Policies and procedures

Policy No.
Teaching And Learning
Authoring Organisational Unit
Academic Secretariat
Date Approved
03/02/2009 Revised 01/04/2009
Next Review Date
Approving Body
Academic Council

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The University of Western Australia

University Policy on: Selecting Teaching Modes

Purpose of the policy and summary of issues it addresses:

This policy outlines the general principles that govern the selection of appropriate teaching modes. The policy describes the context in which such principles are formulated. It identifies not only the factors to be considered when assessing the appropriateness of a delivery mode for a unit but also the nature of support to be provided for staff and students in using the emerging teaching and learning technologies.

This policy applies equally to all the University's teaching regardless of the location or the dominant mode of teaching.


In this policy,

"Blended learning" is learning which combines online and face-to-face instruction.

"Distance education" is teaching and learning in which learning normally occurs in a different place from teaching.

"Online learning" is teaching and learning or training which occurs online.

"Student learning" is broad experience acquired from both within and beyond the formal setting of classrooms, laboratories and lecture theatres

"Teaching mode" is the delivery technique or means through which students are taught.

"the University" is The University of Western Australia

Policy statement:

1 The University's Commitment to a High Quality Student Learning Experience

1.1 The University is committed to providing a high quality learning experience for all of its students.

2 Different Teaching Modes

2.1 The University recognises that there are different teaching modes which include but are not limited to the following:

online learning

blended learning

distance learning education

face to face learning mode

2.2 All teaching modes are subject to equal application of the University policy.

3 Principles Governing the Choice of Teaching Modes

3.1 The University recognises that

there is a plurality of student needs and circumstances

student expectations will change in line with their diverse and transforming backgrounds

3.2 The University recognises that

technical systems and networks must be reliable and robust

technology extends the range of tools available for teaching

technology enables new, more effective ways of teaching and learning

the plurality of tools enables teaching which more closely matches the plurality of student needs and expectations

3.3 The University encourages staff to make informed decisions when selecting from the full range of available teaching modes those which provide a learning experience that is student-centred, appropriate and effective.

3.3.1 A student-centered learning experience:

Takes into account diverse student characteristics shaped by their learning attitude and outlook and study orientation.

Caters to various student needs, such as acquisition of specialist knowledge, pursuit of career advancement, and enhancement of intellectual and social developments, in pursuing a University education.

Responds to student expectations that are moulded by a high degree of exposure to, and use of, communications technology.

Recognises the diversity in student cultural and educational backgrounds

3.3.2 Teaching modes must be selected appropriately according to

Student learning styles in which different students learn in different ways and with different preferences between visual, hearing, reading and writing and kinaesthetic.

Student locations whereby, while the majority of the UWA student body studies at the Crawley campus, significant numbers are at other sites within Perth, some are at remote locations in the State, and others are located in other States or overseas.

Student circumstances shaped by changing priorities and responsibilities.


Consideration of appropriateness of teaching mode for a unit must be part of the course or unit approval process.

Consideration must include but not be limited to:

the learning objectives of the unit

the appropriate mix of information transfer and active engagement in the unit

the extent and nature of contact between staff and students

the extent and nature of contact between students

3.3.3 An effective teaching mode considers how technologies are used in conjunction with other delivery methods to broaden the range of teaching tools in order to facilitate teaching in different learning situations.


Selection of the most effective teaching tool depends on an assessment of characteristics and distinctive needs of the student group.

The main categories of teaching tools must include but are not limited to:

Live in-person (such as teacher-led classroom teaching, hand-on labs, coaching/mentoring, on-the-job training, fieldwork)

Synchronous virtual collaboration (such as live online learning, online chat/IM sessions, conference calls, video-conferencing)

Asynchronous virtual collaboration (such as online discussion boards, listservs, blogs, wikis)

Self-paced asynchronous (such as online tutorials, simulations, online self assessments, archived webinars, podcasts, CD-ROMs, lectopia)

4 Review of Unit Effectiveness

4.1 The effectiveness of a unit and its teaching mode must be reviewed three years after its introduction.

5 Access to Materials and Technology

5.1 Where online delivery modes are used the students concerned must have access to the necessary technology.

5.2 In modes which require the use of printed materials students must have appropriate access.


The communication of digital material is subject to the Commonwealth of Australia Copyright Act 1968 (and amendments).

Advice on compliance is available from

Also refer to Ancillary Student Fees and Charges Guidelines which are available from

6 Provision of Support

6.1 Through its staff training and development programmes the University supports its staff in the acquisition and development of relevant skills, including the use of emerging teaching and learning technologies, where appropriate.


To ensure that teachers have the required knowledge on the use of technology-assisted modes of teaching, the University must provide the necessary advice, training and support.

The provision of support can extend beyond the use of technologies to the teaching skills which must be specific to a particular mode (e.g. online facilitation) and to the skills required in successfully constructing a blended course.

More detailed advice and guidance on online learning skills at UWA can be sought from the Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and the website at:

6.2 Through its provision of technical and physical infrastructure and of resources the University endeavours to facilitate the adoption of the full range of approved teaching modes.


To ensure security particularly for assessments appropriate identity and access management infrastructure must be in place.

6.3 Through its student support services, faculties and schools the University supports students to acquire and develop the relevant skills to engage fully with the learning modes which are employed.


Students must be informed of the modes by which a course will be delivered as well as the content of all courses before they enrol in a unit.

Students must have a readily available source of advice and support academically and, where online technology is involved, technically.

Students must be given consistent and transparent guidance on how they are expected to engage with learning processes and activities.

Related forms: (Link)

Related Policies or legislation:

University's policy statement on student learning skills (

University's policy statement on Ancillary Student Fees and Charges Guidelines (

University's policy statement on Copyright

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