Masters Degrees (School of Higher Education Studies)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Instructional design standards for online learning material at South African Higher Education Institutions
    (University of the Free State, 2023) du Preez, Isabella; Jacobs, Lynette; Möller, Johan
    The quality of online learning is a contentious topic in higher education, partly because it is elusive in that there is no uniform and concrete definition for it, but also because there are countless standards, principles and instruments as attempts to establish quality in online learning. These quality initiatives, however, emanated mostly from the Global North, with little or no consideration for the challenges online practitioners face in the Global South. What is evident, though, is that more and more pressure is put on online practitioners to ensure and enhance the quality of these learning programmes. One such group of practitioners are termed instructional designers: responsible for the design and development of online learning material. In Sub-Saharan countries such as South Africa, the instructional design profession is still in its infancy stage, facing a lack of published quality standards from the qualification authorities on the design and development of online learning material. Research on the practices of these instructional designers in the African context is also scant. As a novice instructional designer at a dual-mode higher education institution, I am responsible for the design and development of online learning material and often find myself questioning whether the material that I am designing can be regarded as effective and engaging. My research question was born out of my own need for contextualised standards specifically for online learning, as I realised that online learning is mostly judged in terms of its online learning material. I therefore posed the following research question: what standards, relevant to the South African context, can be used to design and develop quality online learning material? My study is based on the model of writing two interrelated publishable manuscripts, both focusing on two crucial aspects of instructional design, namely pedagogy and visual design. In the first manuscript (Chapter 2), I followed a qualitative approach to analyse 12 global and local quality guiding documents to distil key pedagogical and visual presentation principles for the design and development of online learning material. This study revealed 19 pedagogical principles, with the most eminent ones being collaboration and the fostering of higher-order thinking skills. Thirteen visual presentation principles were identified, with multi-modality and personalisation being the most prominent. I concluded the first manuscript by proposing a framework depicting key pedagogical and visual presentation principles for instructional designers to use when they design and develop online learning material. In the second manuscript (Chapter 3) the aim was to gain insight into how some experienced South African instructional designers view and translate quality when they design and develop online learning material. Following a qualitative research approach, I conducted in-depth interviews with nine experienced instructional designers in South Africa. The interviews revealed that human connectedness is a top priority for South African instructional designers, and they do so by intentionally incorporating a teaching presence and collaborative learning activities. The quality principles mentioned by participants coincide with the community of inquiry model ensuring sound practice from a pedagogical and visual design point of view. In my final chapter, I intended to respond to the main research question. I used the insights gained in each of the manuscript to synthesise standards relevant to the South African context that can be used to design and develop quality online learning material. I propose a set of standards with comments on how to adapt it for the Southern context where applicable, also alluding to challenges to implement these standards as a means for instructional designers to mitigate and address them proactively. It is my hope that this set of standards can assist novice instructional designers in their design and development practices of online learning material.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the teaching and learning of accounting: a case of a South African university
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Moyo, Grate Ndabezihle; Mosia, M. S.
    The aim of this paper was to determine the accounting lecturers’ teaching practices at a South African higher education institution. Teaching practices are a complex set of ways which lecturers use for instruction. When compromisingly crafted and implemented, the impact is on students’ success. Hence the application of lecturers’ minds is needed in the process. In accounting education, teaching practices were found cognitively driven to determine success. Hence cognitivism learning theory guided this study. Cognitivists, and accounting educationists believe in related key elements; mental processes, thinking, remembering, solving complex problems, focussing on tasks requiring an increased level of information processing, classification, and procedural rules. Related key elements enhance the crafting of accounting teaching practices. This paper used a qualitative exploratory research methodology which enabled the researcher engaging to engage with participants in their natural settings. Three first first-year accounting lecturers were purposefully selected for this study. Data was generated through Microsoft teams Teams interviews determining different practices used in teaching accounting. Furthermore, responses from participants were used to corroborate the data generated. Issues such as participants’ teaching practices, knowledge of feedback teaching practices, and challenges experienced by accounting lecturers were explored. Data was analysed through thematic analysis. The Finally, the paper responded to one question: what are the teaching practices used by accounting lecturers? Findings suggest that some of the current accounting teaching practices are a detriment to the undesirable performance, which cannot be ignored. Additionally, there is no consistency in the application of accounting teaching practices, yet more research specifically in accounting education is needed to enhance performance. Hence this paper further suggests that university accounting teaching practices require intervention to encourage effectiveness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Departmental Heads’ perspective on collaborative strategies to enhance teamwork in secondary schools at Nketoana District
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Koloti, Machogoane Sanah; Mdodana-Zide, Lulama; Dlamini, Moeketsi Elias
    There are many situations in a school environment that need to be viewed to forn effective teamwork at school. The literature confirms that teamwork is an important tool in any organisation, such as schools, which should practice teamwork to achieve the vision and goals they have set to be functional. Collaborative strategies should, therefore, be in place to ensure that teamwork is effective. Therefore, managers and leaders in schools, especially Departmental Heads, are entrusted with ensuring that collaborative teamwork is practiced effectively in schools for improved learner academic success. However, teamwork in schools still proves to be a challenging concept. Lack of teamwork in schools is believed to be one of the factors that are detrimental to the success and efficiency of the core business of schools, which is teaching and learning. This study aimed to explore collaborative strategies that can enhance teamwork in secondary schools. The study was grounded by the collaborative theory used as a lens for the study. The study employed a qualitative research approach to gather data through a case study research design. Semi-structured interviews, document analysis, and focus group discussions were adopted as data collection instruments. Purposive sampling was employed to sample 12 Departmental Heads (DH) from three schools in one Department of Education district in the Free State Province. Content analysis was used to analyse data where four themes emerged from the perceptions and expressions of the participants. The findings revealed that collaborative strategies are a tool that can assist in enhancing teamwork in secondary schools. The findings further revealed that Departmental Heads implement various collaborative strategies such as class subject meetings, school twinning, analysing and accounting for the results together, team planning and teaching, team marking, and parental involvement, to enhance teamwork in secondary schools. However, the findings also revealed that the DHs do experience some challenges with the collaborative strategies they employ to enhance teamwork but find ways to mitigate the challenges. The study, therefore, recommends that every stakeholder in schools play a role in ensuring that more effective collaborative strategies to enhance teamwork are implemented in schools.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Natural sciences pre-service teachers’ experiences and perceptions of the practical learning component of their bed curriculum
    (University of the Free State, 2021) Du Plessis, Odette; Moreeng, B. B.; Mosia, M. S.
