At the University of Mauritius, the Diploma in Web and Multimedia development is offered to secondary school leavers using the online mode of delivery through the e-learning platform @ http://ilearn.uom.ac.mu/. Two modules in the first year are however offered on a face-to-face basis given that they form the core of the subject area. The course is offered on a full-time basis over a period of 2 years. The modules follow a yearly structure and are of 6 credits each. This means that exams for one module are normally held at the end of an academic year. However, throughout the year, there are a number of assignments, and practicals that students have to hand over as part of the continuous assessment of the course. In 2012, about 120 students were enrolled on the first year of the programme. In August 2013, a new cohort of 160 students joined in the first year of the programme. After the first year exams (for the 2012 cohort) about 30 % of the overall student population either had at least one re-sits, have to repeat the year or have been terminated from the course. There have been sporadic claims especially from a few students who fall in the 30% that the online mode of delivery was to their disadvantage (despite knowing that the course was offered on DEOL mode prior to registration). Given that the number of students is steadily increasing due to the policy of opening access to tertiary education, there are a number of factors that can be contributing to the problem mentioned. These can be linked to the quality of HSC results, hence the students' academic ability, the mode of delivery, the assessment modalities, the courseware design and other factors such as students' commitment to the course and participation in mandatory learning activities like assignments, and presentations. It is therefore important to find the major causes of failures and whether the new modality of online learning is the main cause_of student's lack of success. There is also a need to probe into the current pedagogical practices and student support framework to identify any shortcomings that need to be addressed for future improvements. The main research questions based on the specific objectives of the project are as follows:
â¢ Is there a correlation between HSC grades of first year students and their performances in online modules?
â¢ Is there a significant difference between the performances of students in the online modules when compared to modules offered on a face-to-face mode?
â¢ Is there a correlation between student engagement in an online module and the performances of the student?