Open Distance Learning (ODL) through the Philosophy of Ubuntu

Moeketsi Letseka (Editor)
College of Education, University of South Africa (UNISA), Editor-in-Chief: Africa Education Review, South Africa

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU041000

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Access to higher education in South Africa poses a number of challenges. First, South Africa is said to be one of the most unequal societies in the world, with an estimated Gini coefficient that ranges between 0.63 and 0.69 (Human Sciences Research Council, 2014; Statistics South Africa, 2014). The wealth gap between the country’s rich and the poorest of the poor is both growing and getting worse. Second, UNISA is an open distance learning (ODL) institution that seeks to intervene and manage the above challenges by offering access to higher education opportunities to millions of South Africans, the majority of whom are descendants of sections of society that were denied opportunities to access higher education by a myriad of institutionalized apartheid policies and legislation which were racist and discriminative. With these concerns in mind, the author compiled Open Distance Learning (ODL) Through the Philosophy of Ubuntu, which is a sequel to the author’s previous publication, Open Distance Learning (ODL) in South Africa (Nova Publishers: New Nork, 2015); it explores the potential for the philosophy of Ubuntu to meaningfully shape UNISA’s ability to deliver its ODL mode of teaching and learning. The philosophy of Ubuntu, which is also known as humaneness and/or human dignity, is an African worldview or normative concept that encapsulates moral values and principles such as kindness, generosity, compassion, benevolence, respect for persons, care and concern for others, as well as human dignity. The book draws on the philosophy of Ubuntu as a guiding conceptual framework to explore ways in which UNISA’s vision of an “African university in the service of humanity” might be meaningfully driven and realized. This collection of fourteen chapters that constitute the book grapples with a wide range of critical questions such as: How might embracing the philosophy of Ubuntu impact UNISA’s ability to meaningfully deliver a humane, open distance education to its students in South Africa, on the African continent, and on a global scale? How, for instance, would grounding UNISA’s curricular offerings in the philosophy of Ubuntu turn the university into a uniquely African ODL institution? How would embracing the values and principles of Ubuntu shape UNISA’s inclusive focus, research and innovative conceptual framework and impertaives, ODL teaching and learning, assessment and quality assurance, communication and public relations profile, among others? Finally, Open Distance Learning (ODL) Through the Philosophy of Ubuntu explores the plausibility of a radical change of mindset from business as usual to business unusual by re-imagining and recasting UNISA’s ODL mission through the values and principles of the philosophy of Ubuntu. The book is the second offering of the planned trilogy of books on ODL in Southern Africa. The final volume, Assuring Institutional Quality in Open Distance Learning (ODL) in the Developing Contexts will complete this thought process on ODL. (Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Chapter 1. Introduction: Open Distance Learning (ODL) and the Philosophy of Ubuntu
Moeketsi Letseka (Department of Educational Studies, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 2. Ubuntu Values in an African University
Davison Zireva (Morgenster Teachers’ College, Masvingo, Zimbabwe)

Chapter 3. The Nexus between Open Distance Learning (ODL), African Philosophy and Ubuntu
Matsephe M. Letseka (Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 4. Relating to Others through Ubuntu Values
Johannes Seroto (Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 5. Leadership in ODL Institutions: An Ubuntu Perspective
Elias O. Mashile and Matshepo C. Matoane (Directorate: Instructional Support and Services (DISS, University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 6. Grounding ODL Curriculum in Ubuntu Values
Matshidiso J. Taole (Department of Curriculum and Instructional Studies, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 7. Perspectives on ODL: Teaching and Learning through Ubuntu
Maximus Monaheng Sefotho (Department of Educational Psychology, Faculty of Education: University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Chapter 8. Ubuntu Driven ODL Student Assessment
Victor Pitsoe and Matsephe M. Letseka (Department of Educational Leadership and Management, and Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa,

Chapter 9. Assuring Quality in ODL through Ubuntu
Vimbi P. Mahlangu (Department of Educational Management and Policy Studies, Faculty of Education: University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Chapter 10. Supporting Open Distance Learning (ODL) Students through Ubuntu Values
Seake H. Rampa and Kgomotso L. Mphahlele (Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa)

Chapter 11. Understanding Open Distance Learning Completion Rates through Ubuntu
Ruth Aluko (Unit for Distance Education, Faculty of Education: University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Chapter 12. Delivering Open Distance E-Learning through Ubuntu Values
Sindile Ngubane-Mokiwa (Institute of Open Distance Learning, University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 13. Inclusive Education and Ubuntu in an Open Distance Learning Context
Nkoli Tlale and Dikeledi F. Mahlo (Department of Psychology of Education and Department of Inclusive Education, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 14. ODL Research and Ubuntu Values
Moeketsi Letseka and Mojalefa Koenane (Department of Educational Studies, and Department of Philosophy, Practical & Systematic Theology, College of Education and College of Human Sciences: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Chapter 15. Managing and Leading through Ubuntu
Gistered Muleya (Department of Language and Social Sciences Education, School of Education: University of Zambia, South Africa)

Chapter 16. Postscript: ODL through Ubuntu
Moeketsi Letseka (Department of Educational Studies, College of Education: University of South Africa, South Africa)

Index

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