Inquiry-based learning from undergraduate level links to UP’s status as a research-intensive university. Students should expect to be exposed to research by others from their first year but also to be inducted into research techniques within their fields of study. The University strives to graduate independent learners who know what questions to ask and the methods needed to explore those questions. UP graduates possess intellectual curiosity and an inquiry-led approach to knowledge. They rigorously apply knowledge and research methodologies, from a variety of paradigms, appropriate to their fields of study and professions, to create innovative solutions to challenges and communicate their knowledge effectively.
Blended learning is a feature of the teaching model as well. Students attend lectures, practical sessions and tutorials. However, part of the learning is dependent on access to the online learning management system, known at the University as clickUP. Training in the use of clickUP is offered to undergraduate students through the AIM modules while postgraduate students are trained by the Department for Education Innovation. Students gain access to clickUP through the student online portal. (They can also use the portal to perform administrative functions.) Any mobile device, such as an internet-enabled cell phone, can be used to access clickUP. The University is aware that not all students own the latest technology. A system is in place for students to buy their own devices at very competitive rates but more than 5000 computers are available in computer laboratories across all campuses and within residences for student use. There are Wi-Fi hot spots across all campuses for use by students with their own devices. All students are provided with a Google e-mail address.
Curricular community engagement is another feature of studying at UP. More than 90% of undergraduate and Honours programmes have compulsory curricular community engagement for which students earn credits. In 2014, 36% of all undergraduate and Honours students (approximately 10 000 students) were engaged in development activities related to the outcomes of their programmes at 1 103 community sites of learning. As a result, UP graduates have a sense of social responsibility, respect human rights and dignity and exhibit informed civic, cultural and environmental awareness.