This article emerges out of several interactions and reflective exercises with students and colleagues. It is a qualitative analysis of data gleaned from unstructured interviews and informal conversations with Communication lecturers and Coordinators in the Business and Informatics and Design faculties at CPUT. To conceptualise the proposed model, I interviewed two Communication lecturers and two Language and Communication Coordinators. I also conducted one reflection exercise with approximately two hundred first year students in the IT department.
The interviews, reflection and conversations focused on the role of Communication at CPUT, the challenges faced by Communication lecturers and students as well as the contents and teaching strategies. Collecting the data from different sources provided an interesting platform to analyse the discrepant views about Communication and establish how these views can be brought to bear on the new model. The questions in the reflection exercise and discussions with lecturers were framed around the role of Communication in a university of technology (UoT); the content of Communication courses and lecturers and student perceptions about Communication courses. I also crafted questions around teaching and learning challenges, new ways to enrich the courses. Analysis of data focused on the perceptions and misconceptions about Communication as well as the different expectations that students and lecturers bring to the courses. Finally, it also concentrated on suggestions for improving the content and delivery of the course.
DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
The role of Communication courses in enhancing quality education is a contentious one especially in South African universities like CPUT. Although CPUT academics are aware of the deficiency of skills of their students, they still receive the courses with skepticism and disdain. This is perhaps because many CPUT academics are still disingenuous about the role of the courses in developing lifelong cognitive skills (Pineteh, 2010). But given that South African high schools have failed woefully in their mandate to prepare learners for higher education, the instrumentality of these courses can not be overemphasised. To demystify the role of these courses, I start with an analysis of the discrepant narratives about the role of Communication in CPUT and ultimately interrogate the implications for the teaching and learning of communications skills. I hope to shed some light on the misgivings riddling the teaching of Communication and to continue to justify this proposed model.