The ECP co-ordinators held their final meeting for the year on Thursday 8 December in Wynberg. The meeting provided a welcome opportunity for the senior ECP staff at the institution to share their individual departmental or faculty highlights for 2016, while also looking towards the new academic year and identifying the various teaching, learning, curriculum and staff development projects on the cards for 2017.
Busy planning 2017 ECP activities
Some of the 2016 highlights
the diagnostic feedback session after the NBT pilot at Agricultural Sciences and various field-trips and excursions for students (Applied Science);
the successfully run projects with students around identity, social and community engagement and participation at the ECP Symposium in August (Architecture)
participation of staff in a very stimulating ICED/HELTASA conference in November, the consolidation with ECP colleagues in Graphic Design, the on-going curriculum revision activities, continued engagement with other ECP co-ordinators -especially during trip to the Higher Certificate meeting in Bloemfontein and the Student Learning and Development meeting with colleagues from DUT and CUT (Design)
collaborative student projects – which saw ECP and 2nd year mainstream students working together, the multiple service learning projects which brought ECP students in direct contact with the daily work of graphic designers and the communities they service (Graphic Design)
students excursions and professional development opportunities like attending the Teacher Development Programme (TDP) and pursuing masters-level studies (Interior Design)
various student and staff (experiential learning) excursions and specific courses for staff like health and safet (Engineering)
the Step-Up intervention had a positive impact on student motivation, student excursions especially to Body World, ECP staff completing their masters-level degree (Dental Technology)
the continued high achievement of ECP students as they progress through their degree and their enthusiasm and participation in leadership roles in the department (Nursing)
Lunch and a little conversation time on the lawns of Palm House in Wynberg
At last – we have reached the final days of the 2016 academic year. A year that was filled with many challenges for university lecturers and administrators as the student protests forced us to confront not only our practices, but also seriously revisit fundamental assumptions about the nature of the university, how we might want to deal with issues of transformation, inclusivity, student access and success, and how we can create a university community open and responsive to South African realities and all its communities. Of course the last few months of the academic year was also particularly taxing for our students who had to deal with much uncertainty and instability within the university setting, while also focus on final assessments and exams in less than ideal learning environments.
Alongside these multiple and competing demands, ECP staff have been actively involved in various projects and activities linked to their continual attempts to offer quality and enriched teaching and learning opportunities for their students. What follows is a brief overview of some of the exciting activities undertaken since late August
Foundation Higher Certificate – discussion meeting at the University of Free State
The ECP community at CPUT were well represented by some of our senior ECP co-ordinators at the meeting facilitated by the Department of Higher Education. The attendees then shared their insights gained from this meeting with the rest of the CPUT extended curriculum community at two ECP Classroom Fikas in September. Mari Lecanides-Arnott compiled a comprehensive and report of the meeting, which makes for some interesting reading: feedback-higher-certificate-workshop-bloemfontein-mla-31-august-2016
CPUT’s delegation to the Bloemfontein meeting
Visiting ECP colleagues and dialogue session on Student Learning and Development – 26 and 27 October
The ECP Unit hosted two colleagues from the Central University of Technology (Roan Slabbert) and Durban University of Technology (Shubman Rambharos) who have ECP faculty and institutional co-ordinating responsibilities at their respective universities. In addition to sharing insights and practices about how the extended curriculum and foundational provisions are managed and supported that their institutions, Roan and Shubman also participated in a special dialogue session which brought together multiple stakeholders involved in student learning and development. This group consisted of ECP lecturers, staff involved in tutor training, FYE and students development at CPUT and UWC. The tone of the event was structured to enhance informality, dialogue and conversation and helped to forge important linkages between colleagues with a deep commitment to student learning and development but who work in multiple sites across our institution.
Mont Fleur ECP Writing Retreat – 31 October to 2 November
16 ECP lecturers from across the region attend the special ECP Writing Retreat at Mont Fleur. Hopefully this intensive writing period will help generate new research outputs that specifically showcase the exciting and interesting work undertaken in ECP classrooms across the region.
Foundation SIG event at ICED/HELTASA Conference – 23 – 25 November
As the Foundation SIG convenors for 2016/2017, CPUT facilitate a special dialogue session with participants at the recent ICED/HELTASA conference in Cape Town. The rationale for this session was borne out of the questions raised by the recent student protests and the need to revisit the premises on which the ECP project if founded. ECP colleagues from many South African institutions participated in this dialogue session, which focused on address these two fundamental questions
What are the common understanding(s) of the values, principles and practices associated with ECP generally/broadly?
How relevant are these values given current/ongoing student protests in the university sector? Should these change/how should they change?
The session generated some interesting commentary and suggestions and reinforced the value of dialogue and conversation. A detailed evaluation report on the event will be published shortly on the Foundation SIG blog. This report will form the basis of our ongoing interrogation and reframing of principles and values informing our practices and activities as an ECP community within the SA university context.