The impact of tutoring in the digital academic literacy programme on graduate attributes at the University of the Western Cape
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This study reports on the impact of a Tutor Work-Study Programme, within the Digital Academic Literacy Programme (DAL) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), South Africa. This study was prompted by the need to investigate the impact of peer (student) tutoring initiatives on tutors’ learning, academic studies and future career preparation. This paper seeks to make a contribution to the broadening of conceptions regarding impact of tutoring programmes from knowledge gains in the recipients, to gains (and impediments) conferred to tutors supporting the delivery of the material. While the enquiry focuses primarily on the DAL tutors, it also includes an account of the impact of the tutors on the delivery and facilitation of programme, and on the registered UWC students served by it. A mixed-methodology is employed, incorporating qualitative and quantitative data, drawn from questionnaires and interviews. The sample consists the tutors in the programme (second semester, 2014) who agreed to take part in the study, as well as the three facilitators. Data are also drawn from a semester-end evaluation regarding tutoring. Findings reveal that participation in the DAL Programme had a strongly positive impact on the tutors, especially in skills gains and general career preparation. The tutors also had a strongly positive impact on the delivery and the facilitators. Finally, while most students enrolled in the DAL Programme were satisfied with the quality of the support and expertise provided by tutors in class, some areas for improvement are identified. Ultimately, the need to reflect critically on student interventions at Higher Education Institutions must be taken seriously, especially in the context of producing professional, knowledgeable, and employable graduates who are able to meet the demands of the modern information economy. In this context, the results of this research reveal that should the DAL Programme be discontinued or cease to be integrated into the curriculum at UWC, student development would be directly impeded, given the dire need for digital academic literacies.