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C/6.1 Physical and virtual learning environments

A - Governance/Organisation
B - Human Resources
C - Learning/Teaching
D - Research/Development
E - Student Administration
F - Information Management
G - Financial Management
H - Physical Facilities
I - International/Community
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Contact Officer

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support)

Approval Date


Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review


6.1.1 Policy principles
6.1.2 Policy outcomes
6.1.3 Physical learning environments
6.1.4 Virtual learning environments
6.1.5 Integration of physical and virtual learning environments
6.1.6 Roles and responsibilities
Related Documents
Modification History

6.1.1 Policy principles

QUT promotes a campus-based learning environment which incorporates blended learning approaches.

QUT is committed to providing high quality learning environments that

  • promote a balance and blend of learning environments to support QUT’s learning and teaching priorities
  • capitalise on both physical and virtual innovations to support new approaches in pedagogy and learning support
  • provide appropriate practical and specialised facilities to support QUT’s commitment to real world learning
  • integrate structures, resources and emerging technologies to provide effective support for student learning.


6.1.2 Policy outcomes

This policy is designed to promote:

  • a framework for the design, development and review of physical and virtual learning environments which supports QUT’s commitment to diversity, student engagement, and real-world learning (C/4.2); and
  • clear and consistent strategies for the use of learning environments.


6.1.3 Physical learning environments

QUT gives priority to the provision of physical learning environments which allow a high degree of engagement on the part of the learner, and support good pedagogical practices on the part of the teacher. To this end QUT seeks to support a range of facilities including traditional lecture theatres, laboratories, practical working spaces, and flexible learning spaces which incorporate appropriate technology and services.

Design of new and upgraded physical space for learning is based on QUT’s Design Standards and Guidelines and the policy on Design standards (H/2.2).


6.1.4 Virtual learning environments

Virtual learning environments are designed to support learning and teaching and include the QUT learning management system, systems for student collaboration, simulation and visualisation software, and three-dimensional virtual environments. Virtual learning environments may be combined with face-to-face activities or, for some courses, may constitute the totality of the learning environment.

(a) Student access

QUT seeks to optimise student access to globally available resources through the internet. Limitations on student internet access are continually reviewed, with arrangements made to optimise access where more intensive use of such resources is required (F/1.1).

(b) Institutional support

QUT undertakes significant investment in a range of virtual learning resources, including formally adopted all-of-University systems such as the learning management system, as well as virtual learning resources available through the QUT Library.

(c) Staff innovation

QUT seeks to encourage innovation and experimentation by staff in the use of new technologies for learning and teaching. Such innovation is particularly encouraged where it seeks to improve the engagement of students, reinforce real world learning approaches or encompass interdisciplinary activities. Innovation in keeping with QUT’s commitment to improve the first year experience, transition to the workplace, and real world engagement is also central to QUT’s strategy for curriculum design (C/4.2).

(d) Student-initiated activity

QUT supports student-initiated activity to enhance flexible access to the curriculum, for example by facilitating student-initiated recording of lectures (C/6.4).


6.1.5 Integration of physical and virtual learning environments

QUT supports the designed integration of physical and virtual learning environments to provide flexibility in time and location of learning activities (C/6.3) as well as enhanced learning experiences provided through a blending of face-to-face and technologically-supported learning environments (C/4.2). The combination of learning environments will differ for each unit and is based on the appropriate use of technology to support the desired learning outcomes for the course and the unit. The integration of physical and virtual learning environments should be based on the following considerations

  • the desire to design student-focussed learning activities which support the required learning outcomes
  • the extent to which the technology will support work-integrated and real world learning
  • the extent to which the combination of learning environments allows students to learn in a preferred style, including equity issues
  • practicality, cost and logistical issues such as available resources, class size, access to technology, and staff proficiency levels.


6.1.6 Roles and responsibilities

(a) Strategic planning

University Learning and Teaching Committee provides advice and makes recommendations to reflect good practice in learning and teaching (C/2.1).

(b) Physical learning environments

The planning and management of QUT’s physical facilities is undertaken through a five-yearly strategic Asset Management Plan which is developed and approved through Planning and Resources Committee and QUT Council (H/1.1).

(c) Virtual learning environments

The planning and management of QUT’s virtual learning environments is undertaken through Information Technology Governance Committee which advises on strategic issues relating to information technology and information infrastructure, and monitors and reviews the implementation of information technology projects, funding allocation, and support and maintenance activities (F/1.7).


Related Documents

MOPP C/2.1 University Learning and Teaching Committee

MOPP C/4.2 Curriculum design

MOPP C/6.3 Blended Learning

MOPP C/6.4 Recording of lectures

MOPP H/1.1 Physical facilities planning and management

MOPP H/2.2 Design standards

MOPP F/1.1 Provision and use of information resources and services

MOPP F/1.7 Information Technology Governance Committee

QUT’s Design Standards and Guidelines


Modification History





23.08.13 All DVC (TILS) Periodic review - minor revision only




Policy revised to reflect committee name change from University Teaching and Learning Committee to University Learning and Teaching Committee



University Academic Board

Revised policy in accordance with new blended learning policy (C/6.3)



University Academic Board

New policy (endorsed by University Teaching and Learning Committee 03.03.09)