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  • Riddel E-Assessment System Showcased

    June 13, 2014

    Dr Pieter Ackermann and Ms Upasana Singh.Dr Pieter Ackermann and Ms Upasana Singh.
    The e-assessment system known as Riddel was showcased at a recent workshop held at UKZN.

    The workshop, hosted by the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, was conducted by a Lecturer in the Discipline of Information Systems and Technology on UKZN’s Westville campus, Ms Upasana Singh, and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anatomy on MEDUNSA’s Limpopo campus, Dr Pieter Ackermann.

    Singh successfully implemented the first formative electronic assessment (e-assessment) in the School of MIG, using the Riddel software, which was provided to the School free of charge for a period of six months in 2013.

    Ackermann developed Riddel, which has been used at MEDUNSA for a few years. The system supports a wide variety of multiple choice questions and does the marking of the questions automatically. It also offers extensive statistical reporting facilities as well as features that allow questions to be re-marked or excluded while automatically updating student marks.

    Furthermore, the system provides a facility for short answer questions to be assessed, which can be marked online by one or more assessors.

    The workshop started with a discussion on the need for e-assessment and then highlighted the initial problems faced with its implementation; how these were overcome to ensure a successful e-assessment session, and student feedback on their interaction with the system.  

    Thereafter, workshop participants were introduced to the tool, showcasing the various question types supported by Riddel. Participants were guided through the process of test creation, extracting of students’ responses, and the marking procedure. Finally, participants were given an opportunity to interact with the Riddel tool. 

    The highlight of this workshop proved to be the opportunity for participants to interact directly with the tool during the session. Interested participants obtained a pilot copy of the system for interaction at their own convenience after the workshop session.

  • Teaching and Learning Forum on Student Evaluations

    June 10, 2014

    Academic Mr Doug Engelbrecht with doctoral student Dr Peter Zakwe of the Department of Education.Academic Mr Doug Engelbrecht with doctoral student Dr Peter Zakwe of the Department of Education.
    Mr Doug Engelbrecht of the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance presented a thought-provoking seminar on student evaluations at a teaching and learning forum hosted by the College Dean of Teaching and Learning.

    In his presentation, Englebrecht said the use of student evaluation data as a tool for performance management had distorted the alternative purpose of Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) as a tool for instructor development.

    The active proliferation of SET as a tool for evaluating instructor effectiveness which began in the 1970s had

    •  the reliability and validity of SET as a proxy for direct evaluation of instructor effectiveness was arguable;

    •  the use of a device aimed at measuring student satisfaction with instruction, could give rise to an ominous manipulation of  assessment and teaching practice;

    •  there were flaws in the idea of achieving an objective, widely applicable interval measure of instructional effectiveness through subjective assessment, especially when there is limited control affected by the instructor over many factors contributing to student satisfaction.

    The presentation emphasised that multiple perspectives were needed. Student feedback, peer assessment, results spread, results consistency and external examiner reports all contributed to theory triangulation, a construct familiar to academics.

    Englebrecht summed it up: ‘SET is here to stay - get used to it and make it work for you.’

  • Academic Delivers Seminar on Leadership and Fear

    February 20, 2014

    Professor Kriben Pillay (middle), with some of the 40 participants who attended the seminar.Professor Professor Kriben Pillay (middle), with some of the 40 participants who attended the seminar.
    College Dean of Teaching and Learning in Law and Management Studies, Professor Kriben Pillay, delivered a seminar on leadership and fear to the staff of the Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre in East London recently.

    Pillay has had an association with the organisation since its founding in 1995.

    ‘It’s a very special community partnership for my research as I am originally from East London and Masimanyane was founded by my friend Dr Lesley Ann Foster, who I have known all my life. She was part of the group South African women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006,’ said Pillay.

    The seminar explored how effective leadership is impeded by fear and what can be done about this through exercising mindfulness.

    ‘The staff thoroughly enjoyed the two-hour presentation and could identify with how fear impacts on their work as counsellors and activists dealing with gender-based violence,’ said Foster. ‘This is definitely something we want to embed further. As Professor Pillay pointed out, we cannot lead effectively if we are constrained by fear.’

