Frequently Asked Questions

Come here to find answers to commonly asked questions.  Use the search box below to find answers to your questions. For example, if you are trying to find out about your marks within a course you might search for "grades", "marks", "results", etc.  You may also select from one of the listed categories to see all the entries pertaining to that subject.  If there is a question you do not see listed, you may be best served by asking in the forums.  We will try to update the questions here regularly based on those showing up in the forums.

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How do I manage my forum subscriptions? I am getting too many emails!

(Last edited: Monday, 5 June 2017, 8:53 AM)

If you are enrolled in several courses at the same time, sometimes the frequency and speed with which emails populate your inbox can be a bit overwhelming.  Do not fret. There are some things you first need to understand about forum subscriptions as well as what you can do to manage how you are notified of the activity in course fora.

Forum subscription modes

The person who sets up a course can choose, for each forum, whether students are automatically subscribed to it (i.e. to receive copies of all messages posted on the forum.) S/he can choose between four "Subscription modes": a) Optional subscription; b) Forced subscription; c) Auto subscription; and d) Subscription disabled.

a) Optional subscription

In this case, the course developer allows the student to decide whether to subscribe to a forum or not. By default, you are not subscribed to a forum in this mode. Look for the Administration block in the left column of MySats. There you will see a link to subscribe to a forum.

(The link then changes to say, "Unsubscribe from this forum".)

b) Forced subscription

All students will be notified of forum posts, whether they like it or not. However, you can choose a digest option (see below) which compiles all your forum e-mails into one per day.

c) Auto subscription

When a forum's subscription mode is set to "auto", then you become subscribed to a forum by default when you enrol for the course in which the forum is.

To unsubscribe, look in the Administration block for Forum administration.

unsubscribe menu item

d) Subscription disabled

Students can't subscribe to this kind of forum under any circumstances.

Personal forum subscription preferences

In addition to changing your subscription on individual forums, you can also manage how these notifications are sent to you by going to this page in your preferences.

For the forums to which you are subscribed, you can choose to get:

  1. One e-mail per forum post. This is called "no digest".
  2. One e-mail per day containing all the posts for the forums. This is called "complete".
  3. One e-mail per day containing just the subject lines of the forum posts. This is called "subjects".

In most cases, just selecting "subjects" will be all you need to set to keep your inbox from being overloaded.  Click here to select your forum digest option.

Automatically subscribe on making a post to any forum

In forums with optional subscription, or auto-subscription if you are not subscribed, you can choose whether or not to subscribe to that forum automatically when you post to it. That is, if you want to subscribe automatically whenever you post to any forum on MySats, you can choose to do so. To do so,edit your profile and choose your preference from the drop-down menu in the 'Forum auto-subscribe' field.  (see the screenshot above)

Subscribe on making a post on a particular forum

Whenever you make a post to a forum in which subscription is optional, you have the choice to subscribe to that forum directly below the box where you type your message. Look out for the menu directly below the text box in which you type your post. It looks like this:

(If the forum mode is forced or disabled, this will not be possible.)


How do I obtain an extension for an exam or assignment?

(Last edited: Friday, 12 December 2014, 1:35 PM)

Extensions are only granted in extreme circumstances such as severe illness or death in the family. Please contact the Registrar.


How do I pay?

(Last edited: Friday, 12 December 2014, 1:50 PM)

Option 1: Bank Deposit

Banking Details:

  • NAME OF BANK: First National
  • BRANCH: Fourways View
  • BRANCH NUMBER: 251655
  • NAME OF ACCOUNT: S A Theological Seminary
  • CHEQUE ACCOUNT #: 51321182366

Option 2: Online payment at SATS website

You can also pay online at our website with a credit card. To access our online payment facility:

Click on Pay Online

Option 3: Internet Banking

You can make an online transfer from your bank account to the SATS bank account using the information in Option 1.

