Centre for Research in Engineering Education (CREE)

CREE Management Committee Members


Brandon Collier-Reed


CREE Director

Dept of Mechanical Engineering,





Learners’ interaction with technology.  Brandon Reed's primary research focuses on the level of technological literacy of school children and how this affects preparedness for technologically based tertiary studies. His PhD investigated how school children experience engaging with the technological world around them. This was a qualitative study, from a phenomenographic perspective, that drew on his natural science and social science strengths. In addition, his research interests include low-cost automation and robotics as well as social aspects of technology and engineering education.



Duncan Fraser


Dept of Chemical Engineering,





Student learning though computer simulation.

This project is supported by the NRF as well as by a joint NRF-SIDA (Swedish Research Agency) grant. So far it has explored the phenomenographic understanding of student learning, as it applies to learning by computer simulations. It has also examined the ideal characteristics of a simulation learning environment and how well students engage with a simulation. Both these studies were in the context of third year students using a distillation column computer simulation. Current work is focusing on student learning of fluid flow and heat transfer phenomena using simulations in second year.


Student success in engineering.

This project is supported by an NRF research grant.  So far data has been gathered on student success, and work on analysis of patterns of success of different groups of engineering students at UCT has also been done. Work was also done on comparing the measures of success proposed in the National Plan with those determined by detailed analysis of cohorts of entering students. This showed that only cohort analysis can yield meaningful success data.  The current phase of this study is looking at factors affecting student success and developing approaches to overcoming these hindrances.




Jenni Case


Dept of Chemical





Jenni Case has been researching students’ experiences of learning for almost a decade. Initial work in this area identified approaches to learning used by chemical engineering students, and related these to students' perceptions of the course and their learning outcomes. A further focus was on the extent to which teaching interventions enabled students to engage in metacognitive development and change their approach to learning. The course context was found to be a confounding factor in enabling this change, particularly in highly time pressured environments as are common in tertiary science and engineering programmes. Jenni has subsequently sought to develop new theoretical approaches to researching student learning, particularly those that  might take better account of the broader socio-cultural context. This work builds on critiques of the approaches to learning framework, and seeks to incorporate new perspectives such as those found in discourse analysis, narrative theory and situated cognition.






Kate Le Roux

Dept of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics,





Kate's research focuses on student learning in undergraduate access courses in Mathematics. Her PhD study is focusing on how students in an access course solve language-based problems with real-world contexts. Working from a socio-political perspective of both learning and research, she aims to identify, describe and explain the learning practices that students use in their study of Mathematics.





Delia Marshall

Dept of Physics,
University of the
Western Cape




Delia works in the field of student learning research, more specifically physics education research. Her research interests include students' approaches to learning, metacognitive development, and students' conceptions of the nature of science. More recently, she has done some research work on the use of computer simulations in enhancing students' physics learning. She is also developing an interest in using discourse analysis to explore students' experiences of learning.






Active Members

  • CREE Management committee
  • Andrew Deacon, Centre for Higher Education Development, UCT
  • Linda Kotta, X-strata development officer, Chemical Engineering, UCT
  • Disa Mogashana, academic development lecturer, ASPECT, UCT
  • Jeff Jawitz, Centre for Higher Education Development, UCT
  • Howard Pearce, Director: ASPECT, UCT
  • Corrinne Shaw, Mechanical Engineering Department, UCT
  • Saalih Allie, Physics Department, UCT
  • Nicolette Wolmarans, Civil Engineering Department, UCT
  • Harro Von Blottnitz, Chemical Engineering, UCT
  • Mogamat Noor Armien, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Tracy Craig, ASPECT, UCT
  • Ian Shroeder, University of the Western Cape
  • Bette Davidowitz, Chemistry Department, UCT
  • Cecilia Jacobs, Engineering Faculty, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Bruce Kloot, academic development lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, UCT
  • Gillian Arendse, Dept of Physics, University of Stellenbosch
  • Genevieve Langdon, Mechanical Engineering, UCT
  • Sheldon Saal, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Mark Jacobs, Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • Renee Toerien, Chemical Engineering, UCT
  • Gillian Sheridan, Chemical Engineering, UCT
  • Kalpana Kanjee-Ramesh, ASPECT, UCT
  • Trevor Gaunt, Electrical Engineering, UCT


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