Many students participate in topics from across the University in different colleges and courses and have requested consistency in layout and structure in their FLO topic sites. Responding to the call, Flinders now has a set of guidelines available which provide guidance on how to design FLO topic sites so students experience greater consistency in FLO. The guidelines outline good practice for digital learning at Flinders and can be used as a guide for teaching staff.
‘Digital learning’ – the use of digital technology to enhance learning. Encompasses all modes of delivery, including online and on campus.
These guidelines, and associated good practice guides and tip sheets, are based on evidence from literature and evidence-based practice across the Australia/New Zealand university sector and have been developed collaboratively by the members of the Digital Learning Working Group:
Digital Learning Working Group
Top row – Ingo Koeper (CSE), Lindsey Conner (CEPSW), Aidan Cornelius-Bell (Learning Designer), Olga Sanchez-Castro (CHASS), Michelle Gander (CHASS)
Second row – Trudy-Ann Sweeney (CEPSW), David Bain (Online Learning and Teaching), Mai Ngo (CHASS), Deborah West (CILT), Matt Taverner (International)
Third row – Dani Milos (Office of Graduate Research), Jonathan Burrow (Transnational Education), Annie Murray (CMPH), Alison Campbell (CNHS), Nicci Parkin (Learning Designer)
Bottom row – Veronica Ghee (Library), Grette Wilkinson (Online Learning and Teaching), Voula Gaganis (CMPH), Melissa Veal (Student Experience)
Absent – Jodie Curth-Bibb (CBGL), Geraint Draheim (Online Learning Systems), Ewa Seidel (Planning and Analytical Services), Kylie Sappiatzer (Educational Quality), Shelly Abbott (CNHS), Satya Webster (Student Administration Services)
Historically, the University has had both the Web Presence in Every Topic (WebPET) and the FLO topic baseline which have gone some way to outline minimum expectations for tools, use and layout of the digital learning environment. The new guidelines enhance and build upon, and ultimately replace, both WebPET and the FLO topic baseline.
The guidelines provide eight key interconnected areas to address when providing a consistent quality digital experience for students:
- Topic overview, welcome and orientation
- Learning outcomes
- Assessment and feedback
- Learning resources
- Learning activities, engagement, and learner interaction
- Technology and online tools
- Support for learning
- Accessibility and useability
How to use the guidelines
The guidelines apply to topics that have a digital component. In the Flinders University context, this includes all topics delivered as part of our award courses and non-award courses in all delivery modes. They are written to provide flexibility of application and interpretation. The guidelines can be applied across all topics, year levels and disciplines and according to context, for example, mode of study and positioning within the course. There is intentionally room within the guidelines to personalise and adjust according to context.
It is not the intention of these guidelines to dictate approaches to teaching. The Learning and teaching principles of our Educational Quality Framework, the alignment of purposeful curriculum and assessment design, and effective pedagogic practices, must drive topic design. Strategic and rigorous learning design informs topic design and use of digital tools.
The guidelines are intended to complement and enhance topic design by providing a baseline of effective practice expectations for the digital learning environment. Whilst it may appear that some guidelines are not specific to digital learning, all statements relate to good teaching practice and are intended to convey how our learning and teaching principles can be expressed in a digital environment.
The guidelines can be used as a mechanism to assist with the development of topic sites, or as an aid to reviewing a topic site as part of a course review process. They can be used as a self-evaluative tool, or in peer review practices. They can be used to guide consistency in design across topics within a course. The guidelines can also be used iteratively in existing topics as part of continuous improvement efforts.
FLO starter site
Where possible, elements of these guidelines have been incorporated into a FLO starter site. The starter site is designed to unify the layout and structure of topics across courses, disciplines and colleges. It provides a semi-pre-configured ‘starting place’ and can be customised to work with the needs of a course or topic. The use of the starter site and iterative implementation of guidelines in new topics, topics undergoing re-design or re-development, and strategically selected topics is intended to produce efficient and effective approaches to digital learning and ultimately benefit our students’ experience of FLO.