TLC2019 Abstracts

Navigate to the abstract of your choice by the Author List below.

 

Abrahams, Sean

Grit and Academic Performance in a Higher Education University Residence Context

Abrahams, Tanya; Allen, Clint; Chigwanda, Ruvimbo

Flourishing within senior residences: Reflections of students on student experiences

Apajee, Kensleyrao

Drawing out of the Box: My MPhil and the Development of an Open textbook For Engineering Drawing at UCT

Behari-Leak, Kasturi; Nkoala, Sisanda; Binkowski-Boltman, Haaritha

Understanding Decoloniality Regional CHEC Course

Blackman, Claire

Putting pedagogy first

Blackman, Claire

Lecture recording: the good, the bad and the unexpected

Brooks, Edwina et al

Engaged Student Leadership Developing Socially Aware and Critical citizens

Campbell, Anita; Nhapi, Raymond

Students' Voices on Whiteboard Workshops

Carstens, Thomas; Kloot, Bruce

Developing a Mobile Application as a Learning Platform for an Engineering Mechanics Course

Chikuni, Patricia; Ebrahim, Ya'qub; Muftic, Sanjin; Zimmer, Niklas

Contributions towards building an open research data culture at UCT: the case of Digital Library Services (DLS)

Cobban, Leigh; Norton, Marieke

Opportunities and obstacles for reflexivity on climate change teaching at UCT

Davis, Clare

Using portfolios as a method of assessment in a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing

De Souza, Michelle

Clinical Sciences E-Textbook development: Successes and failures

Doyle, Greg; Mitchell, Veronica

Interdisciplinary thinking across boundaries: TET Talks in the Health Sciences Faculty

Fontaine-Rainen, Danielle; Soldaat, Leza; Forsyth, Rachel; Hamshire, Claire

Teaching First Generation Students at UCT: The Role of Institutional Culture

Frith, Vera; Lloyd, Pam

How and why do our students use lecture recordings?

Horn, Bronwyn; Kouassi, Kouame

Solar Panel Modeller Sketchup Plugin

Hurst, Ellen; Galant, Jaamia; Morreira, Shannon

Processes of change in the Humanities EDP

Immenga, Christine; Lobelo, Asanda

Reflective Practice in Student Leadership Development: An example of the Class Representative Induction

Karigambe, Frank

The Pitch UCT: The creation of an eco-system for growing student entrepreneurial mind-sets

Lubbe, Ilse

Reimagining the education of professional accountants

Lubbe, Ilse; Walji, Sukaina, Colleagues from CILT; Colleagues from CoA

Describing the develop challenges of the online offering of the PG PSA using Vula and Canvas as learning platforms

Majudith, Nadira; Bagraim, Jeffrey

Applying the Theory of Planned Behaviour with the addition of role-identity to predict lecture attendance behaviour

McMillan, Janice; Furusa, Rutendo (Ru)

Engaging the wider context: community engaged teaching and learning as emergent practice

Mogliacci, Rada; Czerniewicz, Laura

Contextualized digitisation: academics’ views of the unbundling higher education teaching and learning models

Murris, Karin

Daoist Onto-Un-Learning in a Reading group: Re-Imagining the ‘Learning’ and ‘Study’ of Texts at University

Pande, Amrita; Chaturvedi, Ruchi; Daya, Shari

Epistemic Justice: Thinking Across Disciplines

Reid, Steve

Interdisciplinary teaching and learning – only for postgraduates?

Reynolds, Rose-Anne; Murris, Karin

Critical engagement with texts in a community of enquiry

Richards, Leigh-Ann

Bringing the practice into the classroom

Sanya, Tom; Chisomo Phiri

The Right to Housing and the Sun Machine

Schmid, Barbara; McMillan, Janice

Good practice for engaged teaching & learning

Sirkhotte, Widad; Nwanze, Ike Chukwu

Making online course material more accessible by employing a UDL approach

Steyn, Paul

Virtual Reality as a tool in Physiology teaching

Van Wiele, Bram; Du Toit, Neil

Future-proofing legal education: practical sessions at the nexus of technology and the law

Winfield, Jimmy

Teaching Ethics to Commerce students: just as challenging as it sounds. Reflections after a decade of doing it

 

 

Grit and Academic Performance in a Higher Education University Residence Context

The study sought to explore the relationship between Grit and academic performance amongst university residence students. An undergraduate residence sample of approximately (N=500) participated. Through the use of the Short Grit Scale the study aimed to broadly investigate the relationship between levels of Grit, academic performance and residence and student demographics (e.g. size and gender of residence). In addition to a quantitative approach a qualitative approach was added. In the qualitative section, qualitative interviews were assessed to determine the residence perspectives of Grit within a Higher Education Residence setting. A main focus was upon the exploration of student perspectives on how a higher education residence system currently and may in future cultivate increased levels of Grit. The research contributes towards the literature on student success. It also widens the understanding of research on the role of Grit and Academic performance in an African university context. Finally, it provides new knowledge that can contribute towards a global and national understanding of a remaining prescient challenge of higher education throughput and retention issues.
 

Flourishing within senior residences: Reflections of students on student experiences

Through continuous engagement with colleagues, students and sub-councils within the senior residences, the senior residence life experience remains as a critical area of development.

To this end a qualitative analysis was completed on senior residence students’ experiences using the PERMA model of flourishing. This presentation, in part, provides a first-time examination of the factors identified by students that contribute towards their flourishing within a residence context. Key themes identified provide a clear way for re-imagining the senior residence life experience. Recommendations are put forward based not only on the factors that contribute towards flourishing, but those much- needed areas of crucial strengthening. Those factors included for future consideration are the connections, private spaces and events.

What is shared in this presentation are reflections and ongoing insights gained through this analysis.

Drawing out of the Box: My MPhil and the Development of an Open textbook For Engineering Drawing at UCT

Across the years, feedback has shown that a significant number of first year engineering students struggle with the Engineering Drawing (ED) course. More specifically due to not being able to mentally visualize the machine components they are drawing; a skill known as Spatial Visualization (SV).

‘Spatial visualisation ability is defined as having the ability to mentally manipulate, rotate, twist or invert pictorially-presented stimulus objects.’ (McGee, 1979). SV ability is considered useful as a pre-requisite and critical as a learning outcome of the ED course.
In the South African context, unfortunately many students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, hence not having access to the same quality of education and educational resources. This sets them back from other students in their learning of this discipline.  Various other factors also contribute to broadening this ‘gap’, notably a densely loaded curriculum and an overly expensive textbook which most students cannot afford. And finally the big class groups which make it even harder to reach everyone on the same level and give them the extra help or one-on-one attention they may need. Interventions on similar scenarios have been done in the past, in the form of pre-course training, extra-classes for struggling students and even use of virtual reality tools. But these will require more time and financial resources which are not readily available in our context.

