Digital Learning Strategy 2015–2020

Welcome to UniSA’s Digital Learning Future

University of South Australia's Digital Learning Strategy 2015–2020 builds on our values of innovation, scholarship, engagement and openness and outlines the vision, strategic priorities, commitments and key projects that will provide enhanced educational offerings, as articulated in the University’s strategic plan Crossing the Horizon 2013–2018.

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This strategy is a whole-of-university strategy, through which we will deliver an engaging curriculum, support our students to be productive professionals in a digital age, expand our flexible learning arrangements, develop our academics to be leaders in the digital learning experience, and inspire the entire UniSA community through life-long learning. By 2020 UniSA will be recognised internationally as a leading university for its use of innovative digital technologies to ensure a high quality student learning experience.

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Digital Learning Strategy news

Within a year of its launch, the Digital Learning Strategy progressed quickly:

  • A Digital Teaching Equipment Fund supported almost $1m in investments in digital equipment and teaching resources

  • Green screen rooms have been made available on all campuses to enable academic staff to produce video recordings

  • High quality video lecture recordings, drawing on multiple technologies, have been produced as the first stage of the UniSA TV project

  • A program of academic staff development is being offered, including learning cafes and webinars given by visiting presenters, and a new teaching in higher education website is under development

  • Awards for teaching staff who excel in digital learning and grants to fund innovative projects are being offered annually

  • Data rich learning analytics dashboards have been rolled out for all courses, and dashboards are under development to evaluate programs and students at risk

  • A Graduate Diploma in Education Studies (Digital Learning) was developed, which will be offered to UniSA academic teaching staff.

Find out more about the Digital Learning Strategy

  • tick-small Drivers for digital learning minus-thin plus-thin

    Drivers for digital learning

    The Digital Learning Strategy builds on UniSA’s long tradition of delivering degrees online and via distance. In 2014 more than 40% of UniSA students completed some or all of their degree online. This flexibility to study on campus and online is something our students value immensely.

    In 2009 we launched our Personal Learning Environment which incorporates learnonline; an integrated suite of tools that support teaching and learning at UniSA. Every UniSA course has a dedicated learnonline website, through which students interact with other students and staff, and have access to lecture recordings, virtual classrooms, ePortfolios, and more. Through our Strategy we will continue to extend the capabilities of learnonline to allow ongoing innovation in our teaching practices and learning resources and to respond to the needs of staff and students.

    Our teaching spaces are becoming more collaborative. The state-of-the-art Jeffrey Smart Building, which opened in 2014, combines digitally enabled teaching and study spaces with student learning and support services; a model that is being replicated across all of our campuses. We also have a vast array of specialised laboratories, clinics, workshops and studios that draw on cutting-edge digital technologies to provide unique experiential learning opportunities for our students and facilitate staff-student engagement.

    We are living in a rapidly evolving digital world, where technology pervades almost every aspect of our lives. Our students and staff are accustomed to connecting, inquiring and discovering online, but as a sector, Australian universities are yet to fully capitalise on the potential that new digital technologies can bring to education.

    There are key drivers for universities to embrace digital learning. Students now have access to more information than ever before, are increasingly mobile and globally connected, have diverse needs, and require flexibility to balance work, family and study commitments. Industry and the community seek professionals who are digital leaders, with transferrable skills and knowledge, creativity, developed networks, and the ability to engage locally and globally.

    Now is the time to challenge our institutional practices and collectively embrace pedagogical models that further engage our learners in their education. We need to introduce scalable and sustainable practices that better leverage the affordances that technologies can provide to deliver a flexible and personalised learning experience.

    Find out more in the Digital Learning Strategy background paper prepared by Associate Professor Shane Dawson.

  • tick-small Development of the strategy minus-thin plus-thin

    Development of the strategy

    Extensive consultation with the UniSA community has been crucial in informing this strategy. A summary of this consultation process to develop the Strategy is outlined below. Further consultation will be undertaken as individual projects are progressed.

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    Phase 1

    Research, reviews and benchmarking

    • Review of the Personal Learning Environment
    • Curriculumn Innovation Process
    • Literature review and benchmarking

    Phase 2

    Staff and student consultation

    • Student focus groups
    • Staff focus groups
    • Staff survey
    • Staff summit

    Phase 3

    Strategy development and consultation

    • Strategy developed by Steering Group
    • Consultation on strategy with staff, students and industry

    Phase 4


    • In collaboration with staff and students
    • Supported by division and unit plans
    • Key project teams engaged
    • Commitment to resourcing and support

    For more information on the consultation process visit the Digital Learning Strategy learnonline site (staff login required).

  • tick-small Vision, objectives and strategic priorities minus-thin plus-thin

    Vision, objectives and strategic priorities


    The University of South Australia will be recognised internationally for its use of innovative digital technologies to deliver a compelling and industry-relevant learning experience for students.


    Through an enterprise-wide digital learning approach we will:

    • Support our students to become industry-engaged professionals with the digital competencies required to excel in their future careers
    • Support our staff in the development of digital literacies and capabilities to evaluate and introduce new digital technologies into their teaching practice
    • Provide increased opportunities for face-to-face interactions between students, teachers, researchers and industry practitioners
    • Improve the utilisation of digital technologies to provide authentic experiential learning opportunities
    • Provide flexible and personalised learning opportunities to allow students to have more control of their progression through their degree
    • Expand the reach of our academic programs locally, regionally and globally
    • Inspire life-long learning among UniSA students, alumni, staff and the external community
    • Ensure that digital innovations in teaching and learning can be undertaken seamlessly, reliably and sustainably within our overarching learning platform
    • Build and foster a culture of innovation across our academic community
    • Develop a culture of evidence-based practice and continuous improvement in the use of digital technologies in our teaching and their impact on student learning and graduate outcomes.

    Strategic priorities

    To achieve our objectives we will deliver on a series of commitments and key projects aligned with five strategic priorities:

    • Strategic Priority 1: Delivering an engaging and digitally enriched curriculum
    • Strategic Priority 2: Supporting our students to become productive professionals in a digital age
    • Strategic Priority 3: Expanding our flexible learning arrangements
    • Strategic Priority 4: Developing our academics as leaders in the digital learning experience
    • Strategic Priority 5: Inspiring and supporting life-long learning
  • tick-small Key projects minus-thin plus-thin

    Key projects

    The following key University-wide projects will be delivered to support the achievement of our strategic priorities:

    UniSA Online: We will offer 20 degrees off campus to students based locally, nationally and internationally through UniSA Online.

    UniSATV: We will launch UniSATV to enable prospective, current and previous students, staff, and the external community to access high quality educational content relating to UniSA’s teaching disciplines and research activities free of charge.

    Teaching Infrastructure Master Plan: We will develop a Teaching Infrastructure Master Plan to coordinate the redesign of our teaching spaces to facilitate high quality digital learning experiences and interactions between students and staff.

    Learning technology enhancement: As the University’s primary online learning platform, we will continue to invest in developing the capacity and functionality of learnonline, including providing students with greater access to essential online learning resources.