Dr James Mackay

Centre of Learning: Information Technology, Engineering and Construction

School: School of Engineering

Teaching Programme: New Zealand Diploma in Engineering, Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Research Speciality: Physics, Engineering and Vocational Education.

 

Background: 

James Mackay received his PhD from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa in 2012 and has published in the field of Physics and Technology education and more recently in the field of Vocational education with particular reference to teaching and learning in technical trades.

James has a background in physics and has spent his working life in South Africa developing physics and engineering educational programmes aimed at redressing inequities in the South African education system. He has taught Physics at university, polytechnic and secondary school level.

Currently he teaches in the Bachelor of Engineering Technology programme in the school of Engineering at WelTec and in the past few years has co-led a nationally funded research and development project investigating language in the trades. He has recently been appointed to lead another nationally funded research and development project aimed at developing a new Degree Apprenticeship in Engineering for New Zealand.

 

Academic Qualifications

2012, PhD, Physics Education, University of KwaZulu Natal

2007, PGCE, University of KwaZulu Natal

1993, MSc, Physics Education, University of the Witwatersrand

1982, BSc (hons), Physics, Rhodes University

 

Professional Positions Held

2013 - Present, Principal Academic Staff member, WelTec

2011 - 2012, Teaching Quality Project Leader; Faculty of Trades and Technology, WelTec

2005 - 2010, Lecturer, Science and Technology Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Other projects in this period:

Inanda Saturday school project; INK project; Evaluation of Izibalo Project, Toyota Teach Project and consultant to the Council for higher education, writing accreditation and evaluation reports on a number of tertiary institutions

1998 - 2004, Regional manager, Programme for Technological Careers (PROTEC)

Other Projects in this period:

Set up and ran the SAPPI Mini Expo project, Surveyed access programmes for 18 universities and polytechnics research for FOTIM on Research Project, FEST Research Project (National survey on public understanding of science projects in South Africa for the Foundation for Engineering, Science and Technology (FEST); designed and set up the Olwazini Science Centre; Kagiso Television, (Developed television scripts in science education for both Ethiopian Television and the SABC Mindset programme).

1996-1999, National selection co-ordinator, SYSTEM project (a presidential lead project of the Ministry of education)

Other projects in this period:

Contracted to develop ASECA Combined sciences curriculum

1993 - 1995, Senior Tutor, Physics Department, University of Natal

1988 – 1993, Physics and mathematics teacher, Maru-a-pula school in Gaborone, Botswana

1988, Senior Tutor, Physics Department; University of the Witwatersrand

1985 - 1987, Physical Science teacher, Mmabatho High School;

Other projects in this period:

Branch Manager of the PROTEC Mmabatho branch

1984 - 1985, Travelling in Europe

1983 - 1984, Physical Science and Mathematics teacher, Tladi Secondary School, Soweto

Other Projects in this period:

Taught part time for the Engineering Careers and Education Project (now PROTEC), Soweto

 

Professional Distinctions and Memberships

Performance Based Research Fund C rated in 2011 round.

 

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Parkinson, J., Mackay, J., & Demecheleer, M. (2017). Putting yourself into your work: Expression of visual meaning in student technical writing. Under Review, pp.10.

Parkinson, J., Mackay, J., & Demecheleer, M. (2017). Situated learning in acqusition of a workplace genre. Vocations and Learning, pp.1-27. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s12186-017-9191-x

Parkinson, J., Mackay, J., & Demecheleer, M. (2017). Writing like a builder: Acquiring a Professional genre in a pedagogical setting. English for Specific Purposes, 46, pp.29-44.

Parkinson, J., & Mackay, J. (2016). The literacy practices of vocational training in Carpentry and Automotive Technology. Journal of Vocational Education & Training., 68 Issue 1, pp.p33-50. 18p.

Mackay, J., and Hobden, P. (2012). Using circuit and wiring diagrams to identify students’ preconceived ideas about basic electric circuits Mackay. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. 16 (2) : 131–144.

Parkinson, J., Baba, S., and Mackay, J. (2011). Language support for learning in a second language: What can the Malaysian example offer South Africa? Language Matters. 42 (1): 69-82. ISSN 1022-8195.

Stears, M., Mackay, J., and Bentham, H. (2011). An analysis of student teachers’ understanding of integration of Science and Technology activities. Africa Education Review. 8(1): 38-54. ISSN 1814-6627.

Mackay, J., and Parkinson, J. (2010). Gender, self-efficacy and achievement among South African technology teacher trainees. Gender and Education. 21 (1): 87-103. ISSN 0954-0253.

Mackay, J., and Parkinson, J. (2009). “My very own mission impossible”: an APPRAISAL analysis of student teacher reflections on a design and technology project. Text and Talk. 29 (6): 729-753. ISSN 1860-7349.

