The Charles Sturt University (CSU) Engineering programme is a new course (degree programmme) established in 2016 by a university that had not previously taught engineering. This start from scratch occasion was taken as an opportunity to build an all-new programme structure and philosophy. Students at CSU Engineering complete a sequence of three semester-long Project-Based Learning (PBL) style challenges across their time face-to-face at the university; after this point, they commence four yearlong paid industry-based work placements and continue studies in an online mode during evenings, weekends, and scheduled study days. The underlying technical curriculum for the engineering programme at Charles Sturt University is delivered mostly on-line via the RealizeIT platform and is based on a philosophy of just-in-time, self-directed learning. Students have freedom in deciding when, how and, to a large extent, which elements of the curriculum they engage within the online environment. This freedom, along with the PBL-style challenges, is enabled by the structure of the technical curriculum which is broken down into fine-grained learning activities called ‘topics’. In this paper, we summarise our experiences during the first four years, and the insights gained into student behaviors when offered an opportunity to engage in self-directed learning.