VUT ACHIEVES GLOBAL LEADERSHIP STATUS THROUGH INTRODUCING AN INNOVATIVE CONCEPT OF TELAGOGY, A NEW DIGITAL LEARNING AND TEACHING METHODOLOGY
By: Nontobeko Moimane – 25 August 2023
Dr. Teboho Pitso, a Scholar and Academic at Vaal University of Technology (VUT), has introduced an innovative concept called ’Telagogy’ – a pioneering form of remote learning originating at VUT. This breakthrough has positioned VUT as a leader in discussions on the International Scholarship of Teaching and Learning platform. The concept has garnered attention through publications in renowned international journals like Taylor and Francis’ Cogent Education Journal and the International Academic Forum (AIFOR) Journal of Education.
Furthermore, the upcoming AIFOR International Conference in Barcelona, Spain, this September will feature a presentation on telagogy. Presently, VUT’s Centre for Academic Development (CAD), Research Directorate, and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship are collaborating to facilitate telagogy-related activities. An Academic Writing Retreat is scheduled from August 28 to 31, involving academics and non-academics alike. Interested participants can contact Dr. Liemiseng Tjabane via email at email@example.com in the CAD.
The initiative has already acquired eighteen (18) participants across VUT’s four Faculties and specialized units, including postdoctoral students. This endeavour will culminate in a scholarly book, edited by Dr. Teboho Pitso, featuring contributions from diverse VUT disciplines. Notably, two universities have already committed to this groundbreaking project.
Dr. Pitso distinguishes Telagogy from other remote learning platforms by highlighting two key differences. Firstly, it employs asynchronous learning, allowing students to access educational materials for a course at their own convenience, pace, and location, without requiring real-time interactions with instructors. On the other hand, remote learning centres around synchronous learning, involving simultaneous online meetings between instructors and students.
The second difference lies in the essence of technology used. Telagogy is founded on technology-as-essence, implying its continuous evolution with advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems. Dr. Pitso envisions that this evolution might lead to educational courses being streamed online, similar to platforms like Netflix and Spotify. This outlook also suggests a shift from rigid subject-based curricula to personalized curriculum curation, where students assemble courses from various global universities. Consequently, universal accreditation systems might become necessary, and governments could potentially fund students rather than institutions.
In contrast, remote learning operates with technology-as-utility, aiming to replicate the operational efficiency of traditional universities and minimize the disruption caused by online learning. Dr. Pitso emphasizes the need for universities to adapt to a future where students have greater control over their learning paths. This entails faculty preparing for new roles, including digitizing learning materials, implementing e-assessment methods, creating multimedia content, utilizing cloud collaborations and virtual immersive learning tools, as well as engaging with students through blogs and podcasts.
Dr. Pitso envisages a transformative shift in education, urging universities and educators to anticipate and embrace these changes for a future where students’ academic journeys are characterized by flexibility, diverse learning sources, and technology-enabled learning experiences.