 

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters, Books Edited

Goodyer, J., Poskitt, J., & Mackay, J. (2017). Commissioned project report: A pilot study of the application of degree apprenticeships in New Zealand: A focus on infrastructure asset management.

Parkinson, J., Coxhead, A., Demecheleer, M., Mackay, J., Matautia, L., McLaughlin, E., & Tu’amoheloa, F. (2017). Commissioned project report: The Language in the Trades Education project

Bosch, D., Hendricks, A., Mackay, J., and Tarling, I. (2013). Solutions for all, Technology Grade 9 Learners Book. Macmillan, South Africa (Pty) Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-4310-1496-5.

Bosch, D., Hendricks, A., Mackay, J., and Tarling, I. (2013). Solutions for all, Technology Grade 9 Teachers Book. Macmillan, South Africa (Pty) Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-4310-1497-2.

 

Refereed Conference Proceedings

Mackay, J. (2017). The Steam Generator Project-The development of key competencies in First Year Engineering Physics Students in Guangxi, China. Graca Carvalho(Ed.), Proceedings of the XVII IOSTE Symposium. Braga, Portugal, 11-16 July, 2016.Conexão Ci., Formiga/MG (pp.398-403). 12.

Mackay, J. (2010). The use of wiring diagrams to reveal student thinking about current electricity. Proceedings of the XIV Symposium of the International Organisation for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE), Dolinsek S & Lyons T (Eds). Socio-cultural and Human Values in Science and Technology Education. University of Ljubljana, Bled, Slovenia. 13-18 June 2010. ISBN 978-961-92882-1-4.

Carnegie, D.A., Watterson, C., Browne, W.N., and MacKay, J. (2012). Strategies to improve engineering retention. Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), Marrakech, 17-20 April 2012, 1 - 10.

Stears, M., Bentham, H., and Mackay, J. (2010). An analysis of student teachers’ understanding of integration of Science and Technology activities. Proceedings of the XIV Symposium of the International Organisation for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE), Dolinsek S & Lyons T (Eds). Socio-cultural and Human Values in Science and Technology Education. University of Ljubljana, Bled, Slovenia. 13-18 June 2010. ISBN 978-961-92882-1-4.

Mackay, J. (2010). The use of wiring diagrams to reveal student thinking about current electricity. Proceedings of the XIV Symposium of the International Organisation for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE), Dolinsek S & Lyons T (Eds). Socio-cultural and Human Values in Science and Technology Education. University of Ljubljana, Bled, Slovenia. 13-18 June 2010. ISBN 978-961-92882-1-4.

Mackay, J. (2009). Using wiring diagrams as a tool to reveal student thinking: A contextual approach to learning current electricity. International Conference on Physics Education (ICPE), Bangkok, Thailand.

Mackay, J. (2009). Using a Contextualised Project to Increase Self Efficacy in Basic Electrical Technology amongst Female Students. International Conference on Physics Education (ICPE), Bangkok, Thailand. 18-24 October 2009.

Mackay, J., and Parkinson, J. (2008). The Doll’s House project: Gender, Self-Efficacy and Achievement in developing Electrical Competence among Teacher Trainees in South Africa. 13th International Organisation for Science and Technology Education (IOSTE) Symposium, Kusadasi, Turkey. 21-26 September 2008. ISBN 978-605-5829-16-2.

 

International teaching and speaking:

Nov. 2015 - to date. School of Art and Design, Hunan City University, China. Curriculum co-development and teaching of drawing and design, publication and photography, special topic and branding papers across three undergraduate levels. Lecture series development for each of these papers.

October, 2013. Xiamen University of Technology, China. Five day lecture series.

 

Presentations at conferences and seminars:

Saris, B. (2017). Visual communication design (VCD) learners’ creative design processes: A pedagogical branding project from Hunan City University in China. The WelTec-Whitireia_Open Polytechnic Research Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

Saris, B. (2015). Arts collaboration: The value of visual communication design informing pedagogy. The WelTec-Whitireia Joint Research Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

Saris, B. (2014). Sense-ability: A humanistic brand strategy for New Zealand small and medium enterprises. The WelTec-Whitireia Joint Research Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

Saris, B. (2014). Case studies of international Chinese students in vocational training on Bachelor of Applied Arts, (Visual Arts and Design) at Whitireia Community

Polytechnic. The WelTec-Whitireia Joint Research Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

 

Non-peer reviewed conferences

Mackay, J. (2017). Developing and tracking profiles of students' conceptions of force through an engineering degree. GIREP-EPEC-ICPE 2017, 3rd to 7th July; Dublin, Ireland.

Mackay, J., Ferguson, A., Cook, F., & Pitawala, S. (2017). Persistence of misconceptions in mechanics. NZDE/BEngTech Teaching/Learning and Research Forum, 13-14 February 2017; WelTec Petone.

