Learning & Teaching Enhancement
Welcome to Stellenbosch University
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Division of Learning and Teaching Enhancement

Frequently Asked Questions​

​​​​ Academic Renewal​ (Game Changer)

W​hat is the difference between programme review, renewal and re-design?

These three interrelated sub-sets of an overall process of continuous quality enhancement of academic programmes at SU, have slightly different purposes.

  • Programme review is usually more analytical, critical and reflective in nature, supported by a faculty- or department-driven collegial and evidence-based process that examines the rationale and justification of an existing programme. It seeks to undercover the key issues for improvement at a programme level, with specific emphasis on curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment. Hounsell (2009:202) suggests that it should draw on various sources of information, including formal feedback (e.g. surveys and focus group discussions), self-generated feedback (e.g. higher education teachers’ observations and self-evaluation) and incidental feedback (e.g. everyday routines used by teaching and administrative staff such as attendance patterns and attentiveness). These sources of information can come from current students, alumni, staff, professional peers, and other internal and external stakeholders (e.g. professional bodies, employers, general public, etc.).
  • Programme re-design and renewal often follow on from programme review, with a pertinent focus on bringing about the required improvement. These two interrelated processes are more development and futureoriented with emphasis on envisioning the revised programme, planning the redesign of the revised programme, redefining the programme purpose and outcomes, introducing innovative learning, teaching and assessment approaches, embedding graduate attributes in the curriculum and enhancing the overall quality of students’ learning experience.

The literature suggests that there are many ways in which a programme review, redesign and renewal process can be approached. There is no one ‘correct’ way, and there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ process (University of Toronto, 2017). It is often an iterative and time-consuming process that should build on the existing strengths of the programme, be evidenceinformed, be reasonable in scope and duration and be aimed at bringing about meaningful change within the academic department.​

What is the approval process for calendar changes/changes to an existing programme or module?

Changes to a module have to be approved by the faculty (i.e. Programme Committee and Faculty Board). Changes other than editorial changes also have to be submitted to and approved by the relevant institutional bodies, namely the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC), Academic Planning Committee and Senate.

A full workflow and the dates of institutional meetings are available here. ​

When do I need to submit a module specification (Form B)?

A module specification is required when there are extensive changes to a module. These changes require the registration of a new module to differentiate between students who enrolled for the existing version versus the new version of the module. Changes that would require the completion of a new module specification are the following:

  • Credits change with (1) more than 50%; or (2) 10 credits or more
  • Change of National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level
  • Change of Classification of Educational Subject Matter (CESM) category (i.e. focus of module))
  • Change of module name or subject name
  • Significant change to learning outcomes
  • Mode of provision changes (contact to HL or vice versa)

More information available here.

What is the process that I should follow to obtain approval for amendments to an existing module?

Please contact your Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning to confirm the processes to follow within the faculty. The faculty procedures will also determine whether institutional permission is required and will submit the request to the Programme Advisory Committee. ​

What is the process to change a programme name?

To change a programme name, external approval by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is required. The request will serve via the faculty and institutional committees and Senate,similar to a calendar change (full motivation, explanation, etc.). Additionally, the DHET and CHE documentation to request a change must also be submitted. The documentation is available here.​

When are the changes to a programme substantial enough that a new programme is required?

Major changes to an existing qualification/programme that require the registration of a new programme include the following:

  • Major changes to the rationale, purpose, exit-level outcomes and associated assessment criteria of a programme
  • Major changes to the programme design, that is, amending the programme modules/content by 50% or more
  • Major changes to the CESM codes assigned to programme or modules that impact on the 50% rule applicable to the use of designators and qualifiers
  • Changes to the mode of provision (applicable when amending face-to-face [F2F]to distance learning; therefore, not possible for SU programmes)

For more information visit the APQ website here.

What support is available for completing a new module specification (Form B)?

Resources are available on the APQ we​bsite to provide more information on each of the sections of the module specification, which include examples of good practice.

Additionally,​ support is available via your CTL adviser or the advisers at APQ.

Where do I start when I want to plan a new programme?

More information on the different considerations are available on the APQ website

However, individual support and advice are available, and it is recommended that you consult with advisers at APQ when considering a new programme or programme review process:

​If you are considering starting a new programme that never existed before, you can contact the Academic Planning Adviser, Melissa van der Vyver.  

If you are considering the possibility of a new programme stemming from a programme renewal process, please contact the Programme Renewal Adviser, Marianne Bester.

Where will I find a programme specification (Form A) and module specification (Form B)?

The forms and support resources are available at the APQ website. ​

​What is the difference between RPL and CAT?

  • ​RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)
    RPL applies only to nonformal learning, that is, learning that did not occur as part of a module or programme at a registered institution. There are two types of RPL:
    1. ​​​RPL for access is applied when a student who does not meet the ​minimum admission requirements is granted admission into a programme because they have gained workplace experience that is deemed equivalent to the minimum admission requirements.
    2. RPL for exemption occurs when students are exempted from certain credits/modules because they can provide evidence that there is an extensive overlap between the module and the nonformal learning that they have completed (i.e. a short course or series of short courses). When RPL for exemption is granted, no mark can be carried over to the formal learning, which would require the final mark for the enrolled module to be calculated from a weighted average (i.e. calculating the final mark out of 100 instead of 120 credits).

  • CAT (Credit Accumulation and Transfer)
    CAT applies to the transfer and/or recognition of formal credit-bearing offerings (i.e. modules). CAT allows for students to receive recognition for modules already completed at SU in other programmes or at other institutions so that they do not have to repeat modules on the same level with the same content. A CAT application would require a curriculum mapping process that should show that at least 80% of the module outcomes, content and purpose (which include the same NQF level) should overlap.
For more information, please see the SU RPL and CAT policy​ (currently under revision). Each faculty also has RPL and CAT procedures to be followed. Please contact the office of the Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning for a copy of your faculty procedures.
Where can I find more information about Extended Curriculum Programmes (ECPs) at SU?

