.

Theoretical models from both the information systems and innovation disciplines were crucial to these interventions and ongoing management of the programmes. Through the application of the socio-technical perspective (Bostrom & Heinen, 1977), Technology Acceptance Model (Davies, 1989), Information Systems Success (Delone & McLean, 1992) and Innovation Diffusion Theory (Rodgers, 1976) a scientific approach towards embedding the technology in the teaching and learning process was followed.

This presentation will focus on the key theoretical perspectives, the application thereof by the USB as well as valuable lessons learned during the process.

 

References

Bostrom, R.P. and Heinen, J.S. 1977. MIS problems and failures: a socio-technical perspective, part II: the application of socio-technical theory. MIS quarterly, pp11-28.

DeLone, W.H. and McLean, E.R. 1992. Information Systems Success: The Quest for the Dependent Variable. Information Systems Research, pp 60-95.

Davis, F.D. 1989. Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology. MIS quarterly, pp 319-340.

Rogers, E.M. 1976. New product adoption and diffusion. Journal of consumer Research, pp.290-301.

​6 September 2018
 
Decolonising the Science Curriculum: can Legitimation Code Theory show a way forward?

Presenter:  Dr Hanelie Adendorff

The conversation around the decolonization of higher education curricula hit South Africa by storm with the #RhodesMustFall and subsequent #FeesMustFall campaigns. Prior to this, decolonization conversations, if they were happening at all in higher education institutions, were limited to small pockets of interest. Whilst the presence and influence of Western ideology in the humanities and arts curricula might be fairly recognisable, the decolonization of science curricula, for the most part, is a far less obvious project. The study that will be reported on in this presentation used Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) to reflect on what is at stake in these conversations. It is hoped that results from this study will help to offer a framework which both staff and students could use in conversations about and attempts at the decolonisation of science curricula.

LCT provides a means of conceptualizing the principles or 'rules of the game' underlying different knowledge practices (Maton, 2012). In this project LCT was used to uncover the underlying principles related to the knowledge practices in the conversation about decolonizing science curricula. The presentation will start by focussing on the way the conversation developed in social media circles and a few scholarly domains. The findings of this part of the study indicated that some of the heated arguments in decolonisation conversations can be equated to a code clash in terms of what counts as legitimate knowledge between those arguing for decolonization and the dominant codes, or practices, in the field of science.

The question thus becomes: can science be decolonized, and if so, how? In order to address this question, LCT was used to look at a number of decolonization examples, including the three scenarios for decolonising engineering curricula presented by Winberg & Winberg (2017). Results from this part of the study helped to explain (1) the favoured scenario in the Winberg & Winberg study as well as (2) why some attempts at decolonization may not necessarily be seen as such.

References:

Maton, K. (2014) Knowledge and Knowers: towards a realist sociology of education. London, Routledge.

Maton, K. (2016) Bringing It All Back Home: The art of building knowledge from diverse sources. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrdCPvrcWNk&t=836s .

Winberg, C. & Winberg, S. (2017) Using a social justice approach to decolonize an engineering curriculum, IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 25-28 April 2017, Athens, Greece, pp 248 – 254.

​13 June 2018
 

MobiLex, multilingualism and integration in learning and teaching
Dr. Michele van der Merwe and Dr. Nina Müller van Velden 

Mobile technologies have become worldwide phenomena, opening up new opportunities for teaching and learning. A subject-specific electronic dictionary, called MobiLex, was compiled by academic specialists in the Faculty of Education and recently also developed as a mobile application. MobiLex is trilingual, making provision for terms in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa and thus fits within the university's framework of multilingualism.

The aim of this seminar is to explore the integration of MobiLex in multilingual university teaching and learning environment, in line with the aims, structure, function, and target group of MobiLex.  This will be done by means of particular reference to the design of a task-based activity for Social Sciences, which incorporated the dictionary functions of MobiLex.

14 March 2018 
 

Rethinking academic leadership in a managerialist context: the importance of the collegium, the collective, and an ethic of care, on 14 March 2018

Prof Magda Fourie-Malherbe

The seminar will explore how changing international and national contexts are affecting institutional policies and practices, and argue that, as a result, academic leaders have to give more consideration to protecting the integrity of academic work, involving the collective and adopting an ethic of care.  This line of thought was initially introduced at a 2016 Auxin presentation on academic leadership, and subsequently further developed through, amongst others, the deliberations of the Academic Leadership Focused Interest Group (AL FIG). Potential research projects identified by the AL FIG at the end of 2017 will be suggested for consideration and discussion by the seminar participants.

