The Tshwane University of Technology said on Friday it would improve the delivery of a fully blended and fully online learning experience to more than 64,000 students as it bids to become South Africa’s first truly digital institute of higher learning.

In a statement, TUT said the strategy would see it adopt digital and smart technologies to enhance student-learning experiences, facilitate knowledge creation, increase engagement, and accelerate technology transfer.

After a rigorous tender process that started last August, the university awarded Visions Consulting and learning technology company D2L a contract to implement the Brightspace platform as TUT’s learning management system. Its implementation started last month and is expected to be completed by the end of December, before going live in January.

South Africa – Pretoria – 03 March 2020 – Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

“As the leading university of technology on the African continent, our primary objective is to advance social and economic transformation through relevant curricula, dedicated staff and an enabling environment,” TUT head of department for educational technology integration Dr Annette Sadie said.

“The innovative, customisable and easy to implement learning models that Brightspace unlock will see us transcend traditional silos, expedite our digital transformation and achieve our strategic priorities.”

Brightspace is a cloud-based learning platform for educators that works on any device,allowing them to easily set up individualised learning paths for students, keep them on track with automated nudges, provide them with personalised feedback and increase their engagement through gamification, social tools, video and other features.

The University of Pretoria has asked students to be patient as it starts online lectures. Picture: AP

TUT’s mandate is to provide affordable higher education for young people who might otherwise not be able to proceed to a tertiary institution after high school, thus eliminating societal inequalities, poverty and disparities.

It rates among the top ten universities in South Africa and has a presence in five of the country’s nine provinces.

-ANA, Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa