The UQ2U program aims to support the conversion of courses to deliver high-quality online and high-value on-campus active blended learning experiences that meet the needs of students.

The design and implementation of UQ2U courses moves UQ towards our strategic goals and creates learning and teaching experiences in a rigorous, scholarly and evidence-based manner. UQ2U courses are diverse and will provide exemplars of practice for UQ’s coursework teaching across disciplines.

Benefits for academic staff

  • Support to undertake course renewal, building on staff's expertise
  • Support and recognition for commitment to enriching the student experience, including through HEA fellowship status
  • More flexibility in the modes and timing of teaching activities
  • Opportunity to demonstrate leadership in education innovation and research
  • Opportunity to work in partnership with students.

Benefits for students

  • Collaborative and engaging on-campus learning
  • Building friendships and networks in cohorts
  • High quality online resources accessible anywhere, anytime
  • Resources to help revise and accelerate
  • Formative assessment to help students learn
  • Authentic summative assessment tasks that allow students to apply their knowledge and skills.

The UQ2U difference

1. UQ2U courses are:

  • Integrated high-quality online and high-value on-campus active learning experiences
  • Learner-centred and inclusive
  • Designed for flexibility
  • Designed and facilitated in course teams with student partners
  • Designed to embed learning analytics that are actionable by academics
  • Designed with authentic assessment tasks
  • Constructively aligned with learning outcomes informing assessment and learning activities
  • Formatively assessed with activities for students to use feedback 
  • Integrated into UQ’s physical and digital infrastructure
  • Constructed to help all students succeed.

2. Where possible, UQ2U courses:

  • Are designed in modules
  • Use existing resources 
  • Use e-assessment to provide flexibility and efficient assessment management
  • Involve research, industry, external university and community partners.
  • Align within programs as part of a coherent pathway of study at UQ.

How UQ2U courses are selected and designed

Courses are being prioritised in consultation with faculties and schools. These courses will be supported to implement the Student Strategy as a UQ2U course, including a modest financial contribution to the overall investment made by faculties and schools.

The UQ Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) will provide technical and practical support for the development of selected courses, including learning design, project management, analytics, learning tool and media production expertise.

As part of the UQ2U program, a blueprint has been developed, which will continuously evolve over time. This blueprint and supporting guides, toolkits and training will be made available to all staff to ensure any UQ course can be designed with common principles, attributes and elements.

There will also be an opportunity to partner with students in the design and delivery of UQ2U courses.

Frequently asked questions

What is the intention behind the UQ2U program?

A major goal of the Student Strategy is to provide a flexible environment that supports and services all students, meets their learning priorities and expectations, and personalises their UQ experience. The UQ2U program will deliver learning and teaching experiences that are consistent with this goal.

What is meant by "blended" learning?

"Blended" learning refers to the context-appropriate integration of both on-campus and online activities that maximise student learning outcomes. "Blended" learning does not imply exclusively online content and "blending" of a course may not result in an overall reduction in face-to-face teaching time.

What does research say about "blended" learning?

It has long been recognized that simply listening to someone else talk is less effective for learning than doing things oneself or engaging in activities. (Chinese proverb: I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand). "Active learning" refers to a range of teaching approaches that encourage active engagement of learners with course material, one another, and/or lecturers. It contrasts with "passive learning" of lecture-based or "talking head"-style instruction. It encompasses various educational approaches including collaborative learning, cooperative learning, experiential learning project-based learning, problem-based or inquiry-based learning, peer-led instruction, role-playing and simulation.

When a student is sitting in a passive lecture (with no active learning, no immediate requirement to perform, and no discussion), their mind is likely to wander. With learning tasks that make few demands (eg passive lecture), executive control tends to maximize the occurrence of task-unrelated thought both inside (Rummel & Boywitt, 2014) and outside of the laboratory (Kane et al., 2007). This “mind wandering” has been linked to poor outcomes in a wide range of tasks (eg , impairs comprehension during reading: Jackson & Balota, 2012)  and during lectures (Farley et al., 2013).

In contrast, when students are engaged in time-sensitive, active learning, their mind is less likely to wander. Research shows that when learning makes consistent demands on external attention (e.g., a classroom with active learning, or learning online in small chunks with regular self-assessment under time pressure), students with good executive control tend to limit the occurrence of task-unrelated self-generated thought – that is, less likely to mind wander (McVay & Kane, 2011).

Research connecting “active learning” classrooms with student learning has been documented by Baepler et al. (2016) and shows that students in active learning:

·        outperform their peers in traditional classrooms;

·        exceed their own grade expectations as predicted by standardized test scores;

·        show significant student learning gains over using a lecture-based approach in the same space.

Active learning approaches are evidenced with “blended” learning practices that  combine in-class activities with the delivery of online resources. It involves integrating and interspersing opportunities for student engagement through face-to-face engagement alongside interactive online activities.

