The Central University of Technology (CUT) has launched a new initiative seeking to promote the teaching and learning of intercultural and promotion.
The programme which was initiated by the university’s International Office and the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), is called the i-KUDU Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and it was officially opened on Thursday last week.
In a statement, the university said the COIL project is an innovative teaching and learning initiative that promotes the development of intercultural knowledge and understanding across shared multicultural learning environments.
It said the European programme uses internet-based tools and online teaching methods, mainly focusing on intentional development of intercultural communicative competence.
“The project is also envisaged to improve management and operation of the South African partner higher education institutions through addressing the process of internationalisation of the participating higher education institutions,” read part of the statement.
In addition, the project is expected to build capacity for governance, strategic planning and management of higher education institutions relevant to internationalisation.
It will also support the development of university services relevant to internationalisation, specifically, professional academic support services.
COIL, according to the statement, will also address curriculum internationalisation in the broader transformation context including the integration of indigenous knowledge, Africanisation, decolonisation, and reference to the contemporary local context.
The other local universities participating in the three-year funded project include the University of the Free State, Durban University of Technology, University of Limpopo, the University of Venda. Overseas, the institutions include The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Coventry University and Antwerp University in Belgium.
CUT Academic Exchange Coordinator Refilwe Moleyane is quoted in the statement saying the expected outcome of the project is to improve collaboration between the five partner universities in South Africa and five others in Europe, with 55 academics from each of the respective partnership groups.
“COIL is about a virtual exchange of information between lecturers and students in the participating South African and the European universities,” noted Moleyane.
“Lecturers would be expected to engage on teaching methods and developing new assessments for the respective student pools, while students will be expected to engage on how to solve or approach the currently existing academic assessments and support one another to have a better understanding of the field of study in general in order to improve the quality of education at both South African and European universities,” she added.
Moleyane bemoaned the poor internet connectivity in some parts of the country and unreliable power supplies saying that could result in poor online communication which might result in some participants missing scheduled online sharing classes.