Did you know? Google Sites can be used for academic, personal and community events

Google sites allow you to easily create websites, without any knowledge of HTML or other programming languages. It features a drag-and-drop interface, and a hosting service, making it simple for anyone to create a website and publish it online:

  • Google Sites enables collaborative editing, meaning that multiple people can add and edit content on the site simultaneously and from different geographic locations.
  • It allows for the integration of other Google applications, such as Google Docs, Maps, Calendar, YouTube etc. which can all be embedded within your site.
  • Furthermore a user is able to setup of ePortfolioswhereby academics and students document and present their academic journey.
  • Moreover, it can be used to design an interactive website, to share information about services and eventswhich makes it a useful marketing tool for business and community institutions.

**Google Sites features customisable privacy settings meaning that it can be made public on the World Wide Web, or kept private for your personal use.





EED (Law): Reflective ePortfolios as a teaching methodology (1st Year Student Development)

Lecturer Mahmoud Patel [Module Coordinator, English for Educational Development (EED)], implemented the use of ePortfolios in his teaching practice for first year Law students. This decision was made after a conceptualisation meeting with CIECT Instructional Designer. The lecturer in collaboration with CIECT implemented the large-scale student development project during the 2018 academic year. Lecturer Mahmoud co-presented with two tutors and presented their findings during the annual eLearning colloquium in 2018. Please view the video recording on our CIECT YouTube channel:https://tinyurl.com/yc2vfsnz

The CIECT team conducted the necessary training with students and actively engaged in the delivery of nineteen (19) ePortfolio workshops. A predefined template with a specific structure was created and shared with the students. This allowed for a more simplified evaluation process for the lecturer and tutors; and conformity was ensured across all ePortfolios.

The interactive ePortfolio student workshops entailed:

  • Accessing and viewing structure – main-pages: Introduction, Lecture tasks, Tutorial tasks, Assessments and Self-initiated pieces,
  • Creating content,
  • Embedding of multimedia components,
  • Sharing relevant resources,
  • Embedding evidence (academic journey) and,
  • Sharing of ePortfolio with tutors.

The ePortfolio is used for formative assessment purposes; and the monitoring-and-tracking of students’ development and competencies over a period of time. The ePortfolio also allows students to reflect on their progress and take ownership of their learning. The tutors within the programme are able to continuously monitor student progress, assess specific groups, and advise with regards to formative assessment submissions.

Mr Patel will continue with this teaching methodology in 2019 and first year students will develop and share their reflective ePortfolios.

Did you know? ‘Markup’ Text feature – enables bulk question pool setup [text and numerical responses]

The term ‘Markup’ refers to the sequencing of characters or symbols inserted within a text or word processing file to describe the document’s logical structure; and how the file appears when printed or displayed.

You are able to setup online Tests & Quizzes within iKamva using the Markup Text method. This enables users to easily transfer an entire question paper formatted in this markup language, into a test or quiz. A basic template is provided within the Tests and Quizzes eTool to guide users with the creation of assessments using this method. You have the option of saving the assessment as a question bank or a single test. This saves time when creating online test environments, as questions and answers do not have to be authored individually.

The screenshot below illustrates the template when setting up a Markup Text assessment:

pasted image 0

Basic guidelines need to be adhered to when setting up this type of assessment. Instructions are available when inputting the information.
Reference: https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/markup
Contact the CIECT team for assistance with the creation of a Markup Text assessment.

Digital Storytelling: Postgraduate Geography students create group digital stories reflecting on drought

Lecturer Suzanne Grenfell recently presented at CIECT’s 11th annual eLearning Colloquium. Her presentation was centred around a digital storytelling project which she initiated with Geography post-graduate students (Honours and Masters) in 2018.
This project formed part of a field trip to the Theewaterskloof Dam, whereby students could observe and document the effects of the drought experienced in the Western Cape last year. Students were then required to capture their findings, and present it in a digital video format.
Students were assigned into groups, consisting of both Masters and Honours students. The purpose of the group assignment ensured that the Masters students act as mentors for the other group.
Suzanne noted that students seemed to be comfortable working with technology, based on the quality of the content produced and also the level of independence displayed by students in finding their own means to produce the end product, in a digital format.
After the field trip, students had one week to produce the final product. A departmental seminar was held thereafter, in order for students to present their videos. The best videos were selected to be presented on the University website and can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/yby8hd87.
The lecturer noted that “students spoke about how much they enjoyed the technology, and indicated that they wished they had been able to use it more in their undergraduate studies”.

