The 27-29 March 2019 saw yet another moment for the MUT instalment of the Teaching and Learning Colloquium / Conference. This was the 7th conference and it did not disappoint. Consistently, the Teaching and Learning Development Centre (TLDC) has delivered a sterling event second to none. It has become cliched to say “everything went well.”
The most important part of the event does not happen in full view of conference participants. This part happens during planning and preparations. The execution appears flawless mostly because of the intense behind-the-scenes-planning efforts. A big up goes to the conference team who never disappoint despite the enormous logistical pressures that come with the task of arranging such an august event with unfailing commitment and excellence.
On 11-13 April 2018, MUT hosted its 6th Teaching and Learning Colloquium, which was once again a flagship conference for the University. The theme of this year’s event was “The Future of Higher Education in the 21st Century: The Big Technology Balancing Act?”
This year 133 delegates from 11 universities – including 87 from MUT – converged on the Southern Sun Elangeni hotel in Durban to participate in the conference. The 10 other universities represented were University of Zululand, Walter Sisulu University, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Venda, Durban University of Technology, University of Mpumalanga, Vaal University of Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the University of Limpopo.
The colloquium also hosted renowned keynote speakers and workshop facilitators including Prof William Cope from University of Illinois, Prof Ahmed Bawa from Universities South Africa (USAf), Dr Whitfield Green from DHET, and Prof Christine Winberg from CPUT.
The first day of the colloquium started with a keynote address by Dr Green, followed by oral and poster presentations. The day was wrapped up with a networking cocktail event. The second day kicked off with an address by our DVC, Prof M Ramogale, who was Acting Vice-Chancellor at the time, followed by a keynote address from Prof Bawa, a panel discussion led by Prof N Ndlazi, and keynote presentations by professors Cope and Kalantzis. After another round of oral presentations in the afternoon, the day concluded with a gala dinner and the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony. The final day was devoted to further workshop sessions led by various facilitators.
The second MUT colloquium was held on 8 May 2014 at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban. The theme of this colloquium was “The Professionalisation of Teaching in Higher Education”. Like its precursor, the 2014 colloquium was enriched by presentations from three prominent keynote speakers: Prof Chrissie Boughey from Rhodes University, Prof Loyiso Jita from the University of the Free State and Dr Nosakhere Griffin-EL from the University of Cape Town. The three speakers contributed a wealth of insight from their respective contexts, leading to some robust and enriching academic discussions amongst delegates.
Going forward, the TLDC has mooted the idea of elevating the annual Teaching and Learning Colloquium to a national conference in order to enhance the breadth and depth of the engagements, and to position MUT as a serious and key player in the sector.
The mega-colloquium, to which all academic members of staff from MUT were invited, revolved around the theme of “Fostering Quality Teaching and Learning in Higher Education”. This is a pertinent topic not just for MUT but for the entire higher education sector as it grapples with how to produce quality graduates relevant for 21st century needs.
The engagement of two keynote speakers of international repute helped make the colloquium a resounding success. Prof Keith Trigwell from the University of Sydney, Australia, brought in international perspectives on teaching and learning, as well as the state of current knowledge and research on the subject. Prof Ian Scott from the University of Cape Town blended the theme of the conference with a lively presentation on the recent CHE proposal for a flexible undergraduate curriculum structure, focusing especially on how this might help in improving student success in South African higher education. These topical issues generated considerable interest amongst the participants.