Blended learning at USC

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Blended learning at USC


The value proposition for blended learning

"Blended learning, the fusion of educational technologies and teaching in physical and virtual environments to enhance the student learning experience, is the present and future for modern tertiary education. It is not an optional activity. It is fundamental to modern tertiary education.. [and]... critical to the future success of USC." — USC Blended Learning Strategy 2014-2016.

Classrooms across the world are changing. Blended learning and technology-enhanced models of education are now fundamental to the way that university students interact with course content, their teachers and peers, and the broader world; both professional and personal.

At its simplest, a blended learning course will include one or more technologies to support face-to-face learning and teaching approaches.

At its most sophisticated blended learning design transforms the learning and teaching task; the student becomes an active collaborator in their learning and the technologies used reimagine what's possible for both student and educator.

  • Watch video: Professor Mike Keppell, Executive Director, Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) at the University of Southern Queensland, talks with us about why blended learning matters.
  • Watch video: When Dr George Siemens was at USC in 2013 he shared his thoughts on the advantages that blended learning can bring.
  • Read: USC's Blended Learning Strategy 2014-2016 (PDF 381KB) for details on USC's commitment to blended learning

Blended learning support for teaching staff

The Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT) helps academic staff implement blended learning strategies into their courses and programs to enhance the student experience and the quality of learning and teaching.

Our services include:

  • Program and course design / redesign
    We can assist teaching staff to redesign their courses or programs to make use of blended learning strategies and approaches.

  • Learning technology advice and evaluation
    We can provide advice on existing learning technologies at USC or can evaluate other technologies on your behalf.

  • Learning and teaching grant application support
    We can support teaching staff to brainstorm, critique, evaluate and prepare project proposals and grant applications and to assist with project management and review.

  • Training and professional development
    Blended learning staff work with other C-SALT staff to present professional learning events for staff throughout the year.

  • Advocacy
    Do you think USC should have a technology it doesn’t have? Does something not work like it should? Blended learning staff can advocate at many levels to improve the learning and teaching environment at USC.

  • Learning systems functional analysis and support
    We are also responsible for the functional analysis and second tier support of systems of University learning systems such as Blackboard and MediaSite.

Blended Learning can greatly enhance the student learning environment and benefit the achievement of learning outcomes.

We promote a pedagogy-first approach, rather than a technology first approach. This allows academics to effectively select the best technologies for the job and to sequence them sensibly. Employing technology in ways that are ways that are consistent with the Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Teaching (Chickering and Gamson, 1987) also ensure the potential of the technology is fully realised.

Getting started resources

The components of a 21st century classroom infographic from Open Colleges illustrates some of the ways blended learning is advancing  teaching and learning.

View the USC Prezi Blended Learning: Practical ideas for educators on integrating technology into teaching practice - it includes an introduction to the SAMR (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) Model as a way to get started with blended learning course design.

Enrol in Blended Learning Demystified an open-access, self-paced online course developed the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching. The course presents basic concepts that underpin blended learning as well as offers practical examples and case studies. It's a useful introduction to Blended Learning and you can dip in and out of the areas that interest you.

Take a USC tutorial (staff log in required):

Refer to the COFA (UNSW) Online Learning to Teach Online videos designed to help academics from any discipline gain a working understanding of successful online and blended teaching pedagogies they can apply in their own teaching situations.

Useful links

Blended learning self-help resources

Lecturers and tutors at the University of the Sunshine Coast regularly use:

Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS)

  • The Blackboard (Bb) Learnvirtual learning environment and course management system creates a web presence for all USC courses. It includes a range of teaching and learning tools including blogs, wikis, discussion board, quizzes and rubrics.
    Blackboard (Bb) Help resources.
  • Blackboard Mobile Learn — students and staff can download an app to access to some Bb features via mobile devices
  • Respondus — a tool for creating quizzes and test to upload into Blackboard courses. Respondus help resources - staff login required.
  • SuperMarkit — a USC designed assignment marking tool
  • SafeAssign — allows electronic copies of assignments to be sent via Blackboard to an external website where undergoes text matching and access for plagiarism.
  • Interim Results Module (IRM) — a USC designed student grade centre that is integrated into Blackboard and the University’s Student Information System (SIS).

Virtual classroom and web conferencing

  • Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate - a virtual classroom and collaboration tool that can be used 1 to 1, or 1 to many.
    USC students and staff use Bb Collaborate for a range of learning and teaching activities. Bb Collaborate is integrated with Blackboard courses and organisations to allow easy scheduling and access. Bb Collaborate has audio, video, whiteboard and desktop sharing functions and is similar to other web conferencing products, like Skype and Google Hangout, except that Collaborate can host up to about 400 people in one session.
    • Participants and Moderators (organisers) of Bb Collaborate can access Collaborate help in the Train Station (student or staff login required).
    • Staff can discuss how they might use Collaborate in their course with a C-SALT Learning Designer.

Lecture recording

  • Mediasite is a lecture capture and video content management platform that enables the capture of synchronised video/audio and image content for both live and on-demand viewing. Mediasite webcasting technology completely automates the recording, distribution, management and analytics of high-quality video and multimedia presentations. These presentations can be viewed in a number of different player windows and offered as a link, a catalog or audio podcast within Blackboard.

E-Lecture creation tools

  • Narrated Powerpoints and Narrated Prezi
  • Ink2Go is a simple to learn software that staff can use to create short educational videos, or eLectures, on a USC computer. Once you have recorded your short video you can give the file to your Faculty eLearning Support team who will upload it into MyMediasite for you. You can then create a link for students to this video in your Blackboard Course site.

Student response systems

  • GoSoapBox is a web-based student response system that academics use to conduct interactive quizzes, polls and discussions and collect real-time responses to engage students and track learning
  • Turning Point Clickers are a hand held alternative available from IT Services refer to the Clickers help resources - staff login required.


  • USC has a staged roll-out of ePortfolios using PebblePad with the goal that all students and staff will have access to an ePortfolio by the end of 2016. Staff can discuss how they might use an ePortfolio in their Program with the ePortfolio project leader Christine Slade.

Multimedia production

  • Adode Creative Suite or Adobe Master Suite
  • Inhouse Video Production (IT Services)

Educational simulation and games

  • A number of environments are being used or tested including interactive multi-touch table technology and nursing simulation systems.

More information

Blended Learning contacts

Faculty of Arts, Business and Law staff:

Priscilla Trahar
Blended Learning Designer
Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT)
Tel: +61 7 5456 5130

Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering staff:

Goksu Dines
Learning Designer
Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT)
Tel: +61 7 5456 5131

General enquiries

Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT)
Office: E2.29, Sippy Downs campus

Faculty eLearning support

The Educational Technologies and Environments (ETE) Support Team are the first point of call for help & assistance with Blackboard support and course help. The team provide day-to-day assistance to teaching staff with Blackboard, Mediasite, Respondus, IRM and associated e-tools.

Tel: +61 7 5459 4555
Office: E2.29, Sippy Downs campus

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