Vula is UCT's online collaboration and learning environment, used to support UCT courses as well as other UCT-related groups and communities. The word "Vula" means "open", and refers to the many possibilities provided by Vula, as well as its Open Source origins. Vula is jointly developed with other universities worldwide as part of the Sakai Project.
We call it "Open" 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
Vula offers a broad spectrum of features, including tools for administration, assessment, communication, resource sharing and collaborative learning. Tools are selected individually, based on the specific requirements of each site, and can be added or removed as needed.
For example, some sites may simply feature announcements, the course outline and tasks. Others may include interactive elements like a discussion forum or a rich resource directory. And even more complex sites might make use of all of the above, plus a full testing module and online marksheet. How you use Vula is entirely up to you!
At the start of 2017, Vula has a new look - to find out more about the new updates in Lessons, Gradebook and Turnitin, check this What's new in Vula article.
In the previous upgrade, there are also many other features and improvements that were added, including:
- Assignments has peer review and an option for accepting group submissions
- Test and Quizzes has a new question type (calculated questions) and a improved layout for Settings
- Resources uploading files is easier with new drag and drop functionality
- Resources now has the option to hide a folder but still enable access to the content in that folder (great if you want the content only to be available from/within another tool, e.g. Lessons)
- Lessons has the option to enable access to items only to specified groups
- Dropbox enables you to send one file to multiple students' boxes
- Help documentation improved