An announcement about our Learning Platforms Update Project

09 December 2021 | From Kgethi

Dear students and colleagues

In May I wrote to you about the Learning Platforms Update Project, inviting you to contribute to shaping the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) future digital learning environments.

Staff and students provided extensive input through surveys and focus groups. Faculty, student and other stakeholder representatives then participated in a formal procurement process, defining requirements for a cloud-hosted Learning Management System (LMS) for UCT and evaluating bids from all major market players in a detailed and rigorous way.

I’m pleased to let you know that on 4 December UCT Council approved the recommendation that UCT adopt the Brightspace LMS from Desire2Learn. The selection of Brightspace is a major milestone in enhancing the university’s digital infrastructure to support student success and provide students with rich and engaging blended and online learning experiences.

Brightspace provides strong support for the priorities which you identified. It is intuitive and easy to use, supports a wide range of teaching modes, provides strong communication and assessment features, a mobile app, enhanced analytics, excellent integration with MS Teams and comprehensive accessibility support for students with disabilities. And as a cloud-based solution, it will always be online when you need it.

I know the entire UCT community has invested heavily in using Vula to full effect for Emergency Remote Teaching and now Physically Distanced Learning. The knowledge and experience gained in this process is invaluable, and the transition from Vula to Brightspace will be carefully managed and supported by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) in partnership with faculties. Some courses will start to use Brightspace later in 2022, with most courses expected to have moved across for 2023. Vula will continue to be available as needed through to December 2024.

The move to Brightspace also presents the UCT community with an opportunity to think anew and enhance how we learn and teach across the continuum of in-person, blended and online modes, improving practices to take advantage of new capabilities, and supporting students by creating a well-designed and consistent digital experience across all courses. UCT is committed to providing the support and expertise to enable this.

To find out more about Brightspace:

Thank you for your participation as we build the UCT of the future and #unleash teaching and learning.


Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng

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