Option 4: International payments

Foreign students, if you cannot pay by one of the above-mentioned options you will need to pay by Tele-transmission - please do not send personal cheques. You will need to go to your bank and fill in a form. You will need the following information:

  • NAME OF BANK: First National Bank Division of First Rand Bank Ltd.
  • BRANCH: Shop rs0032, Fourways View, Corner of Cedar & Witkoppen Rds, Fourways, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • BRANCH NUMBER: 251655
  • NAME OF ACCOUNT: S A Theological Seminary
  • ACCOUNT #: 51321182366

Should you wish to come into SATS to enrol or pick up your courses there are credit card facilities available.


PLEASE email or fax confirmation of payment. Please include your name and student number.


How do I use EbscoHost to download ebooks?

(Last edited: Wednesday, 23 August 2017, 11:12 AM)

What is EBSCOhost?

EBSCOhost is an online reference tool that gives researchers access to a variety of academic databases. 

How do I get started?

To get started using Ebsco, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Login to EbscoHost using the seminary credentials (Username: sats, Password: seminary)
  2. Click EbscoHost Web from the list of services
  3. Click "Sign In" on the top
  4. Click "Create a new account"
  5. Fill in the form then click "Save Changes" at the bottom
  6. Click continue to begin using Ebsco
  7. Select the databases you wish to search or just "select all"

Okay, now I can save my searches, but how do I download ebooks?

In order to download ebooks to your Mac or PC, you will need to install Adobe Digital Editions.  If you need to access your ebooks on an Android device, please see this tutorial.

Download the installation file and install as appropriate to your platform (usually you just double click the downloaded file).  For more specific information on installing Adobe Digital Editions, please see this tutorial.

N.B. When you install Adobe Digital Editions, it is essential that you register using the same email address you used to create your EbscoHost account.

Video Tutorials

Introduction to EBSCOhost (approx. 5mins)

Watch a video introduction to the EBSCOhost interface below. (After watching the first video, you can continue with the playlist to watch the others below also.) 

Access here for those who cannot view youtube videos.  Viewing may be delayed by 45 seconds.

My EBSCOhost Personalisation (approx. 3mins)

Advanced Search in EBSCOhost (2mins.12secs)

Access here for those who cannot view youtube videos.  Viewing may be delayed by 45 seconds.

Searching EBSCOhost eBooks (1min.35secs)

Access here for those who cannot view youtube videos.  Viewing may be delayed by 45 seconds.

Downloading EBSCOhost eBooks (2mins. 45secs)

Creating a search alert in EBSCOhost (1min 27secs)


How do I use the research portal?

(Last edited: Wednesday, 1 March 2017, 9:18 AM)

The SATS research portal has been created to streamline academic research by collating multiple research sources into a single search.  Please see this detailed tutorial to get started:


How do I view feedback in Turnitin?

(Last edited: Tuesday, 24 November 2015, 4:54 PM)

After an assignment has been marked, you will be notified via email.  Assignments which consist of a Turnitin component require that you click the blue grademark pencil icon on the assignment summary screen in order to access assessor feedback.  Take note of the following screenshots:

Clicking either the Similarity Index or the Grademark pencil, will open a new browser window from which you may view feedback on your assignment or download a PDF copy.

There are three primary forms of feedback:

  1. General or overall feedback.  This feedback will include text comments and may optionally include voice comments (not pictured).
  2. Inline comments are those which correspond to specific parts of your paper.
  3. Comments associated with parts of the marking rubric (if used).

It is important that you click through all the icons on the bottom right of the comments pane in order to view all the feedback.  You may optionally download your marked assignment as pictured in the previous screenshot.


How do I view my marks in a course?

(Last edited: Thursday, 23 October 2014, 10:55 AM)

To get full feedback from your course facilitator plus the marks you achieved, you need to return to the activity after it has been marked, but to see your marks for all the assessments on a particular course, you must click the Grades link in the Administration block (left hand side) of your course screen:

admin block

This will display your User Report, which contains the mark and general feedback you received so far for every assessment on the course. It also shows you the course total (aggregate) to date:


In this example, only the first assessment (Sample quiz 1) has been marked. The formula for this course total gives the two quizzes equal weight and ignores the assignments altogether. (Obviously, it is not normal to exclude assignments in the total!)

As your mark for each assessment is captured, the course mark will be recalculated to include it. The course total is calculated according to the formula specified in your study materials; it differs from course to course.