    Microteaching, as part of pre-service teachers’ preparation towards teacher effectiveness, remains a contentious issue in teacher training. This paper reports on the reflections of Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) pre-service teachers, that specialise in Natural Sciences (NS), about microteaching as part of their teaching practice component. Understanding the experiences and perceptions of the NS pre-service teachers can be helpful in determining the components that need to be strengthened to inform the effectiveness of microteaching in general and for the NS classes in particular. Microteaching is a skill-based analytical technique that is used to engage pre-service teachers in practicing their teaching skills in simplified classroom settings. It plays an important part in preparing pre-service teachers for the profession. This qualitative study, framed within an approach based on Bandura’s social learning theories, used focus group discussions and individual interviews to generate data. Eight purposefully sampled NS fourth year education students were sampled to share their microteaching experiences. The focus group discussion and individual interviews revolved around the preparation, presentation and feedback phases of microteaching. Thematic analysis was used to make sense of the focus group discussion and individual interviews. Findings indicated that the NS pre-service teachers had both positive and negative experiences that needed strengthening and attention.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy to implement multilingual language policy at a South African university
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Motaung, Brakpan Letsela; Tsotetsi, Cias
    South African institutions of higher learning continue to grapple with the practical implementation of language policies. Universities have amended their policies to adhere to the language policy for higher education and others have shown progress in their implementation strategies. However, a recent report from the minister of DHET has shown that universities have not implemented their language policies as guided by the constitution and other promulgated policies in higher education terrain. In tandem, in recent times, translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy has been gaining momentum in the higher education space. Various studies have reported its benefits and limitations in the education sector. Against the foregoing policy and pedagogy backdrop, this study explored the use of translanguaging as an alternative pedagogical strategy to implement multilingual language policy in undergraduate tutorials. Tutors and students were invited to participate in this study. The theoretical approaches which guided the study were Orientations in Language Planning and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy. Data was generated through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Data analysis was done through thematic analysis. Findings indicate that translanguaging as pedagogical strategy has the potential to leverage implementation of multilingual language policy, when deployed strategically, this implies the necessity to assess the on current challenges and future of multilingual practices. Findings further show that translanguaging assists both tutors and students to make sense of their learning and understanding of the content, promotion of indigenous languages, decolonization and student engagement within tutorials. The study concluded that translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy create a space for both tutors and tutees to use their linguistic repertoires in a multilingual classroom. In addition, translanguaging as a pedagogical strategy is helpful in responding to the contemporary multilingual language policy conundrums in higher education. In conclusion, the study recommends ways in which translanguaging could be employed to implement multilingual language policy in the tutorials within the higher education space in South Africa, and possibly elsewhere.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Integrating academic and career advising in a South African Higher Education institution
    (University of the Free State, 2021-12) Schoeman, Monique; Loots, S.; Bezuidenhoud, L.
