MUT staff presentation dominate Teaching with Technology summit

Nokuthula Msweli

The University’s Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) has again brought together like-minded individuals to Durban to share their views on how technology impacts teaching and learning in higher education. According to the organizing committee, the summit brought together a diverse group of delegates with a keen interest in the implications of AI in higher education.

Out of 25 papers that were presented, 15 were presented by the MUT staff. This is a usual trend; the University staff rises to the occasion when required to. They have been the backbone of the annual Focus Conference. One of the new kids on the block was Nokuthula Msweli, a Lab Technician from the Department of Electrical Engineering. Co-writer of the paper, which was titled: The Layers of Artificial Intelligence using IFM Technology at MUT.

Some of the other MUT presenters were Dr Sibonelo Mbanjwa, a Lecturer in the Department of Nature Conservation, who presented a paper titled ‘Transforming Education: a Comprehensive Exploration of AI Integration for Personalized Learning, Intelligent Tutoring Systems and Student Performance Impact; Nomfundo Gabuza, a Mathematics and Basic Numeracy lecturer at the TLDC, and Dr Themba Mthethwa, a Deputy Director/Senior Researcher at Mangosuthu University of Technology, focusing on advancing mathematics and science education. Their paper was ‘Enhancing Adaptive Learning Systems for Tailored Assessment and Insight into Student Requirements in Higher Education Mathematics.

The MUT presentation that drew much attention was that by Dr Lindelani Qwabe, an Acting Head of the Department of Chemistry. Dr Qwabe’s presentation was ‘Integration of AI in the curriculum of hard and hard applied knowledge fields. Dr Qwabe argued that theuse of AI tools such as ChatGPT plays an important role in promoting the effective learning of science and technology learners. The use of technology in science and engineering education has been practiced for some time but is limited to instrumentation or the operation of machines, rather than other aspects of the curriculum, resulting in less exposure of learners to learning using technology”. Dr Qwabe said that science teaching in the African context has remained largely traditional and more teacher-centered, with technology being regulated by the teachers who use it. Those who use technology are predominantly at the substitution and augmentation stage of the substitution augmentation modification and redefinition (SAMR) model and at the D quadrant of the teacher change framework (TCF)”, he said.  Dr Qwabe illustrated how AI could be integrated into science curricula in a way that would enable students to learn effectively in these areas.