Dual Delivery

Version 3.0: February 2022

What is Dual Delivery?

First introduced at the University of Melbourne in early 2021, Dual Delivery continues to be offered as a mode of teaching while many of our students remain unable to attend campus. Dual Delivery subjects provide a way for cohorts to stay connected, and support all students in their learning.

Dual Delivery supports students to learn entirely ‘online’ alongside students of the same subject who are enrolled in a ‘blended’ learning mode. Blended learning combines on-campus and online learning experiences. In the UoM approach, students will enroll in one learning mode or the other for each of their Dual Delivery subjects and remain in that mode for the semester. Some changes may be possible if there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. health-related, or changes to restrictions).

Each Dual Delivery subject will be designed for both online and blended learning modes. Teaching and learning activities and resources may be tailored to each of the modes, or designed for a combination (see diagrams and Glossary below). All students in Dual Delivery subjects will be supported to work toward identical intended learning outcomes (ILOs) and summative assessments, although the approach may differ depending on the mode.

This BEL+T Dual Delivery Guide outlines practical issues related to Dual Delivery for teaching and subject coordination. It has been informed by review of two decades of international research on the topic, subject coordinator and student voices across the Faculty.

BEL+T is available to consult with ABP subject coordinators on the design of Dual Delivery pedagogy and teaching approaches, and to assist with updates to Canvas sites in support of this. Please email abp-belt@unimelb.edu.au to discuss.

Please share your Dual Delivery strategies and insights with BEL+T so we can share and celebrate them!

Blended Synchronous Learning (BSL) is a trending approach to dual delivery where the same teaching and learning activities are experienced by all students at the same time, with some students face-to-face and others online. BEL+T has produced a separate BSL Guide, which should be considered as a sub-section of this Dual Delivery guide.

UoM Subject Types and Learning Modes

  • Glossary of Key Terms
    Access: Expectations for student use of technologies should include back-up plans for technology difficulties or access issues. Students should have access to all relevant content and communications necessary to participate and engage in either learning mode.
    Asynchronous learning occurs when students access online content and complete activities when it suits their schedules. Although this does not require real-time interaction, interaction can still occur asynchronously through platforms like discussion boards or virtual whiteboards.
    Blended Synchronous Learning (BSL): A teaching and learning activity type which is experienced by all students at the same time, with some students attending virtually and others attending in the physical classroom. See our BSL Guide for more.
    Dual Delivery: Dual Delivery subjects are subjects with two modes of learning: 1) entirely online and 2) a blend of campus-based and online participation for students able to attend campus. The two other subject types that the University is offering are ‘entirely online’ and ‘on campus’.
    Equivalence: Activities should provide an equivalent opportunity for all students to achieve the relevant intended learning outcomes (ILOs). In other words, no student’s learning opportunities should be disadvantaged based on their learning mode membership.
    Learning Mode: Learning mode refers to the way in which students will engage with subject content, activities and their teachers/peers. When students enrol in Dual Delivery subjects, they will elect to participate in either blended or online learning modes for the duration of the semester (subject to extenuating circumstances). Typically, the ‘blended’ learning mode includes both on-campus and online activities, subject to government and University restrictions.
    Reusability: Artefacts emerging from learning activities in both learning modes (online or blended) can serve as learning objects for all students in the subject. As students develop and utilise artefacts such as videos, podcasts, discussion board posts, etc., they are producing and consuming learning resources potentially valuable to all enrolled students. Positively sharing these can also promote cohesion and student belonging.
    Split Cohort:
    The University is using the term 'split cohort' to describe a scenario, typically for large subjects, in which students are allocated into separate groups based on their learning mode selection (e.g. separate tutorial groups in a lecture-tutorial subject or separate studio groups in a studio subject). Subject coordinators are then responsible for designing teaching and learning activities across the cohort and throughout the semester (see the table below), including supporting cohort-wide interactions to foster a sense of belonging.
    Subject Cohort: All students enrolled in a Dual Delivery subject should be recognised as a single cohort. Although sometimes the term ‘cohort’ is used to distinguish between students in blended versus 'online' groups, it is preferable to refer to these as ‘learning modes’. The aim is for all students feel they belong to a single cohesive cohort across both learning modes, and for the design of activities to support this experience.
    Synchronous learning means activities that happen in real time, often according to a scheduled timetable. Synchronous learning facilitates dynamic interaction and human connection.