    The Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre, which has branches in the Eastern Cape, is one of the largest women support organisations in South Africa, having played an important role in helping draft new legislation supporting the rights of women.

  • Academic Presents Workshop on Mindfulness and Fear

    December 05, 2013

    Dr Ian Player with his wife, Ann, and Professor Kriben Pillay.Dr Ian Player with his wife, Ann, and Professor Kriben Pillay.
    UKZN’s Professor Kriben Pillay led a workshop on mindfulness and fear at the Phuzamoya Dream Centre based at the Karkloof home of world-renowned conservationist, Dr Ian Player.

    Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, facilitated the workshop as part of his on-going community engagement and research.

    Player, who started the Centre in 2009, was introduced to dreams about 30 years ago by his friend, Sir Laurens van der Post in his book: C G Jung and the Story of our Time

    The purpose of the Dream Centre as it is currently structured is to provide a forum for interesting discussions about people’s internal lives - the wilderness within that Player refers to - with the belief that such informed debate is enriching.

    Dream Centre Co-ordinator and Clinical Psychologist, Ms Sheila Berry, wrote the following in an email to Pillay after the workshop: ‘Your presentation is still very much alive in the minds of many of the people who attended the event.  The afternoon session was certainly most entertaining and I really appreciated the humour and laughter you brought to the event.  It is unusual for almost the whole audience to stay on after tea and never before have they stayed on till after 6pm, and would have been more than happy to continue for another 20 minutes had I not brought the session to an end.

    ‘May I ask what magic you cast over the audience that kept them spell-bound and clearly oblivious to the fact that night was falling, when these dream gatherings are billed as afternoon events?  It must have been your interesting presentation of how we are almost genetically pre-disposed to being captive to our many assumptions that foster an acceptance of illusions.’ 

    Pillay also introduced the audience to John Sherman’s Inward Looking which, linked to mindfulness, has shown to be for many a transformative act that dissolves the context of fear that plagues most human beings; a context that keeps alive ill will, greed and delusion.


  • Students Showcase Current Affairs Knowledge and Writing Skills

    November 01, 2013

    The winners of the current affairs quiz celebrating their victory.The winners of the current affairs quiz celebrating their victory.

    The Teaching and Learning Unit of the College of Law and Management Studies recently held its first Annual Current Affairs Quiz and Write Right competition Awards Ceremony.

    The quiz is an initiative of the Business Language Development module which aims to develop the students’ reading, writing, listening skills and comprehension in English at a micro-level. To prepare for the quiz, the students had to keep abreast of current affairs and contribute towards the questions.

    The quiz was divided into five categories, namely national politics, world affairs, education health and environment, law and order and economic and labour issues.

    Business Language Development Academic Co-ordinator Mr Graham Nash said the idea for the quiz was motivated by the awareness that when students enter the University their knowledge of current affairs is often limited.

    The Write Right Competition created a platform for students to showcase their creative and academic writing skills by submitting their essays, poetry and short stories.

    The competition was open to students from all disciplines and 22 papers were received, 10 in the academic category and 12 in the creative writing category.

    Teaching and Learning Unit Head, Dr Annah Bengesai, who came up with the idea for the competition said the judges were impressed by the quality of writing exhibited by the students.

    ‘Writing is a form of power for students as it is the only way they can communicate what they have learnt. It is their gateway to the professional world and we were very impressed by the material we received as it shows the high calibre of students we have in our university,’ she said.

    Commenting on the aim of the competition College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay said: ‘Writing is not only about grammar and spelling, it is also about giving meaning and context. As you go out into the profession you will be required to write well and we are counting on you to contribute to the Writing Place in future.

    Guest judge, Ms Rosanne O’ Hara, said that as an academic she was used to reviewing academic writing but thoroughly enjoyed reading the short stories and poems written by the students. 

  • October Teaching & Learning Forums in the College of Law and Management Studies

    November 01, 2013

    From left to right: Professor Brian McArthur, Ms Vanessa Tang and Professor Kriben Pillay. From left to right: Professor Brian McArthur, Ms Vanessa Tang and Professor Kriben Pillay.
    Responding to the College of Law and Management's strategic goal to increase the number of PhDs among staff and promote excellence in teaching and learning, the office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning recently arranged for staff who had recently graduated with their PhDs to share their experiences at the Westville campus. As well as an insightful talk by Ms Vanessa Tang of the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance at the Pietermaritzburg campus. Both events were streamed live on the web.