How do I write exams?

(Last edited: Friday, 17 January 2020, 12:06 PM)

The instructions on MySats will tell you all that you need to know about the nature of the test.  For most part, SATS makes use of open-book, multiple-choice tests which do not require an invigilatorPlease note that fellow students are not eligible to invigilate exams. 


How much bandwidth or data do I need for a single course?

(Last edited: Friday, 20 February 2015, 12:49 PM)

The amount of data required for one course will vary greatly, depending on the course in question.  The counseling courses, for example are interactive and employ multimedia content across all courses.  For this reason, counseling courses require more bandwidth and data than most other courses.

At the present time, most Bth courses require fairly modest data usage.  With a few exceptions, one could safely estimate approximately 50-100MB of data per course, not counting any data needed to research for your assignments.  With research included, we would suggest an estimated 150-200MB of data per course.

NB. Some courses are more interactive, requiring audio lectures, teleconferencing, or other multimedia components.  In these cases data consumption would be much higher.  Here are some of our interactive courses and some guidelines on the amount of data consumed in each course.

  • Introduction to Biblical Greek/Hebrew
    • This is a full-year course consisting of weekly teleconferenced lectures and interaction with course content.  It would not be unusual to consume more than 2gb of data for each term (BGK1121 and BGK1122/BHB1121 and BHB1122).
  • All courses in the Higher Certificate for Christian Counseling (HCCC)
    • All counseling courses are comprised largely of SCORM lectures, consisting of audio and slide presentations.  One should plan to consume 500Mb - 1Gb of data for each counseling course.  Not counting any data required for your research.
  • THE2123 - Doctrine of Salvation
    • This particular course in the Bth consists of extensive audio lectures and other interactions.  One should expect to consume at least 500Mb of data for this course, not including what is required to complete the research.

Some Suggestions for Conserving Bandwidth

Many courses contain video introductions.  Although these videos are helpful and do contribute an aspect of variety to the course, they are not required, nor do they contain any content not found in the study guides or other course documents.  If your bandwidth is tight, avoid watching the videos, or try to watch them when you connected to the internet via a public Wifi hotspot.

For courses that consist of audio or multimedia components, you may be able to download some of these elements whilst ustilising a public Wifi hotspot or other terrestrial link.  If possible, avoid downloading this components whilst on mobile data.


How to join a live class (BigBlueButton) using HTML5

(Last edited: Monday, 8 February 2016, 4:15 PM)

At the time of this writing, the HTML5 client offers limited function when compared with the Flash based client.  For example, one may not broadcast or receive webcams using HTML5.  Screencasting is also not possible using the HTML5 client.  Furthermore, the HTML5 client is NOT supported in Internet Explorer or Safari, since these web browsers do not support WebRTC.  

In spite of the above limitations, HTML5 in Bigbluebutton offers some distinct advantages: It loads faster, it uses less data, and it requires less bandwidth.  It is also compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.  In fact, on most mobile browsers you will use the HTML5 client by default, since very few mobile devices support Adobe Flash.

To join a live class from a mobile devices using HTML5, simply click this icon in your course .  On the following screen, select "Use HTML5 client instead" as pictured below:

Joining the HTML5 session from the desktop is also possible, though you need to disable your Flash plugin if it is installed.  You must also make sure you are using a browser that supports advanced HTML5 features, such as WebRTC.  The recommended browsers for use with HTML5 are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera.  At the time of this writing, Safari does NOT support WebRTC, which is required to use the HTML5 client.

Google Chrome comes bundled with a flash plugin, so if you are using Chrome follow these steps:

  1. Open a new tab
  2. In the address bar type "Chrome://plugins"
  3. Find the section that says "Adobe Flash Plugin"
  4. Click "Disable" at the bottom of the section.

Now, when you join the live class, you must select "Launch the HTML5 client instead".

If you are using another browser such as Firefox or Opera, please disable the flash plugin and rejoin the session.


How to submit an assignment

(Last edited: Friday, 15 January 2016, 11:09 AM)

You may also view the instructions below as a screencast:

These instructions apply to assignments or those bearing this icon: .  

