In October, the Departments of Humanities Education and Early Childhood Education combined forces to present a scheduled orientation for the NMQ 801 module related to the intake of new M Ed students who have been accepted for 2018. The purpose of this orientation weekend was to support these students in this challenging, yet exciting academic endeavour.
This was an intensive orientation programme, geared towards providing students with the necessary background knowledge on how to manage the on-line environment of the university and how to start with their research proposal. The Friday morning session was especially designed for “new comers”: students who had not been registered at UP before and were not familiar with either the blendid learning model of the university or the physical surroundings of the beautiful Groenkloof campus. Students have learned how to navigate their way around ClickUP - the UP electronic classroom; Endnote, an electronic referencing tool; Turnitin, a plagiarism detection programme, and various other information-related websites and repositories.
This induction was done by Me Detken Scheepers and Dr Lynette Nagel from the Department of Education Innovation. It was followed by a valuable session lead by Me Sonja Delport where students were being equipped with library matters, such as information searches, navigation around the Academic Information Site; databases; Endnote plagiarism and referencing. Students were supported to install software on their own devices. By the end of the day the students ought to have gained some confidence and familiarity with these key skills needed before engaging with their research. The late afternoon/evening took the form of a Meet-and-Greet where students were given an overview of the module and expectations of a Master’s student while also being introduced to their postgraduate peers.
After a lovely ice-breaker by Dr Yolandi Woest, background to the institution and the blended learning model were communicated by the welcoming words of the two HOD’s, Prof Johan Wassermann and Prof Ina Joubert. The outline of the research proposal was then discussed by Dr Alta Engelbrecht to help students to see the bigger picture of what the challenge of a proposal entails. Dr Hanlie Dippenaar from CPUT then facilitated a session on the mutual expectations of the student and the supervisor, wherafter both parties engaged in personal discussions with their supervisors over supper at Ed’s Diner on campus.
The Saturday morning session were introduced by motivational reflections of two successful students, Philip Mirken and Heather Erasmus, from previous years. The research wheel discussion by Prof Ina Joubert and Dr Keshni Bipath really got the students started and in the report back sessions it became clear that the students were internalising the content and the challenge that this module poses. The highlight of the two days was undoubtedly the workshop by Prof Rinelle Evans on the structure of journal articles, reading strategies; writing strategies as well as practical tips, recipes and examples pertaining to the research process.
The yearly orientation of the provisionally accepted students has been proved to be a huge success in the past two years. It has been an asset to our departments as it supports and enables students to successfully complete the course within the prescribed two year time frame.