A number of systematic analyses and meta-analyses have addressed the effectiveness of blended learning. Paul (2001) concluded that face-to-face with online enhancement was 11% more effective than face-to-face alone (perceptual skills, intellectual skills, motor skills, attitudes).  A 2004 meta-study by Prince found strong support for active, collaborative, cooperative, and problem-based learning. Across 52 studies, Zhao et al. (2005) found a 0.49 effect size for online learning mixed with face-to-face instruction (ie greater achievement gain for BL). Bernard et al. (2014) found that, across 96 studies, blended learning conditions exceeded face-to-face conditions on any measure of academic performance (effect size 0.33).  A well cited 2014 meta-study by Freeman et al. analyzed 225 previous studies of teaching in science, engineering, and mathematics. The results showed that, when active learning was employed, average examination scores improved by approximately 6%. Further, students taught by traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than students taught through active learning. In light of these results, the authors recommended "abandoning traditional lecturing in favor of active learning."



Baepler, P., et al. (2016). A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classroom: History, Research, and Practice. Stylus Publishing.

Bernard, R. M., et al. (2014). A meta-analysis of blended learning and technology use in higher education: From the general to the applied. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 26(1), 87–122. doi:10.1007/s12528-013-9077-3

Farley, J., et al. (2013). Everyday attention and lecture retention: the effects of time, fidgeting, and mind wandering. Frontiers in Psychology, 4:619.

Freeman, S., et al. (2014)  Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (Comment) vol. 111 no. 23. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/23/8410

Graham, C., et al. (2013). Developing models and theory for blended learning research. In Blended Learning: Research Perspectives (Vol.2). Routledge.

Jackson, J.D., & Balota, D.A. (2012). Mind-wandering in younger and older adults: converging evidence from the sustained attention to response task and reading for comprehension. Psychology and Aging, 27, 106–119.

Kane, M.J., et al. (2007). For whom the mind wanders, and when: an experience-sampling study of working memory and executive control in daily life. Psychological Science, 18, 614–621.

McVay, J.C., & Kane, M.J. (2011). Why does working memory capacity predict variation in reading comprehension? On the influence of mind wandering and executive attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 302–320.

Paul, D. S. (2001). A meta-analytic review of factors that influence the effectiveness of Web-based training within the context of distance learning. Texas A&M University.

Prince, M. (2004). Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research. Journal of Engineering Education 93(3), 223–231.

Rummel, J., & Boywitt, C.D. (2014). Controlling the stream of thought: Working memory capacity predicts adjustment of mind-wandering to situational demands. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 21, 1309–1315.

Zhao, Y., et al. (2005). What makes the difference? A practical analysis of research on the effectiveness of distance education. Teacher’s College Record, 107, 1836–1884.

How are courses selected to participate in the UQ2U program?

Courses selected in consultation with faculties and schools will have large enrolments or particular strategic importance to the relevant faculty or school.
Once the UQ2U blueprint and supporting guides, toolkits and training are made available to all staff, any UQ course will be able to be designed with the common UQ2U principles, attributes and elements.

How much time will academics have to contribute to the conversion of each UQ2U course?

The "typical" course will require dedicated commitments of approximately 2-3 days per week over a period of up to 6 months.

What resources will be made available to support UQ2U courses?

In addition to the overall investment of time and other resources made by the relevant faculty and school, a modest financial contribution will be provided in relation to each course together with technical and practical support (e.g. learning design, project management, analytics, tool development and media production expertise).

How can the financial contribution to the UQ2U course conversion be used?

The funding can be used for a broad range of purposes that support the academic endeavour as it relates to leveraging or offsetting the faculty or school investment in the UQ2U program, including:
a. Employing a research assistant to help with the course (e.g. refresh materials; review already available online resources; prepare preliminary drafts of transcripts etc)
b. Off-setting other responsibilities such as marking or tutoring
c. Employing a research assistant to assist with a research task that would otherwise need to be deprioritised
d. Buying specialist materials/resources/expertise
The funding will be provided to the faculty or school as a lump sum for distribution as requested.

Will participation in the UQ2U program offer academic career benefits?

One of the anticipated benefits of the UQ2U program is access to rich learner feedback that will enable academics to proactively adapt teaching approaches to student needs. The UQ2U program also offers academics a low-risk opportunity to innovate through the application of modern teaching methods. Support for academic promotion, application for teaching innovation grants and the potential nomination for teaching awards may all be enhanced through participation in the UQ2U program.

What is the "typical" development timeline for each UQ2U course?

In order to optimise the investment of time and effort in each UQ2U course, a maximum development timeline of 6 months will be applicable. There may be exceptional circumstances that justify a longer development timeline.

Can I convert part of my course through the UQ2U program?

Initially, only entire courses will be converted through the UQ2U program. Once the UQ2U blueprint and supporting guides, toolkits and training are made available to all staff, academics will be able to apply the UQ2U conversion principles as appropriate.

For more information

Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions or contact:

Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI)
E: uq2u@uq.edu.au
P: +61 7 3365 2788