2006 Projects

Humanities and Social Sciences/Economics and Business

Creation of flexible online postgraduate units continued to be a strategic priority, as well as raising the elearning capability and technical skills of as many academics as possible.

WriteSite 3 - Orientation sessions for staff

Two-hour face-to-face orientation sessions were offered to staff as part of the rollout of the WriteSite (created with project hours in 2004 & 2005), which was officially launched in June at the Best Practice in Learning and Teaching Forum. A session was offered to each of the faculties in the Humanities and Social Sciences and to the Faculty of Health Sciences (on their request), in addition to general sessions that were open to all staff at the University.

Assistance with external ‘eLearning support project’

External funding granted under the University's Teaching Improvement Fund (TIF) was used to offer local eLearning support to each of the faculties in the Humanities and Social Sciences group over the crucial Application to Activate period and in the first few weeks of Semester 2, 2006.
The HASS educational design team assisted by:
(1) Training the support staff who were hired to assist academic staff to design, maintain and manage their online units of study.
(2) Constructing website which was used for summary information and inter-project communication.


Best practice examples of eLearning from the University were written up in a wiki. This experimental area - Test tube also houses information on useful tools for eLearning as well as learning patterns.

Flexible Online postgraduate units of study – Graduate Certificate in Linguistics (LNGS7001)

LNGS7001: Language Analysis was created for delivery in semester 1, 2007. This unit is offered in fully online mode and the site contains comprehensive materials and activities together with asynchronous discussion activities and clear instructions for students, presented in a customised site design.

Flexible online postgraduate units of study – Graduate Certificate in Linguistics (LNGS7272, 7273, 7002)

This project addressed management issues that arose during the previous delivery of these sites and aimed to develop consistency between the units that make up the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics program.

Flexible online postgraduate units of study – Masters of Cultural Studies (GCST6912)

A fully online revision module was created for a unit of study GCST6912: Youth Cultures that forms part of an online Masters of Cultural Studies. An image analysis activity that was designed for the revision module was elaborated into a template with accompanying instructions. This can be used to create visual analysis activities in a variety of contexts.

Conversion of 'Harmony and Analysis' Units of study

Six units of study, previously situated on a local server at the Conservatorium of Music, were converted to the University's Learning Management System.


Development of a web-based activities to enhance interactive learning in a distance mode physiotherapy masters course

This project converted a distance postgraduate unit of study that was previously solely text-based to the online learning environment. This project achieved a far greater online component than was originally expected, and now all nine modules are presented online.

Self analysis tool to help prospective postgraduate students identify their elearning or distance learning readiness

This project developed an exemplary activity-based, publicly accessible website for prospective postgraduate students of the Faculty of Health Sciences www3.fhs.usyd.edu.au/getreal/. The website provides information nand activities that encourage students to seriously and critically evaluate their readiness for:
(1)The attributes of course that they are interested in with a study matchmaker activity
(2) Using technology to learn with a “technology survival challenge

Orientation to online learning

Related to the project described above, this project developed a Get Learning website in the University LMS which orients commencing postgraduate coursework students to the skills required for successful online study at the University of Sydney. The Get Learning website provides information and also gives students the opportunity to practice commonly used online tools such as online discussion, calendar, quiz and assignment submission.

The Get Learning template is available for use by other faculties/programs wishing to develop their own orientation programs.

Australian health care systems online project

The purpose of this project was to more fully utilise the updated Health Care Game, an interactive, web based heuristic game (the winner of the 2000 ASCILITE award for exemplary use of electronic technologies in teaching and learning in tertiary education) by integrating it with the current unit of study materials. In order to achieve this purpose, a University LMS was developed that delivers materials for four topic areas of the UoS HIM1056 Health Care Delivery Systems online for the first time.

The website provides access to lecture based materials, other online resources, opportunities for students to discuss key aspects of the topic areas, and electronic assignment submission.

Developing web-based capacity to enhance online learning in graduate entry and post-graduate units of study

This project developed the Research Roundtable - a learning design that provides students with a staged scaffolded activities directly related to the assessment for the aligned unit of study. Faculty staff were also assisted in developing learning materials that encourage increased depth of learning online.

