Saide Current Awareness
04 September 2023


Distance education 

  • Online and Distance Education for a Connected World Source: UCL Press  Learning at a distance and learning online are growing in scale and importance in higher education, presenting opportunities for large scale, inclusive, flexible and engaging learning. These modes of learning swept the world in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The many challenges of providing effective education online and remotely have been acknowledged, particularly by those who rapidly jumped into online and distance education during the crisis.
    This volume, edited by the University of London’s Centre for Online and Distance Education, addresses the practice and theory of online and distance education, building on knowledge and expertise developed in the University over some 150 years. 
  • Rethinking Problem-based Learning for the Digital Age Source: Taylor and Francis Rethinking Problem-based Learning for the Digital Age provides grounded, evidence-based strategies for teaching faculty, academic developers and educational technologists who are changing their problem-based learning (PBL) modules and programmes from face-to-face to online. Given today’s rapid advancements in learning and curriculum development specific to online and blended modes, there is considerable potential to introduce new forms of PBL in higher education. This book applies fundamental and cutting-edge research, including original scholarship by the authors, to innovative PBL practices and realistic tasks that can be brought to life through digital environments, teamwork and resources.


 Education: South Africa 


Open Education and Open Educational Resources

  • TextGenEd Collection Released Source: WAC ClearingHouse The WAC Repository, a collaboration between the WAC Clearinghouse and the Association for Writing Across the Curriculum, is pleased to announce the release of its collection, TextGenEd: Teaching with Text Generation Technologies. Edited by Annette Vee, Tim Laquintano, and Carly Schnitzler, this digital collection addresses Generative AI, perhaps the most influential technology in writing in decades. TextGenEd features undergraduate-level assignments to support students' AI literacy, rhetorical and ethical engagements, creative exploration, and professional writing, along with an Introduction to guide instructors' understanding and their selection of what to emphasize in their courses. 
  • Three ways Artificial Intelligence could change how we use Open Educational Resources Source: OER Africa Over the past year, news about Artificial Intelligence (AI) has abounded. Information about breakthroughs and new applications have become commonplace, and we have been thrust into a world where AI-enabled technologies are starting to change how we work and live. For better or for worse, we have ushered in the era of AI.....At OER Africa, we have written extensively on how Open Educational Resources (OER) might improve aspects of education, including access, relevance, and quality. Likewise, the intersection of OER and AI necessitates greater exploration, particularly given the opportunities that it offers to scale access to high quality education.
    The authors consider three ways that AI might change how we use OER.
  • OpenAI disputes authors’ claims that every ChatGPT response is a derivative work Source: Arstechnica This week, OpenAI finally responded to a pair of nearly identical class-action lawsuits from book authors—including Sarah Silverman, Paul Tremblay, Mona Awad, Chris Golden, and Richard Kadrey—who earlier this summer alleged that ChatGPT was illegally trained on pirated copies of their books.In OpenAI's motion to dismiss (filed in both lawsuits), the company asked a US district court in California to toss all but one claim alleging direct copyright infringement, which OpenAI hopes to defeat at "a later stage of the case."

Post Schooling

  • Wrestling to exist: Womanist struggles of junior scholars in South African higher education institutions Source: University World News It is imperative that we break the silence and change the narrative of black women who enter academic spaces
  • ‘Engaged University’ initiative aims to respond to SDGs Source: University World News  Universities are ideally positioned to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research, teaching and learning as well as community engagement.
    This has informed a three-year project of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA). The ‘Engaged University’ initiative calls for the use of participatory approaches towards SDG implementation at higher education institutions within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The project will be deployed across participating institutions in Europe and across the SADC.
  • SA’s higher education sector must foster more dialogues on gender dynamics, GBV and safe spaces Source: Daily Maverick Changing the mindset of men and boys within the post-school education and training sector concerning GBV is destined to be a complex mission, exacerbated by the patriarchal attitudes and practices that persist within South African higher education.
  • How six decades of solid research added value to HE policy Source: University World News This year, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) marks six decades of developing capacities in educational planning and management in UNESCO member states worldwide. We can trace its history through several key research programmes that have helped shape higher education, from its burgeoning importance in the post-independence era to today’s calls for greater flexibility and student choice.
  • UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Leadership Programme 2023 Source: UNESCO The UNESCO-UNEVOC TVET Leadership Programme aims to build the capacity of TVET leaders from around the world, supporting them to become successful and effective agents of change in their institutions and beyond. The programme is designed to update participants’ understanding of the latest developments in TVET and equip them with the skills and tools that are required for effective leadership in the TVET sector.


