OLM Evaluation Report


The evaluation report from Phase 1 of the implementation of the CSU Online Learning Model (OLM), carried out in 2016 and 2017, is available from this page. The report, authored by Sarah Hyde, Barney Dalgarno, and Lindy Croft Piggin includes some really interesting findings about what online students’ value and how we can improve their learning experiences.

Barney Dalgarno
Director, Learning Online Unit
Lindy Croft-Piggin
Manager, Online Learning & Teaching Quality
Sarah Hyde
Lecturer, Research & Evaluation, Learning Online Unit


We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the design, development and delivery teams, including the professional and academic staff, who contributed to the redesign of subjects and the teaching of subjects implementing the OLM. In particular we’d like to acknowledge the immense contributions of the Quality Learning and Teaching Leaders, who led the design and development teams within each faculty, Julie Lindsay in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Carole Hunter in the Faculty of Business Justice and Behavioural Sciences and Judy O’Connell in the Faculty of Science.


Some of the key findings were as follows:

  • Online students crave interaction with the lecturer, with teacher presence aligning strongly with student satisfaction;
  • Online students are strategic in their engagement with content and are most likely to interact with other students when there is a clear purpose;
  • There is a very strong demand for high quality recorded online lectures with authentic assessment tasks and interactive quizzes also highly desired;
  • Implementation of the elements within the OLM align with measures of student engagement;
  • Academic staff and educational designers desire longer lead times and increased overall time allocation to the design and development of online subjects; and
  • Academic staff need to be consulted early and regularly with regard to any pedagogical strategy to improve student learning and need reassurance that the recommended strategies are based on evidence, will be supported, and will have a positive impact on student learning.

The evaluation focussed on the processes used to implement the model, student learning experiences, and student and staff perceptions about the elements of the model. The scope of the evaluation encompassed implementation of the model in 116 online subjects within the Bachelor of Accounting, Bachelor of Business (HRM), Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare), Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Nursing, and Bachelor of Medical Science courses. All students and staff in the 116 subjects were invited to participate in the evaluation, and 1270 students, 34 academic staff and 12 education support staff responded to a survey and 19 students were interviewed.


You might find this report helps you to reflect on your own learning and teaching practices, and as a snapshot, the following list provides some points for further consideration.


What can you do to improve your online learning and teaching?

  • Keep up or beef up your Teacher Presence!
    • Being accessible and available –> timely response to emails and forum posts, facilitating online meetings, reminding students to seek help
    • Through your learning activities –> interactive, providing feedback, task clarity, relevant, authentic
  • Think about incorporating more authentic assessment tasks and mini-quizzes
  • Provide opportunities for students to interact with the professions
  • Review the exemplars on the Learning Exchange (insert link here)
  • Engage in subject team/course team/discipline/School based discussions to workshop the OLM elements
  • Contact an Online Learning Designer (see below) to provide feedback on your online subject design and delivery and identify areas to incorporate OLM elements


If you would like help at a subject or course level, or would like our team to work with you on providing professional development to your staff, please contact one of our Online Learning Designers. We can run workshops focusing on one or more elements of the OLM and can customise delivery of content to your needs.


Online Learning Designers:

Lachlan Kalache, (Bathurst Campus)
Online Learning Professional Development Lead
BJBS contact for OLM
Ph. x86368
Alissa Brabin, (Wagga Campus)
Specialising in Interactions with the Professions element
Science contact for OLM
Ph. x32769
Michelle Wilkinson, (Wagga Campus)
Science contact for OLM
Online res school strategy development
Ph. x32252
Sandie Maathuis-Smith, (Albury Campus)
BJBS contact for OLM
Smart Sparrow support
Ph. x19882
Ged Bourke, (Albury Campus)
Arts and Education contact for OLM
Focus on learning analytics capabilities
Ph. x19249
Vicki Jordan, (Port Macquarie Campus)
Arts and Education contact for OLM
Science subject support
Ph. x 29312


OLM Evaluation Documentation

  (download Executive Summary)

  (download Full Report)