The Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Futures) is rolling out a vUWS template that will be applied to sites across the University to increase consistency, quality and accessibility for all students studying at Western Sydney University (WSU).
The template structure is based on existing unit vUWS sites with minimal changes and regrouping of elements. The design takes elements from existing University vUWS sites that scored highly in a recent quality standards benchmarking exercise.
A responsive banner viewable across all devices is utilised to promote a consistent Western presence across all sites. These banners can be customised to accommodate specific Western branding (such as the Sydney Graduate School of Management, the Graduate Research School, and the Academy).
The template Home Page combines welcome message/s, unit overview, and unit information including the Learning Guide. This provides a clear starting point for students, an essential aspect of quality standards.
All the information a student needs to start the unit is now found in one place.
The technical skills and recommended software section at the bottom of the Home Page provides easy links for students to access and download what they need for the unit. Instructors can add or delete any of the links as necessary.
Item headings will automatically place an icon relevant to the name in the heading. When creating new items this will occur automatically if the naming convention is used. A list of item headings and icons can be found at:
Learning Modules Approach
The template uses learning module terminology, instead of teaching weeks, to achieve consistency in the structure and order of learning materials. Modules are not restricted to any given time period, allowing for greater flexibility across teaching sessions. This also reduces staff workload across sessions. One module may be taught over a number of weeks, or a number of modules may be taught in any one week. The alignment of modules and weeks is described in the Learning Guide.
Clarity of purpose is a key element of adult education. Students are more likely to engage with content when they understand how the content relates to their study and how they are expected to use the materials for success in the subject.
The vUWS template provides guided instruction for academics to describe the purpose of the modules and learning materials to students. These prompts help teaching staff articulate expected learning outcomes and achievements to students, so they engage with the material on a deeper level.
Academic staff can modify and update these sections as required. The prompts are provided as a guide only and should not be used prescriptively.
Adding and Editing Items
The process of adding and editing items remains unchanged. To add items, select ‘Item’ from the ‘Build Content’ tab. Use the standard list of item headings to automatically add icons. A list of item headings and icons can be found at:
To edit material, click on the contextual menu icon which appears when the mouse hovers over the item heading. For more instructions, visit:
An additional feature is the expand and collapse tool indicated by the eye icon or the eye with a slash icon on the Home Page. All content is expanded as default, and users can then collapse individual items e.g. as reviewed.
IMPROVED SITE STRUCTURE AND NAVIGATION
Important information and materials are grouped into the following zones in the site menu:
These zones present students with a consistent interface and navigation experience across all of the vUWS sites, including interdisciplinary units.
The template establishes clear expectations for students on where to find learning materials, assessment information, communication tools, and support. This enables students to focus on learning rather than looking for the information they need.
When setting up vUWS sites, teaching staff can spend less time creating content areas and deciding where to upload materials and how to draw them to students’ attention.