About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 172-178
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1026

Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain

WALKING THE TEACHING, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY-ENGAGEMENT TIGHTROPE: DYNAMICS, REFLECTIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED

M. Thinyane

University of Fort Hare (SOUTH AFRICA)
Higher Education Institutions (HEI) have various responsibilities within society which generally include being the hubs for knowledge production and for human resources development towards the societal developmental goals. While a lot of the functionings (e.g. research, teaching) of HEIs in society are well understood and documented, it remains that others still require further understanding and articulation, and more so the inter-dependencies and dynamics between these functionings require further articulation and enunciation. Community engagement, which is usually referred to as the third mission of universities, is the notion of HEIs participating and actively engaging with their communities. Fundamentally a community is a group of people who are associated to each other through some shared attribute - this attribute could be geographical location, demographic factors, shared interest, common experiences and backgrounds. As such the concept itself is very fluid and dynamic in that an individual can be a member of different communities, and within a single community there exists numerous sectors and sub-communities that share a smaller sub-set of the group attributes. Community engagement has traditionally been inspired by the concepts of community benefit, in which the intention and aim of engagement was towards benefiting the community and not necessarily the institutions. It has evolved over the years from the uni-directional, top-down, managerially articulated engagement with the communities, to the understanding of the need for a collaborative engagement wherein bi-directional bridges, and mutual responsibility and beneficiation takes places between the institutions and citizens towards achievement of both community and HEI goals and targets.

This paper provides a reflection on an Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD) intervention undertaken in South Africa. This multi-stakeholder engagement which is framed within a living lab approach using the action research methodology, is tightly linked to the postgraduate research and teaching efforts of the academic departments involved. The paper also discusses the dynamics of the balance and harmony that has been realized in this engagement between the sometimes conflicting missions of teaching, research and community engagement. This balance is constructed and held together through the three distinct approaches of Service Learning, Research Informed Teaching, and Action Research. Service Learning, particularly when coupled with Self-Directed Learning, not only allows for a learning experience that is enriched by the engagement with the communities, but also a greater level of reflection from the students. Research Informed Teaching links the curriculum alignment with the insights from research – which is particularly effective for subjects such as ICTD which are relatively young, and which easily lend themselves to regular review and updating. Finally Action Research has been used extensively to facilitate tight engagement of the various stakeholders (particularly the community) as participants in the research process. The paper concludes by highlighting the lessons learned from engaging in and balancing these three objectives of research, teaching and community engagement.
@InProceedings{THINYANE2016WAL,
author = {Thinyane, M.},
title = {WALKING THE TEACHING, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY-ENGAGEMENT TIGHTROPE: DYNAMICS, REFLECTIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED},
series = {10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-5617-7},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2016.1026},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2016.1026},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {172-178}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Thinyane
TI - WALKING THE TEACHING, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY-ENGAGEMENT TIGHTROPE: DYNAMICS, REFLECTIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED
SN - 978-84-608-5617-7/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2016.1026
PY - 2016
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2016
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2016 Proceedings
SP - 172
EP - 178
ER -
M. Thinyane (2016) WALKING THE TEACHING, RESEARCH AND COMMUNITY-ENGAGEMENT TIGHTROPE: DYNAMICS, REFLECTIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED, INTED2016 Proceedings, pp. 172-178.
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