Update from the HELTASA Foundation Special Interest Group (SIG)

In November 2015, CPUT became the HELTASA Foundation SIG convenor. As convenor institution we have been responsible for helping to build the profile of the SIG and encourage continued dialogue, practice sharing and research into extended and foundation provisions. At the recent HELTASA conference in November 2016, the SIG facilitated an interesting dialogue session with colleagues from across South Africa. A primary aim of this session was to review the role and relevance of ECP and foundation provisions in the context of deep contestations around equity, transformation and access brought about by student protests in 2015 and 2016. Below is a short video summary of the event and the key insights it generated.

YouTube link 



ECP classroom Fikas kick-off

Often the most productive and stimulating professional conversations take place in informal and casual ways. The ECP classroom Fika is an attempt to capitalise on this dynamic and create a space where productive, interesting and stimulation conversations and discussions about topics which affect ECP lecturers directly can be discussed. These sessions have been taking place since 2015 and over the years it has attracted a healthy following among ECP lecturers and academics keen to talk ‘classroom practice’, ‘curriculum’ and discuss the topical issues facing our sector. The fresh coffee, sandwiches and cake make these conversation just a bit more pleasant.


2017 ECP Classroom Fikas

The first classroom Fika for 2017 will take place on 10 and 17 May on both the Bellville and Cape Town campuses. We will be looking at the NBT and NSC results profiles for 2016 and consider how these results can provide vital insights about our current students’ educational needs. We look forward to seeing you there!


Exciting events for ECP lecturers in term two

Summer appears to have made a surprised appearance in mid-April although I don’t think anyone is complaining. The good weather could also signal a positive start to our academic term and encourage enthusiastic participation in the various teaching and learning support activities planned for Term Two. Below is a quick overview of some of the anticipated events ECP lecturers can look forward to participating in…

ECP Classroom Fikas

  • 10 and 17 May (Who are our students? Considering the NSC and NBT results as a way characterise our students’ educational needs)
  • 1 and 8 May (How well do ECP students really do? Preliminary results from a pilot throughput analysis project)

Teaching and Learning in ECP Seminar Series

  • Dr Honji Conana and Prof Delia Marshall from UWC will be share insights about there research which offer some comparative commentary on curriculum interventions that seek to enhance disciplinary problem-solving in both ECP and mainstream Physics classrooms. Their presentation will be based on their recently published article in CriSTal ( find article here)

Writing to Learn – an Action Research Project (with critical friend sessions)

  • This project which started last year, aims to encourage ECP lecturers to undertake small scale action research projects to enhance their teaching and learning practice and develop reflective practitioner qualities.
  • A short introductory workshop exploring the action research methodology will be run in mid-May
  • Critical friend sessions are facilitated feedback and support sessions run on both the Cape Town and Bellville campus which offer a structured but nurturing space for action researchers to talk about their research and showcase the progress they are making with their projects


NBT departmental feedback sessions

  • 23 departments participated in the NBT tests in March.
  • Feedback sessions tailored to departmental needs will start to take place in May. These sessions will be facilitated by staff at CETAP (who administer the NBT) and will offer both detailed descriptions of students’ test results and encourage discussions around how specific pedagogic and curriculum changes can be implemented to better serve students’ educational needs.