    South African Higher Education has focused extensively on widening access to further inclusivity and economic development. However, it has become apparent that access alone is not enough, as students need to persist and succeed in their studies to graduate in the minimum amount of time. International research on what contributes to timely degree completion has focused on academic advising, counselling, orientation programmes, learning communities, and institution-wide reform, amongst others. Academic advising stands out here, because research suggests that a comprehensive approach, specifically where effective academic advising is present and combined with other support efforts, best assists timely degree completion. This study thus delves deeper into effective academic advising practice. Academic advising, a well-known concept in the United States of America (USA), is relatively new field in South Africa. That said, there is a growing body of knowledge in South Africa on the impact of peers on students’ academic development and success. In addition to the challenge of timely degree completion, with the graduate unemployment rate of 11% and other challenges beyond the scope of this dissertation, higher education institutions’ responsibility to help students succeed should not end with assisting students in graduating. Rather, students need to be guided in career-related matters while engaging in curricular and co-curricular matters. As many as three out of four students entering the university for the first time have no clear career goals. The fact that there is little connection between academic majors and future career paths among general degrees can contribute to students making decisions incongruent with their academic and personal strengths. Therefore, it is crucial that academic and career information need to be integrated when advising students. Academic advisors are in an excellent position to facilitate guidance in career-related matters when providing academic advice. They are also well placed to assist students in developing academic goals and career plans consistent with their interests and values in order for them to succeed. This assistance in understanding how academic and personal interests, abilities, and values relate to possible careers and forming plans is what Gordon (2005) terms career advising. To explore how academic and career advising could be integrated in practice, this study uses the University of the Free State (UFS) as a case example. This study uses Gordon’s 3-I Process, a framework that integrates career advising into academic advising practice, as a lens to assess academic advising practice at the UFS. The 3-I Process is widely used within academia in the USA, and is associated with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) – the global leader in academic advising. This study is situated in the constructivist paradigm and follows a qualitative approach. Results from interviews with advisors at the UFS stress the need for such a unified framework, and recommendations are made on how advising at the UFS could develop more holistically. This study also contributes to the conceptualisation and practical application of advising in the broader South African context.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Supporting east Asian students enrolled at a South African university
    (University of the Free State, 2019-01) Xie, Tao; Jacobs, Lynette; Muller, Marguerite
    Over the previous 30 years, most East Asian (South Korea, China, Japan) countries have achieved remarkable economic success, and are entering the global economic market. Therefore, more and more East Asian parents support their children to study in other countries. Chinese parents, for example, may consider that studying overseas inter alia would enhance their children's competitiveness in terms of learning other languages, especially English and understand different cultures, getting a good quality of education, learning from other countries’ different sets of values. They thus consider studying overseas as a long-term investment towards global citizenship. Due to different language, culture, and learning styles between the East Asian and English-speaking countries, these students often find it difficult to adapt to the new environment. As an East Asian student myself, I had found it difficult to adapt to the circumstances in South Africa. As I could find no reference in literature to the problem in the context of South Africa, the aim of my dissertation was to explore and describe the challenges of East Asian students studying at one South African English-medium university towards improving the support provided by higher education institutions. Based on my literature review I gathered that East Asian students studying abroad often find challenges with academic and social practices. The literature also highlighted difficulties in terms of transport and accommodation. The level of support varies at different institutions, and in different parts of the world. Based on my literature review, I developed some interview questions which I posed to six East Asian participants and seven staff members at the University of the Free State. I transcribed the data, and sorted similar themes based on what the literature and data indicated as relevant. My study showed that East Asian students experience barriers with regard to language and the academic practices. In terms of language, the students shared that it was difficult to understand English, and in particular also to follow the different accents. Adjusting to continuous assessments, with diverse assessment tasks was also difficult, as it is quite different from the systems used in their own countries.The interviews with the staff members revealed that many units exist to assist the students, albeit not specifically for East Asian students. Services include support for international students in terms of administrative issues such as study permits, registration and so forth. There are units that assist students with academic writing, studying methods and many more. For me, the most significant observation was that while the East Asian students were struggling, the university seemed to have numerous support structures in place that could help them to overcome these challenges. However, the students seemed to be unaware of the services that they could make use of. It became clear that it is vitally important that universities find a way to continuously make English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students aware of the services that could assist them.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring higher education capabilities of black women graduates towards personal and professional development
    (University of the Free State, 2014-10) Mahlaha, Nteboheng Theresia; Walker, Melanie; Loots, Sonja
    English: Student success does not cease to be important after students have graduated, but extends to how employable graduates are and what they can do with their lives. Even though more than half of students enrolled in South African higher education institutes are women, men still hold the majority of positions in the labour market. The number of black women enrolled in higher education institutions has more than doubled in the last 19 years, according to a 2014 report by Higher Education South Africa (HESA). However; this seems insufficient progress when compared with the national demographics. Of the total black population, only 3.2% have access to higher education. Local and international literature shows a significant number of policies that attempt to establish gender and racial equality. However, in most cases, black women in both higher education and the workplace are experiencing unfair treatment. Statistics are unable to bring insight into gender and racial inequalities in order to ensure the same quality of higher education for both men and women. This study investigated the life trajectories of black woman graduates in South Africa, and how and if, in anyway, higher education has equipped them with the capabilities to succeed both professionally and personally. The life experiences of women in higher education and the workplace were investigated by the capabilities approach, which is a normative framework developed by Sen (1992) and Nussbaum (2003). This framework aids the understanding of what people want to do and be, which freedoms or capabilities enable them to pursue these doings and beings, and which factors prevent them from achieving their being and doings. Thus, this approach allowed me to move from statistical findings to insight into what a group of black women graduates’ value to be and whether they have the freedom to achieve well-being. This study was framed by the following research questions: 1) What contribution has higher education made to the capabilities and valued functionings of selected black women graduates regarding the professional and personal lives