Vula signs up 1000th site

28 September 2007 | Story by Helen Théron

Milestone: Dr Christie Rowe's structural geology course was the 1000th Vula site, an event celebrated in the geological sciences department in a traditional way: tea and cake at 10h00.

It came as a sweet surprise to geological sciences lecturer Dr Christie Rowe to learn she had created the 1000th course site on Vula. And to celebrate the event, the Vula team had a special cake baked for the department.

For those who've never ventured into Vula territory (Vula means "open" in several South African languages), this is UCT's official online learning environment, first implemented in 2006.

It's based on a new open-source learning, collaboration and research content management system, built on a technology developed by a consortium of universities that include UCT, MIT, Stanford, the University of Michigan and Indiana University, and many others around the world.

Since its introduction there's been a rapid uptake across campus. Rowe's GEO2004S site (structural geology) was the 1000th. Rowe teaches structural geology to second-year students. This year it's a big class of 28 students.

What does she enjoy about VULA?

"It's very practical and accessible to students."

For Associate Professor Laura Czerniewicz, director of the Centre for Educational Technology, Vula's home, events like this show the value of the system. "We're very pleased with the uptake and its value is being demonstrated faster than anticipated."

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