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Is Unisa doing away with Afrikaans?

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Rumours and emails from various quarters seem to indicate that Unisa isn't offering various subjects in Afrikaans due to a lack of students. An email received by a student from Unisa regarding ADL2601 reads as follows:

"Please note that this is one of the modules approved by Senate that it be offered in English only with effect from 2013. This was due to the low number of students who preferred to do it in Afrikaans."

In addition, Afrikaans is not available when selecting the language option for various subjects with English being the only available option.This might however just be a technical glitch with registration, as Unisa has been having quite a few of those in the last few days.
What does this mean for students who started their studies in Afrikaans and who now have to either complete them in English or give up their studies?
You're welcome to join the discussion by clicking here and provide some insights if you have any knowledge of the matter.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:39
 

Unisa exam papers stolen

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Unisa has confirmed that exam papers have been stolen. You can read the Unisa statement here.

My personal opinion would be to carry on studying and writing exams as if nothing has happened. Chances are that you won't be affected, so to hope for a postponement or a cancellation would be a waste of time and money.

Good luck for those still writing and congrats to those already finished.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 14:45
 

Is your Unisa degree worth it?

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The above question has to be foremost in most students' minds when they're busy putting in those extra hours after a long day at work. Will your degree automatically translate into a higher salary? Or even just a job? From a quick survey on StudyNotesWiki is seems that more than 60% of students on the site believe their degree will aid them in getting a job.

Although your degree probably won't guarantee you a job after finishing, having one almost guarantees that you're going to be earning more than a person without a degree. According to an average salary survey published here, respondents with a bachelors degree earn almost double what those with only matric earn. Respondents with only matric reported an average salary of R18 000 a month, while those with a degree reported earning R32 000 a month. Those with a masters degree reported an average monthly salary of R48 000; indicating that it really is worth those extra years of study to complete your masters degree.

The above numbers also reflect on the inequality of South African society: if you're educated and have a degree, your income is almost guaranteed to be double that of the person without a degree. Is it any wonder that people get crushed at the gates of universities on registration day?

What about your chances of just finding a job? According to a report published here, your chances of being unemployed if you have a degree is less than 1 in 10, versus nearly 1 in 4 for those with only matric. In an article published in Business Day, it's claimed that having a degree makes you 4 times more likely to find employment when compared to someone with only matric. The situation in South Africa is quite extreme and there are few other countries where having a degree makes such a stark difference to your quality of life.

It's easy to see from the above why so many people are competing so vigorously for the available places in traditional South African universities. From that perspective, the chance to complete an accredited, recognized degree through Unisa at less than half the cost of traditional universities makes a lot of sense.

So, even with all the problems we're having with Unisa, it's pretty obvious that earning your degree is a no-brainer. Think about that when you're busy cramming for the exams this semester.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 11:08
 

Unisa: a case study on how NOT to communicate

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So Unisa's contact center is still closed. Their initial statement of "We're closing our contact center to improve communication" seems more and more like a bad joke.

Most students have taken to visiting their regional offices personally due to the abysmal levels of service Unisa now offers via email and SMS, but for those not lucky enough to be close to regional office, communication with Unisa has become a nightmare. From student reports (and personal experience) Unisa takes on average 3 weeks to respond to an email. It doesn't seem like Unisa responds to SMSs at all. Their "copy-and-paste" responses on HelloPeter (http://www.hellopeter.com/search-reports?keyword=unisa) also smacks of an institution that has stopped caring about their students.

Another option seems to phone the lecturers directly, but that only works some of the time and only if you're lucky enough to catch a lecturer in the office. Most lecturers' contact details are printed in the first tutorial letter of the subject and my personal suggestion is to phone them directly using those details for any non-administrative issues.

If you think it might make a difference, you're welcome to sign up for this petition: http://www.turnitaround.co.za/petition/38/bring-back-the-unisa-call-centre, which is asking Unisa to bring back their contact center. Perhaps if we spread this around and get a few thousand people to sign the petition they might reconsider? However, given Unisa's attitude towards students I'm not very optimistic.

