Instructors and developers may want to augment UQ's central eLearning systems with bespoke tools or cloud based services like for example YouTube, Flickr, Google Drive etc. While external tools will always be a good and proper part of the teaching environment, there are a number of important responsibilities for instructors and developers to consider before implementing these options. All teaching environments are subject to UQ policies and procedures and these should be considered in full. Below are some example implications.


Please check Policy 1.60.02 Privacy Management. All personal student information must be held securely, and protected from unauthorised access, use, modification and disclosure. Examples include any information which identifies an individual or which allows his or her identity to be reasonably ascertained. In the University context, examples of personal information include home address, home telephone number, date of birth etc.

  • Seek legal advice, but you may need to advise students not to reveal private information on the site, and that their comments could potentially be accessed in unexpected ways.
  • Seek legal advice, but you may need students to sign a permission form before you, or other students, post any material (e.g. video) that includes personal information. Pay particular attention to video assignments or instructional material that may include images of students or study participants who’s information is meant to be kept private.

Retention of Materials

Please check 3.80.06 Availability and Archiving of Concluded Course Site Materials in Blackboard. In cases where eLearning material is not hosted at UQ, it is the responsibility of the staff member delivering the course to ensure that assessment materials are kept for a minimum of 12 months.

Content Copyright

Check the copyright policy before posting learning materials to cloud based services. Some may attempt to retain a level of ownership of posted material. Please consult with the Copyright Advice service in Library.


If you are using a tool that is under development or has been developed by a staff member or a student, you need to be sure you and your colleagues have a licence to use that tool and that licence will cover your use into the future. There have been cases where access to bespoke developed tools was withdrawn by the IP owner resulting in considerable cost and inconvenience.

Minimum Presence in UQ’s LMS

Instructors are required to maintain a minimum level of presence in the Learning Management System. Please refer to 3.80.01Minimum Presence in Blackboard. All year 1-5 courses must meet min presence requirements. There is significant feedback that students want a consistent online environment.

Social Networking

Please be aware of, and consider the implications of 3.60.01 Student Charter.

Using UQ Credentials on External Sites

Policy 6.20.01 Acceptable Use of UQ ICT Resources requires users to "protect the security and integrity of their access e.g. account, password ....". Use of UQ credentials on external sites is not good practice, and endangers the security of the credentials. There are documented cases of UQ credentials being stolen en masse when this has been done in the past.

Impact on Student Download Quota

Traffic generated by centrally provided learning systems do not impact the student's free internet traffic quota. Traffic costs associated external systems like YouTube etc will impact their quota and may be beyond a UQ student's budget and therefore affect equity.

Future Cost

While some cloud based services may start as free or low cost, there is often no guarantee that will remain the case. Due to the absence of a licence agreement, vendors may elect to charge for part or all of the service in future.

Future Funding

While you may have a grant to test or use a service or product for a project, you need to consider funding for when your project runs out. There have been a number of cases of tools and system built on project funds being cancelled with significant local impact when the funds ran out.


Be aware that UQ cannot provide much more than basic support for most cloud based services, because they are not controlled by a UQ licence agreement. Bugs and enhancement requests have to be directed to the instructor or the vendor. For bespoke tools instructors need to know who students and staff can contact for support on how to use the system, training, bug fixes and enhancements. Another question is who will fund this support now and in the future. SCORM should never be used as a format for authoring package output in an attempt to return grades to Blackboard as it can never be made to work reliably and will result in significant disruption to courses.


Unless the external service is covered by an explicit UQ Service Level Agreement, instructors take responsibility for the availability and reliability of the service for the duration of the course.


The University's disability action plan calls for elearning systems to be WCAG compliant. All systems must be compliant with the University’s Equity and Diversity guidelines.


Some external services include advertising, or retain the right to add advertising at any point.


Ideally learning tools should be integrated into the Learning Management System for easy access by staff and students. For any kind of external assessment system there will be an overhead for manual transfer of results. In the absence of policy compliance, wide demand, or testing and evaluation, an external tool may lack this function.

Upgrade Impacts

Core system upgrades may impact the functionality or integration with external tools. Its up to the instructor to organise and fund testing and modifications required. All instructors are invited to test on upgraded central systems at least a month before any upgrade.

Future Central Service

While ITS does sometimes take on useful experimental tools and turn them into centrally supported tools, this always depends on the provision of separate funding as ITS is not provided with discretionary funds for this purpose. Centralisation of bespoke tools will very often require re-writes to make them large scale, robust and supportable.  Taking on central tools will usually require sufficient demand across all courses to justify the cost.

Service Design considers needs and costs associated with: development, code support, staff support, help guides, training, hosting, upgrade costs, monitoring and any contract establishment and management.

Technical Design considers issues such as: data confidentiality, availability, agility (functionality extension), scalability (#users), approach, business compatibility, supportability, dependencies, authentication, upgrades, traffic impacts, backup/archiving, assumptions, alternatives, system and user interfaces, testing, deployment, management, IP address changes of cloud-based services, client side compatibility, auditability, jurisdiction, reputation risk etc.

LTI integration

Any Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) based tools need to enabled inside the Blackboard LMS by an ITS system administrator.  Refer to the guide on requesting LTI Integration.