At SU,ECPs (previously referred to as Extended Degree Programmes [EDPs]) are offered in the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Theology and Science (including Engineering and AgriSciences). You can contact the representative in each faculty for more information:  http://www.sun.ac.za/english/welcome/Pages/Extended-degree-programmes.aspx

Quality Assurance and Quality Management:

The following questions pertain to the centralised quality assurance and –management system at Stellenbosch University:

What are the different stages of the quality management system at SU?

  • Self-evaluation
  • Peer review
  • Two-year follow-up report

More information is available on the APQ website.

Is it a requirement for my centre/department/faculty to be externally evaluated?
Our quality management system provides for the regular evaluation of academic departments and professional academic support services according to a fixed cycle for quality assurance and enhancement. Our Quality Assurance and Enhancement Policy aligns itself to the CHE’s Framework for Institutional Quality Reviews.

For more information please contact the colleagues at the qualit​y office of APQ.

What is the difference between a self-evaluation and a peer-evaluation report?

  • Self-evaluation
    This evidence-based report forms a basis for the department (or faculty/centre/division) to critically review its processes and procedures to evaluate its successes and challenges and identify deficiencies. It is aimed at highlighting areas for improvement.
  • Peer-evaluation
    A group of experts who have studied the self-evaluation report and evidence portfolio will conduct a site visit with interviews to verify the quality claims, identify commendable achievements and make recommendations for improvement. A peer-review panel is typically external to the University and could include local and international peer reviewers. Where quality management is prescribed by a professional body, these guidelines in appointing peer reviewers should be followed.

For more information please visit the APQ website or contact the colleagues of the quality office.​

What is an ‘evidence portfolio’ for the self-evaluation report?

The self-evaluation report must be evidence based. This means that the quality claims made in the report must be substantiated by evidence. This is the role of the evidence portfolio. The evidence portfolio can include stakeholder feedback (e.g. student feedback on modules and programmes) and institutional data as well as the core statistics reports.

For support with a core statistics report, please contact the colleagues of the quality office at APQ.​


​​ Assessment (Game Changer)​

What are the purposes o​f assessment? 

Assessments serve various purposes that would further the primary goal of facilitating learning and preparing students for lifelong learning, such as diagnostic, summative, formative, sustainable and evaluation purposes. You can find more on each of these purposes in the SU Assessment Policy (2022):  http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/institutional ​

What are principles of good assessment? 

The principles of good assessment are unpacked in the new SU Assessment Policy (2022). The principles are centred around the following themes: assessment forms the essence of an integrated approach to student learning; assessment enhances student learning; assessment as an integrated part of a learning and teaching process that constructively aligns learning outcomes, learning opportunities and assessment practices; the policy advocates a flexible assessment approach; and the policy accepts that assessors are competent and that assessment strategies do not privilege one form or purpose of assessment over another.

You can find more on each of these purposes in the SU Assessment policy (2022):  http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/institutional 

What is an assessment strategy? 

Assessment can be taken at various times throughout a learning programme. A comprehensive assessment plan should incorporate several assessment opportunities that maintain an appropriate balance between formative and summative types of assessment. 

You can find more on each of these purposes in the SU Assessment policy (2022):  http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/institutional 

How much peer assessment can I use in my module? 

This will depend on your context, module, students, assessment strategy and the purpose of assessment.  Any assessment needs to be carefully considered and designed.  Contact the CTL Advisor in your faculty for assistance.  

To find out who the CTL Advisor for your faculty is, click here: ​

What support is available to qualifying students during assessment?


The Language Centre's Interpreting Service provides South African Sign Language (SASL) interpreting for deaf students who require it during an assessment. Contact Vicki Fourie for more information. 

Is there an Assessment Short Course for academic staff?


The CTL offers an Assessment Short Course presented every year during the first and second semesters. Click on Assessment Short Course (sun.ac.za) on the CTL website, or contact Charmaine van der Merwe for more information.


​​ Hybrid Learning (Game Changer)​

What are the different modes of provision available at SU?​

SU is a registered contact institution. Our credit-bearing offerings (modules or programmes) must therefore adhere to the minimum contact requirements. The only modes of provision that can be used are therefore full-contact or hybrid learning. For more information, please click here.

What is the difference between hybrid learning, blended learning and face-to-face learning?

  • Blended learning (BL)
    At SU, BL is understood as the systematic, sensible and contextual-responsive blend of different pedagogical approaches, teaching methodologies and appropriate digital technologies combined with the best features of F2F interaction. Therefore, BL can be seen as a broad understanding of contemporary teaching, learning and assessment (Hrastinski, 2019) that can inform, enrich or mediate the curriculum design process for F2F learning, HL and fully online learning (FOL). 
  • Contact or face-to-face (F2F) learning
    This occurs when a module or programme is offered in a physical classroom or facility with lecturers/facilitators and students mostly present in person. Most of the teaching, learning and assessments are still facilitated on-campus or in the classroom, using the traditional timetable whereby students attend learning opportunities on-campus daily. 
  • Hybrid learning (HL)
    HL involves the delivery of an academic programme or module through sustained periods of fully online learning, supplemented with fewer/shorter, yet highly engaging and interactive periods ('calendar blocks') of on-campus (F2F) contact sessions. Read more on HL here. 

More detailed information is available here.