How can I approach designing Dual Delivery Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs)?

  • Parallel Synchronous

    In this approach, students are divided by learning mode into separate synchronous sessions, with differing activities designed to take advantage of each learning mode. For instance, one group of students meets in Zoom, while another meets in the classroom. The “Zoomies” might be asked to undergo an online activity that benefits from their distributed locations, whereas “Roomies” might have the option to collaborate using analogue methods.

    This approach may appear straightforward, but it demands careful planning and execution to ensure activities are equitable across learning modes. Keep in mind that offering all students “the same” activity may not even be equitable—or even possible—given inherent differences between learning modes.

  • Mixed

    In a Mixed approach, students are tasked with undertaking an asynchronous activity, with students in each learning mode undertaking the same activity. Shared virtual platforms can align well with this approach, serving as repositories for students to access asynchronously.

    Multiple ABP coordinators have used Miro as a platform for dual delivery cohorts to share work-in-progress and engage in peer-to-peer feedback. Choosing the most appropriate platform is important, as is ensuring consistent expectations across learning modes. As coordinators have described, gauging student engagement across learning modes is critical to shared virtual platforms fostering a sense of cohort-wide belonging.

  • Parallel Tailored

    In a Parallel Tailored approach, students are tasked with undertaking asynchronous learning activities, but the activities themselves differ by learning modes. In other words, activities are tailored to the circumstances of the learning environment.

    This approach has been employed by an ABP coordinator when designing a place-based research assessment task for a landscape architecture studio. Students residing locally were asked to perform a site analysis of Queen Victoria Market, while those unable to access the site instead investigated markets local to them. The collective research was then shared to the entire cohort through an online repository.

  • Blended Synchronous

    Blended Synchronous Learning (BSL) is a dual delivery approach where the same teaching and learning activities are experienced by all students at the same time, with some students face-to-face and others online. The BSL approach is valuable, as it enables all students enrolled within a dual delivery subject to come together and synchronously engage in the same learning experience. This can be beneficial for cohort building and fostering a sense of belonging.

    Read BEL+T's BSL Guide for more detailed guidance on this approach.

    BSL Guide

    'DIY' BSL Kits are now available for teaching staff. To book a BSL kit, follow this link.

Sample One-Week Plan of Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs)

The diagram above presents a sample ‘workflow model’ for TLAs across a teaching week for a Dual Delivery subject. Note that the relationship between asynchronous and synchronous activities follows a ‘flipped classroom’ approach whereby content delivery tends to occur asynchronously (e.g. through Canvas), preserving synchronous sessions for interactive and collaborative activities. This establishes a rhythm to the subject that extends beyond timetabled sessions. Also note that weekly activities can be designed to vary between all four TLA types (mixed, blended synchronous, parallel synchronous, parallel tailored) within a single Dual Delivery subject. The basis for these decisions, and how they are communicated to students and staff, is described in the following section of the guide.

What are the Key Considerations for Dual Delivery?

Teaching students with identical subject ILOs but differing learning modes brings unique challenges. It calls for tailored approaches, and awareness of student experiences, to best support the learning of a whole cohort. Indeed, Dual Delivery is not simply combining strategies for teaching online and on campus. However, there are many lessons about online learning and teaching that will be valuable for Dual Delivery, just as there are ‘in-the-room’ teaching skills that will also be important.


