Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning (CriSTaL) 2019-12-14T00:40:07+00:00 Sherran Clarence Open Journal Systems <p>Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning is a peer-reviewed journal that publishes scholarly articles and essays that describe, theorise and reflect on teaching and learning practice in higher (university) education continentally and globally. The editors welcome contributions that are critical and well-researched, whether they are analytical, theoretical or practice-based, as well as contributions that deal with innovative and reflective approaches to higher education teaching and learning. We are particularly interested in articles that have relevance to the South African educational context.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> ‘We teach them to be university students'. The role of peer educators in the provision of ontological access to higher education 2019-12-14T00:40:07+00:00 Chris Winberg Manyane Makua <p>In South Africa, we have been concerned with students’ epistemological access to disciplinary knowledge, but perhaps not sufficiently concerned with their ontological access into disciplinary identities. This paper argues that undertaking university studies requires the integration of epistemological access with ontological formation within disciplinary communities, and, thus, personal transformation, as well as knowledge acquisition. The focus of this study is the role of peer educators in the provision of ontological access to disciplinary identities at a South African university. The study found that student assistants who ‘are from the same backgrounds as the students’ and ‘understand where they are coming from’ were well positioned to provide ontological access to disciplines and fields. The University has developed a strong culture of students supporting students, and the paper draws on concepts of social and epistemic justice to theorise how this was achieved for the purpose of generalising these insights more widely.</p> 2019-10-10T07:22:38+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Chris Winberg, Manyane Makua Seizing opportunities: MOOC takers making time for change 2019-10-15T07:13:46+00:00 Andrew Deacon Sukaina Walji Jeff Jawitz Janet Small Tasneem Jaffer <p>We interviewed people living in African countries who have taken Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) created by the University of Cape Town to ask about their challenges, goals, and value studying online. They are drawn to taking MOOCs in part because of the claims around flexible learning opportunities for people with busy lives. A striking feature in these interviews is the many references to the challenges associated with negotiating time to study online. Here we wish to move beyond simply identifying deficit models of time or time management and rather seek to understand the value of MOOCs to people with work or career transition goals. The MOOC takers’ experiences are quite different to those in conventional degree courses as MOOC participation is voluntary and must be negotiated around existing commitments, suggesting a need for reframing of what is valued by people studying online in their own time.</p> 2019-10-10T07:02:11+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Andrew Deacon, Sukaina Walji, Jeff Jawitz, Janet Small, Tasneem Jaffer Re-imagining futures of universities of technology 2019-10-15T07:13:46+00:00 James Garraway Chris Winberg <p>Universities of Technology in South Africa emerged relatively recently from technical college-like institutions, known as Technikons. Technikons had a distinct workplace-oriented identity, while Universities of Technology lack such clarity of identity. This paper thus explores the vexing question of what constitutes the identity of Universities of Technology. In conducting the exploration, the researchers drew on Activity Theory to structure the exchange of ideas and narratives about what a future University of Technology might be. In so doing, the researchers discovered fundamental contradictions between current practices and the desirable vision. The most significant contradictions were, firstly, between the rigid, rule-bound culture and the projected need for greater organisational flexibility, and secondly between the current, highly-boundaried university to one that should embrace intra- and inter-organisational collective action. The researchers conclude that the resolution of these contradictions could chart the way forward for reimagining the identity of a University of Technology.</p> 2019-10-10T07:13:07+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 James Garraway, Christine Winberg How do students' beliefs about mathematics ability change in their first year at university? 2019-10-15T07:13:46+00:00 Anita Campbell <p>The affective dimension of students’ transition into university is an area of development that has the potential to improve student success. Large-scale research suggests that developing a growth mindset belief – that academic ability can always be expanded – may be especially helpful for first generation students. A starting point for developing growth mindsets as one type of affective support for students is to investigate how we can position students on the fixed-to-growth spectrum of beliefs about academic ability. This mixed-methods study considers the changes during their first year of university in the mindset beliefs held by two representative first-year mathematics students, one who passed and one who had to repeat the second semester of mathematics. Without experiencing interventions aimed at developing growth mindsets, both students showed small shifts towards stronger growth mindsets over their first year. Limitations with assessing mindsets are acknowledged and recommendations for future research in this area are suggested.</p> 2019-10-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Anita Campbell Encounters with coloniality: Students’ experiences of transitions from rural contexts into higher education in South Africa 2019-10-15T07:13:46+00:00 Sue Timmis Emmanuel Mgqwashu Kibbie Naidoo Patricia Muhuro Sheila Trahar Lisa Lucas Gina Wisker Thea de Wet <p>This paper makes visible the experiences of students transitioning to higher education from rural communities and backgrounds in South Africa. In line with decolonial perspectives, the research adopted a participatory methodology that involved students as co-researchers. We argue that there is a lack of recognition of students from rural contexts, and their potential to re-shape higher education. We highlight their challenges of applying, entering and participating in universities and the loss of agency experienced. We then show how they found new agentic possibilities by analysing the cultural capital, practices, and local knowledges that students bring into the university space, and the improvisations they make to negotiate challenges. We argue that to re-shape higher education and transform curricula, institutions need to bring multiple knowledges into dialogue through a transformation process that links places, people, knowledge(s), and skills, offering students spaces for recognition and visibility to make sense of their own experiences.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2019-10-10T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2019 Sue Timmis, Emmanuel Mgqwashu, Kibbie Naidoo, Patricia Muhuro, Sheila Trahar, Lisa Lucas, Gina Wisker, Thea de Wet