Using virtual interactions to enhance the teaching of communication skills to information technology students

Authors

  • Ernest A. Pineteh

    Corresponding author
    1. Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa
      Ernest Angu Pineteh is a communication lecturer in the Department of Information Technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Ernest Angu Pineteh, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Room 2.07 Barc Building, Roeland Street, PO Box 652, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, Western Cape 8000, South Africa. Email: pinetehe@cput.ac.za
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Ernest Angu Pineteh is a communication lecturer in the Department of Information Technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Ernest Angu Pineteh, Faculty of Informatics and Design, Room 2.07 Barc Building, Roeland Street, PO Box 652, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, Western Cape 8000, South Africa. Email: pinetehe@cput.ac.za

Abstract

Abstract

This paper examines the use of virtual interactions in a Communication class at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)-South Africa. It demonstrates how synthesising virtual and other computer-assisted exercises as well as traditional classroom-based activities can enhance the teaching and learning of communication concepts. The paper is based on the experiences of 1st-year Information Technology students at CPUT, and the data was gleaned from observations, questionnaires and course reflections during one semester of an academic year. The findings of the investigation revealed that despite the burgeoning interest in computer-centered teaching and learning at CPUT, traditional methods of teaching are still valuable given the differences in the learning styles and technological experiences of students. In this light, this paper subscribes to “complementarity” as the most expedient teaching approach because it can cater for the student diversity in this learning space as well as promote quality peer interactions and collaborative learning. It can also transform the process of learning into an invigorating experience especially because these students are dispassionate about communication.

Practitioner notes

What is already known about this topic

  • • Technology in education
  • • Virtual teaching and learning
  • • Collaborative teaching and learning
  • • Traditional versus computer-mediated teaching approaches

What this paper adds

  • • Student diversity and teaching dynamics in South Africa
  • • The challenges of university of technology students in South Africa and the value of computer-mediated teaching and learning
  • • The role of communication in developing cognitive skills of South African students.
  • • The technological challenges at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)-South Africa and the implications for teaching and learning

Implications for practice and/or policy

  • • Use computer-mediated teaching and learning as a complementary tool in context of South Africa
  • • Develop curricula that promote collaborative teaching and learning either in class or online.
  • • Place communication at the core of teaching and learning in the Information Technology (IT) department at CPUT-South Africa in order to develop critical soft skills.

Ancillary