New LMS templates for the StudyAge program

This project involved the redesign of seven StudyAge units of study to a manageable University LMS template that enables easy maintenance of the sites with numerous instructors.

The template has a clear modular structure which uses simple LMS tools (content modules, tests and discussions) that can be updated easily within the website, therefore avoiding confusion with filenames and alterations in the look and feel of the sites. New guidelines for the students who study each unit fully online were also developed.

Paediatric Oral Health and Nutrition Module: to enhance professional education and patient care in Dentistry

This project represented a ‘proof of concept’ approach to complementing the Year 3 Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent) Paediatric Dentistry block. A LMS website was developed for the paediatric oral health and nutrition module which included four student learning activities (a lecture with resource materials, two online tests and a clinical based activity with online discussion activity).

Team building in interprofessional learning

An IPL Team work in Health module was built in the University LMS. The module was designed to facilitate online communication between team members and provide structured activities as a precursor to the face-to-face team building activity.

In Semester 1, 2007, the module went live with its first interprofessional group – students from Social Work and Yoorang Garang (School of Indigenous Health Studies). The module is being corroboratively taught and administered by the Faculty of Health and Faculty of Education & Social Work.


This project developed the final five help modules (Overall Structure, Title, Methods, Conclusion, References) for the Flexible Electronic Report-writing Tool (FLERT), for student scientific report writing.

eLearning support for multi-campus delivery of the Bachelor of Health Sciences

A template was designed and developed to provide consistency in navigation, structure and layout across the Bachelor of Health Sciences UoS. This template then formed the foundation for the development of a University LMS website for each of the 1st year units of study. This was trialled in first semester 2007.

Sciences and Technology

A web-based astrophysics eLearning tool

In this project Sydney eLearning investigated software for data visualization which would improve students' understanding of one particularly important concept in Astrophysics, radiative energy transport.

Chemistry pre-laboratory work delivered via the LMS

We converted the existing pre-laboratory work application to run through the University's LMS (WebCT4). This provided students with a 'one-stop-shop' for all Chemistry 1 resources with just one secure log on and capture of quiz results. This was the second phase of a semester 2 2005 project and has focussed on the development of semester 2 units of study.

Development of online teaching resources to aid problem-based learning

We assisted the School of Chemical Engineering to provide an integrated framework for improved web-based resources and coherence between units of study for problem based learning.

ENVI2111 field study online

This project involved the development of a field trip web website that supports learning during student visits to the School of Biological Sciences field study website on the Central Coast. The web website provides information about the theory and practice of data collection using information from existing sites or specifically created for students, and includes images, instructions, software tutorials and data from previous trips. A feature of the web website is an extensive digital image gallery which includes fact sheets and, where relevant, sound files of the flora and fauna that can be found at the field study website.

ICT role-based training program for CST staff

We have developed a framework for a role-based training program covering e-learning skills for teaching and teaching support staff in Sciences and Technology. The aim of the project was to connect elearning roles with elearning skills and elearning training courses for staff.

Improving student writing in the Faculty of Science

Sydney eLearning conducted a needs analysis of disciplines in the Faculty requiring online resources to assist students develop their writing skills, together with an audit of the University's existing online writing skills resources.

Animal health economics

We developed online resources for a postgraduate animal health economics course. This included online formative assessment activities, and online learning and teaching materials for a topic found to be challenging by students.

Fostering skills-based learning in bioethics

This project has developed web-based modules to improve learning through the use of tasks that develop key skills related to Bioethics, including argumentation, critical analysis and communication, as well as specialised practical skills. The modules were developed for nine units of study in the new Bioethics Postgraduate Program offered jointly by the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science (HPS, Faculty of Science) and the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM, Faculty of Medicine). The online modules support a blended learning approach to the Program, in which some units are taught principally by distance while others are taught on-campus. This project was extended in 2007 with the incorporation of inquiry-based components in three of the online modules.

Sciences and technology spotlight

The Sciences and Technology Spotlight is a website which showcases good practice examples of online learning and teaching. The examples are taken primarily from Sciences and Technology and organised around topical themes of learning and teaching, with a focus on elearning. The development of the website is ongoing and each theme is developed during a separate project period. Each theme on the website showcases a number of examples of the theme, background information about each example (based on an interview with the staff member who developed it) and for some examples, links to relevant publications. During semester 2 2006, the focus was on the teaching of writing, especially the provision of marking and feedback to large numbers of students. Additional work was also undertaken on the 2005 theme of formative assessment and development of a promotional bookmark.


