Policy Academic Governance JCU Blended Learning Procedures

JCU Blended Learning Procedures

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To identify and define the philosophy, scope, principles and procedures for the use of blended learning environments for students and staff at James Cook University in order to enhance student learning, success and engagement and to impact positively on the student experience.


This policy applies to all staff and students and relates to aspects of the Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy, the Strategic Intent and the University Plan.


Blended learning - refers to learning design that strategically, systematically and effectively integrates a range of face-to-face, online, mobile, distance, open, social and other technology enhanced learning across physical and virtual environments, as informed and driven by student needs and support for desired learning activities and learning outcomes.

Flexible delivery - refers to how the timing, pace, content, assessment and location (in both virtual and physical environments) of learning can be varied, personalised and chosen by the student to suit their needs, whilst still meeting the desired learning outcomes. The extent of variability will be determined by course and/or subject requirements.

Digital literacy - refers to the ability to locate, evaluate, choose, use and create technologies effectively, critically and safely for lifelong learning. Students require digital literacy to locate, engage, interact, create, share and communicate with a range of learning technologies in order to access subject information, participate in learning activities, collaborate with peers and complete assessment tasks.  Staff require digital literacy to communicate, support, motivate and inspire learning for students in contemporary learning environments.

Learning technologies - are the “broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching and assessment” (Association for Learning Technology, 2012)

Mode of delivery - refers to whether a subject is delivered internally, externally or via limited mode. Blended learning can, and should be, integrated into any subject regardless of mode of delivery.


This policy is written to support the recommendations of the ‘JCU The Future: Crystallising our Purpose’ – “building a high quality on-campus experience that is flexible and technology enabled”.  Face-to-face and on-campus delivery remains an important aspect of the James Cook University learning and teaching model, including the promotion of place-based learning at our campuses and field locations.  A high quality on-campus learning experience is enhanced by the use of learning technologies that enable increased student access to learning resources online. Approaches to blended learning will vary by campus (ie: Singapore approach to mobile learning is well embedded and should be built upon).

Blended learning at James Cook University is based on the following principles:

  • Students are inspired, motivated and engaged to learn, through blended learning approaches that vary according to their appropriateness to the particular learning context.

  • Staff are encouraged and supported to adopt fit-for-purpose and innovative blended learning approaches. These approaches are enabled by academic and professional partnerships and appropriate institutional investment in learning technologies.

  • Digital literacy is recognised as an important graduate attribute and a core skill for academic staff.

  • Flexible delivery options are offered to reflect the needs of students, the intended learning outcomes and the availability of resources.

  • Blended learning will not always include flexible delivery and so will not always provide students a choice of where and when they can study.

  • Blended learning and flexible delivery are chosen to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes and not just to reduce the costs of delivering teaching or to reduce teaching loads. In some circumstances, blended learning and flexible delivery may require increased investment of resources to ensure sustainable delivery of high quality learning and teaching.

  • Technology is considered an opportunity to capture data regarding patterns of student participation (learning analytics) to inform monitoring for at-risk students, to promote just-in-time learner support and to provide information to students.

In order for students to be at the heart of the University, blended learning approaches at JCU must:

Blended Learning Policy


Ensure the diversity of our students, their learning preferences, preparedness and the life circumstances that impact on student engagement with learning informs the design and choice of blended learning and flexible delivery approaches.

Deans of College will support Course Coordinators, in collaboration with Subject Coordinators and teaching staff, to:

  • Identify the barriers for students in regards to access and engagement with learning.

  • Provide blended and flexible delivery options to support increased access to learning for diverse students, taking into account the resources available.

Ensure that students are provided with consistent and easy access to services, information, tools and resources necessary to facilitate and enable student learning and engagement.

Information, Technology and Resources (ITR) and Centre for Education and Enhancement (CEE), in collaboration with the Deputy Vice Chancellors – Academy and Education, will:

  • Ensure that learning management systems are sufficiently resourced to support blended learning and flexible delivery approaches in virtual environments.

ITR will:

  • Endeavour to ensure that video conferencing and audio visual services for on campus learning environments are maintained and functioning to support blended learning approaches.

Estate Office and Divisions will:

  • Ensure that there are sufficient on-campus spaces designed and equipped to maximise flexible and blended approaches to learning and teaching.

Subject Coordinators and teaching staff will:

  • Ensure learning technologies used in subjects are appropriate and functional.

  • Provide relevant information on technology requirements for enrollment and successful completion of the subject and/or course.

  • Deliver subject content via learning technologies in a timely manner for student engagement and learning.

  • Evaluate the value and impact of the introduction of new technologies into subjects on student learning and engagement.

Utilise approaches that enable and encourage interaction, collaboration and communication between students and staff and create a sense of belonging to the university learning community.

Course Coordinators, with the support of Deans of College will support Subject Coordinators and teaching staff to:

  • Promote the use of physical and virtual learning environments to support and encourage collaboration between students and between students and staff.