they have reason to value?2) How do gender and race enable or constrain black women graduates’ capability for work, including their career development, over time? 3) Do black women graduates have the agency and freedom to achieve what they value both professionally and personally? Although studies in feminist research have investigated the life histories of black women, not much work has been done on the capabilities of black women graduates. A feminist methodology was employed in this study, supported by life-history and narrative methods. These two methods focus mainly on how individuals choose to shape their own lives, whereas the life-history method enables an understanding of people’s stories against the wider background of society, in this case, gender equality and social justice. All lives are different; thus, the life-history method draws on both the differences and the similarities of participants’ experience. In this study, narratives of nine black women were drawn from to explore the experiences of black women in higher education and the labour market. The selected women had graduated from South African higher education institutions from various fields of study and socio-economic backgrounds. The capabilities approach allowed the analysis of each woman’s narrative and the mapping of the similarities. The capabilities of these women, as generated through higher education, included cross-cultural exposure; communication and interpersonal skills; knowledge, imagination and critical thinking; empowerment; respect, dignity and social consciousness; practical reasoning; lifelong learning; resilience and bodily integrity. The findings shed light, firstly, on how these women are acting as active agents in converting the capabilities into valued beings and doings beyond graduation and, secondly, on how race and gender proved to be both positive and negative social factors that influenced the women. Owing to the fact that the study is embedded in gender issues and the capabilities approach, which are both concerned with the well-being and agency of women in higher education and the labour market, the research contributes to higher-education research concerned with empowering black women. Furthermore, the study can provide a knowledge base for gender empowerment and fill a significant research gap in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The experiences of black women undertaking doctoral studies at a South African University
    (University of the Free State, 2014-10) Ts’ephe, Lifutso; Walker, Melanie; Loots, Sonja
    English: This dissertation builds on and contributes to work in the fields of higher education and the capabilities approach. Specifically, it investigates the educational biographies of a small number (n=7) of black women who were either in their final year of doctoral study or had graduated recently at the time of the interviews. Although a number of studies (e.g. Acker, 1980; Magano, 2011; Pillay, 2009; Prozesky, 2008) have investigated women in academia, there has not been a strong focus on the experiences of black women in doctoral studies, and even less so on South African students. The available studies show that students leave doctoral programmes prematurely due to a number of reasons, for example, an inability to manage time effectively, financial constraints, demotivation and depression, and poor supervision (Magano, 2011). Pillay (2009) adds that the balancing of two lives, being a mother and an employee, generates further challenges. As part of its National Development Plan, South Africa’s National Planning Commission aims to not only rapidly increase the number of doctoral graduates, but to also promote postgraduate education for marginalised groups within the next 15 years. In 2012, black women represented 2 294 (16.4%) of all doctoral enrolments in the country, which is a significant increase from the 468 (7.5%) who enrolled for doctoral studies in the year 2000. The current research draws conceptually on the capabilities approach, developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum. This framework was chosen because it is used mainly to evaluate and assess an individual’s well-being, as well as the social arrangements that foster or hinder this well-being. The capabilities approach, therefore, includes issues such as the design of policies and proposals for social change within societies (Robeyns, 2005) and relates the evaluation of the quality of life to the assessment of the capability to function; that is, to be and do in ways which are valued by an individual. A qualitative approach was adopted for the study as the most suitable method. A case study design allows the researcher to emphasise the experiences of the individual, as well as the social arrangements which help or hinder each individual’s success. In-depth information regarding the participants’ social experiences was also gathered. The issue that was explored in this study was black women’s experience of doctoral study – the highs, the lows, and the challenges. The assumption was that gender plays a significant role in shaping the educational lives of these women. In the study, gender is understood as the social organisation of the relations between the sexes, differentiating the social meaning that is attributed to sexual differences from the sexual differences themselves (Robeyns, 2005). Exploring these women’s experiences revealed the developmental outcomes of doctoral education they value, the opportunities to reach these outcomes they appreciated, and the personal, social and environmental factors which influenced their ability to use the developmental opportunities. The findings from this study could lead to recommendations to higher education institutions with regard to increasing the enrolment and retention of this marginalised group. These recommendations could also contribute to improving policies which attract and retain more black women doctoral students in higher education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Improving cultural intelligence of education students through an education module
    (University of the Free State, 2017-06) Nel, Christoffel Cornelius; Jacobs, Lynette
    English: The value of teacher Education programmes should be recognised as being instrumental in the development of future learners and citizens of South Africa. Furthermore, the intention of specific Education modules should be planned according to outcomes based on contributing to more Culturally intelligent teachers. Nevertheless, many South African teachers do not have the necessary skill set to provide students in their classes with an appreciation for diversity and social differences. Students need to be nurtured to understand different cultures and have to interact with different cultures to learn from one another. This learning process contributes to Cultural intelligence, in short, CQ. This research study was conducted on the University of the Free State’s South Campus to determine whether a possible change in CQ was evident amongst two groups of students. The Education module, which specifically focuses on social reflections and issues of diversity, was compared to a control group of students in Economic and Management Sciences. This was done to determine if the Education module might have contributed to an increase in CQ as one of its unintended outcomes. Furthermore, a document analysis was conducted on the materials used in the Education module. This was done using the guidelines provided by David Plowright, namely deconstructing the materials to determine the informational, presentational, representational and interpretational value thereof. After analysing the data, I can confirm that the Education group of students had improved their levels of CQ in all domains of CQ, compared to the control group of students, who had only improved in the behavioural domain of CQ. Additionally, the growth in Meta-cognitive CQ that Education students had experienced was statistically significant, compared to the control group of students. This contributes to my argument that the materials used in the Education module had nurtured a deeper understanding and higher reflective ability in these Education students. In conclusion, I can recommend that, firstly, the relevant lecturer plays an important role in shaping the students in classroom by starting these difficult dialogues. Secondly, having lesser students in a classroom, as was the case on South Campus, also contributes to a better relationship between the lecturer and the students. Finally, the content used in an Education module should be designed according to definite outcomes to contribute to delivering a better teacher when leaving university.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The contribution of the institute for reconciliation and social justice to transformation at the University of the Free State
    (University of the Free State, 2017-07) Vanneste, Lien; Nel, W. N.
