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Stellenbosch University leads Africa into enterprise-scale e-learning with WebCT Vista

 

08.02.05

Stellenbosch University leads Africa into enterprise-scale e-learning with WebCT Vista

Stellenbosch University, a 138-year-old institution in South Africa, has selected WebCT Vista(TM) to accelerate the evolution of its burgeoning enterprise e-learning program. The decision affirms WebCT as Africa's preferred e-learning solutions provider with 32 colleges and universities, including the African Virtual University consortium, having selected WebCT solutions. Stellenbosch University is the first African institution to pursue enterprise-scale e-learning with WebCT Vista.

The university has been using the WebCT Campus Edition(TM) learning management system since 1999. More than 80 percent of the University's 22,000 students use the system in hybrid courses (face-to-face contact and e-learning) with e-learning components such as online content, quizzes and after-class discussion groups. The university is migrating to WebCT Vista to sustain dramatic e-learning growth and give lecturers - whether beginner or advanced users - power to better execute their visions for improved teaching and learning. Stellenbosch is also particularly interested in using WebCT Vista reporting capabilities to track student success and retention, variables that directly affect university funding.

"Our e-learning strategy calls for a Web presence for each course module we offer, and with more than 130 departments, we're dealing with thousands of courses and rapid increases in user numbers," said Antoinette van der Merwe, deputy director of the university's Centre for Teaching and Learning. "Only WebCT Vista gives us the scalability, stability, architecture, flexibility, interface and trusting corporate partnership we need to move forward with our enterprise e-learning vision. With WebCT Vista, we anticipate greater student success and earlier, more effective intervention when students need assistance."

The university's increased e-learning activity has raised the number of concurrent e-learners tenfold from 100 two years ago to 1,000 today. To accommodate this growth, Stellenbosch needed a true enterprise platform such as WebCT Vista's multi-tier architecture, which is based on J2EE(TM) and Oracle(R) technologies. Because of this architecture, the university will be able to share learning objects across faculties, departments and modules for quicker, more effective course development. Stellenbosch will be able to make this content available on a hierarchical basis depending on the educator's role in the organization and on a student's academic focus.

Stellenbosch will integrate WebCT Vista with its Oracle Portal 10g - the entry point for all course modules - as well as its Oracle Human Resources Management System and proprietary student information system. The institution has already developed a single sign-on system into which WebCT Vista will easily fit. "We've been pleased by the ease of integration to date," said Johann Kistner, director of administrative information systems, information technology.

"Stellenbosch University is an institution that has aggressively pursued every opportunity to improve the student learning experience," said Carol Vallone, WebCT's president and CEO. "The university has clearly defined enterprise e-learning and its role in the overall Stellenbosch University e-campus strategy, and is now intently engaged in realizing the vision."

Stellenbosch University works with authorized WebCT reseller Eiffel Corp. for ongoing support.

About Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University, which hosted the second WebCT user's conference in Africa in April, has four different campuses and 10 academic faculties: Health Sciences, Law, Education, Engineering, Theology, Science, Arts, Military Science, Agricultural and Forestry Sciences and Economic and Management Sciences. Stellenbosch has positioned itself as a research-driven university and is consistently one of the best five South African universities in terms of one or more research performance indicators. The university has also outperformed all other South African universities in the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP) - a partnership between government and industry. With its five-point vision statement, Stellenbosch University has committed itself to an outward-oriented role within South Africa, in Africa and globally. For more information, please visit www.sun.ac.za.

About Eiffel Corp.

Eiffel Corp., the official partner for WebCT in Africa since 1998, delivers a holistic and innovative range of services and products for the WebCT International community and global higher education. Eiffel Corp. services 32 institutions directly in Africa and over 180 internationally. For more information, please visit www.eiffel-corp.co.za.

About WebCT

WebCT has set the standard for e-learning systems in higher education. Based in Lynnfield, Mass., WebCT provides a highly flexible e-learning environment that empowers institutions across the educational spectrum with the ability to achieve their unique objectives. Thousands of colleges and universities around the world - from community colleges to large university consortia - are using WebCT to expand the boundaries of teaching and learning. For more information, please visit www.webct.com.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates

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