    The Westville event saw Dr Vannie Naidoo from the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, Dr Sandra Hildbrand from the Graduate School of Business and Leadership, and Dr Karen Bargate from the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance – all of whom graduated with their doctoral degrees earlier this year – share the personal and professional challenges and benefits of studying for a PhD.

    The academics highlighted the importance of having support from family, getting a good balance between their studies and work and the need to be passionate about their research. The challenges they faced included dealing with a personal loss while studying, consulting with supervisors who might retire before they have completed their studies and transcribing data from their interviews.

    Commenting on the purpose of the forum, College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, said: ‘The aim of sharing the academics’ journey with other staff is for those currently doing their PhDs to know that they are not alone, that their research is beneficial to teaching and learning and for them to receive advice on how to cope with the challenges they are facing.’

    The Pietermaritzburg campus event saw Tang deliver a talk titled, ‘A Piagetian-Bloomsian approach to teaching and learning economic concepts’. Tang’s talk forms part of an extended research initiative in which she has been involved for a number of years.

    Tang said that by addressing queries about her teaching approach, she found the inspiration to begin the research presented in her Talk. She also used classroom evaluations and observations as cornerstones for developing the insights presented in her paper.

    Professor Brian McArthur of the Discipline of Information Systems and Technology noted the passion in Tang’s teaching approach. ‘Your enthusiasm for teaching definitely came through in your presentation and for this reason I would imagine that you are able to achieve success in whatever teaching approach you utilise. The perspectives presented in your talk were especially interesting,’ he said.

    Tang said she hoped her views on teaching and learning in economics would inspire colleagues to find unique approaches to teaching and learning which they could share.   

    The streamed forums attracted the attention of people in Malaysia, London, England and Germany. 

    *A book titled Comparative Regionalisms for Development in the 21st Century: Insights from the Global South, co-edited by Tang was released earlier this year by Ashgate Publishers.

  • Filmed Tutorials to Help Pupils in Poorer Schools

    October 28, 2013

    Students at the Winter School programme held earlier this year.Students at the Winter School programme held earlier this year.

    In a bid to help prepare high school pupils for their final examinations and meet the University’s academic entrance requirements, the Teaching and Learning Unit of the College of Law and Management Studies is to supply tutorial DVDs to Grade 11 and Grade 12 pupils from disadvantaged schools in KwaZulu-Natal. 

    The DVDs, based on filmed tutorials conducted at the College’s Winter School programme held earlier this year, contain additional tuition in Mathematics, English and Accounting which can be used as revision tools.  

    The initiative is part of a proactive approach adopted by the Unit to curb high university dropout rates by ensuring that new university students are adequately prepared to handle the curriculum and that they graduate within the specified time.  

    College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay said the idea behind the DVDs came from UKZN’s Council Chair Phumla Mnganga who, together with her husband, supports a number of learners from Umbumbulu.  

    Dr Angela James, then Acting Unit Head, saw the educational potential of the idea and organised for the lessons to be videotaped to accompany the lecture notes. Mnganga's company Vulindlela Holdings contributed substantially to the making of the DVDs. 

    The DVDs will be posted to schools in a number of districts, among which are Amajuba, Zululand, Obonjeni and Vryheid.

  • Teaching and Learning Unit Uses Live Streaming To Benefit Staff

    May 31, 2013
    Professor Kriben Pillay (right) at the question and answer session which took place following Dr Shuan Ruggunan’s presentation.

    The office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning recently held its second presentation for 2013 led by Dr Shaun Ruggunan, a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Human Resources Management.  The subject was: “From Object to Subject: Towards a critical pedagogy of Human Resources Management”.

    The College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, said through live streaming those staff members unable to attend the talks still had the opportunity to benefit from the forum presentations.

    ‘This presentation will help us to critically think about our curriculum and how we teach,’ said Pillay. ‘As teachers we seem to assimilate knowledge under our own assumptions which is worrying in terms of business education in general. As the Premier University of African Scholarship we need to bring about change.’

