Monday, 12 December 2016

An Evaluation of the African Leadership in ICT Programme from a Quality Assurance Perspective

This paper has just recently been published in the European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. The abstract of the paper is reproduced below:

The aim of this paper is to present a comprehensive review of the African Leadership in ICT (ALICT-LATIC) course delivery model, offered by the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiatives (GESCI) from a quality assurance perspective taking into account the delivery model, cultural context, and the distributed nature of the programme and its participants, from a geographical perspective. In this paper, we look at the key concepts governing the ALICT-LATIC course, such as the provision of transnational education and blended learning provisions. Through a series of steps including desk studies, expert observation and the application of the eLearning Maturity Model, we conduct an evaluation of the eLearning provision from a quality assurance perspective. We can reasonably argue at this stage that the current blended learning model is conducive for the development of skills and competencies as expected in terms of intended outcomes and learner experience. The quality of the course is comparable to academic standards adopted by institutions of higher education through their internal and external quality mechanisms.

The full article can be read here 

I wish to place on record the contribution of the GESCI staff, with special mention to Mary Hooker for her invaluable suggestion and reviews to improve the work presented in this paper. I also wish to thank Roshan Halkhoree, my colleague from the University of Mauritius for his contribution in initial reviews of the work that was presented in this paper. Finally I thank the University of Mauritius for the support to this ongoing collaboration with GESCI. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Teacher Trainers Bootcamp-Style Workshop @ CILL

The Centre for Innovative and Lifelong Learning is currently hosting 13 teacher trainers from the Seychelles Institute of Teacher Education (SITE) for a two week period to work jointly with the Staff of the Centre on the development of 4 modules to be offered under ongoing teacher training program in Seychelles as from February 2017 under DEOL mode. The workshop is jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Learning and the Ministry of Education, Seychelles in collaboration with the University of Mauritius under its Living Lab project.

The thirteen staff (11 academics and 2 technical staff) are working in close collaboration with CILL staff and students of CILL to develop instructional content, interactive materials, e-book development, MOODLE authoring and video recordings. The two persons under the technical track are working on video authoring and e-Learning platform administration, and they are supporting the team while getting hands-on training. 

The initial training started in 2015, when two workshops were held in Seychelles, and followup done online, and the current workshop has been organized so that the knowledge and skills acquired by the staff can be put into application to further develop competencies. The courses will be delivered online and in blended format as from February 2017. The model was presented in the PCF8 conference of the Commonwealth of Learning in Malaysia. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

UoM Research Week 2016 - Evolution of ODL at the UoM....and Future Perspectives

2016 has been quite a good year for the Centre for Innovative & Lifelong Learning but also very hectic in terms of the battle we have had to convince the Senior Management of the University that the Centre for Innovative & Lifelong Learning cannot, and is not by any means, appropriate to fall under a specific Faculty, and even less relevant to the......proposed Faculty of ICT and Digital Technologies.

Whether this still characterizes ignorance from the highest quarters about the concepts of 21st Century Education, Lifelong Learning and the transformation of the Education landscape through new technologies, or whether this emanates from some hidden agenda of a few somewhere or for other unknown reasons, it was very demotivating and unproductive to spend practically the second half of the year, to take a bold stand and to finally convince the Senate and Deans that moving the Centre under the proposed Faculty would have been a disaster for both the 20yrs of DEOL practice at the University and the future of this institution in general. 

The presentation I made at the University of Mauritius 2016 Edition of the Research week was related to our battle for preserving CILL in its current form to better serve the University in achieving its Strategic Plan and to emerge as a 21st Century University.

MRC Innovation Day Conference

I have attended the MRC Innovation Day conference on the 25th November 2016. On the second day I had to make a presentation under the theme on "Capacity-Building for Innovation" and my presentation was on the different initiatives that are ongoing at the University of Mauritius with respect to capacity-building. 

I then focused on how the Centre for Innovative & Lifelong Learning was playing a key role in terms of innovating the education system of the University to address 21st Century Education Challenges and needs.

The presentation has been uploaded on Slideshare and embedded in this blog post. The key message is that traditional universities can no longer conduct business as usual if they want to survive in the 21st Century, especially where funding from Government is becoming more and more limited. We find that we spend much of our time and effort in public institutions to consolidate the existing traditional and rather outdated education model. 

In this context the Living Lab for Innovative Pedagogies and Teacher Training is conducting a series of project, activities and initiatives to address to some extent the problem by trying to use anticipatory methods and futures thinking.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Small Scale Research Funding from MRC : A capability Assessment for the University of Mauritius e-Learning Initiative using the e-Learning Maturity Model

The e-Learning initiative at the University was launched in 2001 with the setting up of the Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies. Fifteen years later, the initiative has attained a level of maturity where 4 programmes of studies are offered on a mainly online mode of delivery. The Centre has developed capabilities over time in the area of content development, instructional design, educational technology, and online course delivery and support through which the University of Mauritius has been able to deliver fully online programmes. Quality assurance is an important component when it comes to the credibility and perceived value of online courses, and in this context the Victoria University of Wellington has developed the e-Learning Maturity model, by which institutions ‘can assess and compare their capability to sustainably develop, deploy and support e-learning’. The model consists of five key areas of assessment, namely Learning, Development, Support, Evaluation and Organisation. This work essentially aims to benchmark the eLearning practices at the University of Mauritius with version 2.3 of the eMM. It will help us identify gaps and address issues inherent within our current operational model to improve our existing processes and quality delivery of online courses. The objectives of the research project are as follows
  • Benchmark the University of Mauritius e-Learning Model with the eMM 
  • Identify gaps in the e-Learning Model of the University of Mauritius 
  • Propose recommendations to address identified gaps 
  • Develop a plan of action over time to improve maturity level of the e-learning initiative
The methodology for the project is outlined below:

Project Scoping and Desk Study 

The e-learning Maturity model version 2.3 will be the benchmark for this research work. The methodology that will be used in this project is a replicated method as provided by Marshall (2007) with respect to the application of the eMM for the assessment of the e-learning capability (maturity) level of the University of Mauritius. The eMM is a proposed framework that is based on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM, Paulk et al., 1993) and SPICE (Software Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination, El Emam et al., 1998; SPICE, 2002).

Capability Assessment 

The three programmes provide a good coverage of the different levels of courses (1st year to Masters) and from full time students to part time (mature) students. A multiple rater approach will be selected where academics will be requested to rate each process area, and an average score will be used for the final rating. In some specific process areas, the ratings will be combined with a few students’ ratings to ensure a more holistic and less biased assessment of the areas especially where students are a key stakeholder in that specific area(s). For the ratings of each process areas, we will use the eMM capability level ratings based on Marshall and Mitchell (2003), ranging from ‘not adequate’ to ‘not assessed’ on a five-item scale. 

Report Writing, and Validation

The institutional report will then be developed and discussed with the key participants in the research for views and feedback and to correct any possible errors or misinterpretations. This is a validation process which is important as a certification of correctness for the institutional report.

For this project we have the support of Professor Wolfgang Greller, Vice-Principal of Vienna University of Education and his team.