The University of Mauritius (UoM) established as a traditional face-to-face university has been engaged in distance education since 1993 and in e-learning since 2001 to establish itself as a dual-mode institution. In a context where it has engaged itself to promote its internationalization of online courses and a digital learning transformation process, there is a need to assess and evaluate its current e-learning capability to identify areas of good practices and opportunities for improvement to ensure a high quality of e-learning provisions. The paper reports the results of an assessment of the e-learning capability and the related quality assurance processes of the University of the Mauritius using the e-learning Maturity Model (eMM). Quality assurance in higher education is still a key issue, especially with the ever-growing influence of technology and the disruption that the Internet has caused with respect to e-learning and distance education provisions. No university in Mauritius has ever engaged in such an assessment of their e-learning capabilities.
The EMM and the Open Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard Suite were found to be the most complete models in terms of available documentation and description of how to carry out the evaluation with respect to each process area as compared to the other models described in the literature review section. The EMM was, however, chosen as the model to be used for the UoM, given that there already exists a body of knowledge about its applications in different universities that operate in similar contexts. The researcher is at the heart of the process in the role of an ‘eLearning quality auditor’. Therefore, the research used mainly desk studies, and analysis of annual reports as well as a consultative approach with key stakeholders based on a consensus model to reach a rating for each element in the EMMv2.3 instrument. The rating is based on evidence that is available and verifiable through desk research and documentation.
We found out that the main strengths of the university were in the learning process areas mainly because of the need to follow existing quality assurance procedures in place at different phases of a course of life cycle, irrespective of the course modality. On the other hand, across all process areas, the university fared well in the delivery dimension, and this finding is consistent with other universities that were assessed using the EMM. However, it was found that the EMM in current form was more adapted for the assessment of universities operating fully as open or virtual universities rather than those operating as dual-mode institutions or as traditional universities promoting technology-enabled learning. The weakest link was the optimization dimension across all process areas, and the process area that needs more attention for improvement was the evaluation process area. Overall, the university can reasonably be pitched at level two (Repeatable) of the capability maturity model scale used for information systems maturity assessment, but operating towards level three (Defined).
The work presented here has never been carried out for any university in Mauritius, and there have been no reported evaluations or applications within the African region. It allows the university to benchmark and compare its standing with respect to other universities operating as dual-mode institutions and as a reference for other universities in Mauritius as well.
The authors would like to thank the Mauritius Research Council (MRC) for funding this research.
Santally, M.I., Rajabalee, Y.B., Sungkur, R.K., Maudarbocus, M.I. and Greller, W. (2020), "Enabling continuous improvement in online teaching and learning through e-learning capability and maturity assessment", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-11-2018-0335Download as .RIS
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