Dual Delivery : Key Considerations

Learner Equity and Access:
  • providing all students with equivalent opportunities and support to achieve the subject’s intended learning outcomes;
  • allowing for differences in the two learning modes, and the opportunities they present, when preparing and reviewing student activities
Cohort Building :
  • offering informal and formal activities for all students in the subject—online and blended—to develop a sense of belonging and to identify as a collective learning community;
  • considering how students in each learning mode can contribute and participate most effectively to the activities of the whole cohort (and avoiding either group becoming an ‘audience’ to the ‘action’)
Staff and Student Perceptions :
  • transparently communicating the design of your Dual Delivery subject and the value of learning activities for students in each learning mode;
  • using consistent language (see the glossary) to help students who may have a range of learning modes across their subject enrolments

What does Dual Delivery mean for teaching at ABP?

To inform the following guidance, BEL+T has reviewed University-wide guidance and transdisciplinary scholarship on aspects of Dual Delivery. This has been interpreted through the lens of common pedagogical approaches within our built environments disciplines, as well as conversations with ABP staff coordinating Dual Delivery subjects. This work builds on BEL+T’s resources for ‘Moving Online’. We continue to employ our DIAgram framework for guidance on coordinating Dual Delivery subjects.

This guidance also takes into consideration the perceptions of ABP students elicited through the 2020 ‘Teaching and Learning Survey’ and ‘Student Wellbeing Survey’. These identified three primary areas of focus for students: assessment clarity; workload management; student wellbeing support.

Teaching and Coordination Considerations + Practical Examples

BEL+T’s learning design framework focusses on core activities of teaching: the delivery of subject content; interaction between students, their peers and staff; and effective assessment for learning, that is carefully coordinated and fosters a supportive learning environment. All of these activities are directed towards the core aims of learner engagement and belonging. The following considerations for Dual Delivery subject design is presented alongside each of the elements of the DIA framework and its DIAgram, taking into consideration teaching and learning activities (TLAs) common to our disciplines.

For an in-depth discussion of the development of BEL+T’s DIAgram of Learning Design, visit our post on the Distance Design Education blog.

BEL+T’s DIAgram of Learning Design (2020)
  • Delivering Content

    Lecture / Curated Content / Practical Demonstration / Site Visit


    The term  Delivery refers to the sharing of learning ‘objects’ with students. This element is represented as a ‘container’ of independent items in the  DIAgram. These might include video presentations, readings or references, studio project briefs and subject information or instructions.

    This is not a stand-alone activity, especially in an online space. In the  DIAgram,  the elements are therefore  overlapping, influencing and informing each other.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    Generally, content should be delivered asynchronously, the same content to all students across both learning modes. The exception would be live-streamed lectures in faculty lecture theatres when these are enabled through Lecture Capture (see Delivering Content link). When it comes to delivering content, conveying passion and charisma is an important means to inspire learning and engagement. Note that signalling asynchronous ‘teacher presence’ is fundamental to online learning.

    The subject’s Canvas site should serve as the repository for recorded lectures, readings, resources and other learning ‘objects’. It will be important to confirm that all students are able to access and use content, and that staff have back-up plans in case of technical issues.

    Exceptions to this would be physical site visits or students using equipment or technology only accessible on campus. These instances of place-based learning, central to many ABP subject experiences, demand that educators design activities such that all students have an equitable opportunity to meet the relevant intended learning outcomes. Strategies used by subject coordinators in Semester 1 to address concerns for equitable delivery of site visits include: 1) taking a blended synchronous approach whereby teams are formed by students in each learning mode who then access the site together using smartphone technology, and 2) taking a parallel tailored approach whereby students unable to access the primary site analyse a comparable site accessible to them and then share their findings with the cohort.

    Find more BEL+T guidance on Delivering Content.

