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11 February 2021
Sakai platform (branded iKamva at UWC) retains top ranking, hosting almost 27 000 users

The institutional Learning Management System (LMS), Sakai platform (branded as iKamva at the University of the Western Cape) has been ranked globally as the top Open-LMS for its user experience since 2019. 

Even before COVID-19 necessitated the shift to digital platforms, iKamva provided an interactive and flexible learning environment offering an array of eTools and resources to enhance its face-to-face lectures. iKamva can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile phone via a normal browser or with the use of the Android Mobile Application. 

In 2020 a number of 26 992 unique users accessed the platform, and an estimated 1 700 people access the platform each hour.  

“There is a growing demand to access quality learning material at any time, and from any location. The Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies (CIECT) has positioned itself within the context of global transformation of higher education sector reforms and has the use of emerging technologies to enhance teaching-learning practices,” said Dr Juliet Stoltenkamp, director of the CIECT. 

“While there are an array of LMS platforms used by universities around the world, we believe the success of iKamva, UWC’s brand, is our effective use of the platform for learning and teaching,” said Dr Stoltenkamp. The CIECT has designed and developed various support interventions and online workshops in order for lecturers to make effective use of various innovative communication, content creation, and assessment eTools within iKamva. 

“This is a wonderful achievement and we thank Dr Juliet Stoltenkamp and the CIECT for the way in which they make the academic and student experience on iKamva so much easier; and even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Vivienne Lawack, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Western Cape.

“Over the past few years, the university has continued to see significant strides in relation to the  improvement of teaching practices, and especially online teaching, learning and assessment  practices (blended and distance) – for student access and success,” said Dr Stoltenkamp. 

Examples of the good practices that have upheld user interest in the platform include scaffolding - where content can be released based on milestones achieved, the creation of discussion forums and ongoing assessments.

“It is important that as a Professional Academic Support structure, CIECT continues with its awareness campaign that includes the effective use of emerging technologies, student access and development; workshops; consultations and advisory sessions;  and showcasing good practices,” concluded Dr Stoltenkamp.