Understanding the experience of academic leaders and staff: the SEP-TLF survey

01-07-21 USAf 0 comment

The Council on Higher Education (CHE), Universities South Africa (USAf) and the University of the Free State (UFS) are currently administering the Staff Experience of, and Perspectives on Teaching and Learning and its Future (SEP-TLF) survey.Targeting academic teachers/lecturers and academic leaders/managers, the survey intends to learn from the experiences of these groups during the pandemic to inform the future direction of teaching and learning for the sector.

The 24 participating institutions will receive their own, anonymised data sets to assist with institutional planning and to identify how to best support academic staff during and beyond emergency remote teaching and learning. This, in turn, will contribute to creating a supportive, more flexible teaching and learning environment that would be more resilient to change, and that would also benefit all role players.

The SEP-TLF study follows close on the heels of the Students’ Access to and Use of Learning Materials (SAULM) survey which was completed by UFS’s Centre for Teaching and Learning in 2020. Commissioned by the Department of Higher Education and Training, the SAULM survey explored how students were accessing and using learning materials during emergency remote teaching and learning in 2020. The SAULM study focused on students’ experiences with regard to access to learning materials; access to devices, data and connectivity; engaging with educational technology; challenges of technology and learning; and benefits of technology and learning — paying particular attention to NSFAS-funded students. The SEP-TLF survey is exploring two perspectives: a) staff experiences during the pandemic and b) the future of teaching and learning (that is, the longer-term impact of COVID-19 on teaching and learning practices, including quality, and training and support needs to enable staff to cope in situations of change). Both studies have implications for policy and teaching and learning, as well as for future research in this field.

The SEP-TLF administration has been extended to 31 July 2021, and Deputy Vice-Chancellors: Teaching and Learning, who are the champions of this study at all participating universities, have been advised of this extension.

Academic leaders and staff are urged to contribute their perspectives as we shape the future of teaching and learning. Participant invitations with the link to the survey are shared internally within the 24 participating institutions.

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