  • Interaction + Collaboration for Learning

    Panel Discussion / Group Discussion / Student Presentations / Design Review / Desk Crits / Collaborative Project

    Interaction identifies crucial opportunities for students to connect with one another and/or their teachers. Devised thoughtfully, interactive opportunities can serve a dual purpose: enhancing  learning engagement whilst deepening the sense of belonging to one’s learning community.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    Interaction is the most important, and most challenging, consideration for Dual Delivery subjects and will underpin other activities and the learning experiences of the whole subject cohort. The experience of moving online in 2020 underscored the value of interaction to learning and the university experience of staff and students alike.

    Although designing synchronous opportunities for interaction within each learning mode may be relatively straightforward (e.g. holding a Zoom meeting for the online mode and parallel classroom-based activities for the blended mode), designing interaction across the whole subject cohort can present a challenge. Taking a Mixed approach, in which students participating in each learning mode can interact with each other online in their own time, maximises flexibility and access for all. ABP Dual Delivery coordinators have utilised shared, virtual platforms like Miro to support cohort-wide interaction around works-in-progress, simultaneously fostering belonging and engagement through peer-to-peer feedback. These activities require planning and preparation to ensure consistent and meaningful engagement.

    If the intention is to bring the entire subject cohort together for synchronous interaction, there are several options as discussed in the above section on Blended Synchronous. It may be less complicated to manage this entirely online (via a Zoom meeting with breakout rooms) than having the online cohort remotely join an activity occurring in one of the BSL Rooms on campus.

    Students particularly value opportunities to interact with industry experts. Whether through synchronous or asynchronous discussions, consider how students can equitably participate in Q+A sessions with speakers without anyone feeling like a passive spectator.

    Find more BEL+T guidance on Interaction + Collaboration for Learning.

  • Assessment + Feedback

    Assessment focuses on effective strategies for guiding student learning through assessment design and feedback. Clarity of assessment requirements has been identified by ABP students as a key issue in managing engagement over the course of semester. This is especially true for incoming undergraduate cohorts who are more likely to be adjusting to new content, expectations and learning modes.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    The guiding principle for assessment in Dual Delivery is that students are provided with equitable opportunities to achieve the subject’s intended learning outcomes. While formative assessment activities may differ, summative assessments must match and must be online.

    It is important to ensure equity across learning modes, such that students are provided with comparable quantity and quality of feedback regardless of whether they are participating online or on campus. Assessment tasks and feedback should be delivered at the same time for all students regardless of learning mode. Likewise, all assessment-related communication should be approached in such a way that no student will feel disadvantaged based on their mode of learning.

    Although feedback will typically occur asynchronously online, in some circumstances synchronous feedback can be valuable, such as certain peer-to-peer approaches. To address potential access and equity issues, synchronous feedback sessions will need to be coordinated carefully.

    In order to tailor quality feedback to the individual student, teaching staff will need to get to know their students equally across learning modes. Depending on the nature of subject activities, this may draw on interactive opportunities. Feedback may also be interpreted by students more constructively if they are able to get to know their teachers and achieve a certain level of trust. The challenges of clear communication online are particularly pertinent to feedback, so it can best support student learning throughout the subject.

    Find more BEL+T guidance on Assessment + Feedback.

  • Learner Engagement

    Learning engagement, or the degree to which students engage with learning experiences, correlates to academic achievement. This remains true regardless of learning mode, with ‘cognitive presence’  in online learning linked to academic performance. The close relationship between learning engagement, retention  and motivation has also been identified.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    A key consideration for coordinating Dual Delivery subjects is to monitor engagement with content and interactive learning experiences, being alert to differences between learning modes. Whether activities include cohort-wide interactive sessions or parallel activities, synchronously or asynchronously, tailored strategies may be required to promote engagement across learning modes.

    Lessons from teaching online, including signalling teacher presence through effective asynchronous communication, can be valuable in promoting online engagement. Ways to gauge asynchronous engagement include setting specific tasks on Canvas discussion boards or virtual whiteboards that allow teaching staff ways of tracking and encouraging engagement.