In 2018 a call to participate in the ‘Digital Open textbooks for Development’ (DOT4D) project by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) was launched. The current textbook being costly and not fully adequate leads to this being a golden opportunity to get professional support and guidance to develop a fully concise freely available textbook. It will be tailor made to suit the requirements of the ED course and also targets the ‘gap’ in students’ SV abilities. Hence, this could indeed be a remedy to this problematic situation. Being the head tutor for the ED course in the past 3 years, I have assimilated all the fundamentals of the discipline, which I will implement in the book.

A prototype version of some chapters were made available to students in the first semester of 2019. This step was absolutely critical to the success and adequacy of the final product. The feedback obtained(surveys) will enable me to fine tune the textbook into something which could be a truly valuable asset in the teaching and learning of ED. Plus, with the support of academics from CILT and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the quality and validity of the textbook content will be ensured. The final version will be implemented in 2020.

References:
McGee, M. G. (1979), “Human spatial abilities: psychometric studies and environmental, genetic, hormonal, and neurological influences”, Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 86, No. 5, pp. 889-918.

 

Understanding Decoloniality Regional CHEC Course

Decolonial action from the academy and the public (students, workers, academics and civil society) has prompted several institutional initiatives and responses through which faculties have been challenged to ‘decolonise’ their curricula and practices. The Understanding Decoloniality course as part of the QTHE suite of courses run by CHEC, brought together interested participants from the four Western Cape universities to co-create and develop an understanding of what it means to re-imagine teaching and learning in a changing world, from a position of centredness and groundedness that is African. The purpose of the course was to enable engagement with the discourses of decoloniality and decolonisation through the lens of socio-disciplinary activism, in relation to a chosen course or curriculum that they wanted to re-frame and re-contextualise. 

Drawing on two case studies from the CHEC course, this paper engages with the role of activism in disciplinary teaching and learning practices as academics begin to exercise agency as public intellectuals. Through an understanding of how positionality and intersectionality shape our ‘biographies and geographies’, the course reported on here explores alternative curricula, decolonial methodologies, pedagogical relations, knowledge construction and other modalities.  This is achieved through a critical understanding of the generative mechanisms that contribute to (un)transformed practices in different disciplines; and to explore the capacity of academics and students to be key agents of change across the sector.
 

Putting pedagogy first

In this talk, we’ll look how, when and where students in one of the big first-year Maths courses, MAM1010F, used lecture recordings in 2016 and 2017, and how students in the blended learning course, MAM1008, used lecture recordings. The data analysed includes Vula-provided information about every video watched, and the results of several surveys that students completed. We’ll also look at whether there is any evidence that student achievement and watching lecture recording are correlated, and whether the existence of lecture videos resulted in decreased attendance. We'll also discuss some unexpected bonuses of having lecture recordings available.
 

Lecture recording: the good, the bad and the unexpected

In this talk, we’ll look how, when and where students in one of the big first-year Maths courses, MAM1010F, used lecture recordings in 2016 and 2017, and how students in the blended learning course, MAM1008, used lecture recordings. The data analysed includes Vula-provided information about every video watched, and the results of several surveys that students completed. We’ll also look at whether there is any evidence that student achievement and watching lecture recording are correlated, and whether the existence of lecture videos resulted in decreased attendance. We'll also discuss some unexpected bonuses of having lecture recordings available.
 

Engaged Student Leadership Developing Socially Aware and Critical citizens

The Department of Student Affairs Student Leadership Programme is an example of engaged teaching and learning while promoting positive citizenship and leadership attributes.  This reflective practice presentation describes and analyses the student experience of the annual DSA Student Leadership Programme. It is a semester –long programme that includes topical issues encouraging students to think in new ways, posing the “big” leadership and development questions of our time. This includes leadership values, land questions, decolonisation, social entrepreneurship, social justice and global citizenship. This works towards addressing social inequality and preparing socially aware and critical citizens. 
In 2018, there were 160 students on the programme from all faculties and all levels of study, from first year to post-doctoral students which, through mutual engagement, broadens each student’s perspective beyond their faculty.  
One of the fascinating parts about the programme is the interaction between the guest speakers and the students. This inspires students and teaches them how to achieve and lead by gaining first hand relatable experiences. 
The presentation looks at:
●        what the programme is about;
●        the role of students in the design and delivery of the programme; 
●        the students’ experiences of the programme; and
●        the effect of engaged teaching and learning on students’ academic and professional lives.

 

Students' Voices on Whiteboard Workshops

Engineering students will explain how whiteboard workshops are used for optional, evening tutorials in mathematics, and what works well for them in whiteboard workshops.
 

Developing a Mobile Application as a Learning Platform for an Engineering Mechanics Course

Universities all around the world are integrating educational technologies into their programmes. This research project served as a proof of concept in innovating an online learning platform in coordination with Dynamics I, an engineering mechanics course at the University of Cape Town. Previous research in Student Voice has highlighted that student-focused technological initiatives are lacking within tertiary education.  With Dynamics App, a mobile application designed and developed during this project, students could post their questions on a feed of posts and comments, and in so doing, could interact with the tutors remotely. Initially, concepts for learning strategies were generated according to the course pedagogy and trialled in the first instalment of the course as a pilot project. Upon analysing student engagement for each concept, one concept was selected and developed into Dynamics App. Under supervisor Bruce Kloot, the app was provided to students in the second semester instalment of Dynamics I. Students and tutors were surveyed and their recommendations were processed through a qualitative framework into four broad categories of insights: methods of collaborative learning, user control of their content, design for engagement and technical issues. The researcher developed five versions of the app. Overall, the platform was received positively by the course community. The researcher provides recommendations to design features more adapted to collaborative learning and gives suggestions for scaling the initiative reliably to larger audiences. 
 

