Teaching and Learning to improve the academic project

The Teaching and Learning Portfolio, with Prof Ramogale, fourth from right, front row
The Teaching and Learning Portfolio, with Prof Ramogale, fourth from right, front row

The Teaching and Learning portfolio at MUT convened a lekgotla to improve the quality of academic programmes at Zimbali from 3-5 February 2019.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning, Prof Marcus Ramogale, said the lekgotla’s main purpose was to provide a platform for all in the Teaching Learning Portfolio to share ideas and plan for the 2019 academic calendar.

The Teaching and Learning Portfolio is composed of all the academic faculties, and Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC), the Quality Management Directorate (QMD), the Library, and the Co-Operative Education Directorate. These last three are called ‘enablers’ as they provide the academic faculties with resources. “The colleagues who are drivers in the respective divisions got a chance to discuss issues and ideas that were raised over the three days, which resulted in common understanding among all,” said Prof Ramogale.

The lekgotla was also an opportunity for various stakeholders with Teaching and Learning to take part in the implementation of the portfolio’s 10 priorities, which are: Training in material development, Visitor scholarship programme, Academic leadership training, Delegation of authority, Promotion of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Minimum standards for lecture halls, Institutionalisation of e-learning, Staff exchange, Decolonisation of the curriculum, and Entrepreneurship.

Drawing on Japanese philosophy, Kaizen, Prof Ramogale emphasised the importance of working together as a team, and that colleagues should regard another as potential sources of information.

Prof Ramogale also added that he wanted to “reconnect” with the portfolio leaders. He has been away from the portfolio since the beginning of 2016, when he was Acting Vice-Chancellor. To achieve maximum impact, the portfolio leaders would have to share the lekgotla resolutions with their divisions and departments, said Prof Ramogale.

Prof Ramogale said the quality of teaching and learning would be improved as all the academic departments would benefit from the enablers. Every year the TLDC requests the academic faculties to list their needs. Dr Manyane Makua, Senior Director of the TLDC, said his centre would formalise its interaction with the faculties by signing a service level agreement. Prof Ramogale said the other enablers would have to follow suit at some point.

To see to it that everyone was on the same wavelength, the enablers made presentations to the faculties, explaining what they do, and how the faculties could benefit from their services. Dr Suri Moodley, the Director of QMD, gave a presentation on the processes, and other activities that her directorate follows; like the surveys they have conducted, among other things.

Fundiswa Nofemela, the Director of the Department of Co-Operative Education, emphasised the importance of the role played by work integrated learning co-ordinators, and that it was vital for the co-ordinators to be given enough time so that the WIL students in industries would benefit more. Fundiswa also updated the portfolio members on the visit to the Waterloo University in Canada in 2018. She explained how seriously that university applied WIL, and how MUT could benefit from the Waterloo University strategy.  Fundiswa said one of the ways used by Waterloo was where students would be in a virtual organisation where they would conduct activities by which they were assessed.