    This dissertation reviews the contribution of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice to transformation at the University of the Free State. A qualitative research approach was followed and entailed official document analysis and in-depth interviews. Sixteen key informants were selected and interviewed. The data was thematically analysed so that patterns could be identified. The key findings of this study were: The IRSJ is a strategic unit in the process of pursuing institutional transformation within the UFS. Facilitating the transformation process at UFS equals a higher cognitive legitimate institution because its organisational activities become more in line with the recommendations of the higher education sector as well as the wider social system. Transformation represents a novel idea that needs to be introduced within UFS’ institutional walls. This is not an easy task, but the IRSJ is doing a progressive and productive job by using strategic reframing strategies such as the critical conversations. The IRSJ completes a challenging task of strategically reframing the novel idea of transformation in order to gather more support for this greater goal. They do this by helping people better understand the importance of transformation. This topic is so sensitive and challenging to comprehend that a safe space such as the IRSJ is vital in achieving a transformed institution. Once the UFS will have achieved its transformation goals, it will become a more cognitive legitimate institution that is more accepted by the wider social system.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A support programme for first-year chemistry students: a campus case study
    (University of the Free State, 2012-12) Moji, Rantooa Goodchild; Holtzhausen, S. M.; Meintjes, R.
    Chemistry is often regarded as a difficult subject, which is reflected in the high failure rates of university first-year students. These students are faced by diverse challenges such as the difficult and abstract nature of the subject, lack of interest in and motivation for this subject, irrelevant prior knowledge or misconceptions, large classes, and the application in the world of work. The success rate of first-year Chemistry students at the UFS (Qwaqwa campus) has also been unsatisfactory for some years and that adversely affected the through-put rates of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. This made it necessary to embark on a study to establish what could be the root causes of this problem and propose a possible way to remedy the situation. In order to address this problem, this study was designed to address the following main research question: What are first-year students’ and lecturers’ experiences of the teaching, learning and assessment employed in the Chemistry subject (i.e. CEM104) and how can possible shortcomings be addressed? This study used an adapted explanatory mixed methods design to address the main research question, using qualitative findings (from focus groups and semi-structured interviews) to explain the quantitative findings from the self-constructed questionnaire. Hundred and thirteen first-year Chemistry students (UFS, QwaQwa campus) participated in the questionnaire survey, while two focus groups were conducted and two lecturers were interviewed. In essence, the data revealed that both first-year Chemistry students and lecturers at the UFS (QwaQwa campus) perceived learning, teaching and assessment deficiencies, but the determinant factors/reasons for these were diverse. The participants, however, recognised the need for a support programme as well as various additional facilities (e.g. computers, e-mail, internet, library services and textbooks, academic support and a departmental manual) to improve the academic performance of first-year Chemistry students.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The relationship between learning motivation and academic achievement among second year physics students
    (University of the Free State, 2017-07) Stofile, Caroline Letshego Keamogetswe; Teise, V. N.
    English: The aim of the research study was to determine the relationship between learning motivation and academic achievement among 2nd year physics students at the University of the Free State. The population consisted of 2nd year students studying physics at the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State. The sample consisted of 55 2nd year students who were enrolled for various BSc degree programmes but had a physics module either as a major or as an elective. Probability sampling in the form of simple random sampling was used to select respondents. Relevant literature indicated that learning motivation is related to students’ academic achievement but very few has determined how learning motivation may influence the academic achievement of students in a particular subject such as physics. The data on student learning motivation was collected using a standardized questionnaire, namely the students' motivation towards physics learning (SMTPL) questionnaire. The students’ first year final examination marks in physics were used to determine the academic achievement of students. The empirical investigation established that learning motivation has no influence on the academic achievement of 2nd year physics students. The study however showed that self-efficacy may be the best construct of learning motivation to predict students’ academic achievement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An appreciative inquiry into the design of a conceptual model for a flexible undergraduate curriculum structure
    (University of the Free State, 2017-01) Steyn, Christoffel Mathyss Van As; Ndeya-Ndereya, C. N.
