Principal Investigator

Dr Tabisa Mayisela

Project Manager

Ntobeko Mbuyisa
Office: 021 650 5191
Mobile: 081 416 2685


Shanali Govender


Dr Glenda Cox



Laura Czerniewicz


Sukaina Walji

Research Consultant

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams


Project Curator

Thomas King

Case study researchers


Anelisa Dabula

Research themes: OER Development Models

Anelisa Dabula holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Geography and Environmental Management and a Master’s degree in Population Studies both obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her Masters research was based on social issues with strong ties to adolescents which made her conduct her research on father-to-child relationships through the perspectives of young fathers in which she hoped to identify the dynamics young fathers faced in their journey of fatherhood. Her background is in developmental economics, migration, fertility, sexual and reproductive health and rights of gender and inequality, educational development and adolescent health. Human Geography has become the current focus for her PhD in Geography and Environmental Management. Apart from her position as a research assistant at Morris Webb Research Relations (an institution within UKZN), her work experience has exposed her to working closely with students through Student support services. Within Student support services she worked as an academic mentor and advisor, tutor and team leader for the Academic Monitoring Support at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


Mahlatse Malatji

Research themes: Open Educational Resource grants

Mahlatse was born and bred in the Northern Province, currently known as Limpopo. She attended her elementary school in Phalaborwa Primary School, Namakgale and proceeded to complete her high school at Lebeko High School in Ga-Mashishimale village.  She completed her LLB (Honours) at the University of Limpopo in 2016 and a Professional Master’s degree (Labour Law) at the University of Cape Town in 2017. Mahlatse is currently a PhD student (Commercial Law) at the University of Cape Town.

Mahlatse has various skills including research, administration and editing. She has worked as a Student Assistant at the University of Cape Town, a Coordinator and research assistant for a Dispute Resolution Course on behalf of the University of Cape Town (Law@work) and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. With this, she has also served as a visual research clerk for the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at the University of Cape Town. In addition, she is currently working as an editor for both undergraduate and postgraduate students across universities.

Mahlatse has voluntarily served in various committees across universities and provinces. She has served in the following committees:

  • A Vice-President for the University of Cape Town Postgraduate Law Student Council;
  • A Coordinator, Administrator and Secretary General for the Cape Town Candidate Attorneys Association;
  • A Dispute Resolution Officer at the University of Limpopo (Student Residence Life); and
  • A Safety and Security Representative for 3rd Tier Residents at the University of Cape Town.


Motshidisi Gertrude van Wyk

Research themes: Disability Access; Flexible Learning

I got passionate about being a teacher through play during my childhood. The interest was driven by my late grandmother, Motshidisi Nyokong, who taught me the basics in Mathematics by selling vegetables from our garden and the traditional beer she used to prepare on weekends. The going got tough financially upon completing my Std 10 (Gr12). As a result, I could not enrol at teachers’ college but worked as a clerk at Bartimea School for the Deaf and Blind (1987-1989). It was quite an experience and little did I know that I would be given an opportunity to do research on “Disability Access” and “Flexible Learning” at TVET colleges through COOL Project ( September 2019). Having completed my teaching diploma in 1993, I taught Mathematics and I noticed the neglect of gifted students in regular classrooms (1994 - 2016). My curiosity in gifted education started from this evident neglect yet gifted students can make a difference for the country. This led to studying as a Doctoral student with a focus on developing a program that will assist Mathematics teachers to meet the needs of gifted learners at schools. On the other hand, I shall be focusing on how to overcome the barrier of disability for students and, as well as providing support to students who could not complete their modules at TVETs.  My research exposure is being in South African SoTL (2017) and Prestige (2017 & 2018), MASSEE international Congress in Cyprus (2018), WCGTC international Conference in Nashville (July 2019).


Mukhtar Raban

Research themes: Blended Learning; Innovative Leadership

Mukhtar Raban is a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts at Nelson Mandela University. After teaching in English as a Second Language (ESL) programmes in colleges in the Middle East, he joined the university’s Applied Language Studies department. His teaching practices focus on technology-enhanced language learning with a particular focus on blended learning and related pedagogies. He was awarded the university’s ‘Excellent Teacher of the Year’ in 2015. His research interests include technology-enhanced learning, blended learning, digital humanities, and humanising and critical pedagogies. He has presented at local and international conferences and serves as an official learning and teaching advisor to the International Open University in Malawi and Gambia. He is currently reading towards a PhD in education with a focus on critical digital pedagogies for language learning and teaching.


Sue Gredley

Research themes: Recognition of Prior Learning; Funding for Access

Susan is a PhD candidate at the University of the Western Cape (UWC); her doctoral research explores socially just pedagogies in higher education through the lens of participatory parity. She holds an Honours in English and a Masters in Adult Education from the University of Cape Town (UCT). Over the past ten years Susan has worked in a range of roles and spaces at UCT and UWC. At UCT these include the Writing Centre, the Disabilities Studies Unit, the English Department, and, since 2013, she has held a number of different lecturing, convening and administrative roles with the UCT Global Citizenship Programme. At UWC she has for the past decade worked closely with the Women’s and Gender Studies department in various teaching and research roles, most recently co-convening and lecturing on two of the undergraduate gender studies courses. Susan’s work and studies at UWC and UCT have reinforced her interest in exploring socially just, authentic and innovative ways of teaching, learning and engaging students who are in turn motivated to contribute to the urgent project of social transformation in South Africa. When not involved in academic pursuits she loves running, reading, exploring local spaces, and quality time with her dog Lexi.


