Title page for ETD etd-04282010-161800

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author De Swardt, Marieta
Email raynie@absamail.co.za
URN etd-04282010-161800
Document Title Cross-cultural transfer of learning materials for a journalism course at a higher education institution
Degree PhD
Department Science, Mathematics and Technology Education
Advisor Name Title
Prof J C Cronje Committee Chair
  • globalisation
  • cooperation
  • Digital Divide
  • power relations
  • educational technology
  • educational needs
  • cultural diversity
  • commonalities
  • cooperative learning
  • contextualization
  • higher education institutions
Date 2010-04-29
Availability unrestricted

This study reflects on an outreach initiative between two differing tertiary cultures established on different continents. The aim is to develop an understanding of what happens when a prestigious American university and a South African Higher Education Institution meet around a computer-mediated situation. Various inter-relating aspects such as cooperation and cooperative learning, educational technology, Higher Educational Institutions, globalisation, the international Digital Divide, cultural diversity, commonalities, cultural differences, an international learning programme, and power relations in international partnerships are explored. The effect of technology on education is that information is no longer restricted to a single geographical setting, instead it has expanded and became a dynamic international driving force. Increasing educational needs compel Higher Education Institutions to provide in these needs and to adapt to a more flexible learning style. Globalisation causes the world to get smaller, compressed, interconnected and resulted in a world that is in effect flat. Information communication technologies are changing the world. On the one hand the Internet promotes communication and freedom but on the other hand causes uneven development all over the globe. The Digital Divide pertains to the divide between the global well-resourced learners and the local under-resourced learners. Cultural differences between nations and organisations can be interpreted against the background of different models of cultural dimensions. The focus of the study is to explore the effect of commonalities and cultural differences on cooperative learning at organisational level. Power relations between international partners were challenging and resulted in conflict and differences of opinion.

The project started with the University of Pretoria’s visit to Stanford University in November 2004. The preparation, organisation and planning phases continued through 2005. The ELISA project was intended as a three-year intervention from 2006 through 2008. The first year was supposed to be a pilot phase to gather and provide information for use in the second and third years. This study pertains to the pilot phase which started in February 2006 until June 2006. It was successfully completed and achieved a 93% success rate. However, in September 2006 Stanford unexpectedly informed the South African partners that the project would be discontinued due to several reasons. Their objections related to the lack of visible progress regarding content scheduling, media production, course logistics, and research practicalities. Although there were accommodating personalities among the project leaders on both sides interpersonal conflict between the remaining project leaders developed. The partners on both sides could not generate sufficient commonality regarding the need to continue. The situation was worsened by the fact that the initial rationale for the project lacked shared motivation among the project leaders on both sides. It is suggested that more research be conducted to explore possible differences of opinion and undercurrents among project leaders throughout the project, and to scrutinize the initial rationale as well as curriculum issues in good time, and to investigate the role of power relations between international partners that are funded by international grants, and the effect of these power relations on the learning experiences of the students involved.

Copyright © 2009, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

De Swardt, M 2009, Cross-cultural transfer of learning materials for a journalism course at a higher education institution, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04282010-161800/ >


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