Skills and Employment 

  • SA’s young women are more educated, more tenacious … and more unemployed Source: Mail and Guardian Despite temporary upward trends following the pandemic, female youth employment appears to have plateaued. This is while male youth employment has grown. 
    According to Stats SA’s latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the second quarter of 2023, at least 2 million fewer women in the country were employed than men.
    Yet despite these trends, young women are more tenacious than ever. When given an equal opportunity, they seize it.   


Teaching and Learning- Local and Global

  • Using active learning to increase student engagement and understanding Source: Times Higher Education Creating an active learning environment in a large group setting is challenging. Ingrid Sierp shares ways to increase engagement, encourage attendance and gauge understanding in real time
  • Move student communication from passive to active using ‘I like, I wish, I wonder’ Source: Times Higher Education Rebeca Elizabeth Alvarado Ramírez introduces a methodology that encourages effective communication in digital learning processes
  • Teaching from the heart in 13 steps Source: Times Higher Education Engaging your students through empathy requires teachers to share their own stories and vulnerabilities and foster a safe space for learning. Here, Beiting He offers 13 ways to create a caring classroom
  • Governments should value the teaching profession – Report Source: University World News The education sector on the African continent faces various challenges, some of which always recur. They include funding, strikes and protests, poor education systems (the leading challenge), weak education policies and socio-economic issues.
    The challenges apply to both the primary and higher education sectors, especially tertiary education in Zimbabwe which has been steadily declining. Read more about policy paper titled, ‘Educating Africa for the Future Which addresses these concerns'.
  • Joys and sorrows of the noble art of academic writing - a survival manual Source: Open Book Publishers Research, Writing, and Creative Process in Open and Distance Education. Tales from the Field, edited by Dianne Conrad, a newly published title from OBP, is a collection of reflective essays about the meaning of research and writing – “as the intention of this book is to pass experience and acquired knowledge on to those who may be less experienced”. The seventeen authors are all scholars of ODL (open and distance learning), an interdisciplinary research field based on the commitment to give access to learning to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. A historical perspective on this field is given by one of the authors, Tony Bates, who traces through his personal story the footsteps of open and distance learning from the 1960s until today. 


Technology Enhanced Learning

  • AUTHOR OUTLINES AI IN EDUCATION ‘BILL OF RIGHTS’ Source: KU Today Because ignoring the artificial intelligence elephant in the room is no longer feasible, the author of a new “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights in Education” has proposed some principles for dealing with it.The editors of the new journal Critical AI published the article, written by Kathryn Conrad, University of Kansas professor of English, online in July as a sneak preview of their February 2024 issue because they “were keen to get it out so that it could be helpful as people had conversations about the place of AI in education,” Conrad said.
  • How to Convert a Word Doc to a PowerPoint in 30 seconds. Source: LinkedIn  Jason Gulya demonstrates the use of an AI tool to do this quick conversion.
  • CheatGPT Source: TorontoLife AI has made it easy for post-secondary students to fake their way to a degree. They argue that ChatGPT is just another study tool. Schools say it spells the end of university education as we know it. Maybe that’s not a bad thing
  • How to design teaching and learning through an AI-centred course Source: LSE Blog Drawing on their experience of designing higher education courses centred on AI tools, Bert Verhoeven and Vishal Rana discuss how, rather than being a threat, AI can be used in ways that are compatible with traditional teaching methodologies and offer a golden opportunity to make course design learner centric.
  • GenAI Chatbot Prompt Library for Educators Source: AI For Education A variety of prompts to help you lesson plan and do adminstrative tasks with GenAI chatbots like ChatGPT, Claude, Bard, and Perplexity.
  • For the AI Generation, We Need Education as Much as Regulation Source: Global Network on Extremism and Technology In the field of responsible tech, contemporary digital technologies such as large language models (LLMs) are rapidly becoming a central consideration, as these AI-powered tools can be operationalised by both extremists and those working to counter them. This has precipitated a digital ecosystem characterised by a complex dichotomy. On one side, there are those leveraging the emerging power of AI text and/or image generators to advance extremist ideologies and political goals. On the other, some wish to use AI tools – such as natural language processing (NLP) or algorithmic machine learning moderation – to combat these activities. In this Insight, I argue that the current pathways to restrain the use of AI by malicious actors are too reactionary; they respond to threats as they arise and seek to regulate technologies just as newly advanced tools become available. I suggest that beyond simple regulation, there is a need for extensive education in critical thinking and digital literacy. 


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