Changes made at UNISA due to COVID-19 outbreak

Changes Made at UNISA Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

The University of South Africa (UNISA) announced on 27 March 2020 that it’s making changes to its services to remain operational amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

As of 26 March 2020, there have been over 460 000 confirmed COVID-19 cases with the number continuing to rise by the day. Many countries around the world have used methods to curtail the spread of the virus, including issuing a national lockdown of their respective countries.

What changes are UNISA making to ensure that they remain open during the lockdown?

Compared to other South African universities, it’s easier for UNISA to remain open as they are an Open Distance e-Learning (ODeL) institution. Throughout the duration of the 21 day lockdown (from 27 March to 16 April), UNISA will remain open with services made available online.

Issues that students have recently raised concerned over with regards to services from UNISA include:

  • Access to study materials (myUnisa);
  • The due dates for assignments;
  • Possible extension of the May/June exam period;
  • Graduations and its cancellation;
  • Applications of a UNISA qualification; and
  • Access to the Unisa Library.

Let’s have a look at some FAQs regarding UNISA and the methods they’re using to remain open during the COVID-19 crisis:

How can I access my UNISA study materials?

Do assignments at home via myUnisa
Students can submit their written/MCQ assignments via the myUnisa portal.

By now, many registered UNISA students will already have received their hard copy study materials. With the lockdown in full force, students who did not receive hard copy versions of their study materials will have to make due with digital copies for the time being via the myUnisa website.

Students can download their study materials and view it on a PDF viewer on the device of their choice.

Additionally, students who recently wrote a supplementary exam or registered for a postgraduate qualification can access their study materials as soon as their registration is finalised.

What’s going to happen with my due assignments?

Because of the COVID-19 outbreak and other factors, the assignment due dates were extended multiple times. The university has since issued new closing dates for assignments due, giving students enough time to complete their assignments.

New Assignment Due Dates for Semester 1:

  • Assignment 1: 24 April 2020
  • Assignment 2: 8 May 2020

The extension excludes the following type of assessments:

  • Modules with continuous assessments;
  • Online assessments; and
  • Summative assessments (i.e. Portfolio).

When submitting an assignment, the easiest method is via the myUnisa portal aka the only method. Students will have to make due with online submissions of their assignments as they cannot hand-deliver or submit via mail.

Students worrying over whether they have to redo their handwritten assignments on the computer can relax. The university has made it possible for students to submit their handwritten assignments via scanner / a PDF scanner app.

Students without a scanner at home can download a PDF scanner app for their smartphones from their respective mobile stores (Google Play/Apple App Store).

For multiple-choice assignments, UNISA students can submit their assignments via:

  1. Using the myUnisa portal; or
  2. Downloading the UNISA MCQ App (learn more here).

Students with queries regarding their modules can still reach out to their lectures via office hours only. Although lecturers can be reached via phone, students are urged to contact their lecturers through email.

With the assignments extended, when do I write my exams?

A natural concern of many students would be the fact that the due date of the second assignment is really close to the start of the May/June 2020 exams.

Unisa, in conjunction with the NSRC and the Department of Health, are working to find a safe and feasible option for students to deal with the May/June 2020 exam period. Feedback on a solution to the current Unisa examination issue will be made available to students at a later date.

Can I still apply to study in Semester 2?

With the current unforeseen circumstances, students are naturally worried about whether they can apply for a UNISA qualification to study in Semester 2.

Unisa has since stated that with regards to applications, students who applied will receive feedback on their application status by end June 2020.

With regards to finalisation of registration, students are advised to reference their payments to ensure that their fees are allocated automatically. Unisa payment details can be found here. Students can forward payment queries to susdepid@unisa.ac.za (monitored until 31 March 2020).

Also Read: UNISA Application 2020

Will I still be able to attend my graduation ceremony?

When will I graduate?

Prior to the lockdown, Unisa had already taken action to suspend and in turn, its graduation ceremonies from 16 March onward.

The situation has not changed to date and while students may object to not being able to attend their graduation ceremony, this remains the correct option.

Students who missed out on their graduation ceremony during the cancellation period will have their certificate delivered by courier.

There is good news on the horizon though. Unisa will give students an opportunity to attend a graduation ceremony once the pandemic has subsided, with information to come at a later date.

Will I still have access to the Unisa Library?

In short – yes. The Library will remain active and available to students, academics, researcher, and special members via:

Students who want to renew their books must do so online via the Unisa Library website. Additionally, the university is looking into activating a live chat option on LibGuides for students to keep in touch with the Library.

Lastly, personal librarian services for postgraduate students and academics could still be made available via the following:

  • Teams;
  • Skype;
  • Zoom;
  • Additional webinars.

The Coronavirus is a real threat to our current way of life. We at Together We Pass urge all South Africans to take precaution and follow all the necessary steps to prevent the virus from spreading any further.

UNISA Covid-19
A list of possible people who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19

Always to keep in mind to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible;
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
  • If you go out; practice social distancing and keep at least a 1m distance from the next person.

Learn more on the latest news on the COVID-19 virus and how to keep yourself safe online via the following links:

Additionally, you can contact the Coronavirus Hotline Number: 0800 029 999 from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday or send HI to 0600 123 456 via WhatsApp.

Lastly, beware of misinformation circulating around the internet/WhatsApp on COVID-19. Always check and recheck the source of the information to confirm whether it’s valid or not.

Be Safe.

Published: 27 March 2020

Helping Unisa Students with their Assignments

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1 thought on “Changes Made at UNISA Due to COVID-19 Outbreak”

  1. Hi I’m still having an issue getting a new password I have emailed more than 10 times and all I’m getting is an automated response. I cant even submit any assignments or even access my Unisa. Please help

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