OLT NewsletterOLT Newsletter

Issue 3, September 2017

The Office of Learning and Teaching distributes a newsletter highlighting recent activities, upcoming PD sessions and updates on current projects.

The topics in this issue are as follows:

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Bungie jump “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow, is if we change. The only way that we can change, is if we learn. The only way we can learn, is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed, is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

― C. JoyBell C.


creative thinking spaceWe at the Office of Learning and Teaching are so excited by the many opportunities for staff to engage with their own learning and as a consequence their student’s learning. We have some great events highlighted in this edition of the Newsletter and we have some great initiatives coming up.


creative thinking spaceIf you feel a need to get up from your desk, you could take a walk. Alternatively, why not join us for lunch in our creative thinking space on the Bridge. You can come alone, or bring a friend for a game of chess. You could also come to one of the great events where you will meet lots of creative, innovative people with a passion for teaching and learning.

We hope to see you there.

Why not just DO IT.

Prof Isabelle Skinner

HE Course Accreditation/Reaccreditation

  • 2019 HE Accreditation Stage 1 (Resource and Planning) due to ART by 3rd November 2017

Upcoming University Learning and Teaching Committee Meetings

  • 19 September
  • 17 October
  • 21  November

VC Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning

  • Due date 15 September 2017

Upcoming conferences in Darwin

This year’s Learning and Teaching Day falls between  two significant teaching and learning related conferences being held in Darwin in early September, the Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference 2017 (5-8 September) and the Australian Council for Adult Literacy 2017 National Conference (12-15 September).  It is exciting to see so many CDU staff members presenting at these events in addition to some excellent nationally and internationally recognised speakers. 

The Blackboard Teaching and Learning Conference also has a number of preconference events, and the Australian Council for Adult Literacy (ACAL) offers an Indigenous literacy and numeracy focused pre-conference symposium  and a post conference research forum.

The opportunity to attend some or all of these conference events is too good to miss! It is not too late to register.   

Blackboard appBlackboard App is Blackboard’s next generation native mobile solution that enables students to react to their immediate needs and helps them stay up-to-date on their academic progress and requirements. The Blackboard App brings a completely new user experience and aesthetic to Blackboard’s mobile product suite and offers students an intuitive way to view and interact with courses, instructors, classmates, and content with emphasis placed on their immediate needs. Todays active learners have a need for speed. Help your students be as successful as they can be by placing learning directly into their hands with the new Bb Student app: it’s fun, simple, and intuitive. The Blackboard App gives students the information they want, the connections they crave, and the personalization they demand, on the go. They can check grades, view announcements, and access course content.

Activity stream - Shows a smart view of prioritized events and actions for your courses.

Assignments & tests - View, complete, and submit assignments and tests.

Grades & progress - Check grades and academic progress in real time.

Collaborate Ultra Experience - Join virtual classes on the go in Collaborate.

Blackboard Instructor for Faculty Blackboard Instructor A modern, accessible, and delightful mobile experience designed just for instructors. For when you are on the move it is even easier to interact with your class. With the new Blackboard Instructor App from Blackboard you can:
Save Time – Allowing you to send announcements, quickly check your courses and monitor discussions on the go.
Easily complete tasks – Simple, user-centric design helps you easily access what you're looking for and quickly move through tasks.
Preview mobile-friendly content – Make sure your course materials, content and assessments are mobile-friendly for students using the Blackboard mobile app.
Connect with students – Connect with your students right from your phone using Collaborate Ultra.

Increase instructor efficiency - We know time is one of your most valuable assets. Blackboard Instructor can help you save time by allowing you to complete tasks on the go

Simplify workflows - Blackboard Instructor’s simple, user-centric mobile experience puts tool’s critical to teaching right in instructors’ hands.

Amplify student engagement - Blackboard Instructor helps educators meet students where they are – on their mobile devices – and to drive participation and engagement using tools like announcements, push notifications and content preview.

Upgrades are an important part of the annual roadmap here at CDU and are intended to provide new functionality based on educator and student feedback from the Blackboard community. Likewise, upgrading offers solutions to issues and problems and the opportunity to remain abreast with advances in learning technologies.

Learnline will be upgraded in early November and with it will bring a slew of new and updated features.

New icon setNew icon set

In this release, there is a new icon set for use in courses and organizations, and cancel/submit buttons will always pin to the bottom of the page regardless of device.


Drag and drop files

When instructors create content items, assignments, and web links, they can drag files from their computers to the "hot spot" in the Attach Files area. Students can also drag files to upload when they submit assignments.

