The idea of signing up to do an online programme may seem like embarking on a long and lonely journey, but this is not the case with TUT. As the “people’s university”, TUT also takes very good care of its own people.
Even though you may never step foot on any of TUT’s campuses, as a TUT online student you will receive immense support from the moment you make your first enquiry through to your eventual graduation.
When you sign up for one of TUT’s online programmes, you will receive specialised online support as well as access to TUT’s well-developed network of services and resources for students. This support exists on many levels and this article will cover what is available to you.
Application and registration
TUT’s online application support staff are readily available to help prospective students with any questions they may have about the online programmes or the process of applying.
As soon as you have made contact with us through the “Request Information” form, a specialist will be assigned to you to assist you and guide you through the process. They will verify that you meet all the academic requirements for the specific programme and inform you of the documentation that must accompany your application.
Upon registration, you will be allocated a dedicated online staff member who will oversee your academic progress and who will regularly check in to see if you are encountering any difficulties.
The LMS and each of the modules in TUT’s online programmes have been designed to be user friendly, with various tools to help students with their studies.
Lecturers and module facilitators can be contacted directly for private questions. There are also public discussion boards where everyone in the class can pose questions, suggest answers and discuss topics and concepts.
Success coordinators will check that you are correctly set up with the learning management system (LMS) and can guide you through any technical issues.
The Directorate of Student Development and Support
The Directorate of Student Development and Support (SDS) provides a wide range of free support services to help TUT students with both their studies and their personal lives.
The SDS has several departments and its staff includes academic experts, psychologists and trained counsellors, meaning that students can access high-quality professional services for free.
The directorate’s main branch is at TUT’s main campus, but it has multiple satellite branches at smaller campuses. Although TUT takes its name from Tshwane, it also has campuses in Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Polokwane, eMalahleni and Mbombela.
Many of the services do require you to go to the physical offices, but you can contact any of the units to speak to an SDS staff member to find out what services are currently accessible remotely.
If you are struggling with the academic side of your studies and feel overwhelmed by the required workload, the SDS offers study counselling and support. As a registered TUT student you can book a private session or attend a group workshop to help you with your studies.
These individual sessions or workshops will deal with issues such as maintaining concentration, summarising techniques, time management and strategies for completing tests and exams, among others.
These study counselling sessions can also help to identify and address any learning difficulties or other troubles that you may be having.
For those who struggle with English at a tertiary education level, the SDS student learning centre offers language development programmes aimed at improving your reading, building English language proficiency and bolstering your essay writing skills.
Go to this page for contact details for each campus.
Mental health and well-being
An often overlooked aspect of studying is the importance of maintaining good mental health and well-being. If you find yourself struggling to cope mentally, for whatever reason, you can go to the SDS for professional personal counselling.
The SDS counselling staff include counselling psychologists, clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, registered counsellors and social workers, meaning they are well-equipped to help with a range of issues.
Examples of issues they regularly assist students with include bereavement, trauma, depression, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, relationship problems, issues related to substances and dealing with doubts over personal growth needs.
For a full list of contact details for each of the campus units, please go here.
There is also a 24-hour crisis line that TUT students can call toll-free on 0800 68 78 88.
Please note that the line does sometimes have high call volumes and counsellors are not always able to answer in time. If this happens, please call again a little bit later or send an SMS to 323 12 and you will receive a call back within about 15 minutes.
TUT students can go to any of the SDS’ carer units for career counselling and free career assessments. They can assist with information for various career fields, career choice strategies and career counselling assessments through psychometric tests. For the contact details of the various career units on all the TUT campuses, please go here.
The career assessments and counselling are mostly focused on younger students, while it is likely that many online students have already decided on their careers, if not already working. For those who are interested in finding a job after graduation, there is another TUT department that can help.
The Directorate of Co-operative Education provides a link between students, graduates and potential employers. Students can submit their CVs to the directorate for inclusion in the student CV database, from where it will be forwarded to any recruiters looking for your skills and qualifications. For details on how to submit your CV, please read this guide on graduate recruitment.
All TUT students can also register for free on the Student and Graduate Placement Portal.
For instructions on how to register, please go to this page.
Another perk of being a TUT student is that you have access to an incredible hoard of research and reference material through the university’s vast library network, made up of both physical and digital collections of books, journals and academic papers.
Some highlights that are accessible online include the TUT Digital Open Repository (TUTDOR), which is an open digital archive for TUT’s scholarly publications and research papers, a large database of scientific journals and academic papers that can be searched through here and detailed referencing guides to help you correctly reference your research when you complete assignments.
For the full list of services offered by the library, have a look at the dropdown menus under “Research support” and “Learning support” on the TUT library website. There are several tutorial videos you can watch to help you get the best out of the library's many tools.
TUT has libraries on each of its campuses, but the services and collections vary from campus to campus. You can click on any of the following links to see what is available on each campus:
As you can see, you are not just an anonymous student number when you study with TUT.
We recognise that our students are not emotionless machines, but individuals subject to all the complexities and difficulties of life.
We are proud of the support that we have been able to offer students over the years and we look forward to extending this support to our first intake of online students in 2024.