Prof Fourie-Malherbe's power point:
MFM TL Presentation 14 March 2018.pptx

8 November 2017

Prof Elmarie Costandius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof Geo Quinot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof Ian Couper

 

 

This seminar focused on the research done by three Stellenbosch University national Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) fellows.

Prof Elmarie Costandius

Critical citizenship and social justice education: A staff-development action research project

This research project was geared towards exploring critical citizenship and social justice teaching and learning in different faculties/departments at Stellenbosch University. The project involved lecturers from various faculties/departments with a focus on social justice theories as a lens. The hope was that, through collaborative discussions between researchers and lecturers and continuous critical reflection by all, a space could be created for dealing with the necessary transformation process at Stellenbosch University. Ultimately, the project aimed to gain insight into how critical citizenship and social justice teaching and learning can be enhanced and improved at the various faculties/departments. An action research methodology was used in the study. A survey, a seminar and interviews were used to collect data. This project's findings were shared at conferences as well as through individual and collaborative articles. The TAU project gave rise to the project “Decolonising the curricula" and the article “#FeesMustFall and decolonising the curriculum: Stellenbosch University students' and lecturers' reactions" by Elmarie Costandius, Ian Nell, Neeske Alexander, Margaret Blackie, Evodia Setati, Rhoda Malgas and Marianne Mckay, which will be published in the South African Journal of Higher Education in March 2018.

Prof Geo Quinot

Collaborative learning in law

This presentation is based on a design-based research project aimed at developing teaching-learning activities (including assessment) for collaborative learning in a particular module in an LLB programme. The aims were to develop, implement and evaluate a first iteration of an approach to facilitate collaborate learning in the particular module that can subsequently serve as a framework for design of collaborative learning more broadly in LLB (and potentially other) programmes. The impetus for a collaborative learning approach is the need for a response to the highly individualistic approach to teaching and learning in legal education, which has often actively encouraged competition rather than cooperation between students. In contrast to the traditional approach, there is an increasing need to foster a collaborative perspective which provides more authentic learning environments. This perspective is reinforced in the framework of transformative legal education and as also now required by the new CHE LLB Qualification Standard. This need goes beyond simply getting students to work together in groups. There is a need to actively develop students' competence to function collaboratively and to assess that competence. In this project, a teaching-learning design premised on the literature on team-based learning was implemented. The design was based both on insights from the literature and focus group interviews with final-year LLB students in 2015 on their experiences of collaborative learning. The central structure of the pilot was the permanent learning team (PLT): groups of five randomly assigned students that worked together throughout the semester, often in class. The presentation reports on the design of the PLT structure, students' reflections on the learning experience as well as the ongoing attempt at a developmental evaluation of the pilot.

Prof Ian Couper

Abstract:

Self-directed learning in health professions education: A scoping review

Self-directed learning (SDL) is stated to be an essential tool for developing lifelong learning and ensuring that health professionals provide high quality evidence-based healthcare.  This study aimed to explore the extent, role and impact of SDL in health professions education (HPE), using a scoping review of the literature. A search for "self-directed learning" using PubMed yielded 1134 articles, of which 154 articles were included in the review. An Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) database search identified 12 additional articles. Most articles related to undergraduate training. Summaries of these 166 articles were entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Collated data was analysed qualitatively and themes identified. Some evidence was found linking SDL with improved graduate competence and physician performance, promotion of lifelong learning, developing critical thinking, empowerment of learners and enhancing academic performance. Changing the curriculum to enhance SDL may thus improve academic performance and also competence, as well as self-motivation and efficacy. Whether it does this more effectively than other forms of learning in HPE, and whether these link to lifelong learning, is not clear. The role of SDL in specific clinical contexts and programmes therefore deserves further exploration.

21 August 2017 

Renee Nathanson: Future focused learning, constructivism and new technologies    

Technology is here to stay. They provide students with instant access to learning from many different sources of knowledge. Thus, information, the staple diet of schooling, is now freely available at the touch of an icon. Moreover, devices that provide access to global networks of learning can be carried around in students' pockets. Therefore, it no longer makes sense for academics to be custodians and transmitters of knowledge. This had led to calls for a fundamental transformation of education and training and has increased pressure on universities to reposition themselves in this digital learning landscape. In particular, universities need to offer high quality learning experiences that are relevant to the new skills and competences required in a digitized world. The purpose of this session is to discuss how constructivist principles, project-based learning and tablet technology can be integrated to develop a future-oriented course for B Ed student teachers at Stellenbosch University.  

12 June 2017

 

 

 

“The role of student feedback in mediating the professional learning of lecturers at a research-led university: The case of Stellenbosch University"

Dr Melanie Petersen

This seminar draws on the findings from a PhD study which investigated how university teachers at Stellenbosch University, a research-led institution, experienced the role of student feedback in their teaching. Few studies theorise the influence of student feedback on university teaching practice, especially within the context of research-led universities. In most research studies student feedback on teaching is linked to notions of effective teaching, and fewer studies investigate the practices and activities which university teachers engage in to transform student feedback information into useful professional learning opportunities. The study, on which this seminar draws, used Activity Theory as an analytical framework for investigating this issue. A case-study research design was followed, with the relationship between student feedback and university teaching practice constituting the unit of analysis. Qualitative data was generated by way of semi-structured interviews with 16 purposely-selected university teachers. The findings indicate that the research-led context, as well as the practices of mid-level management in their use of student feedback for the evaluation of teaching, play a significant role in how university teachers experience and respond to student feedback. 

20 February 2017

 

 

 

Teaching for change – Reflections on Stellenbosch University's first MOOC

Prof Yusef Waghid, Dr. Antoinette van der Merwe, Dr. JP Bosman & Dr. Faiq Waghid

Stellenbosch University implemented its first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), Teaching for Change: An African Philosophical Approach on the British based MOOC platform, FutureLearn. Teaching for Change, presented by Professor Yusef Waghid (Faculty Education), was the first philosophy of education MOOC on FutureLearn and also the first African philosophy of education MOOC of its kind in the world. Teaching for Change can be considered as a decolonised curriculum development initiative aimed at situating African life experiences at the centre of teaching and learning. Click here to go to the course on FutureLearn.

Stellenbosch University's first MOOC can be deemed a success. Not only was Stellenbosch University able to showcase one of its research strengths amongst other leading institutions as a full partner of FutureLearn, but it was also able to contribute to the world's knowledge economy in a distinctly African way.

In this T&L seminar we reflected on the journey from inception through design to the offering of the MOOC. This reflection included three perspectives: that of the university (institutional), the learning design team and the lecturer's journey.

7 November 2016

 

 

“Flipping" Dermatology teaching: A need for change.

Dr Willie Visser

The utilisation of a flipped classroom approach is becoming more popular in Higher Education teaching. Despite the advantages of traditional contact sessions, such an approach provides opportunity for alternative ways of engaging with knowledge. It provides the opportunity of enhancing student engagement and problem-based learning opportunities. The aim of this session is to demonstrate how an undergraduate dermatology module was redesigned on the principles of a flipped classroom approach whereby students were encouraged to actively engage in the learning process and not to remain passive bystanders. Challenges, pitfalls and student experiences of the intervention will be discussed.

15 August 2016 

Towards responsible citizenship: The story of curriculum renewal of a Master of Divinity program in South Africa

Prof. Ian Nell

In South Africa we have not only been grappling with the legacy of Apartheid in its many structural and institutional shapes, we have also been forced to engage with postcolonial discourses and the decolonization of the curriculum in Higher Education. The aim and one of the main challenges of theological education in an African context is to find a hermeneutic key to practice theology contextually as a response to processes of spiritual discernment which would lead to a contextualised theological curriculum and teaching (Pobee, 2013; Hendriks, 2014).

The notion of “contextual education and curricula" has been supported by the results of empirical research that was done among alumni that studied at the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University after some years in ministry.  The so called Western and Christendom paradigm dominated theological training for more than two centuries on the African continent causing many inequalities on different levels of society. The southern shift of the heartland of Christianity however points in new directions and calls for the restructuring of the discipline and new curricula for theological education and training. When one looks at the changing context, the influence of globalisation and the information revolution, a revisit of key theological parameters and programmes becomes urgent.

The central research question that the seminar wants to address is: In what ways can critical citizenship and the role of Graduate Attributes be integrated in what some scholars refer to as “responsible citizenship" and how can this notion help the processes of curriculum renewal of the Master of Divinity program?

The seminar endeavoured to answer the question by:

  • Telling some aspects of the developing plot of the story in concentrating on the changing scene of higher education and theological education in South Africa,
  • explaining the theoretical framework and phenomenological methodology that was used in the empirical part of the research,
  • giving account of the notion of responsible citizenship in leadership development,
  • and proposing some curriculum changes in the programme.
15 June 2016

 

 

Digital stories in a science based plant propagation course. Is there a place for it?

Dr Micheal Schmeisser

The use of digital stories as a blended learning tool is commonly encountered in the social sciences, but the application thereof in the natural or agricultural sciences is not often seen. Digital stories effectively enhance learning as the creation of a logical, narrated movie clip that involves all levels of learning (Bloom's Taxonomy), the lowest to the highest cognitive processes said to occur during the creation stage. Therefore, the implementation of this blended learning tool into a plant propagation module was investigated. The aim of this session is to show that digital stories can be used effectively to enhance learning in an applied science based Horticulture module if re-designed to match the context. Furthermore, the challenges, pitfalls and student experiences of the project will be discussed.  

