2018 ECP/Foundation Colloquium – Call for Papers!!!

The dispensation of the advocation for free higher education as well as the massification of students in the South African Universities opens itself to a wide range of burning questions related to the future of Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECP). Initially and fundamentally, the ECP’s genesis in South Africa, was and still is rooted in the DHET’s quest to equip students who are at risk because of their disadvantaged educational backgrounds, to support them academically with knowledge, skills and competencies in their first years to strive through and successfully complete their studies. However, the biggest question is: What is next in the future of Extended Curriculum Programmes?

The 2018 National Extended Curriculum Programmes/ Foundation Colloquium will be hosted by the University of Venda, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province, 22nd – 23rd August 2018 at Khoroni Hotel in Thohoyandou, Limpopo

This is an annual Colloquium held at various universities to provide an ideal platform for academics and other stakeholders in higher education institutions to share ideas, research findings about various aspects of Extended Curriculum Programmes, and discuss the challenges experienced and possible solutions. The 2018 Colloquium is designed to thoughtfully engage with ways of reclaiming education in the light of the future of Extended Curriculum Programmes.

Accordingly, we invite you to submit Abstracts of not more than 250-300 words in line with but not limited to the main theme and the following sub themes


  • Curriculum alignment between ECP and the main stream
  • Improving Information Literacy Education skills in ECP
  • Thinking beyond ECP traditional to technological advancement teaching and learning techniques
  • Putting equal emphasis and accountability to ‘access’, ‘participation’, ‘retention’, and ‘success’ of Foundation/ECP students
  • Teaching and learning with Emerging Technologies (TLET)
  • The impact of mentoring and tutoring in increasing the throughput rates of ECP students
  • Capacity building by uplifting the skills and leadership levels of ECP academic staff

Criteria for selection of abstracts:

  • Linked to the conference theme
  • Clear focus on one or more of the subthemes
  • Underpinned by theory

Adherence to the following technical criteria:

  • Arial 12pt in MS Word format
  • 1.5 line spacing
  • Abstract heading Arial 14pt bold
  • Maximum of 5 key words

Abstract submission must be made online at:

Important Dates

  • 30 May 2018 Abstract submission deadline
  • 15 June 2018 Notification of acceptance of abstract
  • 1 August 2018 Registration Closes



2018 ECP Call


2017 Heltasa Foundation SIG AGM

Download PPT: 2017 Heltasa Foundation SIG Presentation – Dylan Cromhout

Presentation details

Presenters: Dylan Cromhout

Institution: Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Contact: cromhoutd@cput.ac.za

Conference: presented at the 2017 Heltasa Confernce in Durban

Host: Durban University of Technology


Dylan Cromhout shares SIG highlights from 2016 and 2017 and proposes a new executive committee to manage the SIG going forward. In addition, UFS are chosen to convene SIG for 2018 and 2019.

Regional Western Cape ECP Symposium a huge success

On Wednesday 30 August the ECP Unit at CPUT hosted the annual Regional ECP Symposium. The event was attended by over 80 delegates and more than 20 papers were presented. Colleagues from 10 institutions nationally converged at the Saretec Building on the Bellville Campus to discuss and debate all matters ECP.

Delegates were welcomed to CPUT and the event opened by Prof Anthony Staak, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. Prof Staak reminded the audience that the ECP project receives the most DHET funding and is therefore clearly positioned to address issues of both access and success. The keynote presenters were Associate Professor Rochelle Kapp and Dr Bongi Bangeni from UCT. Their presentation entitled ‘Negotiating Learning and Identity: a longitudinal perspective on student transitions’ considered the multiple transitions students experienced during their time at university and stressed the significance of contextual realities in the students’ university and home environment in shaping the nature of these transitions. They suggested that it is crucial for all university lecturers to recognise that ‘negotiating meaningful access to learning is inextricably connected to negotiating an intersection of race, class, linguistic, gendered and religious subject positions in relation to home, school and university’.

Presentation Slides: Bangani & Kapp, Keynote Address, 31 August 2017

Feedback from delegates has been very positive, with many finding the symposium interesting and stimulating and offering a good balance between theoretical/research-based and practice-focused topics. Many indicated that they were keen to return to the symposium in 2018.

More photos of the event can be found HERE

Report from the 2016 ICED/ HELTASA Conference Foundation SIG event

The Foundation SIG hosted a special dialogue session at the 2016 ICED/ HELTASA conference in Cape Town. All members of the SIG were invited to attend (see invitation).

It was attended by more than 25 conference delegates from all over South Africa.

A primary aim of this session was to review the role and relevance of ECP and foundation provisions in the context of deep contestations around equity, transformation and access brought about by student protests in 2015 and 2016.

Download the 4 page report here.

Below is a short video summary of the event and the key insights it generated.

