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Monday, 13 January 2014

"A course that really makes an effort to connect to the real world is always welcomed."

This is one of the comments by a fourth year Commerce student underling the relevance of a Business in Context and Business Communication collaboration which has won its originators‚ Gao Nodoba and Stuart Hendry a prize of R40 000.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Klopper made the award earlier this month‚ in which she commended the team "on the excellent design and implementation of your collaborative pedagogical approach in the School of Management Studies. Your work in the two 4th year courses‚ Business in Context and Business Communication‚ was found to be an excellent example of collaborative educational practice."

Gao remarked: "I am so happy that our hard work paid off in the end. Having stated that I would like to take this opportunity to thank Prof Terri Grant and Ms Alison Meadows for their unwavering support for the collaboration. My sincere gratitude also goes to our colleagues Claudia Kalil‚ Christel Kalil‚ Sindiswa Majebe‚ Nashly Langenhoven and Nyameka Nongwe for believing in us and actively supporting our efforts and ensuring the success of the collaboration.

In pre and post class reflective course assessments‚ students reflected on their expectations‚ anxieties‚ usefulness and relevance of the PCU/BIC collaboration in the workplace. Some salient points of such reflections are as follows:

One student‚ Ashleigh Noyce‚ wrote: "My hopes for BUS4073H is to develop my skills in the different forms of writing (most importantly business report writing) and to improve in oral presentations by using no hand notes and speaking calmly without a stutter. This will prove my hardest challenge‚ as with most people‚ public speaking is daunting.

"This year I want to focus on combatting my weaknesses and taking advantage of my strengths and becoming more confident in my own abilities. In evidence of myself accomplishing these goals‚ you will see a gradual improvement in my writing skills and oral presentations‚ throughout the year as well as belief in my ability to do better. I also want to be able to form new communication habits that are positive and forward thinking‚" she wrote.

Another student‚ Joanne Watson observed: "I have learned that one has to stand up in front of a diverse audience and address them in a personal matter as well as continuously submit formal letters and reports dealing with certain matters. These areas are definite weaknesses for me‚ which I intend to change.

"In these courses‚ I hope to become more confident in front of a diverse audience and be comfortable to stand up and express my thoughts to my fellow colleagues. I would like to aim in concentrating fully to what people have to say and comment on their thoughts by providing feedback as to my own opinions … What I strive to do is be more interactive in class as well as become comfortable and easy going around my colleagues as I am my own friends. By the end of the course‚ I will be able to speak calmly and articulate appropriately without any notes in front me as I address various audiences. I will control my nerves by staying composed and will enjoy debates on certain topics by becoming actively involved.

"I will excel in the formality and jargon of my reports and concentrate in knowing the reason as to why I am addressing such an audience. I will be cautious as to how I am presenting them with the matter and make sure that it is worth their time in such that I get my point across accordingly and address the situation appropriately. I will carefully edit the reports and ensure that a fellow colleague does so as well so as to prove that it is liable and worthy.

A third student‚ Derek Asbun wrote: "I have gotten a lot out of the BIC and PCU courses. It has given me a systematic approach to group projects that has highlighted finding specific roles and paths to actualize objectives set at the beginning of these assignments. I have learned that not every team or project is the same; you must be open to change and look for innovative ways to solve problems. You will never be working with the same exact personalities and skill sets so by understanding the specific needs of each person and the overarching problems set forth you are able to tailor each role accordingly. I have learned the meaning of healthy and effective collaboration and I look forward to using these skills in future projects and in my career".

The last word went to the Dean of Commerce‚ Prof Don Ross: "This is most gratifying and well deserved recognition of the dedicated work on pedagogy by the SMS team. Congratulations."

Story By : Carolyn McGibbon