Original Research

Transdisciplinary service-learning for construction management and quantity surveying students

Laura F. Pinfold
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 17, No 1 | a993 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v17i1.993 | © 2021 Laura F. Pinfold | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 2020 | Published: 16 September 2021

About the author(s)

Laura F. Pinfold, Department of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa


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Abstract

The transformation of higher education in South Africa has seen higher education institutions become more responsive to community matters by providing institutional support for service-learning projects. Despite service-learning being practised in many departments at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), there is a significant difference in the way service-learning is perceived by academics and the way in which it should be supported within the curriculum. This article reflects on a collaborative transdisciplinary service-learning project at CPUT that included the Department of Construction Management and Quantity Surveying and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. The aim of the transdisciplinary service-learning project was for students to participate in an asset-mapping exercise in a rural communal settlement in the Bergrivier municipality in the Western Cape province of South Africa. In so doing students from the two departments were gradually inducted into the community. Once inducted, students were able to identify the community’s most urgent needs. During community engagement students from each department were paired together. This allowed transdisciplinary learning to happen with the exploration of ideas from the perspectives of both engineering and urban planning students. Students were able to construct meaning beyond their discipline. Cooperation and synergy between the departments allowed mutual, interchangeable, cooperative interaction with community members. Outcomes for the transdisciplinary service-learning project and the required commitment from students are discussed.

Keywords

service-learning; community engagement; asset mapping; transdisciplinary; built environment; construction education; qualitative GIS

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