​Digital Storytelling Project: Foundation Phase Teacher-Educators

Education lecturer, Princess Shandu-Omukunyi collaborated with the CIECT team to implement a digital storytelling project for the undergraduate students (2nd and 3rd year students during 2018), enrolled in the Language and Education Department. These prospective Foundation phase educators were expected to design and develop a digital story. The reflective digital story, focused on the literacy development of a specific student, during the field work practice.

They were expected to monitor and track the student development from Gr R to Gr 1, making use of digital story eSkills. This digital story assessment task enabled the prospective educators to develop their critical thinking skills, pedagogical approaches, problem solving; and scaffolding interventions such as listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

CIECT conducted workshops with the 2nd and 3rd year students (2018) – to design and develop digital stories which enabled the students to create, plan and submit their reflective assessment tasks, within their respective online environments (hosted in iKamva).  This project will continue with 3rd and 4th year students in 2019.

It should be noted that students received mobile devices to develop their digital stories. Each semester a specific student group received the mobile devices on loan, which was returned after the completion of assessment tasks.

Digital Storytelling: Community eCentres

The CIECT team hosted the ‘Digital Inclusion: eCentre Management Training’ Programme in November 2018.  The Programme is a long-standing partnership between the Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) of the University of the Western Cape, Cape Access (Western Cape Government), and the e-Inclusion and Social Innovation CoLab.

The programme (designed, developed and facilitated by CIECT) – is offered to eCentres within the Western Cape in urban, peri-urban and rural environments. It consists of a face-to-face workshop session, followed by a four week ‘online phase’.

The selected participants are from various locations around the Western Cape, who are employed as eCentre Managers within their Communities. Thus, during the programme, participants are introduced to various e-skills, software applications, and concepts regarding e-Centre management, which should enable them to effectively promote, market, and manage their eCentres within their respective communities.

Participants who engaged in the programme were also introduced to Digital Storytelling software and applications. They were expected to design and create digital stories depicting their specific community eCentre services. Hence, they attained eSkills and presentation skills which enabled them to market their respective eCentres. Moreover, they were expected to transfer skills to various target groups within their communities.

The Western Cape Government (Cape Access) – has requested that CIECT continues with the partnership and roll-out of this specific Programme due to feedback from the community leaders.

School of Government (SOG): Online environment for Masters Admission Test

School of Government (SOG) lecturers, Lance Scheepers, Profs Gregory Ruiters, and John Williams made use of iKamva to set up an admission test for prospective Masters students. An online environment was created, namely SOG Masters Entrance Assignment.

The prospective students included current UWC students, as well as external students from different geographical areas. The department contacted CIECT to assist with the creation of student accounts for external users. The account details were shared with the lecturers who communicated with all students. These students were enrolled into the online environment and were able to familiarise themselves with the platform prior to the entry assessment.

Students received communication regarding the entry assessment details via the Announcement eTool. This communication was also sent to their private email accounts. A reading was shared with the students within the Course Resources which they could download and read, prior to the test.

The entry assessment was created within the Tests and Quizzes eTool and the short answer/essay question type was selected. The students were required to engage in the timed assessment for three hours and thirty minutes, from any geographical location. Prospective students were able to engage in the online admissions test within iKamva, which was designed to test their reading, writing, paraphrasing, grammar and comprehension skills. The test questions were based on the article that was shared via prior communication. The lecturers were able to mark the students’ submissions offline, by exporting the student responses. The system also allows lecturers to mark the submissions online and release the marks to students at a specific time.

Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. Please contact the CIECT team to explore the possibilities that exist within an online environment aligned to your discipline.

School of Nursing (SoN): Making use of Google Applications (GAPPS) as an Administrative eTool

School of Nursing (SoN): Making use of Google Applications (GAPPS) as an Administrative eTool

Three (3) administrative staff members from the School of Nursing(SoN), Emerancia Bostander, Christaline Isaacs and Elzitha Jordaan contacted CIECT on request from their Head of Department, Prof Chipps –  to assist with the effective use Google Drive for administrative purposes.