  • Be orientated to, and familiar with using, the physical and virtual learning spaces that support collaboration and interaction between students and staff.

ITR , in collaboration with the Division of Academic and Student Life, will:

  • Ensure that a range of appropriate collaboration platforms and wireless networks are in-built and maintained in the learning management system to encourage and support staff and student collaboration in virtual and blended learning environments.

Include opportunities to develop the digital literacy of students through orientation to virtual environments used for learning and teaching and in discipline specific contexts over the course of their degree.

CEE and Course Coordinators will support Subject Coordinators and teaching staff to:

  • Provide digital readiness programs for academic and discipline specific study, including targeted activities for students during O-Week and in foundation subjects.

  • Include information on digital literacy requirements in course information provided to students.

  • Introduce and orientate students to digital technologies integral to learning in subjects (i.e. the use and layout of LearnJCU subject sites and associated programs) by the end of week one of the study period.

  • Recommend appropriate intervention and support strategies for students to ensure the development of basic digital literacies required for learning at JCU and into professional life.

  • Where possible, identify the digital literacy proficiency of students.

In order for course and subject design to meet the principles set out in the Learning, Teaching

and Assessment Policy, those who design and teach must:

Blended Learning Policy


Design courses where blended learning approaches are embedded in overall curriculum design and are logically linked to learning outcomes.

Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching (ADLTs) and Deans of College will support Course Coordinators, in collaboration with Subject Coordinators and teaching staff to:

  • Develop and utilise blended learning approaches that are coherently deployed across the course of study to support students to achieve intended course learning outcomes.

Ensure learning technologies and face-to-face teaching approaches are chosen to best meet the desired course and subject learning outcomes and support student learning and engagement.

Subject Coordinators will:

  • Ensure that for each subject learning technologies are chosen through considered pedagogical design.

  • Technology is chosen to support and enhance student learning outcomes, rather than to define or determine the learning outcomes and teaching methods.

  • Subject coordinators and relevant staff are orientated to, and familiar with using, any technologies used for learning and teaching in the course.

  • Consideration is given to the choice of learning spaces, where possible.

  • Ensure equivalence of resources, time and learning outcomes regardless of place, mode or approach to learning.

Regularly review blended learning approaches used in subjects across the whole course of study for applicability, relevance and best practice in relation to student needs and desired learning outcomes.

ADLTs and Course Coordinators will support Subject Coordinators and teaching staff to:

  • Regularly evaluate effectiveness of blended learning approaches in terms of supporting student access to learning, collaboration and assessment.

  • Commit to ongoing professional development and/or research in blended and technology enhanced learning approaches to ensure contemporary and best practice in teaching and learning.

  • Identify processes to support staff during course redesign around blended learning.

Ensure subjects use a minimum standard of technology to enable blended learning.

Course Coordinators will support Subject Coordinators to:

  • Ensure that for each subject the minimal requirements for Learn JCU sites is maintained, as outlined in CP8.1 of the Learning Teaching, and Assessment Policy.

In order to implement blended learning institutionally, the University must:

Blended Learning Policy


Ensure staff are recruited, trained, supported, resourced and recognised for effective and innovative blended learning approaches at an institutional level.

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academy and the Dean, CEE will:

  • Ensure resources are distributed to provide ongoing professional development of staff regarding innovative blended learning approaches and clearly considered pedagogical design.

  • Staff are recruited to be institutional leaders in blended learning that can support and drive the strategic direction and continuing professional development for staff at JCU.

Deputy Vice Chancellors, Human Resources, Deans of Colleges and Course Coordinators will:

  • Use recruitment and selection processes that support the JCU Blended Learning Policy to ensure new staff are committed to blended learning.

  • Ensure that performance management reviews identify and remedy any barriers to compliance with the blended learning policy.

Course Coordinators will support Subject Coordinators to:

  • Ensure teaching staff are orientated to technology used for learning in the subjects they are teaching into.

Invest in, research and support online infrastructure and learning spaces that allow for blended learning approaches, including online student feedback, analytics, online submission of assignments, student created content, student sharing of own content and personalised student communications.

ITR, CEE, Library Services and other relevant student services will:

  • Ensure infrastructure of student feedback systems, learning management system, wireless networks and online student services support university wide approaches to blended learning through evidence based approaches to implementing new technologies. This includes working effectively to adapt to changes in staff and student preferences for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approaches.

Related documents, legislation and JCU statutes

Blended Learning Policy

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)

Tertiary Education Quality Standards Authority (TEQSA) Higher Education Standards Framework

JCU Framework for Consideration of Funding and Support of Learning Technologies

JCU Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy

JCU Strategic Intent

JCU University Plan


Approval Details

Policy DomainAcademic Governance
Policy Sub-domainLearning and Teaching

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Education

Approval Authority

Academic Board

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Amendment date

Description of changes




Policy established



blended learning, flexible delivery, digital literacy, learning technologies, mode of delivery

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