The key role of the Centre is to provide support to academics and students through a variety of initiatives, programmes and services in three key areas: teaching development which encapsulates professional development and professionalization of academic staff, the development of student learning, and the integration of technology enhanced learning (TeL). The professionalization of higher education teaching practices is taken seriously by the TLC and is undertaken through formal and less formal platforms such as the Post Graduate Diploma in Higher Education and Training (PDHET), workshops and round table discussions. This aspect is also strengthened through promoting engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The PGDHET programme is a full qualification consisting of four compulsory modules and one elective module. Each of the modules may also be undertaken as individual Continuing Education (CE) courses by individuals whose schedules cannot accommodate the entire qualification or by staff who are registered for another qualification.
The individual CE courses are certificated. The entire qualification is unit standards based and pegged at NQF level 8. From 2004 to date (2013), the number of staff who are PGDHET holders is 32. Notably, the recipients of the Vice Chancellor’s (VC) Excellence in Teaching Awards completed either the qualification or took some modules as short courses. We note the following recipients of the VC’s excellence in teaching awards; 2007: Ms Noreen Burton (Education) (Holder of the PGDHET) 2008: Mr Jacques Mahler (Law) (Holder of the PGDHET) 2009: Dr Marinda du Plessis (Science and Agriculture/GIS) (Holder of the PGDHET) 2010: Mr Actor Katurura (Law) (Holder of the PGDHET) 2012: Dr Dianne Shober (SS&H/ English) (only did the Assessment and Moderation module) 2013: Mrs Wendy Terblanche (M&C/ Accounting) (Currently studying towards the PGDHET) Recipients of the Research awards who also completed the PGDHET programme are Prof. Voster Muchenje and Dr Simon Kang’ethe. Prof Wakindiki, who also received the research award, completed all the modules of the PGDHET, and is to receive the diploma in the 2014 graduation ceremony. All modules of the programme are delivered by competent Academic Development practitioners. The team received a certificate of commendation for the 2013 National Excellence Awards in Teaching and Learning from the CHE/HELTASA. This accolade should assure prospective candidates of quality of both the programme and its delivery. The TLC always strives to provide an environment that enables both students and staff to improve retention and throughput. Most importantly, student support and development is designed for the maximisation of their learning potential. Student Academic Development activities include, among others, Peer Assisted Learning through the Supplemental Instruction and the Language and Writing Programmes. The TLC plays a critical role in the design and development of new learning programmes and review of existing learning programmes. We provide a theoretical grounding on curriculum design and development for academic staff, so as to enable them to design, interpret and critique learning programmes.
Policy development and review on teaching and learning matters, as well as Curriculum Development are central to our mandate. We also strive for the development and implementation of new niche areas, and innovative programmes in the domain of teaching and learning in higher education. The Centre is committed to promoting innovative integration of technology. This is done by framing the use of TeL at UFH in terms of action research that is contextually relevant. This ensures that learning about TeL is distributed across the UFH academic community, rather than held by a knowledgeable few. The TLC also consistently and continuously supports both staff and students to become conversant with pertinent TeL applications. As much as we acknowledge the importance of change or improvements in practice, we appreciate the value of theorising about teaching and learning as it gives us space to reflect critically and intelligently .
We are therefore committed to engaging in research that informs and enhances teaching and learning as well as providing platforms for sharing scholarly teaching. The annual Teaching and Learning Weeks are dedicated specifically to serving as a safe platform for critical reflection as well as dissemination of ‘codes of good practice’. Pecorino and Kincaid (2007) assert that post-secondary educators are obliged to disseminate their pedagogic research formally and/or informally . The TLC subscribes to this view and from 2013 offered opportunities for the conversion of the teaching and learning week presentations into publishable papers. We invite you to navigate our website to get a clear picture of all our programmes and initiatives.
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Dr N. Toni (Director: Teaching and Learning Centre)