Skip navigation

Printable Resources

Incorporating Technology and Activities

Having given consideration to the plan of your module design (see step three of the process on the Plan your Design page) there are two equally important questions to consider:

a) What technology should I use? and
b) How do I present student activities online?

a) What Technology Should I use?

Based on your module design plan, decide what are the key tasks/activities that you hope your students should achieve in this module. It is then that you should consider what technologies are most suitable in supporting different types of learning (Laurillard, 2012).  Have a listen to the AUTC video on choosing the relevant technology.

Table 1 sets out an example of some of the current technologies  (i.e. May 2013). This table is by no means a full list of available options.

Table 1. Types of Learning and Specific Technologies (adapted form Laurillard, 2012)

Learning Through... Summary Some Technologies 


In this form of learning students can be quite passive as they are primarily learning through reading or listening.

This can be made more active if these resources are designed into activities.


  • Powerpoint with audio;
  • Articulate Storyline
  • Adobe Presenter
  • Camtasia
  • Adobe Captivate


  • Audacity
  • You-tube


  • Digital Learning Repository resources
  • Lecture Capture; Echo 360
  • Clickers (in class)


This form of learning requires students to search out, critique and use resources from different locations.  It requires more active student learning.  For example, it follows a process of brainstorming, information gathering (online or other) and then critical group discussion or presentation. 

  • SPSS
  • Excel
  • ArcGIS
  • Mind Genius (Mind mapping softward for Education)
  • Online Discussion
  • Mobile technologies
  • UCD Library Databases and related software


In this form of learning students have to apply what they have learned into a given context in their discipline.  It has often been described as experiential learning, or "learning by doing".
  • Second Life
  • Allocated roles in Wikis and/or Group Discussions
  • Simulations
  • Role play
  • Virtual labs



In this form of learning, students are motivated to learn by having to produce an artifact.  The traditional essay is one example but different software packages allow for greater creativity in this area.
  • Uploading assignments, i.e. essays, designes, assignments, photos...
  • Production of concept maps...
  • Production of posters, submitted online
  • Mahara: production of e-portfolios
  • Muvizu: production of animations


This form of learning requires students to interact with each other online to discuss issues.  This can be done synchronously (web-conferencing) or as in most cases asynchronously (discussion forums).

Asynchronous discussions:

  • Bb Discussion Groups

Synchronous discussions:

  • Bb Virtual Classrooms
  • Bb Collaborate: web-conferencing tools


 This form of learning requires students to collaborate to produce an artifact.  The process of the collaboration is also very important.
  • Bb Wikis
  • Sparkplus: online peer and self assessment
  • Blackboard Collaborate (or alternative)


See also Using Technology Effectively for some other ideas on what might be relevant.

b) How do I Present Student Activities Online?

Set explicit tasks that the students should be engaging in with these technologies (i.e. reading, investigating, producing, doing assessments, other online or off-line activities). Even in modules with a high level of lectures and formal examination, there is still an expectation of reading and engaging in a critique of materials.  Make this expectation explicit.
•    Write to the students as if you were talking to them, ‘you should now be doing/reading…’; ‘you might find the following resource useful..’  
•    Use very clear instructions and rationale for the activity. In these instructions, it is good practice to note the:

Title, of the activity:
Purpose, of the activity;
Task, description of what is expected of the students;
Response,the expectation of students’ response to each other, where applicable (i.e. in group discussion/blogs/wiki);
Time,involved in task (Salmon, 2007).

See an example of this in Figure 1 and see the E-tivity Design Template to help you prepare and present the activity (e-tivity) to the students in the Blackboard environment.

Figure 1: Presenting an e-tivity


Resources should be linked with the task and the instructions and placed as the students need them. Therefore, the resource-type folders or items, i.e. ‘literature’, ‘resources’, ‘documents’, should be embedded close to the task and they should align with the tasks.  The assessment should also be aligned with these resources.

For some ideas for activities for blended learning in large classes (including examples of the 'flip-class-room') see Blended Learning in Large Classes  This resource contains ten case studies on blended learning in large classes.

An overview of the theoretical concepts behind on-line activities can be seen in Engaging in Online Activities.

  • Laurillard, D (2012) Teaching as Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology.  London: Routledge.
  • Salmon, G (2007) E-tivities: The Key to Active On-line Learning. Oxon: RoutledgeFalmer.
T and L Community