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Exceptionally Creative Learning Designs and Powerful Practice from University of Southampton

Louise Jones

Our final post of 2022, from the University of Southampton is a fitting example to round off the year.

The Centre for Higher Education Practice’s Advent Calendar is jam packed full of helpful tips and an example of powerful practice in supporting their team. We’ve featured the University’s learning designs and experiences before in this ‘Virtual Field Trips’ example here, to widespread acclaim.

In this post, we hoped to provide some inspiration for the year ahead, Jed Gibbs MA, has also provided some helpful background information and context.

Click the tags to explore their interactive Advent Calendar

Click here to view the accessible version of this amazing advent calendar

This year we have enjoyed the transition to using ThingLink for our interactive graphics at the University of Southampton. The ThingLink Certified Creator Course was an excellent grounding and I regularly recommend it to colleagues. So when we looked for a way to create our 2022 interactive advent calendar for CHEP (the Centre for Higher Education Practice) we chose ThingLink and we have not regretted it. With assistance from James Allen and Matt Deeprose from our Digital Learning Team we were able to address accessibility issues early in the process.

It has been great having the creative freedom to add sounds and images to each day on the calendar, including some as animated GIFs.

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If you’d like to see how ThingLink can be used in your learning designs or communication please book a video call with Louise for a friendly chat.

One issue has been how to release each day’s content without also exposing tomorrow’s. The workaround we adopted was to have a clone of the calendar. This clone was the draft version which held all 24 days’ content, access to which allowed contributors to check they were happy with their entry before it went live. Once approved it was copied onto the live calendar at the appropriate time and the icon colours for the date reversed to white on red to indicate that it was available.

Future dates could have been simply part of the background graphic, but instead we had some fun by adding little messages such as ‘no peeking!’ or ‘can I open the sherry yet?’. These proved popular with many colleagues looking ahead through all of them and commenting in our Teams channels – contributing rather nicely to our engagement statistics.

The stats were also useful to gauge when we might need to remind busy people about the calendar – each time our Comms Officer Yvette Melia included links to the calendar in emails we could use the stats to track the effectiveness of the promotion.

Next year we plan to raise our ambitions to include 3D objects and video clips and perhaps even a little walk-around using the upcoming ThingLink Unity Plug-In

A profile picture of Jed Gibbs MA from the University of Southampton

Jed Gibbs MA
CHEP Digital Resources Developer
MA Interactive Production
ThingLink Certified Creator
University of Southampton

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