    English: The aim of this study was to develop a conceptual model for a flexible undergraduate curriculum structure offered at a higher education institution, using the Appreciative Inquiry theoretical framework. Since 1994 the South African education sector has gone through significant changes. These changes have brought about many challenges in the sector. For instance, massification of higher education has caused higher education institutions to reform their curricula in order to accommodate previously disadvantaged students entering tertiary education. In this way, the South African government has been attempting to redress the social inequalities that had prevailed in the education sector during the apartheid era. One of its efforts has been widening access for a variety of groups in society, in order to increase their participation in the higher education sector. Widening of access should also lead to academic success; however, many students who enter higher education are academically underprepared, even though they meet the minimum admission requirements for higher education studies. They lack basic academic foundation in communication (oral, reading and writing), numeric and literacy skills. These inadequacies are mainly the result of admitting students from rural and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are not being sufficiently prepared for studying at higher education level when they leave the secondary basic education and further education and training school system, resulting in the creation of a so-called “articulation gap”. An explorative case study was conducted at the Vaal University of Technology to respond to the study’s research question, which was: How may a flexible curriculum structure for an undergraduate programme be designed in order to address the articulation gap between further education and training and higher education? Staff involved in an extended programme of the institution and students who either had gone through the extended programme or were currently in the programme, participated in individual interviews and focus group interviews, respectively. The investigation discovered that the first-year students in the extended programme had diverse needs. It became evident that many students were not only academically underprepared; they were also socially, culturally, emotionally and intellectually underprepared to enter higher education. In this study the design of the proposed conceptual model was based on Tyler’s model for curriculum design that has been used in education since 1947. The Tyler Model identifies and focuses on designing a curriculum that addresses the diverse needs of students. The increase of student numbers in higher education poses challenges to higher education institutions, and research should be conducted into preparing students at secondary school level for higher education demands. Further research is needed to establish how curricula for extended programmes could be reformed to enhance academic success of students, and how to increase the throughput in higher education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Designing of a capacity development system for educational staff at Further Education and Training (FET) colleges in the Free State
    (University of the Free State, 2006-05) Phutsisi, Marianna Dipilwane Monyadiwa; Monnapula-Mapesela, M. L. E.; Strydom, A. H.
    English: The notion of capacity building has recently incorporated various dimensions, which go beyond the human resources issue. An organisation may have suitably trained personnel but if it lacks a clear mission and strategic goals, and has inadequate governance and management structures to support those personnel, it is unlikely that it will function optimally [Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) 2002:1]. It is against this background that the study conducted an investigation regarding a capacity development system as part of Human Resource Management and Development for educational staff at FET colleges. This is a qualitative study, where a collective case-study approach was followed (McMillan and Schumacher, 2001:24). The research commenced with an in-depth review of existing literature on capacity building in general. Subsequent to that, specific focus was given to the international, African and national perspectives on capacity development within the FET college sector. With regard to national perspectives, focus was on the South African literature and policy framework regarding capacity building such as the following pieces of legislation: the White Paper on Public Service Training and Education of 1997 (RSA DoPSA, 1997); the Public Service Regulations of 1999 (RSA DoPSA, 1999); the National Skills Development Strategy of April 2005 - March 2010 (RSA DoL, 2005); The Skills Development Act 97 of 1998 (RSA DoL, 1998); and The Skills Levies Act of 1999 (RSA DoL, 1999). This policy formulation emanates from the need for a major investment in skills development and capacity development to improve performance and productivity, quality and cost-effectiveness of the Public Service in South Africa (RSA DoPSA 1997). The review of literature gave evidence on how capacity development is perceived, as well as the expectations dictated by the policy framework. It further indicated the policy imperatives and their influence on analysis and implementation with regard to capacity development. Structured interviews were also conducted with the Management of the Motheo and the Goldfields FET colleges as a result of their involvement in policy development and implementation, and a representative but purposefully selected group of the educational staff as recipients of training and development. In addition, focus group discussions were conducted as a means of clarifying issues raised during interviews and to validate the responses. To ensure validity of the study, verbatim accounts of participants were recorded as per the consent of the participants, in order to obtain literal and precise statements from the participants. With sufficient data and consultations made during interviews, impact assessment of the institutional policies, practices, provision and criteria applied during capacity development of the educational staff was possible. Finally, recommendations on how to design a capacity development system, based on the outcomes of the study were communicated to relevant stakeholders through a power point presentation made to the two participating colleges.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The perceptions of various role players on the training and instructional behaviour of tutors in a Faculty of Education at a Higher Education Institution
    (University of the Free State, 2016-07) Botes, Wiets; Beylefeld, A. A.; Bezuidenhoud, L.
