The following example is provided to demonstrate some of the ways others have designed flexible units for postgraduate students. The choices you make in designing your unit/s will be guided by the nature of your course objectives and the unique needs of your students.

Example | Collaborative student-led unit

Discipline: Postgraduate education

Mode: Online

Number of students: 10

Overview of unit design

This is a flexible student-led unit, the structure includes a weekly online synchronous live classrooms, with online asynchronous discussion based on the readings. As the unit's focus is on students building research skills and also exploring emerging contemporary research themes, the weekly live classrooms alternate between learning about research methodology and discussing contemporary research topics. At the beginning of the unit students choose the areas the unit will focus on and drive discussions and content based on these.

Image is describe in words in attached document
  • mortar board icon teacher moderated methodological online live classrooms with activities
  • student icon student moderated online live classrooms
  • discussion icon student moderated and driven discussion on forum
  • guest speaker icon guest speaker


  • Start of semester technology orientation session – available face-to-face in computer laboratory or remotely via Adobe Connect. This supports the student transition and minimises technology issues later in unit.
  • Assessed forum participation, with different student groups moderating each fortnight's theme.
  • Weekly 2 hour online lecture/tutorial, including 2-3 group activities in breakout rooms.
  • Four of the week's online live classrooms involve 1-hour of student moderation, in which they facilitate a presentation and activities about their chosen theme, drawing on the asynchronous discussion on the forum.
  • Three guest presenters


  1. Contribution to online asynchronous discussions (30%)
  2. Moderation of asynchronous discussion forum and facilitation of synchronous discussion (10%)
  3. Literature review (40%)
  4. Research forecast paper (20%)

Note - ACU assessment policy suggests having a maximum of three (3) assessment tasks. See policy for up-to-date advice on designing your assessments.

Technology used in this example

The following is a list of the technologies used within this unit, links to resources are provided to support you if you would like to use a similar technology in your unit.



Online live classrooms: microphones, webcam, chat stream, breakout rooms, used for online synchronous lectures with activities and discussion.
Discussion forum: used extensively, and part of marked assessment within unit
Page last updated on 28/02/2020

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