BbWorld: University closure: Harnessing a perfect storm for teaching innovation

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    The 2016 academic year will be recorded in the history of higher education in South Africa as a turning point. The University of Pretoria experienced on-going, often violent, student protests. Eventually, the University of Pretoria was constrained to announce that all its academic programmes would be concluded through largely online teaching. Fortuitously, the decision was aligned with a prior decision taken by the University in 2015 to adopt a hybrid teaching approach. The LMS became mission critical for effective student communication during the period when courses were presented largely online. Instructors used synchronous and asynchronous technologies to facilitate lectures and alternative assessment methodologies were developed and enhanced. The stability of the LMS was critical for providing support to teaching in a context in which system instability routinely disrupted other South African universities’ systems. The partnership with Blackboard, the maturity of use, and adoption contributed to the completion of the academic year. This presentation will be a critical appraisal of the expansion of the online modalities of the hybrid model when in-person teaching was not possible.

     

    Presenter: Dolf Jordaan & Norman Duncan,University of Pretoria