Progressio <p><strong>Open Access</strong></p> <p><em>Progressio</em> is a peer-reviewed, open access, scholarly journal that provides an opportunity for researchers and practitioners in teaching and learning, particularly in higher education, in the areas of open, distance and e-learning; online learning; digital technology; and flexible education to publish their articles. The journal is read by researchers, leaders, managers, policy makers and practitioners in specialist distance education institutions, as well as those using flexible learning and digital educational technologies in conventional contact institutions. Progressio is accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training.</p> <p> </p> en-US (Oupa Mashile) (Mohamed Z Motala) Mon, 01 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 OJS 60 Curriculum Inquiry as a Contextualised Social Practice within an Activity System <div> <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In educational literature, ample curriculum models adopt product-oriented approaches based on linear, sequential design, review and renewal processes. Correspondingly, managerialism perspectives imposed by external and internal stakeholders, national policy frameworks and quality assurance mechanisms emphasise the technicalities of curriculum inquiry within a bureaucratic system as a means to an end. This paper aims to reposition curriculum inquiry as a contextualised social practice within an activity system. <a name="_Hlk164416143"></a>To this end, the six core elements of Engeström’s second-generation Activity Theory were used as an analytic lens to examine the activity system of a coursework-based master’s degree programme <a name="_Hlk164415988"></a>in a specialised field of study. This academic programme is a unique offering at a large research-intensive university, contributing to the ‘green’ economy in South Africa. Within this activity system, the existing curriculum of this academic programme constituted the unit of analysis. Curriculum documentation was used as the primary data source. The curriculum data was analysed using the semantics dimension of Maton’s Legitimation Code Theory (LCT). The results and findings of this analysis revealed tensions and contradictions within the activity system of this coursework-based master’s degree programme that constrain its inherent potential to equip students with professional expertise in climate change and sustainable development.</span></p> </div> Marianne Bester Copyright (c) 2024 Marianne Bester Mon, 10 Jun 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Student Learning Experiences and Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic at the University of Free State <p>South African universities were closed nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. On-campus learning was suspended, and on-campus student accommodation was closed from March 2020, with phased returns to campus continuing until early 2022. The study intended to identify categories of students whose learning and well-being were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide empirical evidence to inform initiatives to support these students better. An online cross-sectional survey completed by 1 562 respondents studying at a South African university explored students’ experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on students’ learning and well-being, subjective social status, sense of coherence, and future anxiety. Multivariable regression models showed younger age (18 to 21 years), female gender, low subjective social status, and isiZulu and English home language were significantly associated with lower well-being. Regression analysis also showed a significant association between the dimensions of manageability and meaningfulness of sense of coherence and well-being and that high levels of future anxiety were associated with lower well-being. Half of the respondents (49.6%) reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their overall student experience. However, more than half (51.2%) prefer online to face-to-face learning and found it less time-consuming (63.5%). The results could assist universities in introducing appropriate support services targeting young female students with low subjective social status to support the mental health and well-being of those most affected by the pandemic</p> Semira Pillay, Lise Kriel, Frank Magaya Copyright (c) 2024 Semira Pillay, Lise Kriel, Frank Magaya Wed, 24 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Navigating Source Code Plagiarism Challenges: Strategies to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 Disruptions <div> <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In South Africa, the immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a hard lockdown, which shocked the educational community. The disruption to teaching and learning was particularly profound for first-year computing students, especially those with disadvantaged backgrounds. One of the biggest impacts of emergency remote teaching and learning was on assessment, which is widely regarded as the driving force of learning, particularly in the programming context. Source code plagiarism emerged as a prevalent practice during the pandemic due to the challenges students face, including infrastructure limitations, learning in isolation, and the opportunities presented by online continuous assessment practices. Through an empirical study, the authors, as academics, investigated the occurrence of source code plagiarism during the COVID-19 lockdown period, along with the transition required to adjust to a post-COVID setting. The different theories that drive behaviour and decision-making in this context are analysed, and qualitative data is collected using open-ended questionnaires. Findings yield vital recommendations for the mitigation of source code plagiarism. Reflecting on the findings suggests that engaging students on source code plagiarism can assist in establishing shared norms, playing a positive role in reducing source code plagiarism. This is necessary, especially with the recent introduction of artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT, which may take source code plagiarism to a new level. Academics face long-term challenges and exciting opportunities in addressing source code plagiarism issues in the post-COVID context of integrating online and face-to-face modalities.