For academic staff members who are interested in developing an HL offering or who would like to encourage colleagues in their department/faculty to do so: Where to start?​ 

  1. Request the funding documentation via the HL website, via the HL Project Manager or via your faculty learning ad teaching advisor. Even if you do not decide to apply for funding, the application form provides useful guidance on what to consider and whom to approach for more information.
  2. Once you have read the information, you should have a better sense of whether your potential offering will align with the key criteria listed in the forms. If you are still unsure, you can contact your faculty learning and teaching advisor, your blended learning coordinator (BLC) or the HL Project Manager.
  3. The next step (before you start completing the form) is to have further internal discussions within your faculty. Funding nominations should be endorsed by faculty management. The HL Steering Committee will be looking for a confirmation that the potential funding will be invested in developing an offering that is of strategic value to the faculty. It is recommended that the Head of Department bring the intent to apply for funding to the attention of the Vice-Dean: Learning and Teaching. In some faculties, this will lead to discussions with the faculty's Academic Planning Committee or other role players such as the Faculty Manager.
  4. Once you have had these discussions, you can start completing the form. The form contains a 'checklist' section that refers you to colleagues or other sources of information to assist you to complete the form.
  5. Once the form is completed and signed by all the required colleagues, your Vice-Dean: Learning and Teaching can submit it before the deadline of the latest funding call.
  6. After the Steering Committee has met to review all the nominations, the outcome will be communicated via a letter from the [U1] Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching.
  7. Once HL funding is approved, you will start to work more closely with the HL te​am to design, develop and market your HL offering.

Can we offer a programme/module fully online?

No. SU is not registered to offer any credit-bearing aspects fully online, and feedback from students and graduates indicates that there is still a preference for spending some time on campus. 

More detailed information is available here.

Where can I find a list of creative and/or online learning opportunities?

The HL website provides valuable resources to assist academics in designing online teaching and learning activities, and shares examples of HL programmes and modules offered at SU, amongst other information. You are also welcome to contact the HL team who can direct you to relevant resources/opportunities based on your specific query.

How does HL differ from ARTLA?

The onset of Covid-19 during 2020 necessitated the immediate replacement of F2F interaction with students by FOL or Emergency Remote Teaching, Learning and Assessment (ERTLA). Augmented Remote Teaching, Learning and Assessment (ARTLA) was a differentiated approach whereby faculties could offer a mix of F2F, FOL and HL approaches to accommodate students' return to campus. Both ERTLA and ARTLA were emergency response initiatives allowed by special dispensation from the Minister of Higher Education to ensure that teaching, learning and assessment could continue. This special dispensation was only applicable for a limited time and has not been renewed in 2022. 

HL requires the intentional curriculum design of a module/programme as a combination of full calendar blocks of (mostly online) scaffolded asynchronous learning and a combination of online and blocks of on-campus real-time sessions. These real-time sessions contribute to the minimum required contact time (CHE, 2014) required by the DHET.

More detailed information is available here.

To what extent can I start implementing HL without applying for HL funding?

HL funding is not required to implement a HL module or programme. The HL funding is aimed at providing financial support and the buy-in of design support from the HL Office. However, many resources are available via the HL website that will provide academics with ideas. Additionally, individual support is available via the Centre for Learning Technologies and the BLC of your faculty. 

However, for a module or programme to be changed from a contact mode of delivery to a hybrid mode of delivery, the reporting of these changes and institutional approval are required. A module specification (Form B) for each module is required as a new module must be registered on the Student Information System (SIS) to differentiate between the contact and HL version, and to ensure that HL curriculum design aspects are incorporated.

What are the key considerations for academic staff and departments interested in designing HL offerings?


HL offers ample instructional design support and (limited) funding to partially buy in lecturer time to allow for development capacity of HL offerings but only during the first-round development and implementation stage. The viability of the programme and the associated financial risk are therefore a key consideration for the faculty.  

Staff context: Department chairs, lecturers and other academic staff who will be involved in the process should further consider the following:

  1. Do you have sufficient capacity and time to commit to the curriculum design and technical HL development process? (If you are unsure of how much time this will take, please contact the HL team and/or your CTL advisor.)
  2. If you foresee that you will need some support to make time for HL development, what kind of support intervention will help you? For example: Do you need to alleviate your teaching load or request teaching assistant/tutor support? Will you need to identify external subject matter experts to help develop some of the course material? HL funding may not be able to address all these needs, but an awareness of your unique context should certainly inform both your discussions with faculty leadership and the HL team as you apply for funding.
  3. When would you like to implement the hybrid offering? Does your timeline allow for the administrative process of registering a programme/module or updating and resubmitting module registration forms? Please contact the Centre for Academic Planning and Quality Assurance or your CTL advisor if you need to better understand the typical timelines involved.
  4. Do you have buy-in and support from the rest of your department and faculty (including the faculty manager, vice-deans and dean)?
  5. Is the offering (and HL in general) aligned with the vision of your department and faculty? 

It is just as important to consider your prospective students' context. HL requires students to have sufficient access to the internet and personal devices and to possess a basic level of digital literacy in order to learn online. The technical and curricular design of the module/programme can be adapted to be as responsive as possible to students' context, but the HL funding application should first demonstrate that you are aware of their learning needs (in terms of how, when and where the cohort will be learning) even if these needs are quite diverse.

More key considerations are available here and on the HL website.

Can I use an interpreter if I use the HL mode?

Yes, the Language Centre's Interpreting Service is fully equipped to interpret real-time online lectures and F2F blocks, as long as they are streamed online. Students have the option of using the service remotely or in class by using their cellphone or laptop. For more information, contact Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert or visit our webpage here.

The Language Centre's Interpreting Service can also provide audio translations of asynchronous audio lectures or resources. For more information, contact Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert or visit our webpage here.

What is 'StellenboschX'?