Drag and drop





Submission receipts

Submission receiptsAdministrators and instructors can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc. This feature provides evidence for academic disputes, giving students assurance about their work.

A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group, and the anonymous state of an assignment is respected. For assignments with multiple attempts, students receive a different number for each submission.



RemindersInstructors can send email reminders from Grade Center columns to students and members of groups who have missing coursework. Students receive a system-generated email that lists the course, coursework, and the due date if included.

Instructors can also send reminders for assignments with anonymous or delegated grading enabled. To protect anonymity, students' names and attempt statuses aren't revealed.


Fewer Needs Grading items

GradingWhen multiple-attempt assessments are set to calculate using the first or last attempt, there are potentially numerous other attempts that will never be used for the grade calculation. This can be particularly problematic in anonymous or delegated grading scenarios where it can be difficult to determine which attempts are associated with students and therefore require grading. A new filter is now available both in the Needs Grading workflow as well as within the Grade Center to show or hide these attempts. Attempts that won't calculate towards the assessment grade are now indicated with an icon.


Improved behavior for Self and Peer Assessments

Non-participants during the submission period are excluded from the evaluation process. Submitters with partial or complete submissions will be distributed to peers for evaluations. By pairing an assessment with Adaptive Release, it's possible to configure Self and Peer Assessments for individual groups.


Course activity reports

The Course Activity Overview report has been updated to improve the experience for larger enrollment courses. Instructors can filter the report and break down the calculations of student activity by course groups.

This release includes a new theme that provides a more modern look and feel. Most importantly, the Learnline theme update significantly increases the responsiveness of the interface for small devices. The theme also incorporates elements from modern design language including color, fonts, and spacing, for greater consistency between Blackboard Learn, Collaborate Ultra, and the Blackboard app.

This theme is a first step in improving the experience for mobile users. Instructors and students can access their course materials whether they're at a desk or on the go!

Learnline theme

When users log in to Learnline on a mobile device or tablet, screen elements compress or change position so they stay visible. As the screen gets smaller, modules and tool tiles stack so the user still has access to them at their fingertips. The responsive design elements of the Learnline theme improve the user experience for anyone who wants access to their Blackboard Learn courses on their own schedule.

Support for Accessibility

The Learn Original experience, including the Learn 2016 theme, follows WCAG 2.0 principles and accessibility guidelines for structure, color contrast, and navigation. Fully visible keyboard focus has been built directly into this theme as well as best practices for the definition of buttons and menus used for navigation. ARIA landmarks have been added in courses to the course menu and the content area to define the page structure and assist users with screen readers in navigating page elements.


Course catalogueThe published course catalogue contains a listing and detailed course information about all accredited courses that CDU has available to new and continuing students.  The 2018 Higher Education Course Catalogue was published on the 1st August.  Detailed course requirements and study information will be finalised within the catalogue by no later than the 1st November 2017.The Vocational Education and Training Course Catalogue will be published in November for courses available in 2018.

The course catalogue can be accessed by the following link www.cdu.edu.au/courses

External Regulations WebsiteA new webpage has been developed containing information regarding CDU’s external regulations and re-registration projects. For more information on the TEQSA, ASQA or CRICOS registrations and re-registrations please follow the links from the homepage of the site:


Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS)The Independent audit of CDU’s compliance with the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and the associated National Code has now been completed. The audit forms part of CDU’s application for re-registration for the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), which is required in order for CDU to be permitted to offer courses to international students studying in Australia on a student visa. CRICOS applies to VET and HEd.

During the audit two highly experienced auditors, Professor Mairéad Browne and Emeritus Professor Joyce Kirk, completed site visits and meetings with staff and students at the Casuarina, Palmerston, Waterfront, Alice Springs, Melbourne and Sydney campuses. This was an important project for CDU and thank you to all staff and students involved.

AwardsAre you an outstanding teacher in higher education? Does your teaching have a strong positive impact on student learning?  If so, you should consider nominating for a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. By nominating for an award you will be recognised for your outstanding work, and be in the running to win $5,000 (individual) or $10,000 (team) to put towards advancing your teaching career. The due date for nominations is 15th Sept.

See the OLT website to access the guidelines and nomination form http://www.cdu.edu.au/olt/sotl/awards.html

Learning and Teaching Day 2017 CDU’s Learning and Teaching Day 2017 is happening on Monday 11 September, with a focus on technology enhanced learning and international education.  

Three events will be held on the day:

  • Technology Enhanced Learning Discovery Workshop 10am-12noon
  • Learning and Teaching Day Panel: International Education 1:30-3pm
  • Learning and Teaching Day Reception 3-4pm.