Additional work was undertaken on EngSpace (formerly The Dome). The Dome was the 2005 funded TIF project. A library of information in cyberspace, which developed a web website that encouraged deep learning among engineering students. In 2005 Sydney eLearning assisted in the development of an innovative framework for the website, which included instructional and interactive practice material. This project addendum focussed on the development of additional audio and video material for the website, as well as new explanations and examples of fundamental structural engineering concepts.

Engineering games

This project developed a set of innovative engineering games using a series of cutting-edge Flash animations. It supported the delivery of the 2006 TIF-funded project Engineering games and aims to help students practise fundamental engineering concepts using a series of interactive, online learning tasks. The resulting online resource enables students to write a series of calculations about the forces acting upon a number of structural engineering designs, and includes extensive explanations in feedback and hints. The resource is delivered to students via the product of another Sydney eLearning project: EngSpace.

Online student evaluations

An online evaluation system was developed to obtain student feedback on courses offered by the Centre for English Teaching (CET). Most CET courses equip prospective international university students with the English skills required to successfully undertake tertiary level study in their chosen areas. The online evaluation system enables CET to use the perceptions of these international students to increase service levels and to improve methods of course delivery and materials. It also allows greater efficiency and flexibility in collating, analysing and reporting data, and provides students with a more efficient and anonymous means of expressing their views and preferences.

eLearning model for engineering students’ self-learning: Enhancing automated practice activities for fluid mechanics (final phase)

This addendum to the original project involved the redevelopment of the automatic practice activities for CIVL3612 to improve student learning using this innovative resource. Specifically, it aims at enhancing student learning through the incorporation of detailed feedback for correct and incorrect answers, as well as hints. The feedback has been personalised in that it changes according to the number of attempts the student has made to answer the question.

Podcasting pilot project (phase one)

There is a great potential for the use of podcasting within educational institutions such as reviewing lectures both audio and images (recorded via Camtasia), pre-class preparation and study aids for assessment. Understanding how podcasting can be used to enhance students’ learning experiences is important to the successful integration of this type of approach to learning and teaching. This research pilot seeks to develop a better understanding of how podcasting can be used to enhance learning, especially in student-centred learning. We will profile the various types of students and their uses of podcasting (e.g. revision, NESB, hearing impaired, replacement of lectures due to working).

Academic Honesty

This project enabled the adaptation of the second version of the Academic Honesty online module (developed by the Faculty of Economics and Business to improve student perceptions of equity) from Blackboard to another LMS (CE6). The module addresses several issues with which students transitioning to University have problems: the correct referencing style for the discipline, what constitutes plagiarism, acceptable cooperation in group work and Faculty policy on special consideration. The project included the contextualisation of the content of the two degrees offered within the Faculty of Veterinary Science: BVSc and BAVBSc. In a variety of educational design techniques were used to add interest and interactivity.

Faculty of Veterinary Science online teaching tutorial

The Faculty of Veterinary Science Online Teaching Tutorial is a resource that is heavily used in training external tutors in teaching online and by distance. The tutorial is also used for training for internal teachers to develop their skills in teaching online. This project involved modifying the Tutorial to reflect teaching in the new version of the University LMS (CE6). Multimedia components were added to the Tutorial to enhance learning.

Online learning resources in advanced animal genetics

The project involved training staff of the Postgraduate Program in Veterinary Public Health Management (VPHMgt) to develop online presentations which demonstrate computer software for simulations in Animal Genetics. The presentations are narrated and animated screen shows demonstrating how to use the simulation software relevant to the course, complete with cursor movements, available to students from a University LMS (CE6)website.

Chemical engineering

This project developed web-based resources for two units of study in Chemical Engineering. This provided a coherent, integrated framework for improved web-based resources and problem-based learning in Chemical Engineering units of study based on engineering practice. It followed the development of online problem-based learning resources for the Department of Chemical Engineering in semester 1 2006.