 
'StellenboschX' refers to the partnership between SU and edX, a leading global online learning platform from 2U, Inc. 

The StellenboschX course portfolio (hosted on the international edX platform) is set to include a wide range of disciplines. These offerings will both showcase SU's academic and research expertise and demonstrate a responsiveness to the evolving needs of contemporary adult students. The portfolios will include both paid-for (certificate-bearing) professional certificates and open courses that can be completed at no charge. 

If you would like to know more about SU's partnership with edX and/or are interested in potentially presenting a course on edX, please contact the HL team.

Why did SU partner with edX?
 

For more information regarding this, please refer to the newsletter announcing the SU/edX partnership. Click here to access the announcement.

What are the next steps if I am interested in presenting a course on edX?


All communication regarding (potential) StellenboschX offerings go through the HL team. Before a programme proposal is submitted to edX, we have several internal discussions with you to gauge your ideas, gain high-level market insights and give you a practical overview of the process. 

Please contact the HL team to set up a discussion.


​​ Enrichment in Teaching, Learning and Assessment​

When is the next writing retreat?

Writing retreats are usually offered twice per year. For the latest information, visit the Writing Retreat section on the CTL website or contact finlo@sun.ac.za 

http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/professional-learning-opportunities-for-t-l/writing-retreats 

The Language Centre also offers some writing retreats and writing and reading marathons through its Writing Lab. Contact Selene at selene@sun.ac.za to obtain the latest dates and information, or read more here: https://languagecentre.sun.ac.za/product/writing-marathons/

Can I organise a workshop about a TLA matter in my faculty?

Yes! Please contact the CTL advisor in your faculty for help. Click here to find out whom to contact. 

I want to work on my communication skills. What professional learning opportunities are available to me?

The CTL offers Elsabé Daneel's communication workshop for lecturers three times per year. For more information, contact claudias2@sun.ac.za and read here:

The Language Centre's Comms Lab offers various short courses aimed at improving written and oral communication skills. For more information, contact Michelle at michellep@sun.ac.za or visit this page: https://languagecentre.sun.ac.za/commslab/

What is the role of a head of department?

There is an institutional guideline called Duties and Responsibilities of Programme Committee Chairs and Programme Coordinators that you can consult. You will find it here:

A conversation with your Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning will also be of value as each faculty might have different responsibilities attached to this role.

What is SoTL?

SoTL refers to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. There are various definitions, but in short, SoTL can be seen as a “systematic reflection on teaching and learning made public"(McKinney, 2003). 

McKinney, K. (2003). What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in higher education? Teaching/Learning Matters33(1), 6–7. 

You can read more here: https://sotl.illinoisstate.edu/downloads/definingSoTL.pdf

At SU, we have an in-house conference called the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference.You can read more about it here

We also offer a Short Course on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Contact claudias2@sun.ac.za for more information.

Who can attend the SoTL Conference?

The SoTL Conference is an in-house conference for SU academics and professional and administrative support staff working in TLA at SU. For more information, visit the SoTL website:

What is the SoEL Short Course?

The Scholarship of Educational Leadership (SoEL) Short Course is a 12-credit short course, pegged at Level 8 on the NQF. It is offered to SU leaders in education, over a one-year period in a BL mode. The objectives include the following:

  • To engage educational leaders (e.g. vice-deans of teaching and learning, programme leaders, departmental chairs, lecturers, heads and staff of units for teaching and learning and for professional academic support services) in scholarly approaches to educational leadership practices.
  • To introduce educational leaders to the SoEL literature and its implications for their own educational leadership context.
  • To apply SoEL research skills to one's own educational leadership context (such as reviewing literature, formulating SoEL research problems, designing research methods and disseminating results).
  • To demonstrate critically reflective practice on educational leadership in the form of a mini-portfolio. 

For more information, visit:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/professional-learning-opportunities-for-t-l/soel

What training is there for new lecturers?

Several training opportunities are available. The first question to answer is what kind of training you are referring to. In terms of teaching, SU offers institution- and faculty-based opportunities for professional learning for your teaching role. A good start is to contact the CTL advisor in your faculty so that they can point you in the right direction. You can also visit the CTL website for a list of opportunities: 

http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/professional-learning-opportunities-for-t-l (Look at the drop-down menu under this page.)

​For any professional learning opportunities positioned within different modes of provision, especially related to digital learning technologies, visit the CLT website: 
Professional Learning Opportunities (sun.ac.za)

Who can help me with my teaching?

The CTL assists academics with their teaching role. Our mission is to create professional learning opportunities for academic staff in faculties and to be thought leaders in the areas of responsive, innovative and scholarly teaching and learning.  

Please contact the CTL advisor in your faculty for help. Click here to find out whom to contact:

What is a reflective practitioner?

The SU Teaching and Learning Policy describes a reflective practitioner as follows: Reflective practitioners think deliberately and critically about their teaching practice, and systematically review and document their professional growth. To read more about this, visit the CTL Resource on Reflection: https://www0.sun.ac.za/ctlresources/reflection/

Who is the CTL advisor in my faculty?

To find out who the CTL advisor for your faculty is, click here.

Are there any lunchtime webinars that one can attend?

The CTL offers Auxins, and the Division for Learning and Teaching Enhancement offers LTE seminars. Auxins are lunchtime presentations by academics on teaching and learning innovations in pedagogic practices at SU. For more information, click here​.

During each term, the CTL  organises a Teaching and Learning Seminar, under the auspices of the Vice-Rector: Learning and Teaching, Prof Deresh Ramjugernath, and the Division of Learning and Teaching Enhancement. The seminars aim to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning. SU teaching fellows share their research, innovations and experiences about teaching and learning, and lively discussion follows. For more information, visit: http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-resources/t-l-seminars

SUNLearn

For any SUNLearn-related questions, visit the CLT webpage and navigate to the Learning Technology Support section: Learning Technologies Support (sun.ac.za) 

How can I learn more about the functionalities of SUNLearn and how to manage student engagement on SUNLearn?