    As part of his doctoral work, Ruggunan examined the ways in which labour markets were shaped for Filipino, South African and British seafarers in the merchant navy. His current area of interest is in critical management studies (CMS) and the implications of CMS for teaching and learning in the Discipline of Human Resources Management.

    The presentation explored the context of Critical Management Studies in articulating the pedagogical frameworks that can inform the design of curricula, teaching, learning and assessment strategies that encourage critical thinking and social engagement. 

    ‘We want to create critical workers and the global economic crisis is an opportunity to reflect as it forces us to look at the curriculum, values and historiography of the disciplines we teach. We need cognitive dissonance in the class and to use our research to point out the contradictions,’ said Ruggunan.

    Staff who attended the presentation said they found it very informative and were looking forward to similar events in future.

  • Enriched Management Studies Course Lauded By Students

    2013/05/10 09:42:44 AM

    The Citi Foundation, which funds the Enriched Management Studies course, visited UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies recently to hear about life-changing benefits the programme has made in the lives of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Ms Rachel Barber, and Professor Kriben Pillay (Back row), with staff and students in the College of Law and Management Studies.

    Foundation representative Ms Rachel Barber listened to personal accounts given by commerce students who have completed the EMS programme.

    A Senior Development Officer at the UKZN Foundation, Ms Nicola Latchiah said: ‘The Citi Foundation’s invaluable funding has enabled students from disadvantaged background to access Higher Education in a supportive environment. Their generous support has played a prominent role in assisting towards funding the Enriched Management Studies project, one of the flagship projects of the University’s College of Law and Management studies.’

    Students spoke about the advantages of the EMS programme and how it had transformed their lives. They said the academic programme helped them adapt to student life, acquire good study skills and learn efficient time management. 

    Barber said she was impressed by the students taking the initiative to inform learners in their communities of Higher Education opportunities available to them, such as the EMS programme at UKZN. She commended the students on their hard work and encouraged them to persevere towards achieving their goals.

    The Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College, Professor Kriben Pillay said it was a challenging experience for students to adapt to university life. ‘One of the major challenges is making the adjustment from a very prescriptive learning environment to one where there is greater freedom. Also, the emphasis is on taking responsibility for oneself personally, academically, and socially.

    ‘Many disadvantaged students find this very difficult and need the structures that the university has in place to assist them to make a healthy transition. The other major challenge is having adequate financial resources to sustain their basic needs at university,’ added Pillay.

    According to Pillay the Winter School run by the College of Law and Management Studies has been a catalyst for many students who attend university. University visits to schools played an important role believes Pillay. ‘We could also look at providing accessible multi-media coverage of the University that can be accessed via cell phones,’ he said.

  • Seminar on Examining Dissertations and Theses

    2013/04/25 02:01:54 PM
    Seminar-Geoff-Harris-and-Dr-Angela-James

    Professor Geoff Harris, formerly of the School of Economics and Finance at UKZN and now lecturing part-time at the Durban University of Technology, presented a stimulating seminar on: “Dissertation Examining: Reducing the Stress and Fighting Bureaucracy at the same time”.  

    The seminar - hosted by UKZN’s College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay - was part of the College of Law and Management Studies on-going Teaching and Learning forums.

    Based on his wide experience as an internal, external and international examiner, Harris said being an examiner ‘is part of an academic’s collegial responsibility and collegiality is worth building’.

    Harris emphasised that establishing the criteria for examining was very important and could differ from university to university in the following ways:

    • The criteria provided;
    • The number (if any) of publishable or published articles in the thesis i.e. indicators of  contributions to knowledge for PhD and research masters;
    • The research objectives/questions as stated by the student.

    While stressing that it was important for examiners to have their own framework for examining, which should be in line with the examining university’s criteria, he cautioned that “one size does not fit all”.

    He especially warned against an examiner thinking that the study should have been done differently. Rather, students must be assessed on the research aims/questions and methods they have chosen, which would have been done with supervisors’ and School’s support.

  • Professor Kriben Pillay Member of Exclusive Entertainers’ Society

    2013/03/20 02:15:37 PM

    Professor Kriben Pillay.