    Synchronous engagement often calls for active learning opportunities, whether students are producing knowledge through discussion participation or artefact generation. Strategies for maximising engagement in these instances is often about setting clear goals and timeframes for each session’s activities. Depending on student numbers, breaking into smaller groups may be beneficial for encouraging engagement across the cohort.

    Finally, one way to approach engagement is to focus on how Delivery, Interaction and Assessment are designed to inform one another, and how this is conveyed to students. For instance, how well can students identify how upcoming assessment tasks and interactive activities are being informed by content recently delivered?

  • Sense of Belonging

    Belonging refers to the attachment, reciprocity and  mutual  support that students feel towards various scales of community—their peers, teachers, institution, profession, etc.  As a key contributor to a student’s overall well-being and ability to learn, a sense of belonging and social integration has been shown to be vital to a successful educational experience.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    In an effort to ensure equity across Dual Delivery learning modes, it is critical that support for student belonging is carefully considered. This includes gauging whether online students are provided with equitable opportunities to connect with their peers and wider academic/professional communities alongside their blended learning counterparts. It will be important to provide opportunities for students in both modes to contribute to the whole cohort in ways that are particular to them and also valued.

    Consider how teaching staff can support online students, in particular, to achieve a sense of belonging. Without moments before, after and between campus-based learning activities to make informal connections with each other and their teachers, online students are more reliant on teaching staff to facilitate these social connections. ABP coordinators have found that offering informal synchronous sessions for students to interact with staff and one another online has helped foster a sense of belonging.

    For more BEL+T guidance on supportive learning environments and blended learning.

  • Subject Coordination

    Co-ordination refers to the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work to integrate meaningful learning experiences for students. BEL+T’s review of student evaluations in 2019 found high levels of satisfaction in subjects with strong organisational foundations, which we unpacked for a set of Tactics for Coordination . The tactics highlight the alignment of activities and assessments, consistent lines of clear communication and explicit logistical preparation. In the Teaching and Learning Survey from late 2020, ABP students identified difficulty in managing workload as a key concern, further underscoring the value of well-coordinated subjects.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    Dual Delivery subjects require targeted coordination efforts to achieve the key considerations of learner equity and cohort building. The five characteristics that BEL+T has identified in ‘well-coordinated’ subjects offer valuable touchstones. These are: structured, cohesive, consistent, organised and clear.

    In terms of clarity, cohesiveness and consistency, it is critical that students in each learning mode receive the same documentation and communication. Likewise, for the sake of transparency, all students should be kept informed of the activities occurring across the subject.

    The kinds of interactive activities by which students across the subject cohort can collaborate, and develop a sense of belonging, will require careful planning. Similarly, activities designed to be ‘equitable’ demand logistical and pedagogical consideration and coordination. In either case, this calls for a structured and organised approach to learning design.

    The recent lessons of teaching under uncertain circumstances have taught us to approach subject design based on the notion of "contingency ". Being prepared for uncertainty means considering the ways that external fluctuations might impact your subject--and how you might respond quickly.

  • Fostering a Supportive Learning Environment

    Learning design—that is, the ways that teachers organise and facilitate what and how students learn—can enhance holistic student wellbeing by contributing to supportive learning environments. The Student Wellbeing survey, conducted in 2020, emphasised this relationship between learning and wellbeing. ABP students called for strategies to help them cope with the anxiety arising from their studies, as well as opportunities for connecting with their cohort.

    Considerations for Dual Delivery:

    A key challenge for Dual Delivery is to establish a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all enrolled students. Much of this is about the quality and frequency of interaction, and how teachers foster an atmosphere in which students manage their own learning without undue pressure or stressors. Students have reported valuing feeling "seen " by their teachers, whether online or on campus. This underscores the value of building rapport with students throughout the semester.

