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Oppida raises the bar in online education

Australian New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Australian New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Learning Technologies Course

February 2020 - April 2020

About Australian New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Established in 2002 as a not-for-profit company, The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) was formed with the plan of building a world-leading educational institution intended to influence public sector leaders on strategic management and high-level policy. ANZSOG works to deepen government, community and academic understanding of public administration, policy, and management.

Project brief

Oppida was tasked with designing an online learning technologies repository showcasing the Canvas LMS. This primarily facilitated training and development for ANZSOG’s internal staff. ANZSOG strives to improve its online education offerings for students and enable learners to achieve stated goals or expected outcomes through better-quality learning design.

Project challenge 

ANZSOG approached Oppida about an internal project that would inspire the staff to re-evaluate their pedagogical approach and delivery of online education courses to increase student engagement. Oppida was commissioned to create a course in Canvas showcasing the LMS’s tools and features. This project's complexity came when considering the vast difference in the online education experience of ANZSOG's academics and facilitators. The team at Oppida had to avoid intimidating those with less expertise or, on the flip side, creating it to be too basic. It also needed to be built using all the tools it was teaching. 

Oppida’s customised solution 

Oppida took a structured approach to creating a learning resource that outlined the benefits and best practices around digital learning technologies for active, social and adaptive learning and assessment. All of this is delivered in Canvas – ANZSOG’s chosen learning management system – and prompts educators to optimise their use of various plugins, LTIs and features on the platform for different teaching scenarios. 

Oppida decided to structure the resource accordingly in the form of a learning repository of demonstrations, guidelines and research that covered the application of learning technologies across four critical areas.

  • Active learning: How to keep remote students engaged.
  • Social learning: How to get students to connect in an online community from remote locations.
  • Adaptive learning: How to personalise online learning and provide student autonomy around how and what they’re learning.
  • Assessing for learning: How to support the design and delivery of rich and authentic assessment tasks online that allow students to learn and achieve course outcomes.

Oppida provided examples, demonstrations, and evidence-informed research to support each scenario and pointed out additional external tools that complement Canvas well. These included H5P, Padlet and Parlay Ideas

Oppida guided ANZSOG to improve its use of Canvas, all with the student in mind. With the need to rapidly move several courses online during 2020, ANZSOG educators now easily select the most appropriate learning technologies for improving their digital education offerings, as well as clear resources and guidance to refer back to for when and how to use them. 

Executive Masters of Public Administration (EMPA) Design and Delivery

May 2020- Present day

About Australian New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

Established in 2002 as a not-for-profit company, The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) model is to educate, enrich, connect and inspire to create outstanding public sector leadership comprising indigenous and diverse voices of local communities alongside 10 member governments and 15 partner universities.

ANZSOG tailors learning for students to work directly with local, state and national governments across Australia and New Zealand that are directly relevant to their experience and future aspirations.

Project brief

The Executive Masters of Public Administration (EMPA) program by ANZSOG is an exclusive two-year postgraduate qualification comprising 9 subjects (plus an Orientation course). It is designed to help future public sector leaders develop and enhance their critical skills in effective public administration. 

Influenced by the events of 2020, ANZSOG approached Oppida with an opportunity to redesign and develop the EMPA Subjects for blended delivery. As a result, Oppida facilitated the content migration and re-development of each subject to a blended learning model. 

Project challenge 

During the problematic pandemic chapter of 2020, ANZSOG faced the challenge of transitioning and delivering the Executive Masters of Public Administration (EMPA) online. Addressing the proposed migration and redesign task in-house was not an option for the academic leads within the program who, at that stage, were new to online learning design and teaching. Therefore, ANZSOG approached Oppida to manage the digital transformation and migrate each EMPA subject as part of the two-year program through a blended delivery that combined asynchronous material released on Canvas and synchronous learning in supporting live Zoom sessions. Oppida was also involved in coaching and supporting the development of ANZSOG faculty to facilitate their subjects online.

As well as developing a comprehensive EMPA Program Plan, an EMPA Orientation plus a curriculum map for each subject, Oppida engaged with government and university parties and leading subject matter experts to develop the 9 subjects. 

Oppida’s customised solution 

Oppida collaborated with each academic to redesign their EMPA Subject in 2020, ensuring ANZSOG learners would continue to experience the active, adaptive and social learning activities within the material online that the Master’s Program is renowned for. 

Our senior team has extensive experience writing curricula for higher education and designing them for maximum online engagement. As a result, the student experience in the new EMPA blended learning delivery model met the online needs of today’s challenging times while still developing their knowledge, skills, mindsets, and behaviours in the public sector. 

The redesigned blended delivery model of the EMPA Program consists of the following: 

  • asynchronous learning material for all subjects, published in a custom-coded Canvas template. Each subject consisted of supporting readings, teaching videos, interactive activities, and assessment briefs
  • synchronous learning opportunities for each subject (live workshops). 

By redesigning the EMPA to adopt this blended approach, Oppida ensured the program continued to deliver ANZSOG’s intended learning outcomes and graduate attributes across the 9 core subjects. 


“Oppida was instrumental in ANZSOG’s successful pivot to online learning, necessitated by the global pandemic in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, all of our subjects were delivered through intensive, face-to-face residentials. The pandemic required us to completely reconceptualise learning in a blended format, delivered entirely in a virtual setting. 

Through Oppida’s partnership with ANZSOG, we have been able to redesign every subject to ensure a highly interactive, engaging and contemporary experience for learners. We have found that our students were still able to enjoy the learning experience and have praised ANZSOG’s approach to providing quality learning materials and experiences that can be managed within an online context. 

Oppida’s support for our faculty has also enabled them to be confident in the online environment—many of whom now have quality digital assets that will feature in their teaching programs with ANZSOG for years to come. We have particularly valued the responsiveness and support that Oppida has provided our organisation. Through their partnership our staff have been empowered to grow in capability and understanding of blended and online learning, to the point where we are confident operators in this space.”

- Jude Barling - Director, Foundation Programs at ANZSOG

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