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SUNLearn support for students

Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Are you a Matie? Then you use SUNLearn.

Face-to-Face SUNLearn Support for students is now available at the IT Hub on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 09h00-17h00.

Do you need assistance with:

  • SUNLearn access and log in issues?
  • Basic SUNLearn site navigation?
  • Accessing courses and course materials?
  • Knowing what to expect when your assessments are due?
  • Struggling to submit an assignment or find your Turnitin report?

Then set up an appointment today by sending an email to:

We also offer weekly webinars for basic SUNLearn training for students on Tuesday and Friday at 18h00.

To make a booking for individualised SUNLearn assistance and support, please email

IT HUB: only by appointment

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

All services offered by the IT HUB in the Admin A building – collection of equipment and any type of technical support – are available by prior arrangement only.

If staff need technical support, they need to log a request on the ICT Partner Portal after which they will be contacted by a technician for further arrangements.

Students should make appointments by logging a call at the online service desk in advance. Appointments and rrequests can no longer be logged at the entrance to the IT HUB.

You can also call the IT HUB at 021 8089289, but preferably log a request on the ICT Partner Portal. This can be done as follows:

  1. Log an issue report on the ICT Partner Portal at
  2. Sign on with your SU username and password.
  3. Select the “ICT Partner Portal” service desk.
  4. Students select the IT HUB option. Staff select the  option depending on the type of issue.
  5.  Fill in the necessary information – if there is an asset number, please include it.
  6.  Add any additional information in the description field.
  7.  Copy any related images, files and emails to the attachment area.
  8.  A staff member will make contact once the report has been logged and schedule an appointment.

Students and staff members who have lost their student/staff cards are the only unscheduled visitors allowed at the IT HUB, and only between 08:30 and 16:00 daily.


Laundry, meal and printer quotas closing date

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Laundry, meal and printer quotas will be consolidated on Monday 14 December 2020.

Balances for 2020 will be credited against the student accounts. Students will be able to top-up  quota for printing and laundry facilities via Snapscan from Monday 21 December.

For more information contact Sean Davidse at Student Fees.

Supporting online exams during lock down  

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

 An extraordinary effort was made in a very short time by, amongst others, IT, CLT, Scheduling Office and blended leaning coordinators into ensuring that the mid-year exams could proceed despite lock down, switching from mostly paper based to fully online. The preparations included:

  • Establishing an extended CLT support team for students and lecturers, to handle the increased volume of support calls,
  • Extending the hours where support is available to 22h00 and Saturdays,
  • Training lecturers and support staff,
  • Preparing training and information documentation on online exams,
  • Revising the exam schedule to stagger the starting times by 15 minutes to reduce the impact on the system,
  • Allowing 30 minutes extra time for exam submissions to counter any potential technology issues with submitting the assessments,
  • Upgrading the SUNLearn infrastructure to cope with the increased load,
  • Preparing an Outlook calendar of exam times, for information purposes, for co-coordinating support and for predicting load on the systems, and
  • Arranging laptops and data for students without these, who had to learn and write exams remotely.

A big thank you (appreciation) must also be given to the lecturers, who in a very short time had to convert courses and exams to this emergency fully online mode. Almost everybody had to sacrifice their Easter holidays to get ready for teaching and examination during lock down.

The exams have been running smoothly to date, with some of exceptions:

  1. Several changes had to be made to the way exams were set in SUNLearn, particularly where students experienced problems or the SUNLearn system was placed under extremely heavy load. Many lessons had to be learnt about which methods do not work well. Guidelines had to be updated continuously as we became aware of the impact of practices. Examples are:
  • Quiz questions should be set one question per page, to allow more frequent saving (on every change of page)
  • Documentation such as example spreadsheets, or documents, may not be encrypted with passwords and the documents may not be set to open in the same window as the assessment. The preferred method is to release the document outside the actual assessment
  • Turnitin should not be used where originality cannot be tested, for example in images.
    • No changes should be made to assessments once the assessment has started.
  1. The SUNLearn system experienced very sharp load peaks on three occasions, on 16 and 20 May, as well as on 15 June. These spikes were so sudden that it was impossible to detect them early enough for proactive actions. The provisional findings are that the peaks were caused by SUNLearn assessments which had been set sub-optimally. The findings were then used to improve the guidelines for online assessments.
  2. Students on occasion had difficulties logging into SUNLearn. The support teams and support documentation have provided temporary workarounds, but a permanent solution has since been developed.
  3. Students have at times had difficulty in submitting their assessments. The 30 minutes extra time was intended to allow for this, but many students abuse the extra time as writing time and then struggle to submit at the last minute.
  4. There are indications of fraud during the online exams. This must be further investigated.
  5. The support infrastructure and teams where not always ready to cope with the volume of support calls. The team has been expanded and priority exam service desk queues have been created.
  6. Support staff had to work under extreme pressure and at times had to endure abuse from students, and even from parents of the students.

In the bigger picture, we believe the University did well to switch to the emergency fully online mode. We will however not rest on our laurels but strive to further improve the processes and systems.

[ARTICLE BY Johann Kistner and Lianne Keiller]

Technical guideline for assessments on SUNLearn

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

With almost all official examinations taking place on SUNLearn this year, the Centre of Learning Technologies and Academic IT have partnered up to provide lecturers with a guideline on the best way to set up assessments.

This guide has been shared with lecturers and so far, the +/- fifty exams happening each day have been well-run (touch wood for those pesky tech gremlins).

Download the guide in .pdf format

We are sure that our lecturers are learning at warp-speed these days and know that students appreciate this effort as well!


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