To learn more about the functionalities of SUNLearn or how to manage student engagement on SUNLearn, visit the CLT website Learning Technologies Support (sun.ac.za) and navigate to the appropriate section according to your needs, be it training and support, facilitator training or tutor training. 

Is there training for SUNLearn?

Basic training sessions on the use of SUNLearn are provided to staff on a regular basis. Visit the CLT website for more information and how to book your facilitator training session and/or to access the SUNLearn User Guide.

Short Courses, Training & Support (sun.ac.za) 

Is there someone who can assist me with the design of my course on SUNLearn?

The BLCs represent the CLT in the faculties. Feel free to contact the BLC in your faculty for assistance on the design with your course on SUNLearn. You can find the details on the Support Contact Details page on SUNLearn:

Online Teaching Guide: Contact details for support (sun.ac.za) 

I would like to add a SUNLearn plug-in or request to use an alternative learning technology. Whom can I talk to?

For any SUNLearn support, contact the SUNLearn Service Desk: https://learnhelp.sun.ac.za/ 

Are there any short courses that focus on BL and how to integrate that into my teaching, learning and assessment?

The CLT is committed to creating professional learning opportunities for staff in its efforts to meaningfully include learning technology into its courses for students. Two accredited short courses in BL are provided by the CLT. Visit the CLT website for more information:

Professional Learning Opportunities (sun.ac.za) 

Which learning technologies are recommended and supported at SU?

To find out more about learning technologies recommended and supported at SU, visit the CLT website and navigate to the Learning Technology Support section:

Learning Technologies Support (sun.ac.za) 

Is there a centralised teaching, learning and assessment resource repository for teaching staff? (LSP – Lecturer Support Page)

To access the Professional Learning Opportunities (including webinars, courses or SUNLearn sites) or Resources, visit the CLT website and navigate to the Professional Learning Opportunities and Resources section of the Academic Development and Research page:

Professional Learning Opportunities and Resources (sun.ac.za)

How can I book the CLT studio? What is the cost to book the studio?
 

For all questions relating to the CLT studio, telematic services or the different services and facilities offered by the CLT, visit the CLT website and navigate to the Operations, Telematics and Projects page:

Operations, Telematics and Projects (sun.ac.za)

Can I use the studio and equipment? Can I rent a video camera to shoot at a different location?
 

For specific information on the use of the studio and equipment, visit the Operations section on the Operations, Telematics and Projects page:

Operations (sun.ac.za)


​​ Extended Learning Spaces​

What is ELS?

The ELS programme is not only a project intended to address the challenge of remote learning due to reduced capacity of lecture halls but also provides future opportunity to lecturers to stream their classes while teaching in lecture halls and align the University's offerings with the Teaching and Learning Policy. To gain access to the internal SU ELS resources, click on this link on the CLT website.


​​ Multilingualism

Why does the University have a Language Centre?

The Language Centre's mandate is to offer language support to our students and clients, and to promote multilingualism. We do this in a variety of ways, from fostering a multilingual mindset among staff and students to offering language and communication courses and academic literacies modules, running a Writing Lab where staff and students can find free writing tips and support, and providing a Reading Lab where staff and students can learn to read better and faster. We also make available interpreting in class and offer editing and translation services. Many of these services are available online as well.

Why is multilingualism important in TLA?

To be multilingual – that is, to be able to speak and understand more than two languages – will open up new worlds for you and your students. Teaching and learning in different languages, for example in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, as opposed to choosing only one language of teaching and learning, give students the opportunity to approach learning material from different perspectives and to find the way that resonates best with their learning style. It also allows for more voices to be heard authentically and is a critical enabler for students to co-create knowledge in the teaching and learning space. Having assessments in different languages also gives students the opportunity to reference the questions in other languages in order to understand the question better and potentially increase their chances of success.

Additionally, multilingualism will enable you to connect better with other people and enrich you in countless other ways. Multilingual people tend to be better at analysing their environment and spotting misleading information. They also tend to make more rational decisions, have better problem-solving skills, multitask better, learn new skills faster, communicate more effectively and even write better. Multilingualism is also one of the attributes that the University would like graduates to possess by the time that they graduate. 

Therefore, individual and societal multilingualism could be seen as “a resource to facilitate cognitive development, epistemic access, inclusiveness, transformation, social cohesion and respect for all languages", in line with the Language Policy Framework for Public Higher Education Institutions (2020).

How does the Language Centre support multilingualism?

The Language Centre makes available interpreting in class, and we offer editing and translation services. In addition, we offer several language short courses. You can learn to speak basic isiXhosa or Afrikaans with us, have a great deal of fun in the process and even be sponsored to do so if you are lucky. Check out our Language Learning Hub, which offers creative ways to learn a new language. You could also improve your academic English with us. In addition, we offer academic literacies and professional communication modules in some faculties, which would help students to learn to speak 'university' and prepare them to communicate in a professional manner.

Can students choose to study in either Afrikaans or English?

Yes, they can. They will need to check with the faculty where they would like to study to find out what its language plan looks like because that determines the languages in which subjects are offered. Students could also make use of interpreting in class if that is available. The Language Centre offers academic literacies and professional communication modules in Afrikaans and English to help students to transfer the skills that they may be more comfortable with in one of those languages to their other subjects. Have a look at the SU Language Policy (2022), section 7.1 for information on the language requirements regarding learning materials and assessment.  

How should I apply the Language Policy in my module?

