Universities trailing behind: Unquestioned epistemological foundations constraining the transition to online instructional delivery and learning


Universities across South Africa have positioned learning management systems (LMS) as central to remote teaching and learning in response to COVID-19. This fundamentally challenges traditional teaching and learning practices where lecturers typically have close personal contact with students. Our argument is underpinned by critical discourse analysis and social constructivist pedagogy to gain deeper insights into the dimensions of LMS pedagogical affordances and the notion of equitable access to tertiary education in the midst of COVID-19 and the subsequent education and economic depression. Conducting a social constructivist pedagogy inspired analytical argumentative evaluation, we interrogate how digital technologies and platforms challenge the status quo and then argue on the systemic deficits of placing LMS at the centre of the transition in the hope of automatically cultivating an equitable learning environment to enable ubiquitous learning. Our analysis highlights potential contradictions in universities’ reliance on lecturers’ ingenuity without developing enabling structures supporting digital pedagogies at grassroots. This is to ensure inclusivity and avoid creating systemic inequalities that affect individual students’ experiences.

Author Biographies

R. Dlamini, University of the Witwatersrand
Reuben Dlamini is the Head of Educational Information & Engineering Technology and Senior Lecturer, Wits School of Education. His research interest is on Human Computer Interaction, Cognitive Systems and ICT in Education.
N. Ndzinisa, University of Eswatini
Nqobile Ndzinisa is a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Eswatini. Her research interests impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Journalism as a profession and the media's articulation of gender equity and equality in the Global South.


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How to Cite
Dlamini, R., and N. Ndzinisa. 2020. “Universities Trailing Behind: Unquestioned Epistemological Foundations Constraining the Transition to Online Instructional Delivery and Learning”. South African Journal of Higher Education 34 (6), 52-64. https://doi.org/10.20853/34-6-4073.
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