The polemic surrounding University Ranking of UniRank ( : The case of UoM being 85th in the African Top 100

This is an interview I gave to the News on Sunday paper that appeared on 26th July 2020. 1. There is a controversy about the ranking of UoM. What do you have to say about it? First of all, the ranking of UniRank is not based on academic components. It is a ranking of Universities based on their popularity, which is measured by the web traffic that passes through these websites. On the other hand, the media has wrongly reported that it is a ranking of RUFORUM. RUFORUM is an association of African Universities with respect to Agriculture. It has released a statement highlighting that in the ranking released by UniRank, 24 of its member Universities are listed in the Top 100. Coming to the University of Mauritius, our web traffic varies throughout the year according to the different events that take place at the University. For instance, during our admission period, there is an increase in the traffic, while during the term time majority usage of the website is internal. As an e

University of Mauritius launches iLearn, a MOOC platform based on the concept of Open Learning and Micro-credentials

Learn. Inspire. Lead – This is the motto of behind this new online capacity building platform of the University of Mauritius. This innovative technology, called XENOPS (now rebranded as XENED) is an advanced customization of Open EdX which is a well-known platform for the delivery of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The University is championing the concept of micro-credentials based on blockchain technology where participants have the possibility to enroll on courses for free or for a small fee and will have the possibility to earn micro-credits that can be accumulated and transferred into recognized University credits. The XENED platform provides functionalities to better monitor and track learner progress and provides a seamless and flexible online learning experience. The University has already identified a number of its online modules and open educational resources that would be offered through this platform. For the launching of the platform, an online course on Interne

It is not about the technology.....anymore

We have witnessed in the world over the past two months, and the past few weeks in Mauritius, a sudden wake up call regarding e-learning by many people coming from different spheres of the education sector, including the technology solution providers, when confinement was imposed rather abruptly and when millions of kids and individuals throughout the world found themselves to be out of school. What we witnessed after that was mainly a series of communications, articles, and rush towards technology. We heard about Zoom and suddenly controversies emerged about security. We heard about Moodle, Google Meet or Microsoft Office 365 tools to allow people to keep working and classes ongoing. Everybody was focusing on one aspect – the technology. As usual we witness a fierce battle from the solution providers but also the users and the corporate clients, where each one of them wants to show that the solution they embraced is the best. And amidst all this brouhaha, the educator, parents and t

Teaching online if you have to work from home (and while on the move)

For a few years now, given the significant advances in web technologies and internet connectivity, I’ve been advocating against the use of the term “distance learning” anymore. At least not, in countries where connectivity is not an issue. At least not, within countries so small like ours (an island in fact) where travelling from one point to another is not a big problem. What I’ve rather been saying was that with such technology at hand (and which is still going to get better), that we had a unique opportunity: Digital Transformation of the Teaching and Learning process. To the layperson, simply put it – teaching and learning differently. Just as they would use WhatsApp or Viber to ‘telephone’ differently. As usual, very few would care, until we experience some crisis situation like the Covid-19. In many cases, tech-savvy and creative teachers are already using simple communication tools and social media to keep in touch with their students, sharing resources and interacting with ea

Key achievements over the past 3 years (Part III - Final)

Innovative Marketing Strategies The strategic engagement with the press through regular requests for coverage of events, press releases, the use of social media such as Facebook to promote the University’s activities and interviews of different officers of the University contributed to restoring a positive perception of the general public towards the institution. The University’s activities were also promoted through the different recruitment agents and video interviews of high-profile Alumni of the UoM. The University has been having recourse to professional digital marketing companies such as Keystone Academic Solutions to market our high-end dual degree courses with University of Arizona and Paris-Seine. Emphasis has been laid both on the local and international markets with respect to brand promotion and upholding of the University’s image and reputation as the premier National University of Mauritius. The impact of our actions has been clearly demonstrated

Key achievements over the past three years (Part II)

Streamlining approval procedures of MoUs and Agreements To address the red-taping issues related to the processing of MoUs and Agreements, while ensuring that key procedures are adhered to within the principles of good governance, the office of Planning & Resources has reviewed the procedure in consultation with the key stakeholders to streamline the processes and administrative burden to improve efficiencies at all levels. The Information Technology Strategy Committee (ITSC)   The ITSC (previously Information Technology Advisory Committee) is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (P&R). The main terms of reference of the ITSC is to serve as a platform for brainstorming about strategic IT to support the educational strategy of the University and to act as an an advisory body to the University with respect to the use of ICTs to improve business processes. The work of the committee for the past three years has been to focus on the improvement of admissions an

Key achievements over the past three years (Part 1)

Three years are nearly over. Roughly two months remain before my present term as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Resources) comes to an end. From that point, there are two possible routes - a renewal for another final term of three years, or I get back to my position as Associate Professor at the Centre for Innovative and Lifelong Learning (CILL). Either way, I am quite happy to take up the challenge again or to work to become a Professor, the ultimate target of any academic career. Some of the key achievements of my office during the past three years are highlighted below: Pre-2017. The University was undergoing a difficult phase and the image of the University had been compromised because of bad press. The Strategic Plan 2015-2020 was approved, but key policies to foster the development of the strategic directions were not in place. The Finances of the University were always in the red, and this has resulted in unwanted negative publicity for the institution. There was practi