Contributions towards building an open research data culture at UCT: the case of Digital Library Services (DLS)

Research intensive universities make discoveries and create new knowledge through their research, which when it is shared can become essential for advancement and progress in almost all areas of human endeavour. Research data are one of the key assets at the University of Cape Town (UCT), and need to be carefully managed to ensure responsible custodianship in aid of  reproducibility and reuse of research findings. What constitutes ‘good’ research data management is, however, at present largely undefined in most institutions, and remains generally relegated to non-subject expert data repository administrators. Whilst transparency, openness and reproducibility are key attributes of conducting good scientific research, very few researchers explicitly embrace such principles as norms and values informing their practise. In fact, many researchers are found to be lacking critical data literacy awareness and skills, largely due to a persistent lack of financial incentives. In this paper we reflect on our experiences of trying to seed a data culture within the UCT research community. We share the strategies that we have put in place to build a community around research data management at UCT, reflecting on the challenges and on what we envision as an responsible Open Scholarship. In view of the changing context of scientific research processes furthered by changing technologies in the much-touted (and misunderstood) ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ we believe that it is important to reflect on our actual practice, and to imagine new pathways of doing research and FAIR, open research data. We hope that this paper can contribute towards amplifying an emergent discourse around research data management, already put in motion by the Research Data Management (RDM) policy, and its incorporation into the Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) to be signed by the supervisor and post-graduate students. The process of building a data culture at UCT needs to be inclusive and participatory for all levels of data users and producers. It needs to leverage appropriate technology, much of which is already provided through DLS. To build a data culture, the university needs data stewards and champions in every Faculty, who can spread the word and provide expert data curation, including ensuring data quality. In view of UCTs institutional structure, DLS as part of UCT eResearch is well-placed to further connect currently disparate communities and practises, as we work closely with ICTS and the Research Office to offer centralised infrastructure, tools and services. Making UCTs research easily discoverable and reusable is only sustainable  by developing an open research data culture.
 

Opportunities and obstacles for reflexivity on climate change teaching at UCT

Universities are increasingly called on to respond to complex societal problems that know no disciplinary boundaries, such as the challenges that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seek to address. Universities respond in different ways: by ‘mainstreaming’ issues across courses in different disciplines, or by offering multi- or even trans-disciplinary courses on these challenges. The African Climate and Development Initiative ran two reflective projects on teaching climate change in 2018 with lecturers from different disciplines in UCT. One of these concerned lecturers who were bringing climate change into the subject of their course, and the other concerned lecturers teaching on a single post-graduate course on climate change. These two projects revealed opportunities and obstacles for collective reflexive practice amongst multidisciplinary teams of lecturers teaching complex societal problems such a climate change in a university setting. These opportunities include the sharing of the latest issues in climate change research and policy, sharing of resources, sharing of disciplinary perspectives, reflections of student experience at different levels, and critical reflection of teaching practice, all of which contribute renewing and reinvigorating courses. Obstacles include logistical issues as lecturers face competing priorities, institutional structures making interdisciplinary collaboration difficult, and tensions between the ideologies underpinning different disciplines. In comparing the two projects and identifying similarities and differences, the involvement of educational experts (from CILT) who are able to merge educational theory with reflection of practice (i.e. praxis) was an important difference influencing outcomes. As collaboration across sectors and disciplines is increasingly promoted to overcome complex social challenges such as those of the SDGs, reflecting on these two projects sheds light on ways that we could collaborate better in future.  

This talk will outline the two projects and their outcomes, drawing from notes from meetings with lecturers, my own reflections as an organiser and participant, and reflections from some of the lecturers involved.
 

Using portfolios as a method of assessment in a Postgraduate Diploma in Nursing

Portfolios can be defined as a “private collection of evidence, which demonstrates the continuing acquisition of skills, knowledge, attitudes, understanding and achievements”1. Two types are documented in use in the field of nursing; a professional and an educational portfolio, differing in terms of content and purpose. Focusing on the educational portfolio, they have been effectively used as a method of teaching and assessing in medical and nursing education for over 20 years, displaying benefits to both clinical practice and academic skills. Specifically, they have an ability to integrate theory and practice, to promote development of functional knowledge and for the student to self-direct their learning and preparation for assessment. 

In 2010, following an evaluation of existing assessment methods, and later engagement with expert colleagues, the Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative successfully introduced portfolios as a method of formative and summative assessment into one of the clinical specific courses of the Postgraduate Diplomas in Child and Critical Care Child Nursing. Since then, content and delivery method of the assessment has been evaluated yearly and appropriate changes made to ensure that it continues to best align with the changing needs profile of both the students and the African nursing clinical setting. 

This presentation will unpack the theory related to their benefit to learning and then describe the existing portfolio content, structure and process for completion, followed by an outline of the examination process. Reflections on the benefits found in this setting in relation to learning and assessment will also be discussed.  

1Brown. 1995. cited in McMullan M, Endacott R, Gray M A, Jasper M, Miller C M L, Scholes J, Webb C. 2003. Portfolios and assessment of competence: a review of the literature. Journal of Advanced Nursing 41 (3), 283–294. 
 

Clinical Sciences E-Textbook development: Successes and failures

The Clinical sciences course is compulsory for the Occupational Therapy students in second year and the physiotherapy students in second and third year at UCT. The courses cover a wide range of topics ranging from Surgery, Medicine. Orthopaedics, Paediatrics and microbiology, just to name a few. 

The problem is that there is no textbook that covers these topics available in South Africa or internationally, that is aimed at Health and rehabilitation students. We set out to develop an online open access Clinical sciences textbook, which would be relevant to the changing needs of our South African Students. The aim is to ensure that the information in the textbook is able to cover all learning outcomes but will be able to be updated with the latest research findings and curriculum changes for years to come.

The presentation centres on the development process followed but focuses on the collaboration between students, different departments and other Universities as well as the successes and failures experienced. The impact of the textbook will be further analysed by means of a qualitative research study and ideas around this will also be discussed.

The open access textbook will evolve as we set out to adapt to the changing University environment and incorporate links for online off campus modules to facilitate the changing ideas around new ways of teaching at UCT. 
 

Interdisciplinary thinking across boundaries: TET Talks in the Health Sciences Faculty

The recent student protests that swept through South Africa’s Higher Education institutions have disrupted conventional habits of practice. The multiple and different forces acting on academics working in these changing environments provide a potential for affirmative movements and new interventions. 

One that has emerged in the Health Sciences Faculty is the monthly TET Talks, where 12-minute time slots give faculty members a chance for talking about aspects of their teaching and educating with technology. These lunchtime sessions create a place and space to harness the thinking/doing of changing practices in the faculty. 

Our work in faculty development has drawn us to think about the forces that bring academics together and that also keep them apart. We turn to Nancy Tuana’s (2008) reflections on witnessing Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and her theoretical concept of a viscous porosity that explores boundaries and processes through a relational ontology. The tensions and resistances are evident, yet meaningful change is seeping through.

We acknowledge that the relationship between teaching, learning and technology tends to be under-utilized. There is great potential to learn from others, yet few opportunities arise to reach out beyond disciplinary boundaries. Current academic culture fosters and rewards individual achievements and competitiveness. In order to reconceptualize our current ways of teaching and learning and the entrenched academic practices, we consider how opportunities to enable a pedagogical porosity can open productive collaboration for thinking together/apart (Barad, 2007). This expansive viewpoint offers potential for more possibilities, moving beyond binary thinking of individuals or collectives. 

