1.0 Executive Summary
What follows is a report on the findings of the Trial Audit Panel (TAP) after studying a range of documentation before and during the audit and discussing issues with a wide range of Unisa staff during our visit to the University in June 2007. We have had some difficulty with terminology and with the conceptual nature of the report. Originally, we set out to try to replicate the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) audit procedures and this was successful to some extent. However, we were also asked, because of the significant number of panel members with open and distance learning (ODL) experience, to provide some advice and suggestions to Unisa.
Our original intention was to produce two reports; one in the format and language of HEQC executive summary reports and one providing more specific advice and suggestions. In the end, it proved difficult to disentangle the two approaches, so what follows is a report comprising both aspects. This led to some terminology problems especially with the use of the word 'commendation'. We wish to make it clear that when we highlight commendations we are reflecting on areas where Unisa meets the HEQC expected outputs and not necessarily commendations for significant strengths and innovations. Where we do feel there are such strengths and innovations we have starred the commendation.
There are 29 Commendations and some 53 Recommendations. We are aware that there is a significant variation in the detail of Recommendations, with some being very specific, e.g., the recommendation that all students should have a Unisa e-mail address, and others much broader, e.g., the use of myUnisa system for significant pedagogical input. Therefore, in this summary, we have clustered together some of the main issues we identified.
Our clusters are as follows:
- Mission, planning and management
- ODL and ICT issues
- Communication between teachers and learners
- Human Resource issues
- Quality Assurance