The Centre for Learning and Teaching Development (CLTD) vision is to enhance the national and global reputation of the University of the Witwatersrand by providing innovative support for learning and teaching. CLTD works with both staff and students to ensure that WITS continues to improve the quality of education it offers and the research it produces.
Our principles and beliefs
We nurture and accept conditions that promote agency and creativity in order to endorse critical thinking, purposeful research-informed trialling or experimenting, re-discovery, renewal and innovation in African Higher Education contexts. We do this because in the past we have tended to accept learning and teaching solutions borrowed from elsewhere, often divorced from our own contexts.
Our distinctive approach to learning, facilitation, and research promotes a “non-judgmental” culture as the basis for the creation of transformative and creative communities, where tensions and diversities of opinions are welcomed as norms, but where independent thought and opinion merges with the concept of recognizing the other as one recognises self - not lower or higher. In this context, there is a genuine meeting of the minds where knowledge production is inward and outward looking, resulting in authentic collaborations and partnerships locally, nationally, and internationally. Our fundamental ideal is that of ‘trust’ and ‘acceptance’, where we all become culturally, socially, and environmentally responsible in our diverse aspirations of academic support provision. We are rooted in Johannesburg with its strong cosmopolitan edge, and we intend using this to our advantage, to ensure that the city is both the focus for our teaching and research work, and the platform from which our local and international relationships grow.
CLTD focuses on Continuous Academic Professional Learning and the adoption of a hyflex approach to Active Blended Learning. As part of a broader Curriculum Design and Development strategy, and by applying and engaging in research on facilitation practices, we aim to contribute towards deepening student learning and enhancing university teaching practices.
- Formal programmes such as the PG Dip (Education) in the field of Higher Education
- Informal workshops such as Postgraduate Supervision, Teaching/Academic role, and Assessments: Diversify, Digitise, and Discover
- Support for academics, mostly through hands-on workshops, to design and develop hyflex blended learning courses
- Student and peer evaluation of and self-reflection on courses and teaching
Our vision is to inspire, influence, and contribute to the development of transformative, effective, and innovative facilitation practices that enhance student “access with success” in meaningful higher education practice.
We collaborate with individuals, academic departments, and academic support units to build capacity and foster community development around good university teaching, and the stimulation of an institutional culture that values meaningful learning, guided by the Wits Learning and Teaching Plan 2020-2024.
To achieve the CLTD mission, we strive to:
- Enrich the status of learning and teaching at Wits by engaging with, encouraging, and celebrating Wits teachers
- Support academics as university teachers and researchers, and explore, integrate, and evaluate different approaches to learning, teaching, & assessment
- Promote inclusivity and diversity through collaborative curriculum design and renewal
- Promote and support the adoption of a hyflex approach to active blended learning, teaching, learning, and assessment approaches and practices
- Promote university-wide Communities of Practice (CoPs) by creating dialogue around and conversations about learning and teaching
- Promote and support effective lecturer and course evaluation practices
- Promote and develop a culture of research and scholarship of learning and teaching (SoLT) in Higher Education
- Anticipate and address evolving issues and opportunities within Higher Education Academic practice by offering expertise, locally, nationally, and internationally
Foregrounding our strategic and operational plan
In developing our Operational Plan, four drivers have emerged as key in achieving our goals for CLTD. These will underpin our service and support delivery over this year, including:
- A ‘Distributed Leadership’ (Spillane, 2005, 2012) approach in delivering educational programmes in partnership with others locally, nationally, and internationally
- Commitment to the continuous professional learning of CLTD staff
- Our research and its growing impact on the Higher Education landscape, and
- Modelling the application of, and engagement with digital technology in providing hyflex blended learning opportunities for our course participants