In our performative presentation we celebrate twenty-one sessions of TET Talks by sharing voices and images as well as other data that represent the changing practices and further explain the boundary-breaking process.
 

Teaching First Generation Students at UCT: The Role of Institutional Culture

An increasing proportion of first year students entering higher education – both within South Africa and internationally – are first-generation students, or students who are the first in their family to go to university.  Most often these students come from lower socio-economic status households and in the context of South Africa are most often students from previously marginalized and disadvantaged backgrounds. While much research exists – in a variety of educational contexts – to understand the first generation students’ lived experience from the student perspective, very little research has sought to understand first generation students and their experiences in higher education from the staff’s viewpoint. 

This research paper presents the results of 20 interviews with teaching staff at the University of Cape Town to uncover and explore staff discourses about teaching first generation students. Specifically, this research aims to explore what staff perceive to be the opportunities, challenges, and shapers of the undergraduate teaching and learning experience of students who are the first in their family to attend university.

Staff speak of many varied influences on the overall experience of all first year students, but pay particular attention to the sheer grit and determination that many first generation students have to do well as contrasted with the (sometimes intense) pressure first generation students feel from the community to go to university, be successful, and raise their family out of poverty. 

Among the many varied influences cited by staff, a common theme across all 20 interviews is the influence of  – to varying degrees as perceived by staff – institutional culture on a student’s experience of and in higher education. 

The focus of this paper is to unpack this concept of institutional culture – specifically within the context of the University of Cape Town (UCT) – and to understand the myriad ways that it translates into an influence on the lived experience of first generation students in higher education. In particular, this paper will focus on: i) defining what this terms means – both generally and specifically at UCT; ii) exploring the history of UCT to understand how the current institutional culture has come to be; iii) delineating the student protests of 2015 – 2017 as a particular watershed moment that, among other things, brought the role of institutional culture to the fore – particularly in terms of what it means for the experience of some students in higher education, and iv) articulating how staff perceive institutional culture as influencing the overall experience of first generation students at UCT. The paper concludes with offering some recommendations for steps that that can be taken to really interrogate the current institutional culture in ways that will offer genuine, authentic, and longterm change for the overall experience of all students who choose to study at UCT. 

This research is a collaborative project involving Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in the United Kingdom and UCT. The research is funded by MMU and the Center for Higher Education (CHED). 
 

How and why do our students use lecture recordings?

A comparison of how students use lecture recordings in two different courses. 

One of the more recent changes in practices at UCT has been that lectures are routinely recorded and made available on Vula. Our research project explores students’ practices in terms of their use of the recordings in a first-year quantitative literacy course for law students and a first-year mathematics repeat course for engineering students. We are interested in students’ attitudes to availability of recordings and whether availability affects lecture attendance. We explore differences in the extent and manner of lecture recording use by the two cohorts.

A questionnaire was administered to students in both courses and usage data was obtained from Vula. Results showed differences between the two cohorts which confirm that results cannot easily be generalized because of the strong influence of course context. The engineering students made extensive use of lecture recordings, while the quantitative literacy students hardly used them at all. However, the vast majority of students in both courses agreed that they liked the fact that lecture recordings are available. Results also indicated that poor lecture attendance cannot be ascribed mainly to the availability of recordings. This exploratory study also revealed some shortcomings in the reliability of student questionnaire data, which have implications for the design of future studies. 
 

Solar Panel Modeller Sketchup Plugin

I worked with a student developer to create a Sketchup plugin that allows architectural students to draw solar panels with a pen tool directly onto buildings that they design in Sketchup. A built in calculator works out the power capacity of the total solar panels placed on the building. This enables students to conceptualise buildings that could be entirely powered by solar panels. 

The fluid set up of the plugin that consists of a pen tool to draw solar panels either directly onto a building form, or to form a sun-collecting roof element before a building form has been designed, allows for sun energy collection to be conceptualised into the design process much earlier on that current more sophisticated solar panel modelling programs allow. The hope is that this will encourage students to be more imaginative in their design of solar panels and more ambitious in their attempts to design buildings that are off the grid.
 

Processes of change in the Humanities EDP

The Humanities Education Development Programme has implemented a number of strategies of change over the past few years. There have been various different starting points for these changes, and they have taken place at different points in time, and in different aspects of the support structures and systems in the Extended Degree Programmes. These include administrative systems, including the ways that the Programmes are described in unit and faculty documentation, the ways that students are managed into and through the Extended Degree Programmes, the ways we measure impact and performance, as well as more directly ‘decolonial’ moves such as reconsidering pedagogy and content in our courses.
 
The various different processes of change are described in this presentation as well as our motivations for and theorisations of these changes. We conclude by considering the need for sensitivity regarding the discourses which surround these programmes, and discuss whether shifting the discourse can be described as a ‘decolonial’ move.
 

Reflective Practice in Student Leadership Development: An example of the Class Representative Induction

The Class Representatives are elected annually to represent students on academic matters in relation to a specific academic course. A vital element of this representative role is to promote an enabling learning environment for students as well as encourage a pedagogy that fosters learning excellence. In an effort to prepare Class Representatives for their leadership role, the Department of Student Affairs in partnership with the Students’ Representative Council and the Faculty Councils host and facilitate the Class Representative Induction Workshop.

In 2018, as part of a new approach to encourage student leaders to take greater ownership of the programme and to encourage peer-to-peer learning we introduced a new session at the Class Representative Induction Workshop whereby faculty council members were asked to teach a soft skill that they believed Class Representative would find valuable during their term of office.  The faculty council members were therefore required to plan the session, develop the session content and prepare their presentation on a chosen soft skill. As both a quality assurance mechanism and a further learning opportunity, each faculty council member was required to present their soft skill to the facilitation team. This allowed for each member to receive constructive feedback ahead of their presentation to the Class Representatives. 

As a guiding principle for this pedagogic exercise, we emphasised that each student would enter the learning space with some experience and knowledge of the soft skills that were to be taught, however, students would differ in the levels of experience and knowledge possessed in this regard. Therefore, incorporating a collaborative learning design into the Class Representative Induction would allow for students to learn from one another as well as build upon existing knowledge and create a greater awareness or deeper understanding of the concepts which were being conveyed in the induction.

