The development of a modularised curriculum for computer competency courses for technikon learners
Van Rensburg, Gail Janse
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This study investigated the implications that the scheduling of a block module for a computer competency course over two weeks, has had on the curriculum. The block module was presented at the start of the first semester, 2001 at the Vaal Triangle Technikon. The objectives were to: develop a flexible, outcomes-based curriculum in which the learners had to demonstrate capability and employability by integrating computer competencies in other modules; design and implement an effective learning and teaching strategy in order to ensure that learners will achieve the learning outcomes within two weeks; and to . implement continuous, integrative assessment methods in order to foster the learning of hands-on skills that can be integrated in the learners' academic programmes. The researcher followed an action research approach, in order to assess the improvement of current educational practices. A target group of first-year learners was divided into a block module-group and a semester-group. The researcher made use of data triangulation, by collecting qualitative and quantitative data comprising structured interviews and open-ended and structured questionnaires completed at different stages of the project. This research report comprises three articles. The first article reports on the high success rate of the block module-group and reveal that these learners could retain. and utilise the computer competencies that they had to utilise for completing assignments, to a larger degree than the semester-group. The second article reports that experiential learning, as an outcomes-based strategy, fosters learning in accelerated learning contexts. The third article concludes that the continuous integrative approach to assessment fosters w-operation, feedback through self-assessment and the ability of learners to apply computer competencies in new situations. It is recommended that lecturers in all the associated departments should collaboratively assign and assess tasks in progressive advanced modules. It concludes that, in order to utilise resources optimally when scheduling block modules, ail associated departments would have to be fully modularised.
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