After the first conceptualisation meeting with CIECT-Instructional Designers, the staff members attended an interactive Google Drive training session. This session focused on the use and application of Google Drive as an administrative etool.  

The administrators are required to manage the BCUR Programmes and related documentation for the Nursing Department. This content  will be shared and accessed by the Nursing lecturers.

Purpose & benefits – Google drive & Team drives

  • Cloud storage capabilities for UWC staff – unlimited.

  • File storage on their servers

  • File sharing

  • Search functionalities

  • Synchronization of files across devices (PC,Laptop, Tablet, Smart phone)

**This application assists SoN to move toward a vision of a ‘paperless’ environment.

Overview of Google Apps

The Administrators were also exposed to the benefits of Google Apps, namely: Docs /Sheets /Slides /Forms.

“….a very powerful real-time collaboration and document authoring tool. Multiple users can edit a document at the same time, while seeing each others’ changes instantaneously. Users can produce text documents, slide presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and surveys.”

CHS Faculty: Interdisciplinary module [Nutrition 211] – interactive blended environment

Lecturer Catherine Pereira has created a blended learning environment on the iKamva platform (Nutrition 211 Module).  According to the online environment, the module “provides the basic and core knowledge base for the BSc Dietetic majors (Therapeutic Nutrition, Community Nutrition and Food Service Management) as well as for the Nutritional Medicine course for the BSc Complementary Medicine degree”.

The online environment supports traditional teaching and learning methods, providing students with additional opportunities to engage with course content.

Overview of modules guides students

The module Overview (landing page when students log in to the site), provides students with a description of the module and its key areas. Students are also provided with the lecturers contact details and office location.

Poll eTool enables needs analysis

In addition, the lecturer made use of the Poll eTool, at the beginning of the year, in order to find out which lecture times would best suit students. This eTool is also able to create graphs in order to visually illustrate results.

Discussion topic encourages ‘the student voice’

The Discussion Forum eTool was used to create a formative assessment task. Clear instructions relating to the discussion topic was provided by the lecturer, as well as additional readings in order to assist students in formulating their response. Students were required to engage in the discussion forum by posting their opinions of “the pros and cons of high protein diets”. This task took place during class time, and students were also allowed to comment on and critique on of their peers’ responses.

Structured and scaffolded environment

Additionally, the lecturer made use of Course Resources, which was structured into several folders relating to the various topics and concepts explored in the module. These included CarbohydratesEnergy, Micronutrients, and Protein, among others. These folders included relevant readings, journal articles, exercises and tutorials, as well PowerPoint presentations used in lectures, allowing learners to extend their learning experience beyond the classroom.

CHS Faculty: Physiotherapy – Online Gradebook & Digital Resources

Physiotherapy lecturer, Blake Boggenpoel, has created a blended-learning environment within the iKamva platform, for 1st year PHT 111 students. Some of the focal points of this introductory module includes “scientific terminology used in Physiotherapy”; and “introducing principles of observing normal and abnormal postures and gait”.

The online environment makes use of eTools such as Lessons, Course Resources, and Gradebook, in order to supplement face-to-face teaching and learning practices.

Gradebook captures class-attendance rates: Student intervention

The lecturer has utilised the Gradebook eTool in order to capture class attendance. Thus, Gradebook ‘items’ have been created for each lecture throughout the duration of the course. Furthermore, students are assigned ‘one point’ – for each lecture they attend. The Gradebook is able to auto-calculate grades, hence the lecturer and students are easily able to view the attendance rates, and intervene accordingly if necessary.

Content: Digital resources and student participation

Digital learning material such as journal articles, lecture presentations, and videos has been made available in the Course Resources tool. Hence students have more opportunity to engage with concepts and topics discussed in face-to-face classes. Furthermore, the lecturer has made use of the Lessons eTool, which links to YouTube videos highlighting the various anatomical structures and their functions in relation to Physiotherapy. Multimedia components such as video and audio can keep students engaged, and also allow students to learn at their own pace if needed. This can also assist when face-to-face class time is limited and students need to engage in self-directed learning.