Submitting an assignment on the MySats system is pretty straightforward. The most important thing to note is when the assignment is due.  Failing to submit an assignment by the due date can result in late penalties, so make sure you check the due dates when you start your course and never leave an assignment to the last minute. 

Follow these steps for submitting an assignment:

  1. Click the link for the assignment, indicated by this icon:
  2. Follow the instructions indicated. 

NB. If  this is your first assignment you must accept the Turnitin End User License Agreement.  Failure to do so may result in your paper not being marked! See the following screenshots:

  3. Click the Add Submission button.

    4. Drag the file from your desktop onto the file box (see screenshot):



Click the add file button indicated above

Click "Browse" to select the file on your local computer

Click "upload this file"


  5. Click "Save changes"

If you have successfully submitted a file, you should see a confirmation on the following screen. 

NB. Some assignments require you to click a submit button, otherwise your document will remain as draft.  In this case, you must click 'submit assignment' for your assignment to be submitted for marking.  Take note of the screenshot below:



I stopped getting forum notifications. What can I do to fix it?

(Last edited: Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 8:01 AM)

If you suddenly discover that you are not receiving our emails, make sure you check that your email on file is current. You can do this by editing your profile.  Click the user menu on the top right > click preferences > edit profile.   (see how here).

If there is an old email on file which you are no longer using, make sure you provide your new address and confirm it using the link that will be sent.

If your email has not changed, but mail from our system has suddenly stopped, make sure you have our address ( stored in your address book to prevent any spam protection features from trapping our emails.

Finally, if you have done all the above and still do not receive our mail, try contacting us using the "Email us" or "Live Help" links at the top of the MySats webpage.  We monitor bounced emails closely, so we may be able to help.


In what formats can I take my study materials?

(Last edited: Tuesday, 10 June 2014, 3:02 PM)

We offer our distance learning courses in e-learning format only.  Students residing in South Africa may purchase their workbook(s) in printed format. However, all assessments must be uploaded onto the MySats site regardless of the format of the workbook.  The price of the printed workbook includes the courier delivery fee.


Is SATS accredited?

(Last edited: Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 10:10 AM)

All of our programmes are accredited and registered. In South Africa, in order for an institution to operate legally, three processes are needed:

  1. The programmes need to be accredited by the Council on Higher Education. The private institutions were the first to undergo these evaluations and their results were announced on 5 Dec 2002. State institutions now undergo exactly the same processes and are subject to exactly the same criteria. With that in mind a degree from SATS has to meet the same stringent standards as a degree from the traditional state universities.
  2. The Registrar of Private Higher Education Institutions then has to register the institution and will look at factors such as financial sustainability.
  3. Each programme must then be registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

Under the new educational dispensation, the intention of the government is that the qualifications which meet all of the above should be nationally and internationally comparable and the credits earned at such institutions should be portable. We are absolutely sure that our qualifications will match those of any other institution in South Africa and that, as such, they should be accepted both locally and internationally. Having said that, other institutions are not obliged to accept anyone.

The South African Theological Seminary is registered by the Department of Education (registration number 2001/HE08/005) and accredited by the Council on Higher Education to offer the following programmes:

  • Higher Certificate in Christian Life
  • Higher Certificate in Christian Counselling
  • Bachelor of Theology
  • Bachelor of Theology (Honours)
  • Master of Theology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Theology

SATS is registered as a Section 21 company, registration number 2002/005184/08



Join BigBlueButton class in "listen only mode"

(Last edited: Monday, 8 February 2016, 3:05 PM)

In order to join a live class using BigBlueButton in listen only mode, you will need to select that option when configuring your audio settings.  This process will differ slightly, depending on whether you are using the Flash client or the HTML5 client.  If you are unsure of which client you are using, please click here.  

Follow the appropriate steps below:

Flash based client

Upon joining the session, you will be prompted to configure your audio.  For listen only mode, select the appropriate option as indicted in the screenshot below:

HTML5 based client

After you join the session in HTML5 mode, you will NOT be prompted to setup your audio.  To do this, you must click the cog icon in the top right corner as pictured below:

Select the speaker icon in order to join the session in listen only mode as pictured below:



My submission date has changed! What happened?