    Professor Kriben Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, has become the first South African to be given full membership of Psycrets: The British Society of Mystery Entertainers.  

    Founded by the noted mystery entertainer, Professor Todd Landman, who is Professor of Government and Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Essex, Psycrets’ membership is drawn from a wide range of professional and semi-professional mystery entertainers.

    In a recent letter to Pillay, Landman said:

    ‘The Committee of Psycrets was particularly impressed with your application for membership. While our membership includes full-time working professionals, we also have a wide range of performers who combine the art of Mentalism with other areas of professional practice. The Committee was impressed with the ways in which you use Mentalism to explore and illustrate your work on consciousness.

    ‘Your work has enjoyed added value after being accepted into the archives of the Magic Circle. We see as cutting edge the kind of the work in which you are engaged, and we encourage you to share your insights with the organisation.

    ‘You may also like to submit an article for consideration in the new Journal of Performance Magic at the University of Huddersfield. We are pleased to have you amongst us.’

  • College Teaching and Learning Forum Series Kicks Off

    2012/03/28 11:34:38 AM

     Mr Mahomed Sheik
    Mr Mahomed Sheik

    The Office of the Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies kicked off its Forum series for the year with a presentation by Mr Mahomed Sheik from ICT on Student Response Systems and Enabling Virtual Organizations (EVO).

    The clicker response system, already a major tool in US universities, is used in a variety of ways to enhance teaching and learning, especially in large classes.

    Mr Sheik began his presentation with a YouTube video on using clickers in the classroom, and then took a number of questions from the academics present. He also explained that the system could work equally well with any smart device like an iPad or smart phone which allowed web browsing, and while the clicker technology was already being employed by some schools in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, the university was still exploring the cost efficiency of the various devices. Mr Sheik also pointed out that both clickers and smart devices could be used simultaneously in one venue.

    EVO was introduced as an alternative to Skype, and Mr Sheik made the case that some of its features may make it a better alternative for one-to-one conferencing.

    As the presentation was the first in the Forum series, Professor Kriben Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning, pointed out in his opening remarks that there would be a variety of teaching and learning presentations throughout the year by presenters from both within the College and from outside. The intention was to open up stimulating conversations about teaching and learning best practices for the various disciplines.

  • Developing reasoning in students outlined at T & L meeting

    2012/05/30 03:17:09 PM

    Picture: Professor Paul Hobden and Dr Angela James 

    Professor Kriben Pillay and Dr Angela James of the College of Law and Management Studies’ Teaching and Learning Office (TLO) hosted a meeting for tutors, academic development officers and academic development councillors who work at the TLO.

    A challenge placed before the audience by Professor Paul Hobden of the School of Education, was: Are we providing opportunities for developing reasoning in students?

    Hobden’s presentation covered crucial issues such as:

    * If we expect students to learn as we did five years ago without any changes to the curriculum and teaching and learning strategies, we need to ask the question: How are we preparing students for the 21st century?

    * We know that what is happening in the industry presently will have changed somewhat by the time students graduate. So, what should our focus be when educating students – should it be on routine cognitive skills or the core 21st century skills for example, adaptability, self-management, and non- routine problem-solving skills?

    * If we expect students to reason then we need to plan for this in how we design our curricula, teach and assess them. It does mean that the action of every individual in student progress needs to be critiqued and constantly evaluated.

  • Exceptional Business Presentations from Management Studies Students

    2012/05/30 03:30:09 PM

     

    Module faciltators Ms Patience Hlatswako (second left) and Mr Evan Jones ( fourth right) with winning team.

     

    Students from the College of Law and Management Studies recently participated in an intercampus contest in which they presented business proposals for small start-up businesses.


    The event is held at the close of each semester and forms an important component of the Integrated Business Studies module.

    The business proposal presentations make up a significant proportion of students’ final assessments in a module that contributes to the purpose of the BCom programme in terms of developing critical approaches, critical thinking, understanding of the South African business context, group work, and effective communication, research and presentation skills.

    Students impressed their audience at the Graduate School of Business auditorium, receiving remarkable reviews from a panel of experts.

