Last week lecturers of the School attended a workshop on the use of technology in teaching-learning and I thought we should share some ideas and resources here. It is a big year for tech: we have launched ECON-1 as part of the distance learning UNIPREP programme and we are busy with a pilot of an e-book in ECON-1.
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Using technology in teaching-learning is all about so-called blended learning. Kobus le Roux of Academic Support Services, who presented the first part of the workshop, defined it as structured opportunities to learn with a blend of the physical and online learning environment. At a residential university they also refer to the “flipped classroom” with a mix of prescribed reading, electronic resources and contact sessions.
Kobus told us more about a survey done on the Potchefstroom Campus this year that showed that 80% of first-year students have laptops, 83% have smart phones and 78% have access to the internet where they live. At school they frequently used the internet to do assignments. Most of them have their own email address, but do not use it frequently for communication – they prefer social networks and instant messaging. Though they seem ready to use technology in learning, many say that they need training and guidance.
Kobus emphasised that the use of technology in teaching-learning should depend on educational merit: it depends in the particular discipline, the students and what it is that you want to achieve – pen and paper is also a technology! More…
Our Research posts are about the latest academic research being done in the School of Economics. This week:
The Effect of BEE on the Profitability and Competitiveness of Firms on Micro-Level in South Africa
by Me. M. Kruger & Prof. E.P.J. Kleynhans
This study determines whether the implementation of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy in firms on micro-level has any positive or negative effect on the growth of these firms in terms of profits and competitiveness.
The key obstacles hindering optimal profitability levels and competitiveness in firms in South Africa is the ineffective application of labour legislation policies and tools aimed at narrowing the income gap between different racial groups and resolving inequality among a diverse workforce. Apart from implementation, funding of BEE enterprises has become a problem, causing the sustainability of BEE initiatives to be short lived. Furthermore, the aftermath, when labour legislation policies are removed and BEE companies are left to fend for themselves, has not been taken into consideration.
Hierdie week is daar sommer baie nuus uit die Skool:
- Buitengewone Professor by TRADE, Ludo Cuyvers, het die navorsingsnis besoek en daar is baie hard gewerk aan die DSM model en gesamentlike navorsingsprojekte oor uitvoerbevordering.
- Mnr Requier Wait het ‘n referaat aangebied by die ERSA Industrial Organisation werkswinkel in Johannesburg. Die titel van die referaat was: The governance of the shale gas revolution in South Africa en dit is werk saam met Geoffrey Chapman van die SABS.
- Prof Riaan Rossouw en mnr Wait het ook ‘n referaat aangebied by die South African Regulation Conference. Die onderwerp van hulle aanbieding was The role of licensing and tax policy for developing the upstream oil and gas industry: The case of South Africa.
- By die seminaar het Dr Willem Boshoff van Stellenbosch Universiteit gepraat oor sy nuwe navorsing oor die Suid-Afrikaanse besigheidsiklus.
- Mnr Dirk Visser het die voorstel vir sy PhD navorsing by WorkWell se colloquium gelewer. Dirk is een van Prof Gary van Vuuren se Risikobestuurstudente en gaan werk oor die meting en bestuur van die pro-sikliese aard van bankkapitaal in Suid-Afrika.
Our Research posts are about the latest academic research being done in the School of Economics. This week the latest research presented at ERSA’s Industrial Organisation workshop:
The governance of the shale gas revolution in South Africa
by Geoffrey Chapman & Requier Wait
Many have labelled the Karoo’s shale gas reserves as a potential “game-changer” for the South African energy sector. The US experience has been labelled a “shale gas revolution”. Many question whether the US experience can be replicated in South Africa. Considering the EIA’s estimate of 390 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in (unproven) technically recoverable shale gas resources, the potential for economic gains does exist. However, shale gas development/production holds both economic advantages and potential environmental costs. For this reason, regulation of fracking activities is a crucial aspect to consider if the Karoo’s shale gas is to be developed. This paper reviews the regulation imposed in other countries as well as the current regulatory framework for South Africa. Regulation is considered in terms of three factors, namely: the content of fracking fluid, seismic activity and the pricing regime. Effective regulation will be a key determinant of the overall positive or negative impact on the South African economy.
If you want to read more about energy economics research, have a look at Requier’s blog.