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.