    ‘Our students worked hard to come up with such innovative and creative business ideas,’ said module director Dr Dianna Moodley. ‘They displayed extraordinary professionalism and incredible presentation and entrepreneurial skills ­- to see these young people get up on that stage and give everything they had was truly a joy. To watch them engage and respond with such confidence to some challenging interrogation from the audience made us proud of each and every one of them.

    ‘It makes it all worthwhile to be given the opportunity to inspire and empower young minds. Emerging talent like this shows promise of an optimistic prospect for South African business,’ said Moodley.

    A member of the adjudicating panel, Dr Angela James, said she was ‘impressed by the student ethic and work quality which have been developed over this short period. The motivation and spirit displayed among the team members during the presentations was great and it was rewarding to see students thinking out of the box while making this applicable to real life taking into account social, economic and environmental aspects.’

    ‘Yes, if we want to grow the entrepreneurial actions of the youth there has to be a starting point…this is it!’

  • Lively Presentation of Problem-based Learning

    2012/05/30 04:30:09 PM

     L-R Mr Doug Engelbrecht and Dr Fayth Ruffin in conversation

     

    Dr Fayth Ruffin, from the School of Management, IT and Governance, presented a well-received seminar entitled ‘ Exploring Problem-based Learning’ as part of the Dean of Teaching and Learning’s ongoing forum series in the College of Law and Management Studies.


    Dr Ruffin took the participants at the seminar – some of whom were from other colleges – through the learning journey that she undertook with her 120 students in the module Introduction to Public sector HR Management.

    Dr Ruffin said, ‘Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered teaching and learning modality designed to develop critical thinking and analytical skills and abilities. Although controversial, PBL is ‘international property’, being used across multiple continents and through many disciplines including the health sciences, law, accounting, engineering, ICT, management, and public administration.’

    Dr Ruffin shared her passion for PBL as a 21st century pedagogy that promotes internationalized education, and her hour-long presentation generated another hour of interactive discussion about how PBL, or derivatives thereof, can help motivate students, encourage academic achievement, and better prepare students for the workplace.

    Outcomes of the interactive discussion include Dr Ruffin collaborating with the Dean of Teaching and Learning's office to convene workshops for academics wishing to generate both critical thinking and performance improvement of students through problem-based learning.

  • Professor Kriben Pillay Delivers Public Lecture at CUT

    2012/05/31 09:27:42 AM

    Prof Kriben lecture at CUT

    L-R: Profesor Albert Strydom, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Professor Kriben Pillay and Professor Desere Kokt, Research Professor in Leisure Management

     

    Professor Kriben Pillay, Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, was honoured by the invitation to deliver a public lecture at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein recently.

    The invitation was extended to Professor Pillay by the Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, Professor Albert Strydom.

    Professor’s Pillay hour-long address, which was attended by members of the University’s executive management, academics and members of the public, was entitled ‘Mindful Leadership and the Perils of Ordinary Perception’.

    Professor Pillay said that his talk emphasized the importance of mindfulness as an essential evolutionary capacity for being in today's complex world. He referred to both the latest research in leadership education and to the social change model Theory U from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), showing that we are hardwired for self-deception if we do not become consciously mindful.

    Professor Pillay also used his trademark illusions to provide interactive illustrations of how faulty ordinary perception can be.

    In an email to Professor Pillay, Professor Strydom wrote. ‘Thank you for the very interesting and inspiring lecture that you delivered last night. I received wonderful feedback from all my colleagues. I hope it is the first of many future engagements.’

  • Teaching and Learning Presentation on Collaborative E-Learning

    2012/07/23 12:15:52 PM

     Professor Manoj Maharaj
    Professor Manoj Maharaj

    In the latest College of Law and Management Studies Teaching and Learning forum, Professor Manoj Maharaj facilitated a wide-ranging discussion on various aspects of e-learning, with special emphasis on the use and efficacy of real-time online collaborative tools for managing geographically diverse post-graduate students.

    The presentation gave a broad overview of the nuances of e-learning, and it was pointed out that the current use of e-learning tools with traditional teaching methods necessitated defining current practices more accurately as blended learning.

