Which Universities and Colleges Have Started ELearning?

The Covid-19 pandemic has left higher education institutions to develop contingency plans to ensure students are able to complete the 2020 academic year. Online learning has been the main move for many institutions and further assistance has been provided to ensure this move was done swiftly.

It has been formally agreed upon that all students will be given an equal opportunity to complete the 2020 academic year. Universities and TVET Colleges will therefore be implementing alternative learning and teaching methods as well as restructuring their academic calenders to make way for any impacts Covid-19 has brought to Higher Education.

Some institutions have made free data and loan devices available to students as they commence their second terms using online methods. Education portals and websites have also been zero-rated which means students will not need data to gain access to them.

Institutions that have started on Orientation of online programmes and academic programmes, most from 20 April, are as follows:

  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Witwatersrand (Wits)
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Cape Town
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • University of the Free State
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Pretoria
  • Sol Plaatje University
  • North West University
  • University of Mpumalanga

Walter Sisulu University has announced that they will not be engaging in a virtual learning programme.

University of Fort Hare has stated that they are not in a position to fully switch over to online learning. Majority of their students do not have access to internet.

South African College of Psychology has made the move to online learning.

Mangosuthu University of Technology will only go online should the lockdown be extended further than 30 April. As of now, online methods will only be used for catch up purposes.

Northlink College has officially said, “We are not sure when the lockdown ends, whether our campuses will be allowed to open and run academic activities as per normal, because of social distancing. Therefore, we are continuing with the online learning so that students will not be disadvantaged, on their return. We await a revised Academic Calendar, for 2020, from DHET.”

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) has said the following on their current status of learning and teaching, “As a result of the extension of the current lockdown period to the end of April, teaching and assessment activities will remain suspended for the duration of this time.”

False Bay College, while waiting for the revised academic calender from the Department of Higher Education has said, “we are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that teaching and learning continues and that there are plans in place for academic catch-up before exams and assessments. Many of you may be in contact with your lecturer via WhatsApp or alternative communication tools such as SMS. Please use these platforms to continue engaging with your academic work.”

Prestige Academy is currently using online learning and will continue to do so until 15 May. Extra remedial classes will start 18 May until 22 May via Zoom. Online summative assessments will commence on 15 June until 25 June. Contact classes are to start on 7 July, should it be allowed.

Prestige Academy has said, “If the lockdown comes to an end at the end of April 2020, ONLY the 22 students that could not view the on-line videos may return to the respective campuses on 4 May 2020. Computer facilities will be available from 08:00 – 16:00 where these students may view all the recordings applicable to their modules. Bellville Campus Hostel students may return to the hostel after the lockdown.”

Durban University of Technology have plans in place for online teaching to commence. They have launched the Technology for Learning (TFL) programme as an online learning platform for students. Here students have access to online learning resources, classes, tutorials and tutors who are able to provide assistance.

Tshwane University of Technology is in discussion and surveying whether they should commence with online learning. They are encouraging staff and students to do what they can in terms of academics online.

University of Zululand has made no formal announcement on their academic programme moving online. They are encouraging students to use other online academic resources available in the form of Learner Management Systems.

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University is working on moving to online learning. They are assessing the level of accessibility students have if online learning is to be used. They are in the process of providing data and devices to students who need them.

University of Limpopo staff are preparing online resources for students to use. They are looking into online learning and how to do it effectively. They have stated, "the University did not start with online learning by 20 April 2020, as it remains engaged in comprehensive reflections in order to bring online teaching to our students by the most meaningful, practical and equitable means possible."

University of Kwazulu-Natal has developed a number of resources for students to engage with online learning and teaching. University World News reported, “a process to transfer academic course material onto virtual platforms would be completed by the end of April ... they are working towards a tentative start date of 4 May”.

University of Venda has learning resources for students available on Blackboard. 

Central University of Technology is in the process of moving their academic programme to e-learning and is making sure that ample preparation is done. The University is developing accessibility for the students in terms of data, devices and learning resources.

Vaal University of Technology has made learning resources available to students on Blackboard. Training is available to assist students with the use of Blackboard.

Further updates and announcements are to come as higher education institutions navigate ways to continue operations during this unique time.

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