Learning Platforms Update Project

What is the Learning Platforms Update Project?

The Learning Platforms Update Project (LPUP) is choosing a suite of online learning platforms to meet UCT’s teaching and learning needs for the next 5 to 10 years.

We’re building an ecosystem for teaching and learning at UCT for Vision 2030 in which digital tools and technologies have a central role, across the continuum from courses taught on campus in classrooms to fully online programmes.

The project involves the selection and implementation of a Learning Management System (LMS) for UCT, and related systems for online meetings, course evaluations, and online assessments. New systems will be cloud-hosted for increased availability, and to reduce IT risks.

Read the VC Desk announcing the project in May 2021.


Brightspace is UCT’s new LMS

Following a detailed and rigorous procurement process with comprehensive input from the UCT community, UCT Council approved the recommendation to adopt D2L Brightspace as UCT’s new Learning Management System.

Read the VC Desk announcing the selection of Brightspace.

In May 2022 we put out a call asking UCT staff and students to submit suggestions to name UCT's new digital learning platform powered by Brightspace.  Read the VC Desk announcing the new name, Amathuba.

Amathuba enables world-class blended and online learning for students and staff, for formal accredited programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and professional development and informal learning opportunities through short courses or other offerings.

Amathuba provides an easy, intuitive, efficient, and powerful platform which centres the student experience, supports student learning and success, and offers easy integration with other products and systems, including Microsoft Teams.

Amathuba is provided as a cloud service by Desire2Learn (D2L), supported by South African partner Visions Consulting.


Find out more about Amathuba at UCT

Read more about Amathuba at UCT, including the timeframes for migration and the support which will be provided for this.


Do I need to do anything before the start of the 2023 academic year?

Currently all first-year courses will be migrated during the second half of 2022 to be taught in Amathuba from Semester 1, 2023. CILT will communicate information regarding this process in due course. CILT is also in discussion with each faculty to confirm the migration plan for their remaining courses.


How long can I still use Vula?

Vula will continue to be supported until 31 December 2025. Many UCT courses will continue to use Vula in 2023, with most courses moving to Amathuba for 2024.


Which other systems will change?

The Learning Platforms Update Project is also identifying future solutions for:

  • Course Evaluations (the survey tool used for gathering student feedback on courses and teaching)
  • Online assessment tools used for online tests and exams (third-party tools used in addition to the LMS, such as Examity, ProctorU, Respondus, and Gradescope)
  • Virtual classroom and online meeting tools (currently Microsoft Teams and Zoom).


What about Turnitin, Opencast, Leganto, Gradescope and other applications used with Vula?

Turnitin, Opencast (for lecture recording and Opencast Studio) and Leganto (for reading lists, provided by the Library) will continue. Smaller tools integrated with Vula through Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) such as online textbook systems will work in a similar way with Amathuba.

Gradescope, Hypothesis, Padlet and Wooclap have been extended for 2022. They will also work with Amathuba where needed. The need for these tools from 2023 onwards will be assessed during 2022.


What about MOOCs and short courses?

UCT hosts its portfolio of MOOCs on Coursera and Futurelearn and will continue to do so.

Short courses at UCT are hosted on a range of systems, including Vula and platforms from other providers with whom UCT has agreements. Amathuba is an attractive platform for hosting short courses, and short course convenors are invited to consider using it for this.


What about non-teaching uses of Vula?

Vula is currently used to support a range of activities which aren’t directly teaching-related, such as recruitment, research collaboration and administrative processes. We expect many of these purposes to be served in future by newer platforms such as Microsoft Teams or specialist solutions such as e-recruitment in HR.

Amathuba may support student- and educator-focused community sites not directly aligned to courses.


Can I continue using Vula for non-course purposes?

Yes, through to December 2025.


Who do I contact if I have a question?

If you’d like more information about any aspect of the project, please contact CILT-Helpdesk@uct.ac.za