This new approach is underpinned by social constructivism as a learning theory which ‘equates learning with creating meaning from experience’ (Ertmer & Newby,2013: 55). Students are encouraged to develop their own understanding of the concept or knowledge being transferred and to validate the said understanding through social negotiation and collaboration. A key element to the learning process in constructivism is that the learning ‘be facilitated by involvement in authentic tasks anchored in meaningful contexts’ (Ertmer & Newby,2013: 58) which of course this soft skill session within the Class Representative Induction provided. The peer-to-peer learning session in the induction yielded an overwhelmingly positive response from Class Representatives. 

As the theme for the 2019 Teaching & Learning conference is re-imagining Higher Education for a changing world, we present an illustrative example of curriculum design and implementation that promotes a partnership with students in devising their own learning environment and demonstrates the learning benefits for both the student leaders and the Class Representatives. 
 

The Pitch UCT: The creation of an eco-system for growing student entrepreneurial mind-sets

Creating an entrepreneurial mindset is viewed and recently expressed by the Vice- Chancellor as an important learning outcome for University of Cape Town (UCT) students. To this end the Residence Life division has partnered with the Academic Representatives Council (ARC) on what has become a university wide annual entrepreneurial event called ‘The Pitch.’ To achieve this has required a coaching pedagogy combined with strong student-centred leadership. In 2019 The Pitch debuted across the university with more than 400 attendees, 8 student pitchers divided into the idea category and minimum viable product (MVP) category. Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOF) featured as a key stakeholder not only in the support of prizes but also in the participation and support of more than 151 applicants that were initially involved in the process. This presentation provides a reflective position with key learnings into how entrepreneurship in a residence and university context was cultivated and how it can be going forward. ‘Start-up founders need to be supported within an ecosystem that provides them with access to soft skills, knowledge and advice required to build sustainable businesses,’ spoken by the Director: Raymond Ackerman Academy, Elli Yiannakaris. We propose that we as the top Afropolitan university UCT have roles to play in this ‘ecosystem’ through edupreneurship. Edupreneurship in the context of ‘The Pitch UCT’ is the bringing together of education and the development of entrepreneurial thinking for students to contribute with their current skills to UCT, society and their future vocations. Young entrepreneurs need an ecosystem to flourish. The Pitch has created such an ecosystem with various stakeholders such as the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, Residence Academic Development Committee (RADC) and Careers Service as partners, investors and advisors contributing to the growth of our student leaders and young entrepreneurs. Part of The Pitch ecosystem involved applicants receiving design-thinking training from the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking (d-school) and AGOF taught the finalists how to deliver the perfect pitch. The Pitch is shared here as an example of the creation of a type of eco-system for budding young entrepreneurs and where other students can develop their entrepreneurial mind-sets. This is an example of ‘Re-imagining Higher Education’ which involves the creation of eco-systems of student leaders, staff and stakeholders to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurial mind-sets.
 

Reimagining the education of professional accountants

While calls for a renewed focus on business ethics and ethical behaviour has put the accounting profession in the spotlight, the fourth industrial revolution and the way businesses are organised and new-styled transactions are happening globally, associated with changes in technology, networks and big data, raise questions about the relevance of the Accounting curriculum, and the knowledge and knowing-structures of Accounting looking forward.  The argument is made that knowledge in Accounting is constructed outside the academe (Lubbe, 2017) and that the education of professional accountants should explore the relevant knowledge and competencies required of the twenty-first-century accountant (Owen, 2013). Opinions include the relevance of accounting as an academic discipline, the drift of accounting degrees imitating professional accounting courses (Hopper, 2013; Hopper, Lassou & Soobaroyen, 2017), and the acquisition of competencies such as the ability to interpret financial information, working in a group, creative thinking, time management and meeting deadlines (Paisey & Paisey, 2010).  

This study reimages the education of the professional accountant of the future.  By means of the Legitimation Code Theory (LCT), this study aims to unpack knowledge and knowledge-building in Accounting, and to describe its epistemic and social relations. LCT is a realist sociological ‘toolkit’ developed by Maton (2007, 2014) that subsumes and extends the prior work of mainly Bernstein and Bourdieu, specifically Bernstein’s code theory and Bourdieu’s field theory (Maton, 2014). Bernstein’ pedagogic device and descriptions of the specialisation codes is used to explore, describe and map the knowledge structures in Accounting for the future (say 2030), with the end aim of describing the structuring of this knowledge (ordering, framing, pacing, sequencing) during formal university studies, for professional accountants to remain relevant, while at the same time taking cognisance of the students today, how students learn, transformative pedagogy and the knowledge and competencies required of the future accountant.

 

Describing the develop challenges of the online offering of the PG PSA using Vula and Canvas as learning platforms

UCT approved, as part of its five-year strategic framework, to the use of the online mode to increase access and success in quality education.  A part of this strategy an online education policy was approved that includes key principles such as that core knowledge and expertise related to all aspects of online education must reside within the university; in-house capacity within UCT must be supported and grown; capacity should be enhanced within existing UCT structures; funding must be earmarked for courses / programmes that should be developed in online formats for access or pedagogical reasons and which may not be profitable; and that anyone involved in direct teaching, assessment or learning support roles which requires subject knowledge must be employed directly by UCT. 
As the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Sector Accounting (PG PSA) is an approved DHET online programme, it was identified by CILT as one of the pilot programmes to support for online development. At the end of 2018, after further investigations of suitable online platforms, it was further decided to offer two of the four courses using the piloted Canvas platform. This resulted in the immediate building of two of the courses on the Canvas platform, while at the same time considering aspects such as the student’s navigation on the platform and learning experience, forms of online pedagogy, student engagement and participation, and formative assessments.  As students are currently registered for all four courses in this programme, the pilot study is in fact a ‘real-time’ experience for all parties involved: the developers, the lecturers, admin staff, and the students.  In short, it can be described teaching and learning on-the-go. 
This presentation is a reflection by colleagues in CILT and the College of Accounting of their experiences and the challenges associated with these developments so far.  The following main aspects will be discussed: 
1.        Background and description of current offering;
2.        Inter-faculty collaboration;
3.        Reflections of developers;
4.        Reflections of academics;
5.        Students’ learning experiences;
6.        Challenges yet unresolved.

 

Applying the Theory of Planned Behaviour with the addition of role-identity to predict lecture attendance behaviour

Lecturers increasingly report low lecture attendance rates, but scant research has been conducted to understand this phenomenon better. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictors of lecture attendance intentions and behaviour amongst undergraduate students at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Two robust psychological theories were applied: The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) and role identity theory. The TPB posits that attitudes (about lecture attendance), subjective norms (what significant referents think about lecture attendance) and perceived control (over lecture attendance) determine intention (to attend lectures), which in turn determines behaviour (i.e., attending lectures). We added role identity as a predictor given the possible salience of attending lectures in the role identity of students. 