</span></p> </div> Linda du Plessis, Imelda Smit Copyright (c) 2024 Linda du Plessis, Imelda Smit Thu, 04 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of the Use of Online Examinations in an Open and Distance Learning Environment <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">This phenomenological study explored undergraduate students’ perceptions of the usefulness and ease of using online examinations in relation to the practicality and security of those who enrolled for Teaching Mathematics in the FET Phase. The perception theory, which outlines positive and negative perceptions, was used to underpin this study. An interpretive paradigm was also used as the study employed a phenomenological qualitative research design. The study generated data from 12 students who participated in semi-structured telephone interviews. The findings of the study revealed both positive and negative perceptions of online examinations. Positive perceptions that made online examination pleasurable were cost saving and saving on travel time, writing at one’s own pace and space, submitting answer sheets online, getting immediate feedback, and writing online and offline. On the other hand, negative perceptions included difficulties in using the Invigilator App, noise pollution, network connectivity, and load shedding. The study suggests that students identify spaces where they can easily access a stable internet network with no noise pollution. </span></p> Tšhegofatšo Phuti Makgakga Copyright (c) 2023 Tšhegofatšo Phuti Makgakga Fri, 27 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Challenges of Teaching and Learning under Lockdown at Wits University: Implications for the Future of Blended Learning <div> <p class="Abstract"><span lang="EN-GB">In response to social distancing regulations of 2020 aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, universities had to rapidly transition from face-to-face learning to Emergency Remote Teaching and Learning (ERTL). University students and staff faced many barriers to reliably accessing online platforms, together with widespread psychosocial challenges associated with the pandemic. This article reports on these challenges, juxtaposing the experiences of university staff members and students at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits). This study used a mixed methods design and drew on two university-wide surveys for staff and one for students, followed by in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs). Of those invited, 9% of the student body and 7% of staff responded, with 43 students and 22 staff members participating in the interviews and discussions. Three overarching challenges emerged for both staff and students: 1) <em>physical limitations,</em> including poor access to reliable internet, compounded by persistent power outages; 2) <em>pedagogical</em><em>challenges</em> as staff and students adjusted to a new learning modality; and 3) <em>balancing</em> aspects of personal life and wellbeing with work and studies, including remaining productive while contending with family responsibilities and emotional challenges brought about by the pandemic. The study highlights several issues, including structural considerations and the importance of promoting a sense of community and belonging, that should be considered as the University transitions to blended learning. </span></p> </div> Fezile Wagner, Mxolisi Masango, Shirra Moch, Greig Krull, Ryan G. Wagner, Laura Dison, Diane Grayson Copyright (c) 2024 Fezile Wagner, Mxolisi Masango, Shirra Moch, Greig Krull, Ryan G. Wagner, Laura Dison, Diane Grayson Wed, 24 Apr 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Demotivating Online Formative Assessment Strategies at an Open Distance Learning University <p>Online formative assessment strategies are an important element in the level of engagement needed for motivating students learning online in open distance learning (ODL) because they are key in offering large-scale interactive participation. While many studies have looked at the advantages of online formative assessment strategies, they have neglected demotivating online formative assessment strategies that students struggle with. To ensure the quality of the online assessment, it is also important to understand the nature of assessment practices that demotivate students from persisting with their studies. This is because the type of online assessment that students struggle with should guide the choice and design of the online formative assessment strategies. Therefore, this article identifies online formative assessment strategies that demotivate students from participating persistently in online formative assessment in ODL in order to improve the design and development of online learning. This study used a developmental research approach to carry out a descriptive quantitative case study survey involving 112 purposefully sampled students, of which 58 responded, who were registered for a master’s in education in ODL course at an ODL university in South Africa. A thematic coding process was adopted during the analysis of students’ responses to an online Google form. Though students differed in their choices of the online formative assessment strategies that demotivated them in their studies, there was consensus on seven significant themes. The socio-technological perspective and the self-determination theory were used as the theoretical frameworks to drive the investigation since they encompassed all relevant aspects of the design of online learning and motivation to learn online. Information regarding demotivating online formative assessment strategies provide insight to course leaders and instructional designers attempting to build successful online learning strategies that motivate students to participate persistently in online learning environments. </p> Antonia Makina Copyright (c) 2023 Antonia Makina Wed, 18 Oct 2023 00:00:00 +0000 Students’ Experiences of Tippy Tube Video-assisted Learning during the COVID-19 Lockdown in an Open and Distance Learning Environment <p>The University of South Africa (Unisa) College of Education (CEDU) set up Tippy Tube as an online educational video channel to engage lecturers around the country. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which was declared a global pandemic on 11 March 2020, imposed a lockdown period from February to August 2021. This article reports on a study that explored how the use of Tippy Tube optimised support to first-year mathematics education students at Unisa during the lockdown. Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory (TDT) underpinned the study. The study used a qualitative research design to explore students’ views on whether the Tippy Tube tool had optimised student support in the mathematics education module during the lockdown. The module has five units and five Tippy Tube videos were developed for each unit. Open-ended questionnaires were administered to 100 purposively sampled first-year mathematics education students. Only 21 respondents completed the questionnaires. Thematic analysis was then used to analyse the data from the open-ended questionnaire responses. The findings of the study revealed that Tippy Tube video-assisted learning had benefitted the students in mathematics education. Further, the study findings suggested that lecturers can consider using the Tippy Tube tool to teach students mathematics and other disciplines as they are able to replay the videos for the purpose of clarity if they did not understand the videos during live presentations.</p> Tšhegofatšo P Makgakga Copyright (c) 2023 Tšhegofatšo P Makgakga Tue, 06 Jun 2023 00:00:00 +0000