Parkinson, J., & Mackay, J. (2016). A model for developing resources to improve literacy outcomes for Carpentry trainees. 25th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference. Rockhampton, Queensland Australia, 4-6 July.

Mackay, J., Fawcett, M., Breen, F., & Protheroe, M. (2016). The effect of maths anxiety on the development of numeracy in vocational courses. John Clayton (Ed.), 2016 Sino-NZ Higher Vocational Education Forum Qingdao, China, November 27-29 (pp.6).

McLaughlin, E., & Mackay, J. (2015). The Language in the Trades Project. Poster presentation at Whitireia & WelTec Research Symposium, Wellington, New Zealand.

Mackay, J. (2015). The use of multiple representations in teaching “trades physics”. International Commission on Physics Education Conference. Beijing, China.

Mackay, J., and Fawcett, M. (2014). Analysing alternate conceptual frameworks using Smartpens. 22nd Annual General meeting of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 13-16 January 2014.

Mackay, J. (2014). Tracking the understanding of physics ideas in the trades: Trades tutors use of analogies in developing explanations of basic physics ideas. International Commission on Physics Education Conference. Cordoba, Argentina, August 2014.

Parkinson, J., and Mackay, J. (2014). Language in the trades: The literacy demands of vocational study. Teaching & Learning Research Initiative Research in Progress Colloquium IV. Wellington, New Zealand, 10-11 July 2014.

McLaughlin, E., Mackay, J., and Cama, M. (2014). Language in the Trades. New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Forum. Wellington, New Zealand, 20-21 October 2014.

Mackay, J. (2014). The Use of Explanations and Analogies in teaching physics concepts relevant to the trades. New Zealand Vocational Education and Training Research Conference, Wellington, New Zealand.

Mackay, J., and McKenna, C. (2014). Inducting students into the engineering community using project based learning as the core methodology of an engineering foundation programme. Sino/NZ Vocational Education and Training Research Forum. 6-7 November 2014, Tianjin, China

Mackay, J., and Fawcett, M. (2014). Analysing alternate conceptual frameworks using Smartpens. 22nd Annual General meeting of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Kirkland, G., and Mackay, J. (2012). A contextualised Literacy Intervention in the Foundation Engineering Programme at WelTec. 35th ACAL National Conference,. 19 - 21 September 2012, Hobart Australia.

Mackay, J. (2011). “We shouldn’t have to do this we’re girls! Widening access to female students learning electrical technology. New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) Conference, 28 Nov - 1 Dec 2011. Tauranga, New Zealand.

Mackay, J., and Parkinson, J. (2007). Gender, self-efficacy and achievement among South African Technology Teacher Trainees, Gender and Technology conference, VOLOS, Greece. International Symposium: Mathematics and Technology in the body of Education: The gender perspective. University of Thessaly, Volos Greece.

 

Research Contributions
Reviewing & examining

2017: PhD examination; Faculty of Education; University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa

2014: PhD examination; Faculty of Science; University of the Witwatersrand

2014: International commission on physics education (ICPE) proceedings

2014: Sino/NZ VET symposium (conference abstracts)

2013: African Journal of research in mathematics, science and technology education

2013: International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE) proceedings

2013-2017: Joint WelTec & Whitireia research symposium (conference abstracts)

Research funding

2018: Brought in Research funds ($400,000) for the development of Phase2 of the Apprenticeship degree

2017: Brought in a short term research project for the organisation in developing a pilot for a degree apprenticeship ($18,000 total value)

2014: Funding proposal for the language and trades project accepted by Ako Aotearoa ($150,000 total value)

Conference contribution

2016: chaired a session at the IOSTE conference in Braga

2015: chaired a plenary session at the International Commission on Physics Education Conference in Beijing

2015: chaired a strand and run a workshop with participants at the Sino / NZ Partnership Research Forum, Wintec, Hamilton, New Zealand

2013: chaired a session at the ICPE conference, Prague

Researcher development within the institution

2012– 2017: member of the WelTec Research committee

2014: represented WelTec at the Chinese Institute of Vocational and Technical education meeting

2012-2015: Initiated and organised the Teaching and learning forum

2016: regular member of research funding panel

2013: invited Bob Lambourne, chair of the International commission for Physics education to present to colleagues at WelTec

2012: Co-ordinated research presentations and a roundtable discussion between Staff at WelTec and the South African delegation that included representatives from Government and five tertiary institutions

2012: Worked with teams of new researchers to produce eight conference presentations (13 at the national Tertiary Learning and Teaching conference in Nelson October 2012, one at the Enabling Access conference in Hobart September 2012 and one at the NZARE conference, November 2012)

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