How you can help shape UCT’s future teaching and learning

18 May 2021 | VC Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng

Dear students and colleagues

In introducing Vision 2030 to the University of Cape Town (UCT) community I wrote about the need to unleash our creative energy and our intellectual capacity to change the world into a better place for all.

A key step towards achieving this is in ensuring equitable student success at UCT. Student success is a pivotal objective for us. It is at the centre of our academic endeavours and our success as a university.

As we move towards implementing Vision 2030, we need to develop and enhance our digital learning infrastructure to position ourselves for the future.

This infrastructure plays a critical role across campus, in all faculties and departments and at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. So, in line with our Vision 2030 goals, we have initiated a project to improve the digital learning infrastructure at UCT.

The Learning Platforms Update Project (LPUP) is choosing a set of learning platforms to meet the needs of UCT’s teaching and learning community for the next decade. This includes reviewing our current learning management system (LMS), Vula.

While COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have required us to teach and learn in mainly online modes – via emergency remote teaching (ERT) in 2020 and physically distanced learning (PDL) in 2021 – in future, UCT will combine our traditional residential experience with elements of blended and online learning.

There will be many more options for educators to decide the modes in which teaching happens. Teaching spaces will become increasingly digital across the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculums.

It is an exciting time for teaching and learning, as we have so many options available to us. What we’ve learnt from ERT and PDL will influence how we design future courses with regard to content, interaction and assessment. Our recent experience of teaching online has brought new needs, requirements and dreams to the surface.

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching is leading the LPUP and is consulting the campus community about current and future requirements for teaching and learning online.

The selection of a core LMS will be through a competitive tender process, following UCT’s procurement policy, from June to December 2021.

Your voice in this process is very important. Please tell us what you need in an online learning platform in one of these two ways:

  1. Take the online LPUP LMS survey by 25 May 2021.
  2. Sign up for a student or staff online focus group between 26 May and 3 June.

Please take the opportunity to engage with the project and to give input. This is a hugely important project for the university and our collective commitment to Vision 2030. We need a wide range of perspectives to guide the decisions appropriately.

I am pleased that with your participation and input and the renewed, future-focussed attention of key experts, UCT can create platforms that will be most innovative. It will serve to enhance our ability to teach as well as make a significant, positive impact on learning and student success.

I thank you for your participation.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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