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Vula is the UCT version of the open source Sakai collaboration and learning environment, supported by the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) Centre for Educational Technology (CET) in CHED. UCT gains significant benefits from using a robust and flexible environment which are enhanced through CET‟s active participation in the Sakai developer community
Vula means “open” in a few African languages and is called such because this system is:

  • intended to open up the UCT community to networking, collaboration and learning opportunities
  • designed to open a space for innovation, discovery and exploration
  • constructed to be open and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Vula is flexible enough to accommodate many different types of sites, with varying levels of complexity. Some examples of uses would be:

  • UCT course sites, with any combination of administrative, assessment, communication and resource-sharing features
  • Research sites (local and international) for academics with shared interests
  • Project or task related sites that provide a central space for collecting and reflecting on data

The use of Vula by Health Sciences’ staff and students continues to increase with almost 200 online course related sites in use.

Online Examinations

The E-Learning Division is involved in 80% of the online assessments run in the faculty. This includes in setting up the assessments, publishing it and being on hand when the students write. In some cases lecturers opted to upload their examinations personally. It is recommended that an E-learning member always check the accuracy of the settings, export/import to assessment sites or do corrections to question types and images. In certain instances, exporting and importing of examinations required extensive correcting of layout and formatting of questions after being imported into correct Vula sites.  All question types proved to be functioning correctly during the examination. 

The computer labs have “Respondus Lockdown Browser” installed which should be used for all assessments. This is to increase the security aspect of the assessments. There are other security measures which should be upheld which can be found in the Computer-Based Testing Policy. Keep in mind that computer lab bookings need to be done by the course convener of the assessment.


For help with Vula, contact the Health Sciences Vula Helpdesk at edu-helpdesk@uct.ac.za or the Vula Helpdesk at help@vula.uct.ac.za.