    An aspect debated was the concept of the Flipped Classroom where students engage with the lecture at home via online tools such as a podcast while the traditional lecture’s contact time is used to engage with unpacking academic concepts and interactive work. More about the Flipped Classroom can be found at http://www.flippedclassroom.com/

    Maharaj, an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Information Systems in the School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, pointed to the existing UKZN infrastructure for making podcasts which was a first in South Africa but lamented it was being under-utilised at present.

  • Portrait of a Lecturer - what our students say

    2012/07/31 09:38:43 AM

    Lorraine Singh
    Dr Lorraine Singh

    In the College of Law and Management Studies’ Teaching and Learning Forum presentation, Dr Lorraine Singh began a conversation with staff about our lecturing skills by looking at the picture we present of ourselves in our lectures. She raised the following questions: ‘Are we actually sabotaging what we say by how we say it? Do we make the best use of our contact time with students by really making contact? The presentation examined some techniques that could be used to make communication in the classroom more effective. Dr Singh’s presentation also touched upon the need to be aware of microphone techniques when lecturing in large venues, and how to deal with the contentious issues of identity and accent, without forsaking clarity of communication. She also highlighted one specific negative habit which students find off-putting, and that is the habit of lecturers simply reading from their lecturer slides rather than engaging with the students in more dynamic ways.

    Dr Lorraine Singh has been involved in the field of Drama in Education for the past 35 years. She spent many years as Education Specialist for Speech and Drama in the Provincial Department of Education and is currently a lecturer in the School of Education, UKZN. She completed her Masters in Educational Theatre at New York University. Her PhD from UKZN focuses on the development of the Arts and Culture curriculum for schools. Her research interests are applied theatre, arts education, and narrative enquiry. She has appeared in in the TV series Generations, Jozi H, and Fallen on SABC TV.

    After the presentation, the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay, offered to arrange workshops for College staff who are interested in improving their lecturing skills. Interested staff members may contact Professor Pillay directly (pillaykri@ukzn.ac.za).

  • Motivational talk to mothers and caregivers of people with autism

    2012/09/03 03:42:31 PM

    Motivational presentation on Autism 
    Professor Kriben Pillay (centre) delivered a motivational talk to mothers and caregivers of people with autism.

    Professor Kriben Pillay, College Dean of Teaching and Learning in the College of Law and Management Studies, presented a motivational talk through the medium of magic to mothers and caregivers of people with autism at the Action in Autism Supermum’s Pamper Day on 25 August 2012.

    This annual event continues to grow and provide a space of respite, network and much needed pampering to those who care for and support people with autism. Action in Autism is a non-profit lobbyist, advocacy and support organisation founded by parents of people with autism. One of its established projects is a South African first: an Early Learning Intervention Centre and Resource Centre that provides pivotal resource and intervention to learners aged 2-6 years. As a non-profit organisation, Action in Autism receives all its funding from kind benefactors and private sponsorships.

    Pillay supports Action in Autism through his magic shows, where fees earned for his presentations go to towards assisting organisations like Action in Autism.

    “Magic, as a performing art, works on a number of levels – it is both entertaining and instructional, but also has the ability to instil a sense of wonder, which is too often lacking in our lives, where we’re constantly in a rush chasing questionable goals. In some cases, I show that many of these goals are more illusory than the illusions that I are construct as entertainment,” said Professor Pillay. “But more importantly, magic allows me to give back to those in need in our various communities.”


    Action in Autism has recently won the following awards:
    • The empowerment award from The Institute of People’s Management at their 16th Annual Women’s Convention hosted at the ICC, Durban, 2011.
    • The ROSSSCA community award for outstanding contribution to community, 2011.
    • The McCarthy Staff Development Fund Award for 2011.

    More can be learnt about Action in Autism at www.actioninautism.org.za.

  • College Teaching and Learning hosts Problem-based Learning Workshop

    2012/09/26 03:22:30 PM

    Problem Solving Workshop  
    L-R Ms Robyn Basnett, Ms Charmaine Lathlieff, Dr Fayth Ruffin and Mr Bongani Qwabe

     

    The office of the College Dean of Teaching and Learning in Law and Management Studies hosted a day-long workshop on Problem-based Learning (PBL), which was facilitated by Dr Fayth Ruffin from the School of Management, IT and Governance.

