The VUT Faculty of Management Sciences Hosts Inaugural Teaching and Learning Colloquium
By Qhawekazi Memani 14 April 2022
“Vast amounts of narratives have been submitted around how Higher Education institutions can embrace the fourth (and even the fifth) Industrial revolution”. These were the opening remarks by Professor (Prof) Nobukhosi Dlodlo, Head of the Marketing, Retail Business and Sport Management department in the Faculty of Management Sciences at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), who further stated that there is an expectation globally for higher education institutions to be, forward-thinking. This can be accomplished by harnessing the power of new technology as a lever for the preservation of the integrity of teaching, learning and assessment activities.
For the above reason, on Friday the 1st of April 2022, the Faculty of Management Sciences hosted its inaugural virtual Teaching and Learning colloquium; themed: “A Digitally Enabled Future at the VUT”.
Professor Dlodlo informed delegates that the purpose of the colloquium “was to reflect on the current teaching and learning practices at the university, specifically within the Faculty of Management Sciences. She highlighted that the session served as a springboard to showcase the extent to which the Faculty of Management Sciences has evolved and adapted by imparting an indelible digital footprint beyond the former ‘talk and chalk’ mantra of yesteryear.” She further emphasised the need for further engagements among teachers as a way of helping them to reflect on their teaching practice on an ongoing basis. The learning outcomes for the colloquium were as follows:
· To appreciate the scholarship of educational leadership
· To explore the available options to offer access and inclusivity in student learning
· To understand the legitimation of assessments in hybrid environments.
Participants – who included a cohort of speakers from different institutions – participated in different breakaway sessions. The colloquium put emphasis on the importance of critically considering two parallel worlds – pre and post Covid19, thus compelling participants to respond to the unique contextual needs of students while using technology as a lever for upholding integrity-based education.
The session also served as a first step in raising awareness and opening discussion about the urgent need to drive a focused strategy and group of activities aimed at advancing the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Salosh Govender: Curriculum and learning development (CLD) specialist (UNISA) South Africa; Dr Annelise Wissing: Curriculum Development Practitioner (TUT) and Professor Verona Leendertz: Director for the Research Niche Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovative Education and Training in South Africa (NWU)
The Programme Director, Dr Brenda Pooe, a Senior Lecturer within the department of Accountancy said the colloquium was a useful vehicle to provide academic staff with an opportunity to review their teaching pedagogy while improving the quality of graduates the university produces.
Professor Maggie Linington, the VUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching, Learning and Student Support Services urged all staff members to reflect on critical thinking skills, competencies and other technology skills that students possess. She referred to the need to deliberately participate in a transformational process that ”begins with planting a seed yet ending with a flower, likewise denoting that “if we do not understand what we are trying to do we may just come out with falling leaves.” In this respect, Prof Linington highlighted the importance of creating an enabling environment for students.
“As our tools change, our methodology needs to be reviewed, otherwise our tools will never be properly used. The most critical question we need to ask ourselves is rather; what will our graduates be able to do in five years’ time in a far more generic way and that is what is called transformative learning,” advised Prof Linington.
Prof Verona Leendertz, the Director for Research Niche Technology and Innovative Learning at the North-West University focused her presentation on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) for a digitally enabled future at the VUT.
Dr Annelise Wissing, a Curriculum Development Practitioner at the Tshwane University of Technology impressed the audience with her extensive use of multi-media tools and metaphors during her presentation on providing access for a digitally enabled and an inclusive hybrid future at the VUT.
The energy exuded by Dr Salosh Govender, a Curriculum and Learning Development Specialist at the University of South Africa, spoke under the headline “Creating reliable and valid assessments for a digitally-enabled future at the VUT”.
The colloquium included a panel discussion that was moderated by Dr Gloria Mothibi, a Senior Lecturer in the department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the VUT. Panelists put forward their views regarding survival skills for the current cohort of students within higher education institutions. The discussion also focused on curriculum transformation while providing authentic examples of relevant transformative assessment practices.
In his closing remarks, Prof. Chengedzai Mafini, the Acting Executive Dean in the Faculty of Management Sciences, put forward a series of recommendations to be adopted by the entire faculty. These include inter alia; developing a faculty transformation network as well as introducing a formalized SOTL programme of activities. He thanked all the programme participants for their support and engagement throughout the successful event.