The planning phase forms the foundation of the unit design process

The TEL pedagogy principles described below, provide a framework of how you could formulate learning and assessment activities that aligns to the learning outcomes.


The design of TEL environments starts with the consideration of pedagogical principles. While you are reviewing the following principles, reflect on how these principles might be applied in your current teaching practices and how they might be employed in a technology-rich learning environment.

  • TEL Principle 1: Students with disabilities are supported effectively

  • TEL Principle 2: Students have a choice in how they learn

  • TEL Principle 3: Learning is inclusive of non-traditional students (low SES, first in family, part-time working adults)

  • TEL Principle 4: Learning is designed to leverage from a student’s work and life experience

  • TEL Principle 5: Optimise learning opportunities and minimize user experience challenges

  • TEL Principle 6: Students are supported through their learning journey

  • TEL Principle 7: Students develop capability as they advance through their course learning prepares students for success

Review Pedagogy

Plan for student engagement

Student engagement doesn’t happen by chance. You need to, and should plan for it. It is important to get students engaged at the very beginning in order to manage their engagement and expectations in a TEL environment

The students’ experience in the first few weeks of a course will set the tone for whether they continue to engage in future, or not. Think about how you can drive student engagement by your presence in the TEL environment.

Below are a few ideas to get you started:

Be enthusiastic
Encourage exploration
Ask about their opinions without judgement
Value experience
Reply to comments
Ask for their ideas with excitement

Break the ice

Ice breaker examples
Like your students’ comments and ideas

Be yourself. e.g:
“Hi! I’m excited to see you here in the course and I am looking forward to exploring this topic together”.

Effective student learning occurs when knowledge is constructed through a process of reflection and collaboration in social learning environments. The emphasis on the importance of reflection and the role of social learning environments in student learning derives from theorists such as Dewey, Piaget and Vygotsky.

Students in a computer lab


The Quality Matters (QM) Rubric is organised into general and specific standards, see below. Use the Rubric a guiding framework when designing units and when considering how different elements of the unit will work together to ensure and enhance student learning.

QM General Standards:

  • Standard 1: Overview and information to introduce students to the unit

  • Standard 2: Alignment between measurable learning outcomes and activities

  • Standard 3: Focusses on assessment of learning

  • Standard 4: Promotes alignment of instructional materials to learning outcomes

  • Standard 5: Focusses on active learning engagement

  • Standard 6: Appropriate use of technology to support learning

  • Standard 7: Explicit learner support

  • Standard 8: Accessibility and usability

Review Quality Matters


TEL Planner

Please use the following plan as a tool to help you reflect on how you can apply these principles in your unit.

Download TEL Learning Planner (PDF)

QM Guidelines

View the Specific Review Standards from the QM Higher Education Rubric, Sixth Edition at the Quality Matters website.

View standards on Quality Matters site (PDF)

Teaching staff guide to setting up a vUWS site

A visual guide to the timeline and available resources when setting up a vUWS site.

Download vUWS Teaching Staff guide (PDF)


Once you have your blueprint for the TEL environment, let’s move onto the Design phase.

Design Phase