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New approaches

learning.futures is about re-engineering subjects to enable students to experience a seamless integration of the best of online and face-to-face on campus learning.

learning.futures is characterised by practices that began development through the Learning2014 initiative. These practices aim to combine the best of online and face-to-face teaching and make use of the new spaces on campus that have been designed to accommodate approaches such as flipped learning and collaborative learning.

Professor Shirley Alexander, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students), explains the practices that characterise learning.futures.

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learning.futures practices

So how are learning.futures practices different? The table below explains. 

LEARNING AT UTSPractice-oriented learningUTS Model of Learning: practice-oriented, global and research-inspired
WHAT IS IMPORTANTWhat students knowWhat students can do with what they know and how they do it
SUBJECT DESIGNDot point list of contentLinking 'what students can do with what they know' to objectives, learning activities and assessment
GRADUATE ATTRIBUTESLargely not identified or includedFaculty or course-specific attributes identified, embedded and assessed
LEARNING ACTIVITIESPrimarily lectures, with tutorials, labs or studios with UTSOnlineBest of online learning combined with best of face-to-face collaborative learning with UTSOnline engagement
LEARNING RESOURCESNotes from class, readings from Library and textbooksPodcasts, screencasts, YouTube, Open Education Resources, online learning resources, readings and digital resources from Library, social media and text books
ON-CAMPUS LEARNING EXPERIENCEPrimarily lectures and tutorials, strucured labs, individual studiosPrimarily collaborative learning activities. Some lectures/guest presentations, inquiry-based and research labs and studios
OFF-CAMPUS LEARNING EXPERIENCEAssignments, studying for exams, UTSOnline engagementEngaging in "real life" experiences including work placements, community projects, competitions. Preparing for on-campus learning, including engaging with podcast, online material, pre-readings, online tutorial, group work, doing assignments, undertaking research
ASSESSMENT"What can you remember?""What can you do with what you have learned?"  Authentic assessment tasks that develop graduate attributes.
FEEDBACKLecturer and tutor feedback on completed workDiagnostic feedback. "Benchmarking" and discussion of criteria. Feedback on draft work. Lecturer, tutor and peer feedback. Self-assessment and reflection. 
TRANSITION TO UNIVERSITY Orientation before week 1, peer supportOrientation. Transition activities in faculties prior to the session. Transition activities in subjects in week 1 and support during the session. Numerous "First Year Experience" project outcomes, peer support. 


learning.futures resources

Flipped learning

In the ‘flipped education’ model, rather than attending lectures, students access digital resources and undertake preliminary tasks prior to coming to classes where they engage in collaborative, mentored activities.

Melissa Edwards explains the benefits of using video in the flipped classroom.

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Open education resources (OER)

The increasing development of open, digital libraries enables students to engage with extensive educational resources and tutorials in different fields, from anywhere, at anytime, and often in a rich media format. Such resources enable students to access diverse ideas, and test their understandings of key concepts.


Globally, there are a growing number of initiatives in digital education (such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or KhanAcademy) that enable students to access free online courses and to participate in interactive, peer-to-peer learning. MOOC environments include edX, Coursera and Udacity.


Various approaches to learning use different forms, models and techniques to engage students in learning. 

Teaching and learning strategies

Higher education teachers are embracing technologies and using online platforms to introduce different learning opportunities for their students.

Collaboration technologies

Social media and collaboration technologies are increasingly being used to support formal and informal peer learning.