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Blended Learning Policy
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.
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.
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.
1. Blended Learning Approaches
In order for students to be at the heart of the University, blended learning approaches at JCU must:
1.1 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.
1.2 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.
1.3 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.
1.4 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.
2. Blended Learning course and subject design
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:
2.1 Design courses where blended learning approaches are embedded in overall curriculum design and are logically linked to learning outcomes.
2.2 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.
2.3 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.
2.4 Ensure subjects use an appropriate/effective mode of technology to enable blended learning.
3. Implement Blended Learning Institutionally
In order to achieve blended learning institutionally, the university must:
3.1 Ensure staff are recruited, trained, supported, resourced and recognised for effective and innovative blended learning approaches at an institutional level.
3.2 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.
Related policy instruments
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 Pedagogical Space Plan
JCU Strategic Intent
JCU University Plan
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic)
Date for next review
[Use the table below to record information regarding changes to this policy. Version control should be applied, for example minor amendments (approved by the Policy Sponsor) should be numbered 1.1, 1.2 and so on. Major amendments (approved by the Approval Authority) should be numbered 2.0, 3.0 etc]
Description of changes
blended learning, flexible delivery, digital literacy
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