eLearning Technology Roadmap

January 2015December 2018

This page sets out the current state of thinking for the eLearning technology roadmap for UQ. This is a living document updated quarterly, with the most recent update in April 2018.

Informing the Roadmap

This eLearning technologies roadmap is informed by: the University of Queensland Strategic Plan 2014-2017; the UQ Student Experience Strategy (2016); the Technology Enhanced Learning eLearning Strategy Committee; school and faculty needs (HOS meetings, HOS and ADA survey, full school meetings, school T&L meetings, faculty T&L meetings, faculty TEL meetings); the DVC(A), the PVC(T&L); common issues raised through helpdesk interactions (40/day); feedback from staff training (1100/year); direct submissions from instructors; staff and student surveys (e.g. Deliotte’s Student Experience Report 2010, ITS 2012; SOM 2010; TEDI 2009, Niche Consultants 2009, UQ Climate Survey 2014);  inter-university benchmarks and meetings; conferences and professional bodies (BBUG, Educause, ACODE, ASCILITE, CAUDIT); industry reports (e.g. Gartner Hype Cycle for Education,  Horizon Report for Education); and general higher education research.

Current Situation

The University of Queensland has benefited from the early adoption of an integrated, automated, central and supported eLearning environment. Courses are created automatically for coordinators based on student system data. Lectures are recorded and inserted automatically based on the class timetable system. All academics have access to a range of supported tools including plagiarism detection, online marking, audience response systems, quizzes and tests, video recording and advanced authoring tools, combined with online guides, face to face group training and personal training.  While much of this technology has the ultimate goal of enhancing student learning, it also enables other organisational objectives such as efficiency gains that redirect resources towards other university objectives such as research and community engagement.

Key Strategic imperatives 2018-2019

1. Vision and strategy leadership will be provided in the form of the student strategy and the best practice course design standards 

The best practice course design standards will be available to help raise the minimum standard of courses. The guidelines will be a living document updated yearly in line with progress with the student strategy and with technology developments. The eLearning team will have a role in updating this standard and providing services to help achieve broad adoption. The University has also developed a vision through the Student Experience Strategy that includes signature course design elements including active learning, group work, trimesters, and elements of inquiry based learning, aimed at achieving higher value learning. For IT services this will require reliable and ubiquitous services for wireless and electrical power, along with increased numbers of in-class learning tools.  Flexible learning will remain important but a secondary consideration to core student experience vision. For example while some lectures will be recorded to give students flexibility, increasingly learning activities will be face to face, collaborative and project orientated on-campus experiences, that can be augmented with in-class technology. These activities may not be valuable to record, and not possible to experience from home or work. Specific technologies on the roadmap here include the Echo Active Learning Platform (ALP) deployment to all lecture theatres in November 2017.

2. Enabling active face-to-face experiences with in-class technology

With increasing use of smart devices by students learning-space technology will increasingly be delivered as software to the student’s computer as opposed to hardware in the learning spaces. This trend will allow UQ to leverage a very large and rapidly growing market of applications that: enhance active learning in the classroom; permit dramatically faster deployment of new technologies, in months not years; and deployment in a way that economically scales to all learning spaces. Reliable availability of core services (e.g. electricity) will be critical for giving coordinators the courage to invest precious time with adoption, and critical for UQ to move forward as a whole. A UQ wide BYOD policy is being discussed to facilitate this.

3. Freeing up time for active learning in-class, using outside-class learning technologies

There will be experiments with many new capabilities including: advanced online rote learning tools; self paced competency based learning tools; e-exams; ghost writing prevention technology; in -lass active learning tools; advanced multimedia authoring packages that combine text-video and quizzes; automatic transfer of grades from the LMS to the student management system; online exams, and more.

Implications for eLearning Support Units

Training and Support

Change support will remain a key focus. While coordinators overwhelmingly believe in the value of TEL they need support that builds awareness and helps appropriate adoption.  Training should focus on the most commonly applicable capabilities, but complimented with a personal service to help staff configure technology.

Personal Computer Management

To enable active learning technologies in the classroom Faculties are increasingly implementing compulsory Bring your Own Device (BYOD) student laptop programs and UQ could consider facilitating this as a UQ wide BYOD policy to provide the required level of certainty that the option is available to them.

