Learning and teaching at UniSC | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

Learning and teaching at UniSC

At UniSC, our goal is to provide quality learning experiences that challenge and engage our students and prepare them to live and work in a changing world.

To do this, the curriculum is designed to be:

These principles are evidenced in innovative and authentic learning experiences that meet sector standards and industry expectations. In addition, UniSC has Graduate Attributes which are embedded and frame all learning outcomes in courses and programs at UniSC.

New learning and teaching model

From Semester 1, 2022, UniSC will no longer deliver traditional lectures either on campus or in person. These are being replaced with a mix of in person seminars for students who wish to attend, supported with interactive online learning materials. To answer your questions regarding this learning and teaching model, please refer to the below FAQ’s.

Watch this Q&A to learn more about learning materials, the new LMS (Canvas) and IT support.

Watch this Q&A to learn more about our face-to-face campuses and financial investment.

Watch this Q&A to learn more about expected changes and ongoing improvement to UniSC's learning and teaching model.

Frequently asked questions

What are the main changes to the learning and teaching model that students can expect in 2022?

The University will utilise more modes of teaching to improve the reach and impact of classes, offering students access to a range of materials that are relevant and more meaningful to conveying the learning outcomes than the traditional one-way lecture.

This may include podcasts, interviews, simulations, screencasts, recorded discussions and formative quizzes, along with some lectures and seminars, but will be dependent on the learning outcomes of each individual course.

Is face-to-face teaching continuing?

Yes. Face-to-face learning and teaching is still very much retained as it is currently offered outside of the traditional lecture, and additional opportunities for on campus engagement is being introduced where possible, such as seminars. These are designed to bring the whole cohort together for interactive engagement at strategic points of the teaching period.

We have taken the best from what we’ve learned during the pandemic and are providing what we believe students have asked for in terms of flexibility and learning opportunities. We believe students will receive much better opportunities to learn under the new model.

What system changes will occur to support this new model?

From 2022, UniSC will replace Blackboard with a new learning management system (LMS) called Canvas. Canvas has a great user-friendly, intuitive and accessible interface. It’s been piloted across 15 courses this semester with very positive student and staff feedback.

The new LMS supports the learning and teaching model to enhance face-to-face teaching and promote active and collaborative learning across all delivery modes. Canvas also introduces a range of features that will help staff to become more innovative in their teaching now and into the future. We are really excited to roll this out to all students ahead of Semester 1, 2022.

We are also exploring a Student Portal project which we hope to deliver in 2022 that will further enhance your learning experience by providing an engaging student experience with a single point of access and hub to all student systems, information, and personalised content.

Many students are confused about what these changes mean to them. Does this mean reduced contact time by up to 13 x 2 hours over the semester?

It is not intended that learning materials replace contact time with teaching staff. UniSC is implementing its new Learning and Teaching model from 2022, and this means that there will be some changes to how learning is delivered.

UniSC remains a predominantly face-to-face university that offers exceptional on-campus learning experiences paired with learning materials relevant to each individual course requirements. The aim is to enrich the learning experience, encourage greater student engagement, and further enhance the face-to-face contact that will continue to occur through tutorials, practicals, lab work, whole of cohort seminars and one-on-one or group consultations.

Our new approach to providing learning material to students will move away from the traditional one-way lecture being the main process for delivering course information. There may still be some lectures and the introduction of seminars that are designed to be more interactive than lectures – but teaching staff will also be able to use other relevant content, or materials, to deliver key learning outcomes. The combination of these will make up the time usually required for a lecture and will aim to boost student engagement when you attend tutorials and other face-to-face activities on campus.

What does this mean for the student learning experience?

These changes are part of UniSC’s ongoing efforts to further improve its teaching quality, which has received five stars from the annual Good Universities Guide for 16 consecutive years. Lectures can be poorly attended and this is further reinforced through the findings of the recent student survey where only 20% of students indicated a preference for face to face lectures – most students indicate they prefer a blended learning experience, which is what we will be delivering.