Sara Black

Research themes: Innovative Culture; From Communities of Practice to LSS

Sara Black has worked in public education for 12 years as a teacher, analyst and researcher. In August 2019 she submitted her PhD which examines how key policies in the basic educator sector reproduce existing inequalities in high schools. She has also worked in teacher development, heading up the Newly Qualified Teachers Project at UCT for its first two years, and mentoring pre- and in-service teachers across Cape Town. Her research interests include the privatisation of public education, the role of teacher unions in education leadership and change, education philosophy and critical policy sociology.

Sara is passionate about radical social justice and removing barriers to powerful ideas and knowledge. A bit of a nerd, she likes to read social theory, and regularly participates in reading groups and popular education initiatives with other like-minded activists and scholars. In a prior life she worked as a software developer in the private sector. When not hiding behind a book, she's normally found running the mountains with her hound, growing something pretty or tasty in her garden, or comfortably wedged behind a piano.


Sinethemba Zungu

Research themes: Student Support; Distance Education

Sinethemba Zungu holds a Master’s degree in housing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has a background in Community and Development studies, which equips her with the ability to thrive in an environment of multi-stakeholder networks. Sinethemba has experience working with and for Non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), private companies, research institutes, local and provincial governments initiating research studies to explore ways of creating opportunities for the previously disadvantage individuals in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her expertise lies in network and relationship building. Sinethemba has interests in notions of innovative thinking for impactful service delivery in local government, inclusive policy development, social justice and social sciences research.


Thamsai Dhurumraj

Research themes: Professional Development

Thasmai Dhurumraj lecturers in undergraduate and postgraduate in the Department of Science and Technology Education. Her qualifications are: BSc–majoring in chemistry and physiology, PGCE majors Physical Sciences & Natural Sciences, HBed majoring in educational leadership and management, Med & PhD focus in Science Education – with a focus on teacher beliefs, teacher knowledge and professional development and its influence in the teaching of Sciences.


Cheng-Wen Huang

Research themes: Online Assessments

Cheng-Wen Huang completed her PhD in Education at the University of Cape Town. She has worked as a lecturer in English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) as well as a researcher on the Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action project at CILT, University of Cape Town. Her research areas include multimodal social semiotics, academic literacies, argumentation, digital literacies, open education, social justice and assessment.


Barbara Jones

Research themes: Micro-credentials and Badges

Barbara Jones has followed a meandering academic and career path, that has taken her through forays into medicine, the zoological sciences, and leading to completion of a BA and a Higher Diploma in Education, which set her on a path to teaching. However, after only a short stint in the public schooling system, she found her way into adult education, working in the NGO sector and running an adult education training and development centre for 10 years. Realising the gaps in her knowledge during this time, she went back to university to obtain an Advanced Diploma in Adult Education from UCT which led, inevitably, to a Masters Degree in Education (Curriculum Development), oriented to adult education. These further studies fed her fascination with the transformative power of education for adults, and her drive to ‘open the doorways of learning’ for all adults, but especially for women.

As a freelancer, the Master’s degree enabled her to teach on various adult education programmes at UCT over the years, from higher certificate to master’s levels. She also taught and supervised research to CPUT BTech Graphic Design students for nearly 10 years, until the HEQF-aligned BTech programmes began to be phased out. These continued perambulations led her into higher education research, where she has gained considerable and varied experience, especially in the areas of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), at UWC and UCT. More recently, her research has tended towards flexible and blended learning and teaching practices in higher education, and how these can be leveraged for providing equitable access to quality, lifelong learning for all. She is currently employed on a short-term contract as a Curriculum Development Specialist at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Relaxation (what is it?) includes spending time with grandchildren in the UK (online or on reciprocal visits), a passion for hiking in the mountains at least once a week, various other outdoor/environmental/birdwatching pursuits, and an interest in/teaching biomimicry.

COOL Project Alumni


Ncebekazi Lutuli

Research themes: Micro-credentials and Badges; Online Assessments

Ncebakazi Lutuli graduated from the University of the Free State in 2014 with a BSc. Agriculture in  Agronomy and Agricultural Economics and BSc. Agriculture Honours degree in Agronomy. After graduation, she worked in the agribusiness sector for two years, first, as a co-ordinator for a feedlot project for smallholders and, later as an agriculturalist whose main functions was mentoring farmers on the Land Bank Retail Emerging Markets programme. Her passion for agricultural and rural development saw her pursuing a Master of Commerce in Agricultural Economics and International Rural Development at Lincoln University, New Zealand, which she completed in 2019 with first-class honours. Her master’s thesis investigated how phone apps could be used to support participatory agricultural extension in South Africa. Ncebakazi is passionate about the provision of access to education and information to everyone, and institutional innovations that provide access to financial services and markets to smallholders towards a more equitable and just South Africa.