The Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE) in collaboration with Microsoft launched its online learning resources platform called MIE Virtual Campus on 8 February. This virtual campus provides access to and sharing of educational resources and online courses.
The MIE Virtual Campus has been created by the Centre of Open and Distance Learning at MIE based on a platform developed by Microsoft Research India, known as the Massively Empowered Classroom (MEC). This platform, developed on Microsoft Azure, is already being used in India by the government for training engineering students, as well as by hospitals for civic training. In Jordan, this system is very popular as the 13 public universities use it to group their entire curriculum. In Africa, Mauritius is the first to make this platform public. Indeed, the MIE’s virtual resources will be available free of charge on its virtual campus to primary and secondary school teachers initially and then to students from 2018.
A rich and dynamic Virtual Campus
This virtual campus is also a platform for teachers to share the resources they develop as part of their professional activity. The latter will be able to share, for example, presentations, animations, photos or videos and thus collaborate to feed the virtual campus and make it richer and more dynamic.
“Students are increasingly using online tools to supplement classroom instruction,“says Dr. Klaus. Oomandra Nath Varma, Director of MIE. “We want to help them implement new ways of learning that reflect the expectations of the new generation for a high quality education that is accessible to all. ” By June of this year, teachers will also have access to the training content offered by the MIE for their continuing professional development. The MIE expects that the virtual learning platform will enhance the educational experience of all students in Mauritius, providing them with additional tools to further enrich what is done in the classroom while facilitating the work of educators who are looking for new educational content.
“An open platform”
For Natasha Ekstrom, Education Lead at Microsoft Indian Ocean Islands, “this project is the culmination of an ongoing collaboration with MIE. “With this virtual campus, the MIE is positioning itself as a leader in the creation and delivery of online educational content in Africa. We are even more pleased that the outcome of this research project by Microsoft Research India will benefit all Mauritian teachers and students.” The MIE Virtual Campus platform is hosted on Microsoft Azure, a Microsoft Cloud-based hosting infrastructure that allows MIE to dispense with the investment in heavy on-premises infrastructure and gives it more flexibility in managing traffic on the platform. “This project is fully in line with the implementation of Nine Year Schooling by the Ministry of Education”, underlines Dr. G. K. K. K., Director of the MIE. Varma. “An open platform that will, through the provision, offer a single place of digital resources of the MIE and its enrichment through the contribution of innovative teachers, facilitate the teaching and transfer of educational content. These contents will be more regularly updated and distributed more quickly.”