Practice Sharing Circles

When we first brainstormed ideas of how to infuse the Special Interest Group with energy and activities that would stimulate ECP lecturers’ interests, Bernie Millar stressed the importance of creating more authentic opportunities for practitioners to share their practices associated with ECP.

However we lamented about how the structure of conferences and seminars – that place the ‘presenter’ at the centre of attention tended to encourage mostly one-way conversations and rarely stimulated real dialogue. So we thought, “what if we could use these conference slots but deconstruct the how practice sharing took place so that more participation, dialogue, mutual understanding and conversation could be encouraged?”

Introducing: Practice Sharing Circles

In association with the Foundation SIG associated with HELTASA we are introducing a new way for ECP practitioners to connect and engage in some authentic discussions about their teaching and learning practice.

Essentially the practice-sharing circles are an attempt to ensure that within the formal conference and seminar environments we can create a setting that:

Aims to be a less formal space that encourages deep and authentic conversation between academic practitioners about their academic practice….

How do sharing circles work?

Practice –sharing circles are organised to organically and intuitively encourage participation and dialogue:

  1. All participants sit around a table together;
  2. A presenter shares a short practice of their own using notes or a laptop;
  3. This serves as a catalyst for conversation amongst the circle members;
  4. Other participants then add to the conversation by asking questions, sharing about their own practices and contexts, and so forth;
  5. Participants can also pose problems from their own contexts that the group can brainstorm solutions to.

The benefits of sharing circles:

  • Informal;
  • Dialogic in nature, encouraging both dialogue and listening;
  • Presenter and participants are engaging as equals across a table – Like fellow colleagues having a discussion;
  • Colleagues can explore the complexities of their own practice contexts together;
  • Insight and guidance can be offered with regards to integrating practices into different contexts;
  • Ideas, problems, and solutions can be shared and discovered together.

Pilot feedback

In August 2016 we piloted the practice sharing circles at an inter-institutional ECP symposium in Cape Town. Here is what some of the participants had to say about their experiences of the circles:

Circle participants

“I think it was great, especially because it was from different institutions and getting ideas from other colleagues with regards to the ways they teach. There’s a lot of things I can take back to my department and implement.”

“I appreciate the fact that it was more informal, and that it was dialogue driven. And that people were speaking across one another. But it was good for networking, for skills sharing, and just for gaining knowledge.”

“Its such a great idea. Its really creative because you get to hear what people are doing,  and people’s different approaches, and there’s not enough of that going on.”

“It’s interesting because colleagues from different universities come together to share what they do in their different units with respect to supporting students at various levels. It’s interesting to hear what others are doing and how we can also contribute to what they are doing.”

Circle presenters

“It was a different feel. It was definitely more relaxed; focused on a more practical way of sharing ideas; enabling one to listen to other colleagues, and listen to how they could make use of the concepts that we are sharing practically.; and also learn how we could improve.”

“I loved the sharing circles. It’s a lot less intimidating for participants and presenters than the formal presentation setting. And what was really lovely for me is that when we shared our practices it seemed like the attendees felt very free and welcome to share their own practices, and maybe some nice initiatives that they have started.”

“We are moving very fast and quickly away from presenter up there and the crowd down here. Where as actually this session I think is a lot more effective because as the presenters and authors of the papers, we got a lot more information from the participants that we will be able to use to improve our paper and our understanding of  the paper.”

With the help of Renegade Pictures, we made a short promotional video to give you a feel of what sharing circles are, how they work, and how both participants and presenters feel about them (see above).

As a SIG we hope to promote the inclusion of such sessions at  ECP conferences in the future to further encourage the value gained from practice sharing in higher education.

Please contact Lynn Coleman or Dylan Cromhout if you would like any assistance in running a sharing circle at your upcoming ECP event. [colemanl@cput.ac.za; cromhoutd@cput.ac.za]

Business as usual? Reflecting on ECP through dialogue at the 2016 ICED/HELTASA Conference


Business as Usual? Reflecting on ECP through dialogue

The recent and on-going student protests have thrown into sharp relief issues of access, transformation and the quality and relevance of curriculum and pedagogy in the higher education environment in South Africa. The Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) project, once heralded as a systemic attempt to advance transformation in the higher education sector, has not been exempt from scrutiny and interrogation. The HELTASA/ICED conference in November presents a unique opportunity for the broader ECP community to reflect on whether its founding values and principles still have currency. Especially in light of the ongoing debates and calls for introspection and the need to shift away from business as usual.

The Foundation SIG will host a special dialogue session on 24 November 2016 at the HELTASA/ICED conference. This session will the facilitated by Dr Sarah Henkeman and will seek to engage ECP lecturers, researchers and administrators around the value of our espoused values, principles and ethos that frame the ECP policy, and that in turn underpin much of our institutional work. The session will foreground dialogue as a means of addressing some of the following questions:

  1. What are the common understanding(s) of the values, principles and practices associated with ECP generally/broadly?
  2. How relevant are these values given current/ongoing student protests in university sector? Should these change/how should they change?

