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University of Huddersfield

Demonstrating Creative Course Design with Creator+

The University of Huddersfield is a higher education institution in the north of England, proud to have received a gold rating from the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2023. A longstanding Brightspace user, the university explores all the opportunities it can to enhance its use of learning technologies and enrich its online learning experiences. In 2023, the university demonstrated how staff can take their modules further to engage students through creative content developed using the Brightspace content authoring tool Creator+.


University of Huddersfield



  • D2L Brightspace
  • Creator+


  • Dr Sue Folley, academic development advisor
  • Steve Bentley, strategic learning technology advisor



  • Intuitive online content creation
  • Engaging and interactive presentation of content
  • Inspiring staff without coding or digital design skills to create feature-rich online content

We want the VLE to be a place where learning happens – an active learning environment – not just a repository for PowerPoint files.

Steve Bentley, strategic learning technology advisor, University of Huddersfield


To increase use of learning technologies

The University of Huddersfield has used Brightspace for digital learning since 2017/18 and strives to capitalise on the full functionality of the platform as an active learning environment.

“We’ve always supported face to face with digital learning. Every module has a corresponding virtual learning environment (VLE) presence,” explains Dr Sue Folley, academic development advisor in the university’s strategic teaching and learning team. “We encourage staff to use the VLE to support teaching and it is also at the forefront of electronic assessment, for both submission and marking.”

A learning platform delivers much more than a content repository but, as the University of Huddersfield’s team recognises, not everyone will take full advantage of all the available tools straight away.

To help the university’s academic staff, the strategic teaching and learning team run ‘learning bytes’ every month. These sessions showcase functionality within Brightspace to inspire staff and give them the knowledge and skills they can draw on to expand and enrich their digital learning experiences.


A virtual ‘escape room’ designed using Creator+

In 2023, the university invested in Creator+, a high impact course authoring tool that helps users create engaging online learning content in Brightspace, without the need for specialist technical skills or long development times. From ready-made content templates and practise exercises to interactive elements and easy-to-capture video recordings, Creator+ elevates content creation so that educators can develop dynamic course experiences.

For the Christmas ‘learning bytes’ in 2023, the teaching and learning team set out to showcase the new tool. “We wanted to promote Creator+ and show how it could be used,” says Dr Folley. “Storytelling was the idea; gamification and modelling good practice. We tried to pick as many Creator+ aspects as we could and show how learning can be very interactive.”

The team explains it was attracted to Creator+ to help make the delivery of materials and student testing easier. It sought an intuitive content creation tool that all tutors could use and that would help them be creative in their digital modules.

The team chose a virtual ‘escape room’ to demonstrate Creator+, challenging the user to assist an imaginary Dr Quinn and team to navigate a range of environments, including an undersea abyss, to find a legendary Chrono Sceptre. The project was an ideal opportunity to draw on the talents of placement students Paul Fulton and Mohamad Miari and an ideal way to show how Creator+ can accelerate design.

The resulting fun, interactive module draws on AI-supported videos, ‘hotspot’ questions and callout text boxes to display information, set challenges and create pathways through the content. In one section, ‘flipcards’ reveal additional information when the user clicks on them, giving them the knowledge they need to respond to later questions when they must drag and drop answers to put them in the correct categories.

The escape room is full of these types of interesting features to demonstrate the many varied ways staff without coding or digital design skills can use Creator+ to generate interactive and engaging online content.

We wanted something that was a lot easier and intuitive, that the everyday lecturer can use.

Dr Sue Folley, academic development advisor, University of Huddersfield


Inspiring creative design

Around 40 members of staff tried the escape room module in the first two months it was available. Following the live session, the module has been made available to Huddersfield staff to try out more widely, as it continues to support the integration of Creator+ into course development practices.

The team is delighted that the interactive module showcases what Creator+ has to offer. “It is good to be able to ask quick questions in an item itself, to test knowledge, instead of having to take several steps to do a quiz,” says Dr Folley. “And just making it easier for staff to produce content.”

“Rather than a big wall of text, you can make it more engaging, putting content into bitesize chunks,” adds Steve Bentley, the university’s strategic learning technology advisor.“The practice questions can be a great way to focus the student’s reading and draw attention to the key points.”

The team took a creative approach to demonstrating Brightspace functionality and Creator+ and succeeded in developing a showcase that staff enjoyed and found fun. “We hope it will give them greater confidence using the tools, but the big thing we want is student engagement,” adds Dr Folley. “It’s about the student experience.”

The Escape room was a great way to showcase a more extreme example of how Creator+ can be used, but the team recognise that most educators are likely to take small elements to implement in their practice rather than building something on this scale.

The University of Huddersfield set out to showcase Creator+ which equips anyone to be a creator and engage every student. The team produced an innovative virtual escape room to help staff build confidence in using the tool. The team will continue to develop its use of Brightspace, and ‘learning bytes’ to keep staff up to date on what the learning platform can do.

We have a really good working relationship with D2L. We attend all the connection meetings and client meetings to keep up to date and we present at quite a few of them as well.

Dr Sue Folley, academic development advisor, University of Huddersfield

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