(Last edited: Wednesday, 6 November 2019, 11:21 AM)

Most assignments on MySats have been configured to accept multiple submissions, also called "drafts".  When you upload a document to an assignment, you will notice on the summary screen that your document has been labeled "Draft (not submitted)".  Take note of the following screen shot:

Draft submission

If you initially uploaded your assignment, but only clicked submit sometime later, the timestamp on your submission will reflect the date you clicked submit, not the date you uploaded your file.  For this reason, it is important that you pay careful attention to the assignment status and follow the submission instructions carefully.  A successfully submitted assignment will reflect as "Submitted for grading" as can be seen in the screenshot below:

Submitted for grading

NB. An assignment may no longer be edited by you if you have clicked the submit button.  If you have accidentally submitted the assignment and need to make a revision before the due date, notify your lecturer immediately.  Your assignment will be "reverted to draft" and then you may make the appropriate changes.  If the due date has passed, you may not make any changes to your assignment and it will be marked as is.



Negative Marking

(Last edited: Thursday, 7 November 2019, 1:19 PM)

Negative marking is the practice of deducting points for wrong answers. For example, if 1 mark is allocated to a particular question, a correct answer would earn 1 mark. However, if the question is answered incorrectly, mark given is not just 0; it is a negative mark. How is this fair?

Negative marking is employed in multiple choice or true/false questions. In these cases, there is a high likelihood that a student could guess the correct answers without ever having learnt the material. One's chances at guessing the correct answer in true/false questions is 50%, so a student may pass a quiz comprising only true/false questions without even reading the questions! If each question has four choices, one might expect a grade of 25%, also without even reading the questions. Consequently, a multiple choice assessment would be greatly diminished as an effective means of determining learning progress. This is not acceptable for tertiary education, and it is not fair to students who have learnt their work thoroughly.

Therefore, negative marking is used for accurate assessment, and to neutralize the benefit of guessing and encourage careful consideration of both the question and the answer. With negative marking, it is not possible for a person to pass a set of multiple choice and true/false by simply guessing. SATS generally applies negative marking in exam questions where the answer is selected from a list (whether true/false or multiple choice, including multiple correct answers). However, different approaches are generally used in formative assessments--those that take place during term, before the exam. If a "quiz" activity (whether named a quiz, test or exam) does not specify whether or not it applies negative marking, you may ask your facilitator.

Negative marking proportions

No. of choices
Right answer
Wrong answer
2 (e.g. true/false)
100% -100%
3 100% -50%
4 100% -33%
5 100% -25%

Percentages in the table above indicate the proportion of the mark allocation of a question. In questions with multiple correct answers, the right choices are equally valued and their sum is always 100% of the mark allocation.

Note: Negative marking does not, on average, make guessing answers detrimental. Rather, it neutralizes the outcome of guessing such that there it neither benefit for detriment to guessing. Usually, students can rule out at least one option in a multiple-choice question, in which case guessing the right answer is better than not answering a question at all.

Negative marking cannot result in a negative grade for the exam itself. In other words, the lowest grade you can earn for an exam is 0 even though individual questions may have negative grades. MySats ensures that the minimum possible grade is 0.



Turnitin lost my bibliography!

(Last edited: Wednesday, 30 May 2018, 11:31 AM)
"Wait a minute!  Your silly system completely deleted the works cited/bibliography from my assignment.  I'm so mad I could breathe fire!!!"

Believe it or not, this can happen... sort of.  The actual problem is not Turnitin or the upload part of MySats, but rather the file format to which you are saving your document.  If you are using Microsoft Word's internal referencing functions to build your bibliography, you must save your document either to a PDF or a .docx file.  Do NOT use .doc file format or your works cited might not show up on another system.  Your references will be contained in the metadata of the file, but they might not be populated on the works cited or bibliography of your document.

SOLUTION: Use .DOCX or .PDF to save and submit your assignment.  DO NOT USE .DOC FILE FORMAT.


