Open Education

January 2015December 2019


Open Education is the free open cloud based instructional environment that comes with UQ's Blackboard Learning Management System. Open Education allows you to publish a course for any student to consume anywhere. Courses can be self enrol, or enrolment vetted by the instructor. Open Education is scalable to any number of students, and always uses the latest version of Blackboard. Courses can be branded by institution or branded for the client in the case of corporate education. The service comes with online support. You may wish to review the course catalog which includes the Diploma of Higher Education.

Evaluating Open Education

If you are interested in helping evaluate open education to provide feedback please request a course by contacting Elearning Systems and Support nominating:

  1. A name for the course;
  2. Your choice of enrolment option:
  • Self enrolment (students can elect to enrol themselves by going to the course)
  • Vetted enrolment (students can request enrolment and that is approved by the instructor)


  • For the time being Open Education is considered an external learning tool so all of the issues documented for external tools apply and must be considered by users.
  • Free online support is available (web-chat and telephone). Beyond that Teaching and Learning Support can perform course creations. Teaching and Learning Support are not offering any corporate branding at this point but the instructor can perform this function.
  • UQ is not turning on the corporate profile at this point, but schools and instructors can advertise courses any way they wish.
  • There is no connection with UQ's Student Information System for course creation or student enrolment. Open Education does not include any of the customisations and integrations created for UQ's on premise LMS (e.g. Lecture recordings and uses SafeAssign instead of TurnItIn)


  • Blackboard Software as a Service (SAS) hosted in the cloud;
  • Always the latest version of Blackboard;
  • Highly scalable – catering for very small courses or very large courses (tens of thousands)
  • Self enrol or manual enrol of students
  • Includes a virtual classroom system (Blackboard Collaborate) and a plagiarism system (SafeAssign)

Potential Applications

  • Running professional development (CPD) courses. If you would like to use it for CPD you may be interested in FBS's payment gateway option or GoSignMeUp (described below).
  • Running cross institutional courses;
  • Running Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs);
  • Some instructors may wish to use this platform for very large open public courses;
  • Previewing upcoming Blackboard functionality.

Considerations and Issues being Investigated

  • Course copy capabilities and compatibilities;
  • Corporate and client branding capabilities;
  • Provision of a payment gateway (for CPD courses);
  • SIS integrations for student/instructor/group feeds;
  • LTI Integrations to lecture recording and text matching systems;
  • Insertion of open education courses into UQ's main Learning Management System.

Comparison to MOOC platforms

  • While Open Education can be used for fully functional Massively Open Online Courses, its not the official UQ MOOC platform. Instructors interested in using the official platform should contact ITaLI in the first instance to consider the course's EdX potential. UQ is not currently participating in international collaborations to create course sequences or joint marketing for courses on Open Education. 
  • Open Education is a familiar environment for UQ instructors, who already know Blackboard and can get started on their own. Open Education has no additional cost on top of the in house LMS.
  • Open Education is a more mature and feature rich environment with the functionality of a full Learning Management System.

Other CPD Options

Any student taught by UQ can be taught on the same 'on premise' learning management system (LMS) used for our degree programs. For Continuing Professional Development (CPD), enrolment and payment can be automated with a tool like GoSignMeUp (GSMU), or the UQ payment gateway. For instance GSMU has Blackboard integration (Building Block), and is currently in use by organisations like Sarina Russo Institute, and facilitates payment via coupon, credit card, purchase order and/or Paypal, and caters for exchange rates and time zones. Once a student enrols and pays they receive an automated customised email, as will the course coordinator. The student will automatically be enrolled into Blackboard. ITS is happy to collaborate with an evaluation of payment gatways.

GSMU website