Faculties have to submit a language plan for each year. This language plan will identify the language option used for all undergraduate modules.  

A module can be offered using any of the following language options identified in the SU Language Policy (2022):

  • Separate lectures in Afrikaans and English (7.1.3)
  • Both Afrikaans and English in the same lectures (7.1.4)
  • One language only (7.1.5) 

For more information, an infographic is available summarising the policy.

Do I need an interpreter in my class?

Faculties submit language plans each year. The language plan of your faculty will determine whether you need an interpreter in your classroom. If your module qualifies for interpreting according to your faculty's language implementation plan, your module will automatically be included in the interpreting timetable and you will receive an email from Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert before the beginning of the semester. 

Interpreting services are also available for modules in which it is not strictly necessary according to your faculty's language implementation plan. If you have recognised a pedagogical need for interpreting or want to create a multilingual classroom experience, contact Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert to be included in the interpreting timetable. Priority will be given to modules that qualify according to the faculty's language implementation plan.

For more information, visit our Language Centre Interpreting Service page here.

Do I have to pay for the interpreting services in my module?


No, you do not personally arrange payment for interpreting services in your module. The service is paid for institutionally. 

In which languages should my module's slides and notes be available?

According to the SU Language Policy (2022:7), all learning material should be available in English at least, except when the module is about the language itself. If at all possible, consider making your notes and slides available in Afrikaans as well, in support of the multilingual mindset that the University would like to cultivate among students and staff. If there is a pedagogical need, include isiXhosa in your offering as well – language implementation funding is available for translation into Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Moreover, faculties submit language plans each year. The language plan of your faculty will determine the languages in which you should conduct your lecture.

Do I have to pay for translation of learning material?


Yes, and funding is provided. The University has allocated language implementation funding to each faculty that can be used for the translation and editing of learning material. When you approach the Language Centre to translate your learning material, you will be given a quote that you can then use to request funding for language implementation. Your faculty manager should be able to help with this.

My students are struggling to adapt to the University environment in terms of academic reading and writing. Can you help with that?

The ability to write and read academic texts and have conversations about them is not something that comes naturally. It is very much like learning a new language, a language that students possibly have never used before. At the Language Centre, we offer credit-bearing academic literacies and professional communication modules to support students in learning and using this new language – to learn to speak 'university' and to prepare them to communicate in a professional manner. We work together with the faculties to support students while they build their knowledge and learn how to learn. 

The Language Centre also offers more services to departments or lecturers who identify the need for additional intervention regarding academic reading, writing and language support for their students. The Language Centre’s Writing Lab and Reading Lab are safe spaces where any student or staff member can develop and refine their ability to write and read academically.
I want to work on my communication skills. What professional learning opportunities are there for me?

The Language Centre's Comms Lab also offers various professional communication short courses that can help you to develop various competencies for effective and confident communication so that you can connect more deeply with your students. Here are some courses that could benefit you: 

Crafting confident presentations
Ever wished for the skills to tackle presentations with ease and elegance? Learn to convey your message clearly and face your audience confidently. 

Communicative English made easy
Feeling at a loss in English? We will help you to learn and practise the finer skills that are needed to speak and write English with confidence. 

A crash course in English grammar
Would you like to get on top of grammar rules and conventions? Join us to become a better communicator and have some fun in the process. 

For more information about Language Centre Comms Lab courses, contact Michelle Pieters.

MobiLex app

This app has been developed at SU with the goal of enhancing the student learning experience by improving SU's multilingual offering and students' ability to use multilingual glossaries. The app provides subject-specific terminology in Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa for undergraduate students and academic staff in the faculties of Education, Theology, Arts and Social Sciences, Economic and Management Sciences, Science and Engineering.  

Download the free app from the Playstore or iStore.


​​ Student Success​

SUNSuccess 

The SUNSuccess project has the overarching aim to implement a student support solution with the following objectives:

  • Deliver automated workflows for support and intervention tracking.
  • Diagnose and communicate opportunities for academic and personal growth (e.g. early alerts and flags).
  • Monitor and measure the impact of success-enhancing interventions on academic performance, experience and personal-social development.
  • Deliver an intelligent and customised view of data for both students and academic support staff.

The project is being developed as a module of SUNStudent with roll-out in mid-2023. Please contact Christina Harvett (cmh@sun.ac.za) for any enquiries.

Can you help my students and me with academic writing?

Absolutely. Our Writing Lab is a safe space where you can connect with a writing consultant about your academic writing. You may visit us as many times as you like, and our service is free. We also offer academic literacies and professional communication modules in most faculties, which would help students further to learn to speak 'university' and prepare them to communicate in a professional manner.

Can you help my students and me with academic reading?

Yes, we would love to! Our Reading Lab offers you many ways to enhance your reading skills, from free short workshops to using ReadTheory, which provides online reading comprehension practice to students of all levels. We also work together with some faculties to have our service included in some courses. Some of these services are free, too.

What Writing Lab workshops can my students do?

The Language Centre's Writing Lab workshops tackle a wide range of topics including internal organisation, coherence, cohesion, style, external structure, editing, audience, purpose of scientific writing, research topics, problem statements and hypotheses. We also look at project structure, paragraphing and argumentation, scientific writing style, referencing and more. Our Writing Lab workshops are aimed at master's and doctoral students in various fields of study and are geared towards helping postgraduates to succeed. Learn more here.

If you feel that your students could benefit from a Writing Lab writing skills workshop, the Language Centre can present tailor-made courses or workshops to specific departments, based on your unique needs. We will plan, develop and present these in collaboration with the lecturers from the various departments. To organise a tailor-made workshop for your students, contact Selene Delport.

