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Impact of the use of hybrid/blended learning during #FeesMustFall2016 

The #FeesMustFall campaign in 2016 led to violent campus disruptions which forced the Executive of the University of Pretoria to implement alternatives to on-campus lectures from 11 October 2016 in order to conclude the academic year. To this end, all lecture and study materials would be made available online or through other means and students would not have general access to campuses, effectively changing the university from a blended learning environment with a strong focus on contact activity, to a distributed hybrid environment with the focus on mostly online teaching and learning. A research grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York made an investigation into the impact of this strategy possible.


Ethics clearance was obtained from the University of Pretoria before research commenced. UP appointed Ubora Research Solutions (URS) to collect data for the case study. A sequential mixed-methods research design, supported by both qualitative and quantitative methodologies was used to collect data from lecturers and students within the Faculties of Economic and Management Sciences, Education, Engineering, Built Environment and IT, Humanities, Law, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and Theology. Activity theory was used to analyse the data from interviews, surveys, clickUP Learning Analytics and aggregated Academic Analytics reports. 

The data revealed that the use of blended/hybrid learning to complete the academic year was an institutional success story that allowed 83.18% of the students to complete their modules and 89.74% of students to successfully complete their examinations in 2016. Most lecturers (83.13%) and students (67.93%) were positive about the use of blended/hybrid learning. Both lecturers (77%) and students (57.85%) agreed that the use of blended/hybrid learning contributed substantially to the completion of the academic year in 2016. Lecturers and students emphasized that contact classes should remain an essential part of teaching and learning at UP.


  1. Scheepers, M.D., Kriel, D., Nagel, L., Pretorius, G., Smart, A., Thukane, M. (2018) Use of blended learning during #FeesMustFall 2016: University of Pretoria Case Study. Carnegie Corporation of New York. Unpublished report.

Conference presentations

  1. Scheepers, D. (2018, 1 June). UP case study at the National Blended Learning Case Studies Symposium at the Birchwood Conference Centre, Kempton Park.

  2. De Wet, T, Haupt, V, Meintjes, A and Scheepers, D, and facilitator Kilfoil, W. (2018, 4-5 October). 'Achieving teaching and learning outcomes supported by technology’ (panel discussion based on research funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York with panellists from participating grantee universities: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Free State and Pretoria).

  3. Pretorius, G. and Scheepers, M.D. (2018, 4-5 October). The effect of campus disruptions on lecturers and students in the University of Pretoria Humanities Faculty: 2016 case study. Paper presented at the Flexible Futures 4 conference, CSIR, Pretoria. 

  4. A Smart, A. (2018, 4-5 October). The effect of campus access and assessment choices on teaching in an Engineering faculty: 2016”. Paper presented at the Flexible Futures 4 conference, CSIR, Pretoria.

  5. Scheepers, M.D. (2019, March 11-12).  Student perspectives of online/blended learning as academic continuity solution during #FeesMustFall campus disruptions. Paper presented at the 13th annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2019), Valencia, Spain. 

The Department for Education Innovation has combined the hybrid learning strategy of the University of Pretoria with what was learned about the use of digital technology for teaching and learning during #FeesMustFall and developed a Blended Learning Self-Evaluation app and field guide. An umbrella is used as metaphor to address eight dimensions of blended learning and indicate how well lecturers “cover” each dimension in their blended teaching and learning.

Blended Learning Self-Evaluation App

The Blended Learning Self-Evaluation app uses the eight dimensions as a structure for academics to reflect upon their existing practices, self-identify their own levels within the eight categories and record these results as benchmarks, for future reference.   After working through the app and eight elements and identifying levels of implementation, a snapshot of the depth of adoption, in the form of coloured panels in the umbrella, will be visible.

To run the application online, go to: https://eduvation.up.ac.za/apps/blended

To run the application on your local machine:

  1. Go to http://eduvation.up.ac.za/apps/blended/Blended_Learning_Self_evaluation.zip
  2. Indicate where you want to download the App.
  3. Unzip / extract file
  4. Double click on Runme.html
  5. The App will open

If you need the source files to adapt the app, please contact Detken Scheepers.

Blended Learning Field Guide

The field guide to blended learning complements the Blended Learning Self-Evaluation app.  It identifies education practices commonly found in tertiary blended learning environments which were drawn from a wide (but not exhaustive) range of classroom and online sources. Readers of the field guide will find fresh ideas, summaries and descriptions of good practices, checklists for implementing them for each of the eight dimensions. It is anticipated that the field guide might provoke thought and inspiration to those who want to take their blended learning approach up a notch.