22 February 2016

 

 

“'Survival of the fittest or continuous improvement': Reporting on preliminary faculties' feedback about the programme renewal process @ SU"

Dr Antoinette van der Merwe

The title of this seminar is taken from focus group interviews undertaken in faculties by a group of academics that enrolled in a University of British Columbia (UBC) Certificate Course on Curriculum and Pedagogy in Higher Education as part of The International Faculty SoTL Leadership Program (see http://international.educ.ubc.ca/sotl/program-of-study/).  The programme's main aim is to prepare academic leaders to develop expertise for research based approaches to the scholarship of teaching, learning and curriculum practice in contextually-bound higher education settings.

As part of the requirements of the certificate course the participants were required to submit a capstone project for assessment. As a group the participants decided that instead of developing new projects for the course they could rather present a reflection on the programme renewal process that is already happening at SU, imagine a possible more ideal process and identify the gaps between the current process and the projected ideal process. This aligns with one of the Vice-Rector's (Learning and Teaching) strategic initiatives, namely programme renewal.

Dr Antoinette van der Merwe (Senior Director: Learning and Teaching Enhancement) will presented the seminar and share the results of the capstone project on behalf of the Stellenbosch cohort that completed the UBC Certificate course. The other participants were: Prof Arnold Schoonwinkel, Prof Ronel du Preez, Prof Anton Basson, Prof Ingrid Rewitzky, Prof Arend Carl, Prof Ian Nell, Dr Berna Gerber, Prof Johan Louw, Mr Gert Young and Mr André Müller.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is used as an appropriate research methodology for the project in that it strategically engages key stakeholders in a networked community of practice that is grounded in educational inquiry, and focuses on current best practice examples and contextual variables in order to enhance systematic development of the educational issue(s) under examination (Cooperrider, 1986 and Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005). Coghlan, et al, (2003) offer insights into the use of AI for changing an organisation. The use of this methodology is relevant here since programme renewal constitutes, in some respects, a change in an organisation whilst focusing on current best practice examples as well as contextual variables such as the perceptions of staff members. It also focuses on a socially constructed practice and engages with participants in an affirmative manner (by exploring their ideas of what works best affording them the opportunity to imagine a better state of affairs).

To engage with faculties, focus group interviews were conducted in faculties. The preliminary results of the focus groups were also shared at the annual Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) conference in October 2015 and further discussions were held.

At the seminar a preliminary analysis of the focus group interviews as well as the group discussions at the SoTL conference will be presented. There will be a specific focus on the external and internal barriers and enablers to programme renewal. On the internal level, a distinction will be made between institutional, faculty, departmental and individual levels. Specific attention will also be given to the possibility of more collaboration between the faculties and support services to ensure a holistic programme renewal process.

The purpose of the seminar is to obtain more feedback that can inform the scholarly discussion as well as an institutional strategy for programme renewal at SU. It is therefore of utmost importance that faculty and support service representatives attend this seminar to indicate whether the data obtained so far resonates with their experience of programme renewal and indicate what needs to be done to move towards a more integrated strategy for programme renewal.

26 August 2015

 

 

 “'Thank you for making race not feel like walking on eggs': teaching race at Stellenbosch".

Prof Rob Pattman

The title of this seminar is taken from a student evaluation of a second year sociology undergraduate course at Stellenbosch University in which prof Pattman tries to develop participatory pedagogic approaches (in conjunction with mass lectures) which attempt to engage with students as knowledge producers, making their lives and the ways they conceptualise these key resources within the course.

One of the ironies of this course is that it questions the very topic being taught. Rather than taking race for granted, students are encouraged to critically reflect upon this and the significance and meanings, if any, which race carries for them and for others.  Race was constructed and addressed by different students and by the lecturer in many different ways, for example as a sensitive topic which is difficult to talk about (as implied in the student quote above) and as something which produces who they are, as really unreal and as a material reality, as predictable and unpredictable (at times of cross racial mixing, for example), as absurd and as painful, as generational and as gendered. 

The different and contradictory ways in which students (and I) construct race in various course activities and discussions form the basis of my presentation. It is argued that this course may provide models of good practice (pedagogic and research) in the context of contemporary concerns about transformation, by promoting forms of critical self-reflection through mutual learning between different and diverse students and by engaging  with the multifarious and contradictory ways different and diverse students conceptualise and experience race.