Introduction to dual delivery

Dual-delivery subjects are subjects that are taught in two modes: blended delivery (online and campus-based) for students who can attend campus, and entirely online delivery for students who cannot attend campus.

What is dual delivery?

Dual delivery is one of the university’s three subject delivery modes, the remaining two being campus and online.

The subject delivery mode determines whether students can enrol on the subject (eg students who are travel restricted cannot enrol on campus subjects). Dual delivery subjects are available to all students regardless of access or proximity to campus.

Dual delivery subjects can encompass a combination of other learning approaches and teaching practices that enable equitable and flexible learning for all students. These include but are not restricted to:

  1. Blended synchronous learning (BSL) sessions.
  2. Live streamed sessions.
  3. Split cohort teaching.
  4. Asynchronous online learning.

What do I need to consider in my design?

As with any subject, some purposeful planning and design will be necessary. You could take the following stepped approach.

1. Consider two cohorts

For the purposes of a dual delivery subject, it is useful to think about students fitting within one of two imaginary cohorts – a campus cohort (for students who are able to attend in-person classes) and an online cohort (for students who are not able to attend in-person classes). While this delineation is imaginary (all students still belong to the same subject cohort), it can have some useful administrative and teaching and learning advantages. Consider, however, that some students may choose to move from one cohort to another during the semester and what implications that may have on teaching and learning.

2. Consider the balance between synchronous/asynchronous learning

When designing a dual delivery subject, an immediate consideration may be the implementation of asynchronous learning opportunities or/and the balance between synchronous/asynchronous learning.

Flexible learning is achieved through asynchronous experiences while timetabled synchronous events are the least flexible. During times of interrupted campus attendance, flexible learning modes can ensure teaching and learning are not irreversibly disrupted.

The following image illustrates this flexibility continuum:

Horizontal double-headed arrow. Asynchronous (flexible) at one end, synchronous (least flexible) at the other end

You may not decide to go to the extremes (on either side), but it is useful to consider the place your dual delivery subject will occupy on this continuum.

3. Consider the interaction between the two cohorts

The next consideration may be the quality and frequency of student-to-student interaction and how this can be achieved effectively under the overarching principle that two ‘cohorts’ co-exist within the subject.

The question that rises is, when is the best time to ‘mix’ or/and ‘split’ the two cohorts. It has been generally observed that ‘mixing’ the two cohorts for the purposes of student-to-student interaction during synchronous sessions can be an administrative burden and poses technical challenges. At the same time, it is generally agreed that there is no sound reason for ‘splitting’ the cohorts for the purpose of student-to-student asynchronous interactions.

We can therefore assume that, for student-to-student interactions, the simplest principle would be to split the cohorts while in synchronous sessions and mix them for asynchronous activities.

If this doesn’t sound right for your subject, don’t lose faith. You can explore combinations of these while adjusting the frequency, intensity, and fidelity of activities until you feel they are the right fit.

This page was last updated on 30 Sep 2022.

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