Unisa has become a case study on how not to communicate with your customers (http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51492) and I think it's embarrassing that it's almost impossible to communicate with this "world class" institution. The forum is littered with questions and rants from students about Unisa's incompetence in answering queries and resolving issues.

We can only hope Unisa reconsiders this ill conceived attempt at reducing costs and reinstitutes the call center in the future.

 

SNW, now in SA!

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As a few of you might already know from discussions in the forum, StudyNotesWiki is now for the first time being hosted in South Africa on a dedicated server.

This is good news for a few reasons, mainly to do with the site's speed, stability and ease of use for all of us in South Africa.

Getting a dedicated server and hosting in South Africa would have been a pipe-dream only 6 months ago, but 3 things have made this possible:

Firstly, Varsity College has been advertising on the site for a while and their support has made a massive difference. If any of you are using VC's services, please be so kind as to tell them that you've seen some of their ads on SNW :)

The second thing that has made this possible is the fact that  MWEB has decided to offer uncapped hosting in SA. What this means is that the site's hosting costs remain the same, regardless of how busy the site is.  Only a few months ago the costs of hosting this site in SA would have been astronomical due to the high cost of bandwidth, but MWEB's decision has changed this.

The final thing (and probably the most important) that has made all of this possible is you! Without people using the forums, uploading notes, giving advice in the forums and having discussions about their studies, none of this would be possible. So, a huge thank you to all of you who have been using the site over the last few years. I hope your experience using the site will be even better than in the past!

On a decidedly geekish note, some technical details for anyone interested: the server is using a quad core Intel Xeon X3430 (8MB cache, 2.40 GHz) processor and 4GB 1333 DDR3 RAM. The OS is Ubuntu 11.10 Server 64bit (with thanks to Mark Shuttleworth for the awesome OS he's managed to put together).

The site was moved on the 30th of October, 2011 at about 6:30pm and downtime was less than 10 minutes. There will probably be a few kinks to sort out here and there, but for now everything looks as if it went smoothly and without major problems.

 

 

 

What's up (or down) with myUnisa?

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Submitting assignments this semester has been a real pain in the backside due to the constant unavailability of myUnisa.

Initially all first assignments for the second semester were given an extension of more than a week after the initial due date and now it looks like the second assignments are getting the same treatment.

What's going on? Is it just incompetence on the part of the myUnisa administrators? Or has the volume of students using the internet to submit their assignments just grown so quickly that Unisa can't keep up?

For what it's worth, this isn't the first time myUnisa has caused problems with submitting assignments. The past 3 semesters have all been plagued with the same symptoms, so it's not as if Unisa didn't know something was wrong.

On the other hand, perhaps it's out unique South African habit of leaving everything until the last minute (think RICA, voter registration, etc.) that's causing some of the problems. Most students who submitted their assignments early had no problems and if more of us did so we could probably avoid the frustration and irritation that goes along with not being able to submit your assignment.

What's your opinion? Let us know in the forum or send an email or two to Unisa to let them know how you feel.

On the bright side, the assignment period is nearly over, so it's almost time to start cramming and stressing for the exams. A lot of people that started this journey with me are finishing their degrees this semester and with the luck of a thousand leprechauns I might be doing the same.

Good luck to all of you writing and finishing off your degrees.

 

 

Edit:

So, Unisa has confirmed that it's ineptitude on their side that has caused all the trouble.

Hardware failure? Seriously? Who's running their servers? My money's on Forrest Gump, Homer Simpson or a struggling first year CS student.

Maybe someone should mention terms such as clustering, virtualization, RAID, failover, load balancing and performance monitoring to them?

For them to blame the problems with myUnisa on hardware suggests a level of ineptitude and lack of knowledge of how to adminster a website that beggars belief. We're not talking about some site meant for the consumption of a few hundred people daily: we're talking about their main way of communicating and interacting with students. We're talking about an indispensable area of the institution.

If I was working for Unisa's IT department, I'd be hanging my head in shame and thinking about a change of career. These guys are so clueless it's scary.

My suggestion would be for them to outsource their IT to someone that know's what they're doing. If they're so useless they can't even monitor their servers they shouldn't be allowed near them.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 09:02
 
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