A key outcome for the session will be the articulation of pragmatic and localised responses.

  • Date: 24 November 2016 (Day 2 of Conference)
  • Time: 14:45 – 15:45 (Foundation SIG slot)
  • Venue: TBC (Check the conference programme)
  • Hosted by: Lynn Coleman & Dylan Cromhout (SIG Conveners)

Brief Profile of Sarah Henkeman

Before, during and after the end of apartheid Dr Sarah Henkeman has worked in the Human Rights, Public Interest and Conflict Resolution sectors in South Africa and internationally. She is a practitioner/scholar who currently practices and conducts research in the areas of restorative justice, conflict analysis, conflict resolution and peacebuilding with universities and civil society organisations.






Lessons learnt from tutor peer observation and reflective practice – Megan Bam

Download PPT: lessons-learnt-from-tutor-peer-observation-and-reflective-practice-megan-bam

Presentation details

Presenters: Megan Bam

Institution: University of the Western Cape

Contact: mbam@uwc.ac.za

Conference: presented at the 2016 Inter-Institutional ECP Symposium in Cape Town

Host: Cape Peninsula University of Technology


Lessons learnt from tutor peer observation and reflective practice

Megan Bam, Faculty Tutor Coordinator, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

The use of tutors to supplement the teaching and learning provision of undergraduate students is a widespread practice in the South African higher education sector. Much of the research into this aspect of the undergraduate teaching and learning space has been directed at the impact of this provision on enhancing the learning experiences and success of students. Limited research has focused on how to support tutors to improve their pedagogic skills and practices. This presentation reports on research into the perceived benefits and disadvantages of using peer observation of tutor practices as a means of improving the quality of tutor provisions, especially for extended curriculum programmes. The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at UWC employs over 200 tutors per semester across the various departments and schools. Tutors are expected to attend lectures and tutorial briefings, prepare and deliver tutorials, assist with assessment and conduct student consultations.  While the training and support of tutors in the Faculty is seen as critical to the success of the Tutor Programme, training is conducted on an ad-hoc basis. Feedback from tutors highlighted that they needed additional support in the classroom. The aim of the study was to assess whether the implementation of peer observation of tutor-run classrooms would add value in terms of developing and deepening tutors’ teaching practice.  The research used a participatory methodology in that tutors undertook peer observations using a standard checklist, engaged in facilitated reflective exercises and submitted written reflective pieces. This formed the basis of the data generated by the study. The key findings indicated that tutors, while skeptical of the process initially, found peer observation beneficial in strengthening their own teaching practice. The implication of these findings, especially for tutor support programmes in other ECP offerings is that peer observation can be used as a  tool for strengthening practices in the classroom setting.

“Strangers in Paradise”: The challenges of the Digital frontier for students – by Salo Moodley

Download PPT: strangers-in-paradise-ecp-conference-salo-moodley

Presentation details

Presenters: Salo Moodley

Institution: University of the Western Cape

Contact:  pumoodley@uwc.ac.za; salo.moodley@gmail.com

Conference: presented at the 2016 Inter-Institutional ECP Symposium in Cape Town

Host: Cape Peninsula University of Technology


“Strangers in Paradise”:  The challenges of the Digital frontier for students.

Exploring alternative strategies to enhance Digital Academic Literacy skills, using the main outcomes of the Academic Literacy for Business Module (ALB 131)

Ms Salo Moodley, Lecturer: Academic Literacy for Business, Department of Academic Development, Faculty of EMS, UWC

First year students in the Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP), at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), are expected to develop a particular set of skills and competencies in the Academic literacy for Business module (ALB), including Digital Academic literacy.   Many students in the ECP Programme generally come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and have not been adequately exposed to the use of computers as a prior learning experience.  Further to this, they have not had access to computers in their homes and do not have their own computers at University.  Thus many students exhibit a serious lack of confidence in the area of Digital Academic Literacy, impacting negatively on their performance at University.  The troubling concern is that these first year students are required to interact with all of their modules using the IKAMVA platform, the formal information technology site utilized at UWC for students and staff.  But the central question is, if students struggle to navigate the Ikamva platform, how can they be expected to access crucial information pertaining to their respective modules of study, complete require tasks and submit timeously?  This research paper focuses on exploring the practicality of immersing students more intensively in digital academic literacy, using the ALB module as the key tool for developing the required skills and competencies.  The central argument is that if digital Academic skills and competencies are dramatically improved, first year students are likely to be more successful at University.  The paper draws principally on Vygotsky’s (1978) Community of practice and social learning theories.  Finally it is argued that Universities need to seriously review their current models envisioned to develop students Digital Academic competencies, as inadequacies in this sphere can be a critical factor impacting negatively on student success rate in their first year at University.