A sample of 169 undergraduate students (N = 169) from a first-year mathematics course (which had compulsory lecture attendance for registered students) and from a first-year organisational psychology course (which had voluntary lecture attendance for registered students) completed a survey questionnaire. The psychometric soundness of the measures was confirmed using Confirmatory Factor Analysis, Exploratory Factor Analysis and reliability analyses. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that only attitudes towards lecture attendance explained significant variance in intention to attend lectures. Subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, and role-identity were not significant predictors. Intentions explained significant variance in actual lecture attendance behaviour. Actual behavioural control did not moderate the relationship between intention and actual lecture attendance. 

The results of this study indicate that interventions aimed at increasing lecture attendance (when this is deemed necessary) should focus on student attitudes towards lecture attendance rather than relying on exhortations from referents or reference to student role identity.  

This study contributes to our understanding of student lecture attendance and should help inform interventions regarding lecture attendance. Further, it tests the applicability of the TPB and role identity theory in a sample of South African students and provides evidence for the link between behavioural intentions and enacted behaviour. 

 

Engaging the wider context: community engaged teaching and learning as emergent practice

UCT’s Strategic Planning Framework 2016-2020 was borne out of the context of student protests in 2015 and 2016 which in turn reflect the deep degree of inequality prevalent in South African society. In response, universities are looking for ways to address these issues  internally and externally . Within this context of inequality, the UCT Strategic Planning Framework is asking us as a university community to look anew at our teaching and learning. together, Goal 4 (to renew teaching and learning) and Goal 5 (to enhance the scope, quality and impact of engaged scholarship) put an emphasis on renewing teaching and learning practices in ways which can address issues of development and social justice, thereby cultivating students as critical citizens.

One of the approaches reflecting the link between these two imperatives is through community engaged teaching and learning (CETL).CETL which has a historical link is to the field of service learning in the US, connects students and colleagues with off campus community partners in learning relationships that has a focus on understanding development issues. . In 2017, the NRF funded a research project exploring CETL in South African universities, in an effort to build a local understanding of the practice. UCT, together with the 3 Western Cape HE institutions, is part of this project. The key goal is to ascertain the extent and forms of CETL on our campuses so that we can grow CETL in ways that reflect the realities of our context in the global South. As part of this project, a survey was administered across campus to a sample group of colleagues who are using CETL in their teaching. 

We would like to offer an interactive workshop at the teaching and learning conference under the theme of (community) engaged teaching and learning. The workshop we will aim to do three things:
•        Explore participants understanding and interest in CETL;
•        Report briefly on the data collected through the NRF project;
•        Identify  useful ways to create more opportunities & support for CETL on campus. 

 

Contextualized digitisation: academics’ views of the unbundling higher education teaching and learning models

As part of a broader study of changing models and teaching and learning in the Unbundled University,  we interviewed academics in five South African universities  regarding, inter alia, their perceptions  of how the digitisation of teaching and learning is occurring as part of the unbundling process in the sector. 

While international research shows that academics’ concerns about digitization of teaching and learning involve pedagogy, fragmentation of learning, and perceived value for teaching and learning processes (see e.g. Dommett et al. 2019) our study shows that academics’ views on using digital technologies in South African higher education additionally, forcefully surface considerations about physical and digital access, language, and physical safety. 
It is also of note that their perceptions of these issues is notably shaped by institutional context, discipline and personal sensibilities. While academics refer to institutional attempts to enable access, they express concerns about the effects of digitisation and the potential to increase the inequalities among an already unequal student body. We argue that a contextualized digitisation is needed which will involve all stakeholders in the decision-making processes in order to ensure contextual sensitivity.
 

Daoist Onto-Un-Learning in a Reading group: Re-Imagining the ‘Learning’ and ‘Study’ of Texts at University

Educators are trained to regard universities as places of learning for human development and achievement. Now, what difference would it make to move the focus away from the human individual (either teacher or learner) and put relationality ‘between’ human and nonhuman at the centre of pedagogy? What difference would it make epistemologically, politically and ethically? Does it shift the ‘who’ of knowledge production and would the knowledge produced be different? In order to answer these questions, I turn in my presentation to the East and open up new possibilities of studying texts. I hereby draw on my experiences of leading a reading group at the School of Education in collaboration with Vivienne Bozalek from UWC. For the last five years ago we have been meeting weekly: postgraduate students, colleagues (also from other universities) and anyone really who is interested in reading texts about postqualitative enquiry and critical posthumanism. We connect via Adobe Connect and live stream via our Facebook page (for links, see: http://www.education.uct.ac.za/edu/staff/academic/kmurris). 

Critical posthumanism involves a radical rethinking of “everything we think we know about being – and not just human being” (St Pierre, 2015, p.1). The paradigm shift has been provoked by the findings of Quantum Field Theory (QFT), in particular the “nonlocality” and “nonseparability” of quantum entanglements (Keller & Rubenstein, 2017, p.4). Diffracting through QFT, Karen Barad’s (2003, 2007, 2017) neologism intra-action foregrounds the entanglement of all human and nonhuman phenomena, thereby reconfiguring both matter and subjectivity as transindividual with ontologically porous boundaries and lacking individual, self-contained existence. In this research paper, I bring Barad’s philosophy in conversation with Weili Zhao’s notion of Daoist Onto-Un-Learning as a non-individualistic and non-anthropocentric form of study. My diffractive reading (Murris & Bozalek, 2019) reconfigures the concepts ‘study’ and ‘learning’ as a Daoist yin-yang movement that suspends and overcomes the modernist western trap and trope of anthropocentric individualism (Zhao, 2019) and introduce a slow, relational process of reading texts. 

References
Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist performativity: Toward an understanding of how matter comes to matter. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28(31): 801-831.

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham: Duke University Press.

Barad, K. (2017) No Small Matter: Mushroom Clouds, Ecologies of `Nothingness, and Strange Topologies of Spacetimemattering. In A. Tsing, H. Swanson, E. Gan & N. Bubandt (eds.) Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, pp. G103-G121. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Keller, C. & Rubenstein, M-J. (2017) Entangled Worlds: Religion, Science and New Materialisms. New York: Fordham University Press. 

Murris, K. & Bozalek, V. (2019) Diffracting diffractive readings of texts as methodology: some propositions. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 
https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2019.1570843

St Pierre, E. (2015). Curriculum for New Material, new Empirical Inquiry. In N. Snaza and J.A. Weaver (Eds.) Posthumanism and Educaitonal Research. New York and London: Routledge. 

Zhao, W. (2019) Daoist Onto-Un-Learning as a Radical Form of Study and Learning from an Eastern Perspective. Studies in Philosophy and Education 38: 261-273. 
 