The new delivery model – which will have a strong focus on enriching the student experience – will also help ensure that we provide equitable access to learning materials.

Is this a one size fits all model or is it a flexible model?

UniSC’s move away from traditional style lectures has been made in recognition of the fact that you can no longer have a “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning and teaching. The new approach will enable academics to provide learning materials that are more relevant and meaningful, and that provide for greater flexibility for students.

All tutorials and practical classes, from Moot courts to fieldwork, laboratories and practical classes are synchronous by nature and are highly interactive experiences for students. These remain important for learning outcomes and are incredibly important for our engaged experience. Importantly, those programs that have external accreditation will continue to be offered in line with meeting those requirements.

Many students feel their HECS and financial commitment to their university degree is being diluted. Is this a USC money-saving exercise?

The changes are being introduced to enhance the student learning experience, not as a money-saving exercise. UniSC has invested in training its academics and systems for this new approach. Teaching staff will be interacting in more meaningful ways that students are likely to find more interesting and engaging. Our academics are highly skilled and are looking forward to enhancing the ways that students learn.

Face-to-face teaching retains a firm place in UniSC's ethos. Practical classes will be on campus unless specifically designed to be online. We understand that students appreciate the in-person interaction and learning, and it is great to see our campuses thriving again.

Many students are disappointed to hear that UniSC had already made changes to the study mode without hearing feedback in the recent survey.

We will be responsive to student feedback that has been collected via the Student Senate survey, which has given us some great insight into how students are feeling about the changes ahead. Ongoing student feedback provides us with the information we need to continually improve students’ teaching and learning experiences, so will review how these changes are received during 2022, then make further changes and improvements as necessary.

What have these changes been based on?

The development of the Learning and Teaching model was made based on student feedback to the way program information has been delivered over the past two years.

We received strong, positive feedback from students throughout the pandemic about how we have been delivering our programs - 86% of respondents stated that they liked or really liked the new approaches.

Will the new model provide more flexibility in relation to blended learning?

Students told us in their course evaluation surveys that they particularly like the flexibility of blended learning (a combination of online and on-campus study activities) as it allows them to combine learning with their work and family responsibilities.

Some of our largest and most successful programs, such as Nursing Science, have already successfully transitioned to this approach.

We are taking the best of what we’ve learned during the pandemic to provide students with what they have asked for via their course evaluations and will continuously seek and adapt our delivery based on student feedback.

What plans does UniSC have to make sure the quality of the learning experience is maintained and students are engaged with the content in this new model?

All materials and digital experiences should already be designed as inclusive and accessible. If students cannot access any of the learning materials provided, I would first encourage them to let their Course Coordinator know so the materials can be updated to be compliant and, if needed, register with the AccessAbility team to ensure they have access to any reasonable adjustments required to support their learning.

It is important that feedback on the quality of learning content is included in the course evaluations all students are invited to complete. This ensures regular review and feedback of teaching materials is highlighted to the program and course coordinators to address.

How is UniSC going to provide time sensitive IT support and ease of access to resources?

Another benefit of the new LMS, Canvas, is the 24/7 support channels for students, including online chat and phone as well as extensive Canvas community guides that take you through everything from accessing announcements, submitting assignments, getting the most out of your calendar and so much more. UniSC IT Services will continue to support students whose technical issues cannot be resolved through the 24/7 support channels. If there is ever a technical issue that may impact on students meeting a deadline, please always take screenshots and email your Course Coordinator ahead of the deadline to make them aware.

How is UniSC going to encourage students to continue to engage with campus life, find new connections and remain motivated?

UniSC continues to remain predominantly face-to-face and there will be plenty of opportunities for students to attend tutorials, workshops, labs, practicals and seminars and take part in the activities that they value. We continue to run regular activities and events across all campuses offering support around key dates, connecting with services and peers and acknowledging national days of recognition. UniSC’s student support services continue to be provided face-to-face and now online, to cater for those students who study exclusively online as well as offer more flexibility for students to access.