A Student PSY3009 0

Unacceptable quality of course administration for PSY3009 (UCT)

53 people have signed this petition. Add your name now!
A Student PSY3009 0 Comments
53 people have signed. Add your voice!
Maxine K. signed just now
Adam B. signed just now

We, the undersigned class members of PSY3009 in 2020, have created this petition to express our collective frustration with the course's administration (specifically regarding the conduct of Dr Progress Njomboro). Our concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed when voiced directly to Progress, whether individually or via our class representative. It seems as if our concerns are being treated as opinions held by a minority of students when, in fact, many students share in this frustration.

Our concerns are as follows:

'Plagiarism' in the final test

● Students were only informed of the actions that would result from accidental or intentional plagiarism after the test had been completed.
○ The students were not told by Progress that they would lose marks if they
took information from either the textbook or slides, in what was initially described as an 'open book test' by Progress. Some students identified that the slides presented
as learning material featured unreferenced text copied directly from the prescribed textbook. This makes judgements on students' 'plagiarism' seem especially unreasonable.

○ The students were not informed by Progress that names of those considered to have plagiarised during the final test would be sent to the Psychology Department as a warning.
■ On this list, very little detail was provided as to how the individual students
had plagiarised. For some students, no detail was given at all.
■ This lack of information has ultimately made it difficult for students to query the
markers' decisions.

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and students' academic reputations may be tarnished by a marking process that was (i) poorly communicated, and as a result (ii) unfair. We request that this missing information be published so that students have the ability to appeal their position on said plagiarism list.

Poor communication from Dr Progress Njomboro

● Progress rarely responded to emails that voiced students' concerns and
questions. When he rarely did reply, his responses were confusing and
often did not provide a satisfactory answer.
○ Progress's poor communication was often detrimental to students' academic performance, as many could not obtain critical guidance needed for successfully completing assessments.

● Progress often announced deadlines and other assessment information with very little notice. This undoubtedly impacted students' performance on assessments and created anxiety and stress amongst class members.

Students cannot learn effectively, even at a world-class university like UCT, without their educators employing effective communication practices. We request that Progress and other academics in similar positions receive the necessary support and training to allow effective communication with their students.

A lack of compassion for students from Dr Progress Njomboro

● When students provided feedback to Progress on concerns regarding the course, this feedback was often dismissed. Furthermore, some students feel that
Progress patronised them in the process of them bringing these issues to his
attention. On a number of occasions, the students were accused of bullying by
Progress while they felt that they were simply voicing their concerns and insisting on fair treatment.
● Due to the current situation in relation to COVID-19 and the subsequent shift to
ERT, UCT has stressed that lecturers should be more understanding
and accommodating towards their students. However, many students within this course believe that the PSY3009S lecturers, specifically Progress, did not present these values.

○ Progress's failure to respond to emails from students who suffered immensely (for a variety of reasons) throughout the semester is unacceptable. When he did respond, it was not with an attitude of understanding. For example, a student was denied extra time from Progress after explaining their difficult and traumatic circumstances to him. The same plea that was denied by Progress was allowed by the student's tutor, positioning Progress's decision as unreasonable.

○ Any decision by Progress to be more accommodating was only made after the students continuously brought the issue to Progress’s attention or escalated it to
Kevin Thomas (the Head of Department of Psychology).

We request that Progress and other academics in similar positions receive the necessary support and training to express empathy towards their students.

We, the undersigned students, trust that our concerns regarding fairness, communication and empathy in PSY3009F will be addressed so that this course may provide a better learning experience for future students.

Share for Success