Epistemic Justice: Thinking Across Disciplines

At a time when debates on transformation and the decolonization of Higher Education are lively and sometimes heated, critical reflection is needed on issues of epistemic violence in our institutions and the challenges of developing spaces of justice in our research and pedagogies. In this presentation we will present the discussions that emerged from two successful workshops around epistemic justice and interdisciplinarity in our university spaces, as well as an informal dialogue and public lecture by eminent scholar Prof. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak.  The first of these events was made possible by a generous University Teaching grant extended to some members of the Black Academic Caucus Curriculum Committee (Dr Ruchi Chaturvedi, Dr Shari Daya and A/Prof Amrita Pande). The workshops centred on what the feminist philosopher, Miranda Fricker, calls “the ethical and political aspects of our epistemic conduct” (2007: 13). With Fricker, we understand epistemic conduct as “human practices through which knowledge is gained or lost” (2007: 8). Shaping environments of epistemic justice will require (i) reckoning with historical, often racialised, inequalities between knower and the known, and (ii) creative, collaborative engagement to generate new ideas, texts and pedagogical practices, and produce new ethical subjects of knowledge. We will discuss these debates at the Teaching Conference. 
 

Interdisciplinary teaching and learning – only for postgraduates?

Interdisciplinary study is an important goal of higher education, and as an integral part of research, it is the source of exciting breakthroughs in knowledge production. However, at undergraduate level we are faced with a dilemma in teaching students who do not yet have a foundation of knowledge in any particular discipline, to think in interdisciplinary ways about another. Should interdisciplinary learning be confined to post-graduate teaching, or is there a role in undergraduate courses?

In this paper, we explore these issues from our experiences in the health sciences, through teaching various courses to both undergraduate and postgraduate students that require an interdisciplinary perspective, in contrast to the majority of courses that are purely science-based. As described in a recent special edition of Medical Humanities in the British Medical Journal, a broader education is in tension with competence-based professional training in the health sciences, the outcome of the latter being safe health practitioners. Knowledge becomes instrumental in achieving fixed pragmatic competencies, as opposed to widening the scope of students’ understanding of the world such that they are able to make their own informed choices as independent professionals.
In addition to various initiatives aimed at integrating different disciplinary approaches to clinical problems, elective courses have helped us to understand the untapped potential of health science students when they are exposed to alternative ways of thinking about healthcare. The space of online education, for example through the MOOC “Medicine and the Arts’ also offers an alternative interdisciplinary learning platform that is open to anyone, not limited to postgraduates.

What are other alternatives? We seek to learn from initiatives in other faculties that are challenged by similar dilemmas, and hope to generate a discussion around these issues.
 

Critical engagement with texts in a community of enquiry

Teaching and learning for a changing world calls for critical, reflective citizens with enquiring minds and a strong sense of curiosity. What kind of teaching enables our students to become confident, courageous, resilient and independent thinkers as part of a relational ontology? In this workshop we model an established pedagogy known as ‘a community of enquiry’ and offer an experimental workshop which offers practical guidance for how to build enquiry based learning in classrooms. 

This workshop will give a flavour of how to use the community of enquiry pedagogy. Currently at UCT, in our work in the School of Education, we use this pedagogy to make room for student teachers to freely and critically question texts, theoretical constructs and deeply held beliefs. We will show through the community of enquiry how to create an atmosphere and environment in which it will be safe and productive to enquire into complex issues.

Engaging in a community of enquiry requires responsive listening that normalises disagreement and a critical challenge of ideas as well as an empathetic attempt to understand and listen to each other. It supports lecturers’ efforts to encourage students to question, deliberate, draw on their own experience, and to reflect at a deep level. This is a  pedagogy of learning, that does not just allow for, but appreciates that the differences in the university classroom are positive. This is a very exciting way to work with students as it challenges assumptions and stereotypes through the process. This is not a simple activity, process or way of working, but an opportunity for problematising the way we exist in our university classrooms.
 

Bringing the practice into the classroom

Community Development Practice (CDP) is an emerging field within Occupational Therapy (OT).  This field proposes that OTs should play a role in restoring health and dignity to communities. The methodologies employed in this field are complex in nature and aim to facilitate change through gaining shared understanding people, organizations and communities regarding the issues of justice and health they experience. These complex processes that students need to facilitate require the knowledge of recognizing subtle nuances that are challenging to teach in a classroom setting. While we do teach the methodologies in an experiential workshop format, students still benefit from watching the videos to imagine further what type of practice they need to embody.

It was decided to develop a selection of videos demonstrating facilitation of these methodologies which will bring the complexities of facilitation to life for students and how it is applied in real communities and organizations. 
Funding was sourced in the form of a Teaching Grant in 2016 and UCT TV was sourced to video record and produce the DVD series. Videos were recorded during block and in communities. Many challenges were experienced. Consent was obtained from all individuals in the videos. The process involved me needing to consider carefully the aim of the teaching tool and design a brief that was sent to the producer. The crew would then record the session and the editing process would be initiated. This required much flexibility and aligning the purpose of the video with all the various theatrical elements that the videographer, light and sound persons needed to consider. Many learnings occurred from this process. 

In the future, we would like to use the DVDs in a blended learning approach so that students will be able to test their understanding and engage with material in a deeper manner in preparation for practice leaning and exams. We would like to use the DVDs to show at Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Workshops where qualified OTs can also be exposed to this emerging practice and its methodologies. We have already used selected sections of the DVD in OSPE exams for the past two years. It is our hope that students will gain more confidence in their practice and that they will begin to appreciate the complexities of these methodologies but also the change it can bring to empowering community members to begin to imagine and implement solutions to the challenges they face.

 

The Right to Housing and the Sun Machine

In the Bill of Rights, the South African Constitution enshrines the right to decent housing and a well-protected environment. Between 1994 and 2013, up to 2.8 million housing units were built under the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). Indeed, these so-called RDP houses, have become the defining feature of the programme. And yet, houses were beset with problems including poor indoor environment quality (to hot in summer; too cold in winter).

In the course Environment and Services, UCT 2nd year students were challenged to double the space of the RDP house, improve its thermal performance and provide supplementary energy while maintaining cost-effective. To do so, they had to use low energy design approaches that take maximum advantage of what is freely provided by nature (sun, air flows and vegetation) for heating, cooling, daylighting, solar electricity and solar water heating). For this, a clear understanding of sun angles is imperative. Most students struggle to understand the dynamic nature of sun angles which are ever-changing depending on site location (latitude), season and time of the day. 

