Policy Academic Governance Student Digital Experience Policy

Student Digital Experience Policy

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This policy describes James Cook University’s (JCU) commitment to students in providing learning and teaching materials in the virtual learning environments (VLE) that are inclusive and accessible, of high quality and assured.  This policy also outlines expectations for student engagement in learning.


The policy addresses the student digital experience in the VLE at JCU. This policy applies to the non-award, pathways, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students across the Australian tropical campuses, JCU Brisbane and JCU Singapore.

The policy aligns to aspects of the Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy, the Strategic Intent and the University Plan.


Student Digital Experience: Has been defined as the expectations of how students will experience the VLE. Staff will use the SDE to support the VLE development.

Digital Literacy: Has been defined as the capabilities which fit someone for living, learning and working in a digital society (JISC, 2015). It is the ability to locate, evaluate, choose, use and create technologies effectively, critically, and safely for lifelong learning (JCU Academic Plan 2018-2022).

Digital Self: Has been defined as the responsibilities of students to establish and maintain a digital identity that is ethical, safe, and secure in the online environment. Maintaining an online reputation and acting with academic integrity is paramount.

Virtual Learning Environment: Has been defined as web-based platforms for digital aspects of courses of study.  This includes the organisation of groups and subjects, assessment, resources and communication, reports on engagement, and integrates with other educational and institutional systems (Dillenbourg et al. 2002)

Learning Design: A learning design can be considered as the framework that supports student learning experiences (Oliver, 1999). At the level of a subject, learning design is supported by constructive alignment (Biggs, 2014) in which learning outcomes, assessment and the learning activities are explicitly integrated. Learning design requires both timely and regular organisation of learning materials to prepare for engagement.

Accessible: Has been defined as providing equal access and equal opportunity to people with diverse abilities (https://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility). JCU supports the development of learning materials and the VLE using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles.

Inclusive: Incorporates a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others (Hockings, 2010). Inclusive design of learning means products and or services that are accessible to and useable by as many people as reasonably possible without the means for adaptation (British Standards Institute, 2005).


The Student Digital Experience Policy at James Cook University is driven by the following principles:

  1. Students’ access to quality digital learning materials is important in the transition to university, and orientation into learning. Students’ digital literacy will differ and a consistent framework outlined in the Student Digital Experience endeavours to provide a platform for successful participation in their learning. JCU actively encourages students to take responsibility for their own digital literacy development.
  2. Students will engage in learning in the VLE  that is informed by constructive alignment (Biggs, 2014) and inclusive design. Students will engage in teaching and assessment aligned to intended learning outcomes.
  3. Students will undertake assessment tasks in their studies that are valid, fair, flexible, feasible and guided by clearly defined assessment criteria or scales that involve digital platforms. Student feedback on assessment, including timely access to results in grade centre, is key to student engagement in learning.


The JCU Student Digital Experience Policy describes the expectations for student engagement in subjects in the VLE. The learning design is responsive, accessible, and inclusive and adheres to JCU’s legislative requirements.

Student Digital Experience Elements

Statement of expectation

Subject Orientation

Students will access the introductory video to orientate themselves to the subject during the week prior to the study period commencing.

Students will access the subject outline to view subject details during the week prior to the study period commencing, and throughout the study period.

Learning Design

Students will engage with learning materials that are timely, accessible and inclusive; comply with legislative requirements; and purposefully designed to meet learning outcomes.

Media Content

Students will regularly engage with digital media, recordings and interactive activities to support their learning.


Students will use criteria or scales to guide creation of their assessment tasks and access Grade Centre to view assessment results. Where appropriate students will use online submission and receive feedback electronically.


Students will engage in digital communication respectfully.

Essential subject communication including announcements, emails, surveys, assessment information, and where appropriate to subject modes, staff-student and peer-peer interactions will be undertaken through the subject site.


Students will have support for academic learning, technologies, careers and wellbeing via links to appropriate services and materials, and where appropriate subject-specific resources.

Digital Self

Students will engage ethically in learning activities including maintaining data privacy and confidentiality and satisfying academic integrity requirements.  Students will develop an understanding of the digital self and maintain their online digital safety, security and reputation.

Related policy instruments

Blended Learning Policy

Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy

Charter of Responsibilities for Academic Quality Learning and Teaching

Related documents and legislation

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

Disability Discrimination Act 1992

Disability Standards  for Education 2005

Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations Act 2019


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

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 (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Policy established.  Approved by Academic Board (6/18) 05/11/2018

Dean, LTSE


student digital experience, virtual learning environment, digital literacies, digital self

Contact person

Dean, Centre for Education and Enhancement