Peer-to-peer facilitation (tutoring): How can I train my tutors (peer-to-peer facilitators)?

Most faculties have in-house training opportunities for peer-to-peer facilitators (tutors). You can contact your Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning for more information. SU also offers an institutional Peer Facilitation Training Short Course. For more information, please visit

https://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/Pages/Peer-facilitation-training.aspx or contact Sim Ntwasa (sim@sun.ac.za)

What can I ask a tutor to do?

The Regulations for peer-to-peer learning support offer guidelines that you can consult; please see Point 6.1: Designations and roles. You can also contact Sim Ntwasa (sim@sun.ac.za) for more information. 

Please visit the CTL website to find the Regulations for peer-to-peer learning:

http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/institutional

Where do I find more information about the Peer Facilitation TrainingShort Course?

For more information, please visit

https://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/Pages/Peer-facilitation-training.aspx or contact Sim Ntwasa (sim@sun.ac.za)


​​ Teaching, Learning and Assessment Resources

Where do I find institutional policies related to learning, teaching and assessment? Where do I find the latest TLA policies?

Please visit the CTL website for TLA-related policies:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/institutional 

You can also find policies on the SU website:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/policy

Where do I find national policies related to learning, teaching and assessment?

You can visit the CTL website:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-policies-and-guidelines/national 

The APQ website provides a collection of HE frameworks.

Teaching portfolios: How do I compile a teaching portfolio (also for promotion)?

The CTL has an extensive resource that can assist:
https://www0.sun.ac.za/ctlresources/teaching-portfolios/ 

You can also contact the CTL advisor in your faculty for assistance. To find out who the CTL advisor for your faculty is, click here.

Awards and grants:Where can I find more information about the teaching fellowship/teaching awards?


You are welcome to visit the CTL website for more information. 

Teaching fellowships:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-awards-and-grants/teaching-fellowships

SU teaching awards:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-awards-and-grants/rectors-award-for-lecturers/su-institutional-excellence-in-teaching-and-learning 

You can also contact Dr Karin Cattell-Holden (kcattell@sun.ac.za) for more information.​

How do I apply for a teaching award?

You can contact your CTL advisor as each faculty has its own internal process. The guidelines for applications are available on the CTL website. 

SU teaching awards:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/t-l-awards-and-grants/rectors-award-for-lecturers/su-institutional-excellence-in-teaching-and-learning 

To find out who the CTL advisor for your faculty is, click here.

You can also contact Dr Karin Cattell-Holden (kcattell@sun.ac.za) for more information.​

What is Finlo? Where do I apply?
 

The Fund for Innovation and Research into Learning and Teaching (Finlo) was established in 2005 to encourage a culture of innovation and reflection in learning, teaching and assessment at the University. The fund provides an opportunity for lecturers to innovate, to evaluate effective practices and processes, and to investigate learning and teaching problems, solutions and trends. It also provides a mechanism for the dissemination of results designed to improve the quality of learning, teaching and assessment .Any lecturer, team of lecturers or centre responsible for learning, teaching and assessment may apply for an award. For more information or to apply, visit the Finlo website

You can also contact finlo@sun.ac.za for assistance.

What TLA-related short courses are available?

The CTL offers various short courses for academics to support their teaching role. You will find a list of professional learning opportunities here:
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/professional-learning-opportunities-for-t-l (click on the drop-down menu) 

You will find the professional learning opportunities offered by the CLT here:
Professional Learning Opportunities (sun.ac.za) 

The Language Centre's Comms Lab also offers various professional communication short courses that can help you to develop various competencies for effective and confident communication so that you can connect more deeply with your students:

Crafting confident presentations
Ever wished for the skills to tackle presentations with ease and elegance? Learn to convey your message clearly and face your audience confidently. 

Communicative English made easy
Feeling at a loss in English? We will help you to learn and practise the finer skills that are needed to speak and write English with confidence. 

A crash course in English grammar
Would you like to get on top of grammar rules and conventions? Join us to become a better communicator and have some fun in the process. 

For more information about Language Centre Comms Lab courses, contact Michelle Pieters.

What is PREDAC?

PREDAC is the SU short course for the Professional Educational Development of Academics in their teaching role. The PRONTAK/PREDAC short course is annually presented for newly appointed academics at SU. During this course, participants will, together with other newly appointed lecturers from different faculties, be given the opportunity to reflect on their views, knowledge and assumptions about teaching, learning and assessment within the context of current thoughts on university teaching. Practical and innovative approaches towards teaching and assessment tasks will be addressed throughout the course. National and institutional frameworks that direct higher education in South Africa and at SU will be covered as well. For more information, click here.

How do I complete the Assessment Short Course?

The Assessment Short Course is presented during the first and second semester of each year. 

The design of the course is closely aligned with the revised Assessment Policy (2022), supporting assessment that promotes student learningThe course is registered as an official SU short course (Competence) and follows a blended approach, combining fully online, asynchronous, self-study activities (on SUNOnline) and F2F contact sessions. Completion of the short course will require that participants spend about 50 hours on these activities.

For more information, please contact cvandermerwe@sun.ac.za or click here.

In the classroom: In which languages should my module's slides and notes be available?


According to theSU Language Policy (2022:7), all learning material should be available in Englishat least, except when the module is about the language itself. If at all possible, consider making your notes and slides available in Afrikaans as well, in support of the multilingual mindset that the University would like to cultivate among students and staff. If there is a pedagogical need, include isiXhosa in your offering as well – there is language implementation funding available for translation into Afrikaans and isiXhosa. Moreover, faculties submit language plans each year. The language plan of your faculty will determine the languages in which you should conduct your lecture.

Do I have to pay for translation of learning material?