    English: At the University of the Free State tutoring is one of the mechanisms that are used to enhance students’ throughput rate. A literature study, followed by extensive empirical investigations among lecturers, tutors, tutees and teaching and learning coordinators has confirmed that unless tutors are equipped with the principles of student-centred learning and peer facilitation, obtained through adequate training and development, tutoring might not be effective at all. At institutional level the CTL provides generic tutor training by means of the A_STEP. In the Faculty of Education, various initiatives have been launched over the past two years to supplement and enrich the generic training programme. Despite these Faculty-specific initiatives the researcher, in his capacity as teaching and learning coordinator, identified a serious shortfall in the quality of tutoring in the sense that tutors revert to re-lecturing instead of learning facilitation. This study consulted a variety of data sources in order to explore, gather evidence and consider perceptions in order to understand how the quality of tutor training and development in the Faculty of Education could be enhanced. Faculty-specific tutor training features that demand modification were highlighted, and suggestions were made on how to create a conducive environment to hone and maintain tutor skills, thus putting greater emphasis on their professional development as aspiring academics. Afrikaans: Aan die Universiteit van die Vrystaat is tutoriale een van die meganismes wat gebruik word om studente se deurvloei te verbeter. ‘n Literatuurstudie, gevolg deur ‘n uitgebreide empiriese ondersoek onder dosente, tutors, tutees en onderrig-en-leer koördineerders het bevestig dat tensy tutors deur middel van voldoende opleiding en ontwikkeling toegerus word met die beginsels van student-gesentreerde leer en eweknie-fasilitering, tutorsessies as onderrigbenadering geheel en al kan faal. . Institusioneel voorsien die Sentrum vir Onderrig en Leer (SOL) generiese tutoropleiding deur middel van die sogenaamde “A_STEP”. In die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde is daar gedurende die afgelope twee jaar verskeie inisiatiewe geloods om dié generiese program aan te vul en te verryk. Ten spyte hiervan het die navorser, in sy hoedanigheid as onderrig-en-leer koördineerder ‘n ernstige tekortkoming in die gehalte van tutoriale geïdentifiseer in dié sin dat tutors geneig is om mini-lesings te gee in plaas daarvan om leer te fasiliteer. Hierdie studie het ‘n wye verskeidenheid van databronne geraadpleeg om die terrein te verken en persepsies te oorweeg met die oog daarop om te verstaan hoe die gehalte van tutoriale in die Fakulteit Opvoedkunde verbeter kan word. Fasette van fakulteitspesifieke tutoropleiding wat verandering noodsaak is uitgelig en voorstelle is gemaak vir die daarstel van ‘n omgewing wat bevorderlik is vir die opskerp en instandhouding van tutorvaardighede, om sodoende groter klem te plaas op die professionele ontwikkeling van tutors as aspirant-akademici.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Learning experiences of first year psychology students at an institution of higher education
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Motaung, Nthabiseng; Van Schoor, J. H.
    This study reports on learning challenges that first-year Psychology students experience at an institution of higher education (HE). The aim of the study was to determine and understand first-year Psychology students' learning experience of academic learning, social learning and other environmental aspects that have an influence on learning during their first-year. A qualitative research method was applied to explore students' learning experiences and perceptions of how to manage workload and challenges that students face during their first-year study. The convenient sampling method was applied in the study. The data was collected through an open-ended questionnaire and a face-to-face interview with one Psychology lecturer. The data of the study was analysed by means of content analysis where themes developed from responses of participants. Most first-year students are expected to become autonomous students in their learning throughout their undergraduate degree and beyond. They are exposed to various environments at the university such as the library, lecture halls which are much bigger than classes in secondary school, tutorial classes and other aspects which include teaching and learning styles, study methods, writing assignments, tests, examinations, assessments criteria and working in groups. First year students need support from lecturers, peers and other role players to assist with the transition process from secondary school to HE. The implication of the study is that during transition process, there is a huge possibility that students could drop out and even fail during the first semester. With the support from lecturers and more first year programmes students could adapt easily. In conclusion, students experience a myriad of challenges during their first year even though challenges may not be the same. Students are not sure what to expect from the university. Social activities such residence activities or Receive and Give (RAG), lack of support from lecturers, poor time management, the transition process, financial constraints, and academic workload and lecturers feedback emerged as the factors having the greatest impact on students' learning and academic success.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The performance management system for educational staff at Motheo College: an evaluative case study
    (University of the Free State, 2006-05) Venter, Helouise; Holtzhausen, S. M.; Wilkinson, A. C.
    English: Worldwide, including in South Africa, Performance Management (PM) has become paramount within knowledge-producing institutions – not only to survive the extremely competitive and interconnected world we live in, but also to meet the demands for quality, accountability and high-level people power. Performance Management, embedded in human resource management and development (HRMD), has become critical in guiding and supporting the strategic (re-) planning of such institutions. The PM Project (of which this study forms part, with special reference to Motheo Further Education and Training (FET) College cluster) of the Centre for Higher Education Studies and Development (CHESD) at the University of the Free State was initiated with the purpose of addressing the shortcomings of current PM processes within South African further and higher education institutions. This is particularly significant since PM practices is a relatively recent phenomenon in further and higher education and also because HRMD in South Africa is an underdeveloped and poorly resourced function. In order to address the above-mentioned complex challenges, the aim of this study was to develop an effective and efficient performance management system (PMS) for the Motheo FET College cluster by: • undertaking a comprehensive literature and policy review on PM in the higher and further education and training sectors; and • investigating and critically analysing the existing PMS at the Motheo FET College cluster. Findings of the above-mentioned formative evaluative case study approach were based on qualitative (i.e. eleven semi-structured interviews with educators) and quantitative (i.e. a questionnaire survey targeting 157 educators) investigations. The main findings and conclusions from these investigations indicated an urgent need to formally implement an effective and efficient PMS at this institution for human and social development as well as for transformation purposes (where team-building amongst campuses and preparation of staff will be required). In addition, a structured PMS could then guide these educators by ensuring that they are able to keep abreast of developments in their own fields of teaching, as well as of changes in environment, teaching methods and technologies (especially since the merger, and because of multiple legislative demands). From the literature it has become evident that PM is normally a complicated and delicate matter. In this study the lack of communication between educators and management in terms of performance-related information was identified. In the light of this it is crucial to inject additional resources into management development (alongside the existing staff development and training), in order to prepare members of management to cope with change. It is also essential for educators to increase and enhance their performance and to prevent the loss of quality educators to other institutions. The perspectives and insights gained from the evaluative case study could guide the managers of the Motheo FET College cluster to develop an effective and efficient PMS, and indirectly to improve the educators’ knowledge and skills in becoming and remaining professionals in their respective fields.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The implications of current legislative changes for academic freedom and institutional autonomy of South African higher education institutions
    (University of the Free State, 2015-07) Van Pletzen, Johanna Helena; Fourie-Malherbe, M.; Holtzhausen, S. M.
