Leading change

Rethinking systems

As an open distance learning (ODL) technology pioneer, Unisa knows that being in control of systems that support the academic project is the only way to avoid being imprisoned in a technological web. Making technology accessible, understandable and subservient to the intellectual enterprise of the university is very important for linking learning with systems. The university views leading the change in systems in ODL as a major priority.

From ODL to ODeL

Unisa is rethinking the way it teaches and learns in light of online education and blended learning which keeps the university at the forefront of ODL. Unisa’s vision and strategy are to establish the institution as an African open distance and e-learning (ODeL) university leading the world in using all the technologies available in integrated ways so that technology is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

Information on tap

The Unisa Library is capitalising on the enhanced multimedia distribution of content. It is one of the largest academic libraries in Africa and one of the best-endowed in terms of information resources and information technology. The library’s aim is to ensure that its resource selection practices are directed at supporting enhanced throughput of learners by providing study, teaching and research materials regardless of transactional distance or time barriers, in any format that is available.

The development of the library’s e-book collections serves a multitude of purposes. E-books provide access regardless of distance and time barriers, serving a number of users simultaneously. E-books cannot get lost, can never be misplaced and are available at the time and point of need. They allow for ease of use and can be read on any smart device or tablet. The Unisa Library and other South African libraries are challenged to provide African content which is not as easily available on e-platforms due to the impact on revenues.

Opening up access to research

The Unisa Institutional Repository (UnisaIR) is playing an important role in supporting Unisa’s research strategy. Since its inception in 2009 it has grown steadily, and now hosts 14 000 items. The UnisaIR is based upon open access principles. Being harvested by various international databases, including Google Scholar, has resulted in a significant increase in the global visibility of Unisa researchers and scholars. The Unisa IR was ranked 4th in Africa and 139th internationally by the Ranking Web of Repositories in July 2015.

Project Mvusuludzo

Project Mvusuludzo is the official name of the project aimed at aligning the structure of the support service functions across Unisa. Mvusuludzo is a Venda word which means "renewal" or "redesign". The purpose of this project, which will analyse and align Unisa’s value chain(s), service delivery models and processes in line with Unisa 2030, is to improve the overall service delivery to staff and students.

"Unisa knows that being in control of systems that support the academic project is the only way to avoid being imprisoned in a technological web."