Turnitin Supported File Types

(Last edited: Friday, 15 January 2016, 11:09 AM)

Take careful note of the following instructions taken directly from Turnitin's website at this url:

File Types and Size


If an assignment is set to allow any file type, Turnitin will accept any file:


  • less than 40mb;

  • has a minimum of 25 words; and

  • is less than 400 pages.

If the assignment is set to allow only file types that Turnitin can check for originality, Turnitin will only accept files that can generate Originality Reports. This includes:

  • Microsoft Word® (.doc/.docx)

  • OpenOffice Text (.odt)

  • WordPerfect®  (.wpd)

  • PostScript (.ps/.eps)

  • HTML

  • Hangul Word Processor file (.hwp)

  • Rich text format (.rtf)

  • Plain text (.txt)

  • Google Docs via Google Drive™

  • Adobe® PDF
  • Microsoft PowerPoint® (.pptx, .ppt, .ppsx, and .pps)

  • Microsoft Excel® (.xls and .xlsx)


NoteIf you are using an unsupported word processor, you may need to save your plain text file as .txt or .rtf in order to upload to Turnitin.


Note: If submitting with Google Drive™, third party cookies must be allowed in your browser, otherwise, any attempts to sign into Google to upload from Google Drive will fail. Note that Google Drive functionality is not supported with IE8 or below. Do not upload Google Doc (.gdoc) files directly to Turnitin; a .gdoc file does not store the document, but contains a reference to it online, in Google Docs


Note: It is possible to submit PowerPoint® files through,, Turnitin Basic integrations, newer versions of the Turnitin Direct integrations, and LTI compliant integrations only. Turnitin converts the PowerPoint® slide deck into a static PDF, leaving all text and images in their original format but leaving out features such as presenter notes, embedded video, and animations. Text with visual effects is not supported, and it is recommended that any visual effects such as shadows and 3D be removed prior to submitting to Turnitin. It is recommended that any visual effects such as shadows and 3D be removed prior to submitting to Turnitin.


Note: Turnitin will not accept PDF image files, forms, or portfolios, files that do not contain highlightable text (e.g. a scanned file - usually an image), documents containing multiple files or files created with software other than Adobe Acrobat®.


Note: The version of the file that can be viewed in the Document Viewer will look the same as it would if the Excel file had been saved as a PDF and submitted to Turnitin. We highly recommend that users pay attention to the image preview provided in the single file submission to verify that the file is presented in an acceptable manner.  Users can adjust the way the file looks by editing the page setup and print area settings for the file prior to saving it and submitting it to Turnitin.


​Turnitin will not accept the following to generate Originality Reports:

  • Password protected files

  • Microsoft® Works (.wps) files

  • Microsoft Word 2007 macros-enabled .docm files

  • OpenOffice Text (.odt) files created and downloaded from Google Docs online

  • Document (.doc) files created using OpenOffice, as they are not 100% Microsoft Word equivalent

  • Apple Pages

  • Spreadsheets created outside of Microsoft Excel (i.e. .ods)

  • Text with visual effects


Tip: When converting a file to a new file format, users should rename their file with a name other than that of the original file. This is suggested to prevent permanent loss of the original formatting or image content of a file due to it being overwritten.



Using Peer-Marking in Turnitin

(Last edited: Friday, 23 June 2017, 3:08 PM)
In some of your courses, you may be required to take part in "peer-marking" assignments. In a peer-marking assessment, you begin by submitting your own work, after which you will read and review one or more papers from fellow classmates.

Step 1: Submit your own assignment as usual.  

  • For specifics on this process, please see this FAQ.

Step 2: Review other papers

  • After the peer-marking start date, you will be able to mark other students' papers by clicking the indicated icon on the submission overview screen:

  • Pay close attention the review instructions:

  • Click "Write Reviews" when you are ready to get started:

  • Begin your review using the supplied rubric and annotation tools:

Step 3: Submit your review

  • After you have finished your review, you may click the submit button on the top right hand corner, just above the marking rubric.
  • If you would simply like to save your work so you may continue later, simply click "save" and close the window.

Step 4: Read your feedback

  • Following the review stage, it is essential that you review your feedback and incorporate any relevant suggestions into your work.  To do this, simply follow the instructions for reviewing feedback as described in this FAQ.

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