    English: Traditionally HEIs have been places dedicated to the search for the truth, where the truth can be pursued without fear of retribution or interference and where academics can decide what and how they teach and research. This is the essence of academic freedom, one of the principles of HE, but also a prerequisite for well-functioning HEIs and a well-functioning HE system. Equally important is the institutional autonomy of HEIs, because without institutional autonomy, academic freedom cannot exist. In unequivocal terms, should HEIs fail to have autonomy when executing their core functions, the academic freedom of individual academics will be influenced. Both academic freedom and institutional autonomy are inextricably linked to the relationship between HEIs and government. The nature of the relationship between the government and HEIs is gleaned from legislative and other regulatory documents, and directly impacts on the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of HEIs. Given the importance of academic freedom and institutional autonomy for HEIs, the questions raised by scholars and HEI managers alike regarding the 2012 Higher Education and Training Laws Amendment Act are significant. These critics maintain that the Amendment Act impinges on the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of HEIs. This qualitative research study, framed within the interpretivist paradigm, was undertaken primarily to research what the real or potential implications of the Amendment Act are for the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of HEIs. The following research methods were applied in this study, namely: (a) Aliterature reviewof the the relationship between the government and HEIs, the principles of academic freedomand institutional autonomy, and the relationship between these principles, was performed, (b) Bacchi’s evaluative policy analysis “what’s the problem represented to be?” approach was applied to the Amendment Act,and (c) Semi-structured interviewswere conducted with information-rich participants (two senior officials and one senior academic staff member) of the three participating HEIs.Theseparticipating HEIs were selected by applying the classification system of high, medium and low research producing HEIs (one HEI from each category), while the participants were selected because of their intimate knowledge ofHElegislation and policy and its implications for HEIs, and to secure a wide range of representativeness. The aim of the semi-structured interviews was to determine the perceptions of the participants regarding whether the relevant provisions of the Amendment Act haveany potential or real implications for the academic freedom and institutional autonomy of HEIs. The data obtained from the semi-structured interviews were coded, with the application of the thematic approach. On completion of all these processes, namely, the literature review, policy analysis of the Amendment Act and the findings of the perception study, the results were integrated and the conclusion was reached that the Amendment Act does impinge on the academic freedom and institutionalautonomy of HEIs, with the consequence that the effective functioning of SA HEIsand the SAHE system isat risk. One of the recommendations that emanate from this study includes that the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy should be critically engaged with by HEIs, in order to establish a new definition of academic freedom and institutional autonomy appropriate for the post 1994 period.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Institutionalising a system for undergraduate module evaluations: an action research study
    (University of the Free State, 2015-07) Meintjes, Anneri; Wilson-Strydom, M. G. (Merridy)
    English: Understanding the learning experiences of students at higher education institutions is important if institutions are to enhance the quality of their teaching and learning. One mechanism for gathering feedback from students on their learning experiences, is module evaluations. For module evaluations to play a role in quality enhancement it is important that institutions have policies and procedures that govern the process of module evaluations to ensure that student feedback is optimally used to enhance teaching and learning practices. Module evaluations at the University of the Free State (UFS) have been conducted inconsistently, with modules being evaluated in some departments, but not in others. Different module evaluation instruments were also used across different faculties. The need to institutionalise module evaluations was furthermore highlighted in the Higher Education Quality Council’s (HEQC) quality audit of the UFS in 2006. The need to develop a framework within which module evaluations could be institutionalised at the UFS was therefore evident. In this dissertation, I have attempted to provide such a framework for institutionalising module evaluations at the UFS, grounded in systems thinking. The following overarching research question guided this study: How can the UFS effectively institutionalise module evaluations as one mechanism for enhancing quality of teaching and learning? In attempting to answer this question, three sub-questions further guided the study: 1. How do primary stakeholders (students and lecturers) experience module evaluations? 2. How can these experiences be used to enhance module evaluation procedures? 3. How can systems thinking contribute to the process of effectively institutionalising module evaluations? In this action research study, a mixed methods design was employed to explore the experiences of the primary stakeholders in the module evaluation process at the UFS, namely students, lecturers and Teaching and Learning Managers (TLMs). Quantitative data from more than 25 000 students was collected over the three phases of the action research study by means of an institutional module evaluation questionnaire. Qualitative data was collected from all three stakeholder groups over the first two phases of the study. Six focus groups were conducted among students, while 25 lecturers, 16 students and six TLMs were interviewed to understand the primary stakeholder experiences of module evaluations. The findings of the research were integrated and analysed using a systems thinking framework. A more comprehensive understanding of module evaluations at the UFS was facilitated by identifying firstly the components that make up the system and secondly how these components affect and relate to each other. This understanding enabled the provision of guidelines concerning the use of module evaluation results including providing feedback to students and outlining the roles of lecturers, TLMs and Heads of Departments (HoDs) in the module evaluation process.