Using a grant from UCT’s Centre for Innovation and Learning Technologies (CILT), we constructed a heliodon (“sun machine”). The heliodon is a useful aid in the design process. By placing building models on the heliodon, the student can experiment with different building orientations and plan and sectional configurations to optimise of Low Energy Design goals (in terms of heating, cooling, day lighting and ventilation) and integration of green energy systems. The heliodon can be applied to any kind of building. But in this paper, we focus on how the heliodon can be used specifically for improvement of low-income housing in South Africa.

 

Good practice for engaged teaching & learning

There is a growing emphasis on the role of academics in addressing social inequality and preparing socially aware and critical citizens. Many academics come into their positions without much preparation for taking on this role.
UCT offers support in different ways, one of which is the UCT Knowledge Co-op. This facility aims to make it easier for community partners to access UCT’s skills, resources and professional expertise. It works by matching community groups with academic partners in a collaboration that meets the needs for research or practical support identified by the community group. Acting as a bridge between society and the University, the UCT Knowledge Co-op mediates between the two to jointly reformulate the questions into manageable student projects that fit the degree requirements (mostly dissertations or “community service”). For more details see http://www.knowledgeco-op.uct.ac.za/. 
Benefits for academics tapping into the Co-op include: 

  • Finding opportunities for engaged scholarship (100+ partnerships on our database)
  • New topics & contexts for research (your own or that of your students) and teaching
  • Access to a study sites and informants
  • Practical support for developing partnerships with community partners
  • Students become more socially aware, and get valuable work experience with real ‘clients’  

The Co-op, together with engaged scholars from across campus, developed a Code of Good Practice for Engaged Scholarship as a guide for academics supervising such student projects. It deals with topics like managing expectations in a collaborative project, respectful partnership, confidentiality and other ethical concerns. It also contains case studies to illustrate these issues as well as draft agreement formats for collaborations between community partners and universities.
This workshop is designed as an opportunity:

  • To reflect on the core issues the Code of Good Practice raises
  • To review its content and suggest improvements in order to develop a more useful guide 
Making online course material more accessible by employing a UDL approach

Making education more inclusive, remains one of the areas with the most potential in online learning. This is not only applicable and of value to students who are differently-abled, but those who learn differently and who come from different backgrounds. 

In the South African higher education context, our understanding of accessible  online content is still in its early development despite the increase of online content creation. If we can change the way we work with tools that is used to create online content (such as text, images and video), we can produce content that is more accessible.

Universal Design Learning (UDL) is a means of changing the way we work with tools. In this presentation, we explain the concept of UDL and give practical examples of how commonly used tools can be used in making online content more accessible.  We also share first hand experience of some of the strategies that have been used in making digital learning materials more accessible.

 

Virtual Reality as a tool in Physiology teaching

The VR platform has been implemented successfully in practical sessions in the HUB, MBChB and Health and Rehabilitation programs and has been received excellently by students. The students also showed great interest in the VR tool being implemented in a classroom setting by the lecturer in order to explain concepts. 

In the HUB and MBChB courses anatomy and physiology are taught concurrently. It is challenging integrating both aspects but is vital in the synthesis of student understanding of the human body. The challenge of this approach is that students struggle to relate physiological processes to anatomical features and each subject is seen in a vacuum. Physiological teaching by nature strives to show the interplay between all physiological systems as well as the anatomical properties which facilitate the physiological processes, but it is extremely challenging to relate the two subjects in a lecture setting. This hinders the student’s ability to understand challenging concepts as they cannot visualize the processes occurring on the anatomical level as cadavers and models cannot be implemented in a lecture theatre.

This calls for a new, innovative resource beyond what can be accomplished by podcasts, videos and lecture recordings.
 

Future-proofing legal education: practical sessions at the nexus of technology and the law

Technology, law and legal education have co-existed and interacted as separate disciplines for more than three decades now. Initially, technology was given a mere supportive role to legal education. However, technology has developed to permeate every aspect of our society today. In an attempt to catch up, law now regulates many aspects of the development, use and procurement of technologies by governments, citizens, and various professions, including lawyers. Therefore, the role for legal education in preparing faculties and law students to operate in the context of all-encompassing technology and legal sector innovation needs to evolve along similar lines.

Given the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and digital technology, and the many complex existing and newly-emerging legal issues that these technologies raise, it is imperative that we adequately prepare the next generation of legal practitioners and scholars for these new realities and provide them with the legal tools and skills necessary to stand their ground. While select cyberlaw issues are addressed in some of our existing core courses, the current curriculum does not provide an opportunity for our LL.B. students to engage with these issues in a comprehensive and connected manner; and it is against this background that in 2019 the new elective course “Cyberlaw” was introduced with the key objective of imparting in-depth subject matter knowledge in our students in this field.

The Law Faculty is not unique in recognising the importance of keeping pace with our changing technological context. Faculties from Medicine through to Accounting have started to think about how best to integrate technological literacy into their modules, at UCT and elsewhere. Many of the challenges that we will face are not unique to us, and sharing of our experiences as we experiment, fail, and learn will be vital for the University as a whole to succeed.

The new course introduced a practical component in the form of “lab sessions”. During these sessions students were given a hands-on introduction to practical technology that impacts on the legal space. Examples include learning to write a “smart contract” or a simple machine learning algorithm to demonstrate bias and discrimination of automated decision-making. These activities help students to better understand the legal issues that arise from new technologies, and prepares them for the 21st century legal profession. We have approached these sessions from the perspective that the issues discussed should not be seen as purely legal, and purely technological, in isolation and alternation, but rather that “law and technology” is a discrete field of investigation that should be approached as such.

This presentation will cover the rationale behind introducing practical sessions into the law curriculum as well as demonstrate how they will benefits students in their future legal careers. We also discuss the key considerations for successfully introducing legal students to technology, which is often appears as a foreign and intimidating area for them to be involved in.
 

Teaching Ethics to Commerce students: just as challenging as it sounds. Reflections after a decade of doing it

In 2007, I helped introduce the first UCT course in ethics aimed directly at Commerce students, and have since convened and lectured seventeen more. Along the way, my colleagues and I have encountered steep challenges, enjoyed wonderful moments, endured harsh criticism, and learned an enormous amount. In this presentation, I will tell the story of UCT’s Business Ethics course, and reflect critically on our teaching and learning approach and practices. I hope that it will be helpful for anyone who teaches service courses, is starting a new course, teaches a Humanities course to students who do not have experience in the humanities, wishes to help students become better critical thinkers, and/or has an interest in moral education.

The Business Ethics teaching team won UCT’s Collaborative Educational Practice Award in 2017. Jimmy won UCT’s Distinguished Teacher Award in 2016 and the CHE-HELTASA National Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in 2018.
 

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