A top- Russell Group University asked me to create the materials for a re-sit module that would be online for the first time. The specifications and objectives were as follows:


  • Length of the course: Short/intensive course lasting one week.
  • Target audience: First-year undergraduate students of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
  • Available University Tools: Blackboard & Adobe Connect.


  • To engage students so that they finish the re-sit module.
  • To make students collaborate and interact with others from different: disciplines, genders, and nationalities.
  • To promote creativity by creating an artefact by the end of the module.
  • To introduce students to research (e.g. looking for reliable sources, creating a bibliography list, etc).

Creating the course content

In order to create the content materials, I followed the following process: I identified personas and, based on these and on the course objectives, I created a draft/sketch which was discussed with the module’s coordinator, to check that we were on the same page. After this, I went on to create a prototype of the materials which went through two rounds of feedback & revision.


It’s indispensable to outline and keep in mind who is the end-user. In the case of this course:

  • First-year undergraduate students. The average age for someone to start the University in the UK is 18 years.
  • Coming from all social science disciplines (e.g. architecture, management, geography, etc).
  • Gender in the Social Sciences is quite balanced, so target audience is about half females, half males.
  • Have probably never have taken an online module before.
  • Might not know many sources of reliable information.
  • First-year students are less experienced in Blackboard (the official University LMS). However, they might be more inclined to trying different tools/software.
  • First-year undergraduate students are still forming their study habits. Hence, they might benefit from clear, simple instructions (e.g. checklists, to do lists).

Draft / Sketch

Day 0 – Group formation

  • Welcome students: Make an introductory video to engage students (I used Powtoon -link!)
  • Divide students into groups (each group must contain a mix of: discipline, gender, nationality).
  • Assign groups to ‘facilitators’ (postgraduate students that will support groups and check on their progress).

Days 1-4 – Collaborate in groups towards the artefact

  • Make slides for each day, using the same theme & characters from the video, and following a standard format for each day (For this, I used a combination of Powtoon and PowerPoint)
  • Encourage student to collaborate by: 1) Using Blackboard’s forums, 2) Using Adobe Connect, 2) Making a collaborative project: a poster or pin-board, using Padlet-link.
  • Focus on daily targets: Day 1) Get familiar with Cyberbullying, 2) Conduct individual research, 3) Start working on artefact & presentation, 4) Finish and upload materials & give feedback.
  • Add lots of additional materials to get them going, using reliable sources of information. I used a combination of case studies (using reliable media sources), academic papers, TED talks, etc.

Final Materials

The final materials, of the module were as follows. These were all uploaded to Blackboard (called MOLE, in the designated University).

Introductory video

Daily slides