Covid-19 has forced Higher Education contact institutions to look at remote teaching as a solution to complete the 2020 academic year. Many academics and academic support staff have plunged into uncharted territories of quickly getting to grips with preparing to teach remotely.

A major challenge that Higher Education faces is in relation to how the planned curriculum will now be enacted in the remote teaching platform.

The Professional Development Collaborative Learning Community (PD CLC) hosted a Webinar via ZOOM on Remote Teaching: Curriculum Considerations on Friday, 17 April 2020 at 11am.

Dr Rosaline Govender, Convenor of the PD CLC, moderated the Webinar and Anthea Adams facilitated the chat box. The Webinar was attended by 240 delegates with representation from 19 South African public Higher Education institutions. It was pleasing to note that International delegates from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Maseru and Namibia University of Science and Technology and delegates from private institutions of higher learning and public schools were also in attendance.

Prior to the Webinar, attendees were asked to list their specific concerns about HOW the planned curriculum will now be enacted for a remote teaching platform and the responses were categorised as follows:

  • Assessments
  • Practical Work
  • Coverage of Content
  • Quality of LTA
  • Preparedness of staff and students
  • Student Access

Dr Govender indicated that some of the concerns which were not covered during the Webinar will be addressed by future HELTASA Webinars.

The three guest speakers were as follows:

Prof Owence Chabaya

Prof Owence Chabaya is an Educationist with a special niche in the theory and practice of curriculum planning, teaching, learning and assessment.

Currently she is the Acting Director for the Centre for Academic Excellence at the University of Limpopo.

In 2014, she won the Vice Chancellors Research award for being the best female researcher at University of Limpopo as well as the best researcher in the Centre for Academic Excellence.

Her research interests are on issues in higher education, academic staff development, gender and education, Scholarship of Learning as well as assessment.

Ms Kibbie Naidoo

Kibbie is the  Head of Centre for Academic Staff Development and Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Programme Convenor at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). Prior to joining UJ, she taught Sociology and  Industrial Sociology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She also served as an executive member of HELTASA.

Her research interests include scholarship of teaching and learning, rurality in higher education, curriculum development and social justice in higher education.  Kibbie is currently pursuing her PhD.

Mr Dorian Love

Dorian teaches ICTs at Roedean School in Johannesburg. He has an M.Ed. from Wits University in Educational Technology and is in the preliminary stages of putting together a proposal for a PhD looking at the professional practices of computer teachers.

He blogs extensively on the topic of Ed Tech and is part of the #ZAEdu Twitter PLC which has been active in helping teachers take the leap into the online space and is a member of the LCT@Wits Group which is exploring ways in which LCT Theory can help us think about remote teaching.


Prof Owence Chabaya’s presentation focused on Theoretical Concepts and practical ways of what lecturers can do to construct their curriculum for remote teaching. She discussed the Transactional Distance Theory and Constructivist Approach theories that can inform online teaching and learning. She thereafter outlined the models for online design by Olive and Herring (2001), Salmon (2003) and Garrison and Anderson (2003). Prof Chabaya concluded by sharing various ideas on how to design student engagement for online learning.

Ms Kibbie Naidoo spoke about the concerns for access and inclusion in Higher Education which are not new as there have been a number of initiatives to address these concerns. She added that, “in our scramble to ensure that teaching and learning continues whilst practicing physical distancing this concern has re-surfaced as we consider the social justice consequences of the shift to remote learning”. She further added that in many institutions the focus has been on the how to teach and assess and not sufficient attention has been given to the what and the why? She also indicated that across Higher Education the focus has been on teaching and assessment and not the curriculum. She concluded by sharing her thoughts on how Higher Education might go about developing a socially just curriculum during Covid-19.

Mr Dorian Love stated that during Covid-19 there has been much focus on issues of students’ access to data and devices but argued that there is also an urgent need to focus on student’s epistemological access to powerful knowledge. He used the LCT theory of specialisation (Maton) which focusses on knowledge and the knower structures to analyse MOOCs and what we can learn from them when designing the curriculum. The classic MOOC has a triad approach which includes a short video lecture, a short quiz to check students’ comprehension and a peer assessment. He added that most MOOC’s focused on the knowledge code and he used the Modern & Contemporary American Poetry as an example of a MOOC which focused on knower codes. He emphasised the importance of a strong teacher presence which is vital for online teaching. For remote learning, he encourages lecturers to use the affordances of the platform and urged the lecturer to get to know the platform really well. The lecturer should also know what the LCT Specialization code matches are for particular modules and build activities to support this development.  Modules that develop knower codes could include reflective writing, collaborative work in smaller groups, online seminars, blogs etc.

Please also see link to recording:

For further information, please contact:

Dr Rosaline Govender