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Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) is committed to a higher education environment that fosters transformative and reflexive practices in learning and teaching.


CILT’s main focus is to facilitate effective teaching and learning at UCT.

Following the protests and shutdown of the university this year, CILT staff developed resource guides to support UCT lecturers with online teaching. Recognising student and staff concerns around access, the team also developed a strategy guide for addressing inequity of technological access. These guides are working documents and are available to the public.


Staff development is an important aspect of CILT’s work. One example of this is the New Academics Practitioner Programme (NAPP), a holistic programme of professional development for new academics at UCT who have fewer than five years’ experience in higher education. Its key focus is to strengthen resources and practices necessary for new academics to develop as educators, researchers and members of the UCT community. Read an article about participating in NAPP...


The 2015 UCT Teaching and Learning conference, which was deferred due to fees protests, took place on 20 March 2016. The theme was Exploring our Landscape of Practice.

Unfortunately the 2016 conference also had to be deferred due to nationwide university protests. Decisions about the 2016 and 2017 conferences will be announced soon.

In November 2016 UCT co-hosted the ICED/HELTASA conference, a collaboration between the International Consortium for Educational Development (ICED) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA). Over 600 delegates from around the world attended the event, which focused on Ethics, Care and Quality in Educational Development.

Teaching and learning projects

Throughout the year, CILT is involved in a number of teaching and learning projects.

Commonwealth Digital Education Leadership Training in Action (C-DELTA)

CILT was commissioned by the Commonwealth of Learning to develop a concept paper on Digital Education Leadership (DEL). Having completed the concept paper in 2016, the next task will be to develop a curriculum for DEL. The overarching purpose is to develop digital education leaders who demonstrate effective use of information and communication technology (ICT) for teaching and learning.

e/merge Africa

e/merge Africa is a new educational technology network directed at educational technology researchers and practitioners in African higher education. Each year it runs Facilitating Online, a course developed by CILT which provides a solid foundation for facilitating online events and courses.


UCT offers an increasing number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These free online courses have no entry requirements and do not count towards university credits. You can choose to purchase a certificate, and financial aid is available in some cases.

In 2016 UCT launched three new MOOCs.

Becoming a changemaker

Becoming a changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation

The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship created this course in partnership with RLabs, a local movement that is empowering youth by teaching them vital skills and providing much needed support and a sense of community. This course will take you on a journey of exploring the complex problems that surround us and how to start thinking about solutions.

Education for All

Education for All: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion

Inclusive education is about addressing barriers to learning and participation and transforming school communities to allow them to really benefit from inclusion. Although inclusive education is about all forms of diversity, on this course you will learn specifically about disability, as it is often an aspect of diversity that is neglected.

Julia Scientific Programming

Julia Scientific Programming

This four-module course introduces users to Julia as a first language.  Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language developed specifically for scientific computing. This language will be particularly useful for applications in physics, chemistry, astronomy, engineering, data science, bioinformatics and many more.


Throughout the year unexpected uses of MOOCs have emerged: one being the launch of an offline campus where participants can take the Becoming a Changemaker MOOC with RLabs without having access to their own computer; another is that other universities have begun including materials from UCT MOOCs as part of their teaching.

Two UCT MOOCs – What is a Mind? and Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare – were named in Class Central’s Top 50 MOOCs of All Time.

Becoming a changemaker and Education for All were both winners at the MACE Excellence Awards 2016.

  • What is a Mind?

    “A thought-provoking course that I have found to be both enlightening and uplifting. It has helped me to crystallise in my own mind what I am, and supports my view of how we fit into the rest of the natural world. Professor Solms is an engaging and enthusiastic speaker, as well as being so knowledgeable.” Paul Hughes (UK)

    In-depth Review: What is a Mind?
    Class Central review by Margaret O’Doherty

  • Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare

    “This course has been very interesting and has definitely shaped the way I view patients in the medical profession. I’ve now realised how distant one can be when working with people with medical conditions and through this course I have grown to love and consider the social aspect of patients as being crucial to advancing the care that they receive.” Mapitso Thaisi (South Africa)

    My love of learning thrilled by some of the online courses with Futurelearn
    Medicine and the Arts review by Jonathan Vernon

  • Becoming a changemaker

    “This was an outstanding course – particularly as I live in Cape Town and was able to apply the ideas and create examples based on the community they were often discussing (RLabs) and its impact on the Cape Town community and even further afield. I found myself considering ideas and thinking about social innovative ideas from a completely new and refreshing perspective.” Carolynn B

Personal Mobile Device Project

The main aim of the Personal Mobile Device Project (PMD) is to better understand how access to PMDs enables greater flexibility and effectiveness of teaching and learning in the higher education sector both inside and outside the classroom. At a symposium in November, the five partner universities on the project presented their findings.

Research on Open Educational Resources for Development

The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project aims to provide evidence-based research from a number of countries in South America, sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia in order to improve educational policy, practice, and research in developing countries by better understanding the use and impact of Open Educational Resources.

Unbundling Higher Education

This joint universities of Cape Town and Leeds research project has set out to investigate the opportunities that the unbundling and new provision models offer for addressing challenges in higher education in South Africa and England. Read more about the unbundled university...