    Strategies for fostering a supportive learning environment and connecting with students, as well as facilitating peer-to-peer connections, are evidently different when face-to-face versus online given inherent differences in the learning environments. When designing activities for Dual Delivery subjects across the semester, it is critical that subject coordinators consider ways of building a cohort-wide sense of community. In other words, students should not feel segregated based on learning mode—nor should one set of students feel like spectators to the other mode of learning. Interactive sessions, including group projects, offer the best starting point for this objective. It is important, however, to take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages for synchronous versus asynchronous interaction.

    Students also value feeling heard, which might include contributing to subject design and content. Also consider mechanisms for collecting student feedback on your teaching midway through the subject.

How does Dual Delivery affect the design of my Canvas site?

Canvas is the core technology that links subject coordinators to students regardless of learning mode and will be the learning environment that all students can access. In the context of Dual Delivery, it is vital that Canvas sites are designed for clear communication, accessibility and navigation. Although Canvas was rolled out in 2020, it may still be a new experience for some students. For all students, the capacity to easily locate content and activities associated with their particular learning mode is essential.

  • Example Dual Delivery Table

    Design Considerations for Canvas Sites

    Students will need to be able to quickly identify:

    1. The subject type (Dual Delivery, Entirely Online, Blended)
    2. For Dual Delivery subjects, what their learning mode (online or blended) means for their assessment, learning activities, access to content etc.

    There may be general guidance for student engagement in different learning modes that remains true throughout the semester, which should be accessible via the homepage. For weekly teaching and learning activities, consider a repeated structure at the individual page level that directs students to instructions and content relevant to their learning mode.

    To support the above objectives, the BEL+T group has developed an example Dual Delivery Canvas page available to ABP subject coordinators. It can be accessed via the ‘Dual Delivery’ button located below the banner on a subject’s homepage. The Dual Delivery Canvas page describes the differences between learning modes for students (see example table below). Please keep in mind that the content in the table below is for illustrative purposes only; specific content will need to be tailored according to individual subject circumstances and needs.

    The following language is for illustrative purposes only. Please edit the content in line with the requirements of your subject:

    ActivityBlended Learning Modes Online Learning Mode
    Delivery Are there lectures for the subject? For both learning modes, the lectures will be pre-recorded and posted on Canvas. There will be no on-campus lectures.
    How are the tutorials / studios run? Students will physically attend the classes they have signed up to. Students will connect to the virtual session through the link provided by their tutor. Sessions still happen at set times, and students are required to attend.
    How will I be able to access the readings? Online and through the library All reading material will be available online, even digital versions of those accessible through the on-campus library. 
    Interaction Are there times I can meet a lecturer one-on-one? Consultation times will be communicated to the students via Canvas announcements. Virtual consultation times will be available as communicated to students via Canvas announcements.
    Can online students and blended students interact? Certainly! Both learning modes are still part of the same subject cohort. While the experience will be different between both groups, we encourage ongoing discussion and respectful debate through the Canvas discussion board.
    What will happen to site visits? Where it is safe to do so, site visits will occur. Always respect COVID-safe guidelines during site visits.  Virtual site visits will be organised and/or additional site material provided (eg drawings, photographs)
    How will I know if the announcements are addressed to me or to students from the other study mode? A colour-coding scheme will be used to make sure that students know exactly what parts of the announcements are relevant to them, and which are not.
    Assessment How will I submit assignments? Student in either learning mode will submit assignments online through the Canvas submission link.
    How are the exams going to be organised? Students in either learning mode will take the exam on an online platform. More information will be communicated towards the end of the semester.
    How will in-class quizzes be run? All in-class assessment tasks will be conducted through an online platform to allow every student to participate.

    BEL+T is available to consult with ABP subject coordinators on the design of Dual Delivery approaches and to assist with updates to Canvas sites. Please email abp-belt@unimelb.edu.au to discuss.

    Please share your Dual Delivery strategies and insights with BEL+T so we can share and celebrate them !


What are some more references on this topic?