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 E^merging E^Learning for Physics home

“Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking.”

- Carl Sagan (1996, p. 25)

In any Science field, including Physics and Astronomy, it is important to remain abreast of new online
assessment methods to cater for the 21 st century student (i.e. millennial generation).
The prevalent implementation of learning technologies within Higher Education (HE) in general has
made it evident that eLearning serves a critical need, especially in developing-world contexts where
HE institutions have limited resources. eLearning in an academic context is defined here as the use of
time and space independent application(s) designed to deliver multimedia content, such as
assessments, discussions and communications both to academics and students.

Emerging learning technologies (eTools) within the learning and teaching environments of physics
are generally underutilised in South Africa’s HE. The need for, and use of, these eTools is of utmost
importance as national HE institutions are working towards a common goal within the context of a
global education transformation. The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UWC is currently
making use of various eTools for both theory and laboratory sessions. With the 21st century well
under way, it is still vital to introduce both academics and students to emerging technologies to
enhance their current learning and teaching practices, especially within complex, developing-world
contexts.

By further leveraging eTools, learning and teaching practices within the Department of Physics and
Astronomy can be better aligned with the Institutional Operating Plan (IOP) White Paper of UWC
(2016 - 2020). The IOP specifically states that “[s]trengthening the informed use of technologies in
learning and teaching is a central feature of the plan”, and further states that the “use of technologies
must be underpinned by pedagogical rationales which draw on their potential to transform learning
and teaching, especially by facilitating the active participation of students” (UWC, 2016, p. 19).

In relation to the above, research will focus on,

a) alignment of emerging technologies to traditional (behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism)
    -and digital age (connectivism) learning theories,

b) development of theoretical eLearning models to support the implementation of eTools within
     HE,

c) design, development, integration and evaluation of eTools within Physics undergraduate and
    postgraduate learning and teaching environments,

d) the adoption and implementation of emerging technologies by Physics academic and support
    staff,

e) linking eTools to Physics and Astronomy’s curriculum design which involves multiple facets,

  •  global collaboration (with instructional designers, educational technologist, academicdevelopers, subject matter  experts)
  •  the use of online eTools (current and emerging)
  • evaluation of eTools (pilot projects)
  • ​engagement of students with 21 st Century skills
f) constantly researching the latest emerging technologies to check educational

affordability/compatibility to Physics and Astronomy learning and teaching environments for
both academics and students (and related alignment with learning theories),
g) reflecting and reviewing on ‘best’ learning and teaching practices using emerging technology
within Department,
h) aligning eTools use within physics to the university’s Charter of Graduate Attributes,
thus supporting the IOP’s goal of promoting learning and teaching “as a research-led process”, while
further positioning eLearning as a vital role-player in promoting the Graduate Attributes (UWC, 2016,
p. 16).


References
1) Sagan, C. (1996). The demon-haunted world: Science as a candle in the dark. New York:
Ballantine Books.
2) University of the Western Cape. (2016). Institutional Operating Plan 2016-2020 white paper.

Retrieved from HERE


Published Papers

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4) In Progress
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