A three-day workshop on UKZN’s Westville campus titled “New Approaches to Teaching and Learning” attracted academics from traditional universities and universities of technology from all over South Africa.
Hosted by the Teaching and Learning Office, the academics were alumni of the Teaching Advancement at University Fellowship Programme (TAU) which promotes and sustains the scholarship of Teaching and Learning at South African universities and is sponsored by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The workshop included panel discussions on “New Approaches to First Year Teaching” and “New Approaches to Postgraduate Teaching; Research as Transformation/Transformation as Research”.
The Director of Teaching and Learning at UKZN and convenor of the workshop, Dr Rubby Dhunpath, said it had been a ‘historic moment’ in cultivating a relationship between traditional universities and universities of technology. Dhunpath commended UKZN’s Professor Suzanne Francis, a TAU Fellow, for this feat and quipped that while TAU stood for Teaching in Advancement at University, it was also a Xhosa word for lion.
In a panel discussion on undergraduate student performance and success, Tshwane University of Technology’s Dr Janine Lewis presented her experiences on applying ‘embodied performance towards collaborative practice and Augmented Reality’.
An academic at the University’s Department of Drama and Film, Lewis promoted the use of Augmented Reality in teaching and learning, something she has managed to do successfully using Aurasma, a user-friendly, free app that is accessible to all students who have smart devices.
The Central University of Technology’s Dr Brenton Fredericks examined Academic Literacy: from Generic to Discipline Specific, emphasising the need to systematically address the ‘problem of academic literacies at universities’.
Dr Paulene Naidoo of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) delivered a presentation titled: “An Investigation of how Graduate Attributes are Developed through Teaching, Learning and Assessment”.
Mangosuthu University of Technology’s Mr Alex Nabbi revealed his findings on barriers to success among a cohort of first-year students, while his colleague Professor Sandiso Ngcobo presented on: “Biliteracy Development of Summary Writing Skills in Communication Among First-Year University Students”.
In a second panel discussion on postgraduate interventions, UKZN’s Professor Suzanne Francis revealed her innovative way of teaching research by using a field school model in a San community in the southern Kalahari as a developmental approach. She posed the questions: ‘Who will the new knowledge makers be? What will they carry with them?’
DUT’s Professor Ashley Ross spoke on: “Preparedness for Postgraduate Study. A Survey of the Effectiveness of Existing Methodology Offerings Within the Faculty of Health Sciences at DUT”.
UKZN’s Professor Oliver Mtapuri presented his experiences in a talk titled: “Application of Case Studies in Teaching and Learning in Development Studies at UKZN”.
DUT’s Dr Anisa Vahed outlined her innovative way of facilitating epistemological access by developing students’ experiences of undergraduate research.
The engagement provided a valuable opportunity to expand the TAU Fellowship to embrace regional challenges with Fellows committing to continuing their collaboration on common projects to promote student success and quality of outcomes.