Since its formation in 2003, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) has pursued its mission to maximise access to higher education to address South Africa’s challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The launch of TUT’s online learning platform and programmes in 2024 takes us one large technological stride forward towards making education even more accessible.
When developing TUT’s strategic plan for 2020 to 2025, faculty and department heads identified and committed to four key pillars:
- Future-ready graduates who make a positive societal impact
- Impactful research, innovation, engagement and technology transfer to foster growth, development and sustainability
- Service and operational excellence through resource optimisation
- Digitally-advanced University.
The introduction of online learning and its many benefits ticks many of these boxes and takes us closer to our goal.
Affordable excellence through optimisation
Online learning allows us to leverage TUT’s most important assets - the knowledge and skills of our staff - to educate far larger numbers of people than we could if confined to the limits of the capacity of our physical lecture halls and buildings.
It also provides students with many other benefits. The modular structure of our online programmes allows students to begin their studies at any of four or entry points throughout the year (depending on the course), allowing more flexibility than our campus term structure.
Students pay for modules one at a time too, which breaks up the programme’s tuition fees into smaller and more easily manageable chunks than having to pay for a year or term all at once.
Greater access through flexibility and convenience
The flexibility of TUT’s online learning format removes many of the obstacles that prevent people from studying. Aside from reducing the financial barrier to higher education, online learning opens higher education to many people who would not be able to study through a traditional full-time, contact format.
The flexible hours make this accessible to those with work or family commitments, while the ability to study from anywhere with an internet connection tears down physical and geographic hurdles. Those living in rural areas or smaller towns do not need to relocate, while people with certain physical disabilities that would make attending lectures problematic are also able to study through the online format.
The modular nature of the programmes also allows students to more easily take a break from their studies and resume just two or four months later. This allows for less in the way of make-or-break decisions over costly mid-term dropouts should a crisis occur
Innovative and engaging technology for future-ready graduates
This one practically speaks for itself. As an online programme, students will be exposed to software and collaborative tools so that they are well-prepared for the rapidly evolving working world.
TUT’s online learning platform and programmes use global best practices and have been carefully put together to provide students with a positive, interactive and engaging learning environment and experience. Course facilitators and lecturers are readily available to answer students’ questions and students are encouraged to make use of the online forums and to engage with each other.
This interactivity will ensure that students will never feel that they are taking on their studies alone, which will help with motivation. Our new online support staff will aid students every step of the way along their online learning journey, from the application process to graduation.
TUT’s online learning platform takes us a step closer towards our mission of breaking down the ivory towers of academia and allowing greater access to quality education.
We are excited to welcome our first online students next year and look forward to broadening the reach of those we can empower.
To learn more about the programmes on offer and how to apply, please go here.