Making material available through learning management systems is standard practice in most universities, but this is generally seen as an adjunct to the ‘real’ teaching, that takes place in face-to-face classes. Lecture attendance is poor, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage students, both in the material being taught and campus life. This paper describes the redevelopment of a large course in scientific practice and communication that is compulsory for all science students studying at our Melbourne and Malaysian campuses, or by distance education. Working with an educational designer, a blended learning methodology was developed, converting the environment provided by the learning management system into a teaching space, rather than a filing system. To ensure focus, topics are clustered into themes with a ‘question of the week’, a pre-class stimulus and follow up activities. The content of the course did not change, but by restructuring the delivery using educationally relevant design techniques, the content was contextualised resulting in an integrated learning experience. Students are more engaged intellectually, and lecture attendance has improved. The approach we describe here is a simple and effective approach to bringing this university’s teaching and learning into the 21st century.