All CDU staff members are welcome to attend these events.  Calendar invitations have been sent to all staff. For more information go to the OLT website  http://www.cdu.edu.au/olt/newsevents/ltweek.html  or contact olt@cdu.edu.au

Blackboard Teaching & Learning Conference ANZ 2017Charles Darwin University and Blackboard are excited to host this year’s Australia and New Zealand annual learning and teaching conference at our university in Darwin. The conference provides opportunities to network with your peers, brings the latest updates and news from Blackboard and its technology partners, experience new technologies, and attend a diverse program of presentations and workshops from peers across the region.

CDU is well represented with staff presenting at 10 sessions over the program and a keynote from Professor Adrian Millar, Leveraging learning technologies to support Indigenous postgraduate students on the closing day.

The conference is preceded by DevCon which is designed to inform the Developers and System Administrators of the latest technical information surrounding Blackboard Learn and the Academic Adoption Day. The Blackboard Academic Adoption Day will provide participants with the opportunity to experience, explore, engage and evaluate key pedagogical practices to support learning and teaching.

The event will be hosted at CDU Waterfront and CDU Casuarina campuses with the main conference held in the city at the DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade.


Learnline Policy UpdateWe are very pleased to advise that progress has been made on the approval of the Learnline Policy. The policy has moved through the various governance structures within the University and has the support of the Learnline Steering Group, ULTC and Academic Board. Further information and advice will follow in due course following discussion with CDU Governance.

AspireThe Aspire Team had a very productive Open Day weekend! On Saturday 19 August we hosted an event for our Year 11 Scholars, they travelled from all over the NT, and even as far as Glossop in rural South Australia! Students had a great day participating in a number of informative & fun workshops ranging from confidence building and public speaking, to understanding pathways to University, study skills and time management. They met a panel of inspiring young adults from the NT, including the NT young Person of the Year, who shared their experiences of year 11 & 12, and their tips for success.

On Sunday we hosted the Pre-Open Day event, for over 100 students from Regional & Remote Schools as well as remote students who attend boarding school in Darwin. Students were welcomed by Professor Carroll, and had the opportunity to quiz current CDU students about their experiences here at CDU. It was great to see these students around campus during the day, they really made the most of the many opportunities!


Children’s UniversityPlans to implement the Charles Darwin Children’s University are progressing well. The Children’s University is an innovative initiative, aimed at stimulating a real excitement for learning, raising aspirations and encouraging children from a range of backgrounds to see university as realistic option for them. Participating children have their own ‘Passport to Learning’, collecting stamps when they participate in Children’s University Learning Activities, all of which count towards their first award – presented at a ‘graduation’ ceremony that will be hosted at CDU. We will be working with researchers here at CDU to evaluate the impact of the initiative. Charles Darwin Children’s University will be formally launched at a joint event with the Botanic Gardens on 5 October.”

Previous Issues

Issue & Key Topic PDF File Word file

Issue 2 May 2017
Your Tutor

webpage link

Issue 1 February 2017
Your Tutor

webpage link

Issue 4 December 2016
Orientation to Tertiary Teaching at CDU

webpage link

Issue 3 August 2016
Learning & Teaching Week 2016

webpage link

Issue 2 May 2016
Vice Chancellor's Awards

webpage link
Issue 1 February 2016
Teaching spaces training
webpage link
Issue 4 November 2015
Learning and Teaching Week review
webpage link
Issue 3 September 2015
Learning and Teaching Week
webpage link
Issue 2 May 2015
webpage link
Issue 1 February 2015
Blackboard Analytics for Learn
webpage link
Issue 3 December 2014
Director's note
webpage link
Issue 2 July 2014
Learning & Teaching Week - program and call for presentations
webpage link
Issue 1 April 2014
Innovation@CDU Showcase
webpage link
Issue 4 November 2013
Upgrade Your Teaching - New Learnline Tools
webpage link
Issue 3 September 2013
Learning & Teaching Week 2013
PDF (243kb) Word (13KB)
Issue 2 May 2013
Teaching Spaces Upgrade
PDF (223kb) Word (163KB)
Issue 1 February 2013
Introducing Learnline SP10
PDF (365kb) Word (161KB)
Issue 3 October 2012
Learning & Teaching Week wrap up
PDF (223kb) Word (163KB)
Issue 2 July 2012
CDU Mobile now available
PDF (365kb) Word (161KB)
Issue 1 May 2012
Inaugural issue
PDF (365kb) Word (161KB)