Technology Procurement

To free-up time for in-class active learning, lower order learning activities can increasingly be moved online (e.g. Bloom’s Remembering and Understanding). A program of evaluating and adding new learning technologies will be important for keeping pace. The program can identify new tools that aid rote learning and remembering (e.g. Cerego, Examsoft etc.), and new tools that enhance higher level learning activities in the classroom, such as Bloom’s applying, creating, understanding, evaluating, analysing.

Implications for IT Services

Suitable cloud based SAAS solutions should be adopted for their ability to deliver more functionality faster than bespoke development or on-premise solutions with manual upgrades. 

Lecture recording storage requirements may grow slowly in the short term with increased rooms. IT services can mitigate manageability of this storage with strict archiving. Over time, opt-out lecture recording may increase as coordinators convert traditional classes to pre-recordings. By the end of 2017 we expect to have migrated to a cloud hosted lecture recording environment (ALP). Student video production is already in the cloud (Kaltura).

Text matching (Turnitin) is already in the cloud, and is popular because of its large comparison database and online marking capabilities. The main alternative, a native LMS tool (Safeassign) may emerge as a viable option in the future.

Implications for AV and Classrooms

A progressively more comprehensive rollout of lecture recording capability makes sense while recognising that 100% coverage is probably not economically achievable. Traditional lecture recording may eventually begin to decline as pre-class short video generation or webinar delivery become more popular.

It would be useful to pilot an in-office recording service that recommends and loans out: video backdrops; lapel mics; ipod stands, visualises etc.

It would be useful to establish clear design standards for teaching spaces that allow instructors to rely on the basic services that enable active learning to be available in every space, especially electrical power sockets for student devices and increased wireless for multiple devices per student. The design standard should be at a cost that is scalable to all rooms, and future compatible through minimising use of hardware in favour of a software and a BYOD based approach.

Design and pilot scalable self-serve recording booths that could be hosted in each school and library, as current studios re not self-serve or economically scalable; Booths would have the central elearning video recording tools (Kaltura;PCAP; iSpring); have attractive backdrops; be bookable in the corporate calendar, and technically self serve (no technician required); and potentially in a supervised easy-access environment like a Library (that gives out the key according to calendar bookings and identification).

Existing Micro-Studios which typically require AV support staff are located at: ITaLI Studio - Level4 Bld 17; ITS AV Seddon Building experimental studio; UQBS Studios (2) run by the UQBS Multimedia team; MBS Micro Studios (3); Room 906 in the Health Sciences Building with a videoconference system (Cisco MX300); SOM Micro-Studio is located in the Mayne Medical Building on Level 2, room 214; School of Public Health, on level 0, room 011)

Implications for Library Services

Establishing adequate digital literacy practice in courses would be helpful. Elements of this practice can be added to the best practice guidelines for online course design. Library can collaborate with coordinators to experiment with new e-content options such as e-books and collaborations with publishers on course building and franchising. A network of scalable, bookable, self-serve recording booths would be a worthwhile experiment. These rooms could be hosted in each school and library, as current studios re not self-serve or economically scalable; Booths would have the central eLearning video recording tools (Kaltura; PCAP) have attractive backdrops; be bookable and self serve; and potentially in a supervised easy-access environment like Library. Library could consider providing more powered study cubicals and collaboration areas, for students bringing laptops.

Implications for Teacher Education

  • Establish a teacher education program that scales to the thousands of coordinators.
  • Establish a support desk for course design questions for staff.
  • Establish best practice course design standards.
  • Set and monitor best practice course design goal achievement, with yearly targets.

Implications for Course Design Support

Increased focus on:

  • course designs that fit the UQ student experience vision - presumably as a place-based uni focused on active learning group work with knowledge generation
  • designs that meet the best practice course design guidelines 
  • leveraging economies of scale - searching for rich multi media learning materials and personalised tools from sources that avoid duplication across tens of thousands of universities. Ecconomies of scale may be gained from collaborations bewteen groups of universities, or from publishers or from use of open learning object repositories. 
  • Adding design support resourcing (a dedicated team) to support program renewal

Implications for Governance and Direction

There is an increasing global market of new learning technologies that can be connected to any learning management system (i.e Blackboard) as required. A governance system can be implemented to methodically select and deploy these technologies, as follows:

  • A resource can be assigned to be responsible for collecting the top five teaching problems and the top five technology opportunities.
  • The PVC and appropriate committees can prioritise investigative projects.
  • Formal projects should be run to investigate the prioritised solutions, leading to budgets, evaluations, pilots, and deployments, adding the technology to the supported services.
  • The best practice course design recommendations and aspirations can be updated every six months with the new technologies.


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