    Dr Ruffin said, ‘Problem-based learning is a student-centered teaching and learning modality designed to develop critical thinking and analytical skills and abilities. Although controversial, PBL is ‘international property’, being used across multiple continents and through many disciplines including the health sciences, law, accounting, engineering, ICT, management, and public administration.’

    One of the participants, Ms Robyn Basnett, a lecturer in the School of Accounting, Economics and Finance said. "As a relatively new academic, I am constantly trying to understand and achieve the best ‘teaching and learning’ for my students. Problem-based Learning offers a brilliant alternative to the traditional lecture-centred approach, and is something that I will be trying to incorporate in my own course."

    Ms Basnett added that she believed PBL has very good potential for UKZN’s students as a whole.

    The workshop provided participants with the opportunity to see how other academics approach their courses, and interrogating the Module Templates gave them the time to actually focus on the objectives and teaching approach towards their courses.

  • UK Dean meets with the Teaching and Learning Unit

    2012/12/04 02:34:53 PM

     Professor Mark Schofield, Ms Prim Naidoo, Dr Dianna Moodley and Dr Angela James (acting Head of the Teaching and Learning Unit)

    The University Dean of Teaching and Learning from Edge Hill University in the UK, Professor Mark Schofield, held a lengthy discussion with the academic staff in the College of Law and Management Studies’ Teaching and Learning Unit and Professor Kriben Pillay, the College Dean of Teaching and Learning. The purpose of the discussion was twofold: exploring the role of the Unit, and providing insights and strategies on how this role could be extended and developed in the College.

    In particular, the conversation focused on the relationship between the Unit and the Schools in the College: Are academic staff aware of the actions and the activities that are undertaken by the Unit? Is the Unit seen as the place where students are sent to be fixed? What is the future of the Unit? How is the Unit making itself visible in the college?

    Professor Schofield supported the Unit’s role in the professional development of staff when he heard about the actions currently underway of observing staff lecturing and having post lecture discussions. In turn, Professor Schofield asked how could this could gain traction among many academics; how could it be scaled up and extended across the Schools and how could more people be involved?

    Professor Schofield shared his vast experience of similar units in the UK and how some of these overcame marginalisation and developed identities that were integral to their universities’ vision and mission.

    Professor Schofield’s visit to the Teaching and Learning Unit was the outcome of Professor Pillay visiting Edge Hill in June 2012.

  • Presentation Pays Tribute to Professor Bhowan

    2012/12/18 09:38:34 AM

    Professor Kanti Bhowan

    The final teaching and learning presentation in the College of Law and Management Studies was entitled “Learning and the Art of Wonder”, and was given by the College Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Kriben Pillay.

    Pillay explained that the ninety minute presentation had a few main objectives.

    “This was about sharing the wonder of learning, and the role of play in developing a questioning mind. It was also about having an entertaining look at some of the major disciplines in our College, and through this, sharing my own practice of teaching. Lastly, but not least, it was an opportunity to pay tribute to one of our long standing teachers, Professor Kanti Bhowan, who retires at the end of this year after 36 years at this university.”

    In a thank you message, Professor Bhowan, who assumed many leadership roles during his years at UKZN, wrote:

    “Thank you for giving me recognition for my service to UKZN over the past 36 years. It has been a roller coaster journey, with many ups and downs, but it has all been worth it.
    Your kind gesture contributes towards bringing closure to a very long chapter in my life. I really enjoyed the whole event that you organised today. Thank you for inviting me to share a wonderful afternoon with you and many of our esteemed colleagues. It will remain as a pleasant and lasting memory to me for so many years to come. Thank you for making this day a memorable one for me. “

    Professor Pillay also took the opportunity to say farewell to Mrs Virginia Ngidi (Aunty V), who also retired after many years of service to UKZN as a general assistant in the Graduate School of Business and Leadership.

    “Aunty V played her own part in helping us deliver quality teaching and learning over the years. Without her meticulous attention to detail – like checking that we had all the necessary materials for the classroom, and that teas were made on time for our block release students, etc – we would have been lost,” said Pillay.


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