When Going Against the Tide Becomes the Norm: The Case of CILL at the University of Mauritius

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Building Resilience // Described as the “single great new development in education” (Wedemeyer, 1981:60), distance education would further expand with the advent of technology and the internet in the 1990’s. It can be argued that Covid-19 in 2020 has acted as another catalyst for bringing online and blended learning to the front scene (Zhao, 2020). At the University of Mauritius, distance education and online learning were introduced at the University of Mauritius in 1991 and 2001 respectively. Since 2014, online and blended learning is under the purview of the Centre for Innovative and Lifelong learning: CILL provides infrastructural and pedagogical support for the development of online and blended learning and has the autonomy to initiate projects. This has led to the creation of a sub- culture at CILL where CILL would continue to operate on the margin/periphery of the mainstream activities of the UoM. Innovations at CILL included innovative modes of delivery, assessment and adopting an entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial culture of collegially approaching the Industry for customised training programmes and corporate training solutions. These innovations were most of the time being limited to the activities of CILL. Covid-19 has since 2020 led to a reversal of the situation. Covid-19 has highlighted how many of the innovations introduced by CILL some 25 years ago have ensured robustness and resilience of the Centre’s activities in the face of disruptions caused by the pandemic. Post-lockdown, some of the models would be deployed to the whole of the University. This paper, through exploratory desk research, will explore how these innovations paved the way for preparedness at CILL and how these were escalated to University-wide level, where ‘going against the tide’ becomes the norm. // Paper ID 3247

Blended Learning,Online Learning,Educational Resilience,Distance Education,Higher Education