SU to issue its first short course e-certificates

SU to issue its first short course e-certificates

For the first time, Stellenbosch University  will issue validated short course e-certificates this year, paving the way for others to follow suit. This initiative also saw SU receiving recognition by American Forest to have a beautiful tree planted in the name of the University.

According to Carol Kat, head of copyright, trademarks and short courses at Innovus, the first short course e-certificates will be issued in the week of 15 February 2021. She said this is the result of the institutional shift to a fully online environment for teaching and learning mechanisms due to pandemic lockdown conditions. An urgent need arose within the SU short course environment to implement electronic certification to address the high courier costs, loss of certificates and logistical and administrative aspects with regards to certification that have arose during the extended lockdown period.

Mid-April 2020 SU’s Short Courses Division (SCD) initiated exploratory discussions with relevant external service providers who would be able to provide the same validity and security to the certification process as is required for the issuing of printed short course certificates.

In collaboration with SU’s IT and Procurement Divisions, the institutional Request for Information (RFI) process for Identification of a Digital Certification Partner for SU was initiated by SCD, IT and the Procurement Division at beginning of August 2020. The tender was awarded to Paradigm (based in Virginia; USA). Paradigm is a full‐service, solutions-based credential provider, serving over 800+ institutions with both paper and digital credentials. SU is their first footprint on the African continent. To show their appreciation, Paradigm partnered with American Forest to have a beautiful Jack Pine tree planted in the Hiawatha National Forest and in the name of Stellenbosch University.

Important aspects to note is that that Paradigm’s e-Certificate solution offers:

  • a digital certificate which is validated by SU not by Paradigm - provides the highest level of confidence to authenticity and where third‐party validation is insufficient for global acceptance;
  • multiple layers of security to protect against certificate fraud;
  • able to be downloaded by the participant on multiple devices (but not printed) and then shared with employers, recruiters, other institutions and social media; and 
  • Basic minimal integration with SU systems to allow validation from SU (this will be reviewed once SUNStudent has been fully implemented).

Figure 1 below showing how each CeCertificate will be certified by CeCredential Trust and should read as such. A blue ribbon signifies that the document has not been tampered with when the participant accesses the PDF via his/her unique URL.

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Figure 2 below shows a provisional example of the exact replica of the SU short course certificate in e-Certificate format with an unique validation number in top left-hand corner of the certificate:


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