Yes, and funding is provided: The University has allocated language implementation funding to each faculty that can be used for the translation and editing of learning material. When you approach the Language Centre to translate your learning material, you will be given a quote that you can then use to request funding for language implementation. Your faculty manager should be able to help with this. 

Do I need an interpreter in my classroom?

Faculties submit language plans each year. The language plan of your faculty will determine whether you need an interpreter in your classroom. If your module qualifies for interpreting according to your faculty's language implementation plan, your module will automatically be included in the interpreting timetable and you will receive an email from Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert before the beginning of the semester. 

Interpreting services are also available for modules in which it is not strictly necessary according to your faculty's language implementation plan. If you have recognised a pedagogical need for interpreting or want to create a multilingual classroom experience, contact Juanli Theron or Christine Joubert to be included in the interpreting timetable. Priority will be given to modules that qualify according to the faculty's language implementation plan. 

For more information, visit our Language Centre Interpreting Service page here.

What is constructive alignment?

Constructive alignment refers to aligning the outcomes, learning opportunities and assessments in your module. More formally,

“Constructive alignment is a design for teaching in which what it is intended students should learn and how they should express their learning is clearly stated before teaching takes place. Teaching is then designed to engage students in learning activities that optimise their chances of achieving those outcomes, and assessment tasks are designed to enable clear judgments as to how well those outcomes have been attained" (Biggs, 2014:5-6). 

For more information, click here.

How do I find out the NQF level/credits of my module?

For an existing module: Please contact your faculty administrator with the eight-digit module code to confirm how the module was registered on the SIS. 

For a new module: The NQF level would depend on (1) the qualification type (i.e.bachelor's degree, honours degree, etc.); and (2) the academic year in which the module is offered. In a bachelor's degree, the first-year modules are offered either on an NQF Level 5 (foundational knowledge) or NQF Level 6, the second-year modules on an NQF Level 6 and the third-year modules on an NQF Level 7.  

For more information, see the APQ website.

Student feedback: Where do I find more information about student feedback?

You are welcome to visit the student feedback website or contact vfbeukes@sun.ac.za
http://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/student-feedback

How often do I have to collect student feedback?

Student feedback on the lecturing of newly appointed lecturers is only required in the second year after appointment. Feedback may be obtained during the first year following appointment with a view to using it during a follow-up consultation with CTL advisers to discuss the results and possible support. If requested by a new lecturer, this feedback is handled confidentially between the staff member and the relevant CTL staff member, provided that a second feedback opportunity occurs during the year, of which the results are sent to the line function managers as per the normal procedure.

How do I get my students to complete the student feedback form?

An e-registration form must be completed by the lecturer or administrative officer within a department as formal request to the Student Feedback Office to activate the questionnaire.

Students will receive a notification e-mail via the Student Feedback system with the link to the questionnaire and can complete the forms electronically over a set period.

What does the University do with student feedback results?

Upon closing of a student feedback questionnaire, a report is generated with aggregates for each question and open-ended comments from students are included in the report. The report is sent out to the lecturer and her/his line management function. The faculty dean also receives a copy of the report. It is advised that the results are used to inform and enhance teaching, learning and assessment at SU. However, there is no policy that clearly stipulates what should be done with the results. Each faculty/department has its own way of using and implementing the student feedback results. 

What is the purpose of student feedback?

Student feedback can have different purposes for different users. For example, do you need the data to include in a teaching portfolio, do you experience some kind of challenge in your teaching, do you plan to change the curriculum, were there significant changes in the module/programme or perhaps in the cohort of students, and so on? 

Some of the main purposes of student feedback at SU are as follows:

    • Empowering lecturers to improve their teaching.
    • Contributing to the professional learning of lecturers.
    • Being part of the teaching and learning process.
    • Enhancing students' experience of learning and teaching.
    • Ensuring the effectiveness of course design and delivery.
    • Helping students to reflect upon their experiences and provide constructive inputs to the teaching and learning process.
    • Identifying good practice.
    • Contributing to monitoring and reviewing of quality and standards. 

At SU, we encourage that student feedback should firstly aim to empower lecturers to improve their own teaching. Only thereafter should student feedback be used for any other purpose, and then with great circumspection.

Is student feedback confidential?

Yes, it is. The student feedback system is set up in such a way that only the students and student feedback staff have access to the questionnaires. Students complete the questionnaires anonymously, and lecturers do not have access to the system or any of the questionnaires.

The feedback reports that are generated after a questionnaire has closed are also treated with the utmost confidentiality. Only the specific lecturer for whom the feedback was activated has access to his/her report. A copy of the report is also sent to the head of department and faculty dean. 

Academic integrity: How do I handle suspected plagiarism?

Please consult the Policy on Plagiarism (in support of academic integrity) as well as your faculty-specific guidelines. 

How do I prevent students from cheating online?
https://www.sun.ac.za/english/learning-teaching/ctl/Documents/SU%20Plagiarism%20Policy_2016.pdf

Classroom research: What support is there for classroom research?

You are welcome to contact the CTL advisor in your faculty to discuss any possible classroom research that you consider. Apart from their support,Finlo provides an opportunity for lecturers to innovate, to evaluate effective practices and processes, and to investigate learning and teaching problems, solutions and trends. It also provides a mechanism for the dissemination of results designed to improve the quality of learning, teaching and assessment .Any lecturer, team of lecturers or centre responsible for learning, teaching and assessment may apply for an award. 

You can find out who the CTL advisor in your faculty is here.

More information on Finlo is available here.


​​ University Capacity Development Grant​

Where can I find more information about the UCDG? 

The current UCDG is funding projects, with the broad focus on student success and development, staff development and programme renewal. 

More information is available here​.

Please contact Christina Harvett (cmh@sun.ac.za) if you have any questions.