6th Innovation in Learning and Teaching Conference at CUT a success
Academics and presenters at the 6th innovation in learning and teaching conference who shared different views on how universities can enhance teaching and learning for students from diverse environments. Front row centre (4th from left): Dr Manyane Makua, Senior Director: Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC); Dr Mpho Jama, Senior Lecturer in the Division Student Learning and Development (DSLD) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Free State; Dr Modise Motalenyane, Senior Lecturer Nd Departmental Manager for Education and Professional Studies at Welkom Campus; and Prof. ‘Mabokang Monnapula-Mapesela, former CUT Senior Director for Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT).
The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching held a seminar on 20 and 21 June 2019, focusing on enhancing teaching and learning by promoting university values in diverse environments. Academics and researchers who attended the conference shared their different approaches on how universities can tackle learning and teaching of students from different environments who join universities with greatest expectations and hope of changing their living conditions and societies they come from.
In her presentation entitled “Integrating values in curricular and co-curricular education environments and activities”, Dr Mpho Jama, Senior Lecturer in the Division Student Learning and Development (DSLD) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Free State and one of the keynote speakers, spoke about the hope that universities bring to students from diverse backgrounds on digital platforms that create exceeded expectations, future aspirations and dreams to change the world and contribute towards their societal changes and social injustice. She also mentioned the lack of integrating humanistic practices in the education environment.
Dr Jama also touched on the perspectives of how universities can integrate humanising practices by integrating values in curricular and co-curricular education environments and activities as she believes that the university environment can be a harsh place to be especially for a student from poor backgrounds. She placed emphasis on practices that often subject students to inordinate stress resulting from hostile and inhumane education environments.
Another keynote speaker, Dr Manyane Makua, Senior Director: Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), presented on ‘Enhancing teaching and learning by promoting university values. He mentioned challenges that Higher Education (HE) in South Africa are facing and asked if universities should be designed around students.
He mentioned other challenges like language accessibility, poverty and entitlement by both academics and students. He said that the issue of entitlement is not only an institutional issue or a student issue, but broadly, it is a societal issue that needs to be dealt with at a high level if we want to progress as a nation and as a sector. He also said that when students enter universities, they already have enormous challenges and some of them deal with those challenges in silence, and some of those challenges account to why they are performing or why they are not performing.
In conclusion, Dr Makua emphasised that universities should create a system of tracking what and how students are taught for quality assurance purposes and always canvass the students’ voice. “We must actively and collectively focus on promoting excellence and not just talk about it,” he said.
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