UCT launches new 'blended' online course

2013-08-06 13:50
Internet. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Internet. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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Cape Town - Online educational courses are a convenient fit for working professionals who want to continue their studies, a South African university has said.

The University of Cape Town recently launched its Postgraduate Diploma in Management (Marketing) as an online course, and it is aimed at industry professionals.

"The programme is aimed at working professionals who can now fit a serious academic programme into their working lives because of the flexibility that the blended model provides," Sam Paddock, co-managing director of GetSmarter told News24.

The UCT programme is offered in partnership with GetSmarter, and was the result of demand from prospective students.

"The department has received many requests over the years from would-be students for a part-time version of the programme that they could do while working," said Alison Meadows, the programme convener.

Smart devices

Students who participate in the blended-mode format course will be exposed to the same quality of instruction as those who attend full time.

Unisa is the oldest distance learning university in SA and UCT said that it was not out to compete with Unisa in terms of its online offering.

"Unlike most Unisa courses we know about, UCT Commerce "Across Africa" courses involve day-to-day, multi-modal monitoring of and interaction with students on the part of tutors and lecturers; and students move through each course at a designed, administered pace with regular assignment submissions and feedback," said Professor Don Ross, the dean of the Commerce Faculty.

The growth of smart devices prompted the introduction of the pilot programme.

"The growth of smart devices is one of many trends that have impacted on the decision to offer online courses," said Paddock.

Students will write the same examinations and the course costs will be similar to the one taken by full time students.

However, Paddock said the online nature of the course might provide students with an advantage.

"As the workplace continues to embrace digital technologies, we expect that there will be distinct advantages to having studied online."

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