Webinar: Student-led teaching and content creation

Our March webinar looked at how effective activity design and facilitation can encourage cohorts to participate in student-led teaching and content creation tasks. The webinar introduced student-led tasks by positioning them on a spectrum of active learning and engagement in course design, explaining how these tasks may provide opportunities for students to rehearse and articulate their knowledge as part of their independent study. Implicit in this design approach is an acknowledgement that students have the skills and capability to engage in collaborative knowledge creation activities and to develop their learning as producers of ‘content’ (Bruns et al., 2007).

This design approach aligns well with the principles of the York Pedagogy, which are focused on supporting students in their development as autonomous learners through ‘work-centred programme design’ (Robinson, 2015). This is best achieved by designing independent study and formative work which demands engagement of a high standard to propel student learning to the achievement of targeted learning outcomes. (For further information on the design of student work, please see the guidance on the York Pedagogy web pages).

The webinar focused specifically on the opportunities for the design of student-led learning and teaching activities through the use of technology, making reference to a series of case studies of blended courses delivered at the University of York. Centrally-supported learning technologies were employed by staff to support contrasting modes of ‘user-led’ education, ranging from unguided problem based learning to the creation of videos to disseminate research findings to a public audience.

The final part of the webinar looked at the challenges in supporting students in the performance of user-led tasks as ‘teachers’ or co-creators’ of learning resources. The discussion touched on preparation and induction responsibilities for students, addressing the baseline skills and understanding that they will need to engage effectively in the tasks. The webinar concluded with a summary of instructional responsibilities in support of active learning, based on a five-phase delivery model (Walker & Baets, 2008).

The links to the webinar recording and slide deck are available here: https://elearningyork.wordpress.com/professional-development-opportunities/lunchtime-webinar-archive/

Case studies from the webinar

There are also a range of other case studies on our main case studies page, focusing on student-led activities including public blogging and business planning, which have employed a wide range of tools from social media applications such as WordPress to Google tools to support group work.


A useful starting point is to think about the targeted learning outcomes for an online activity, and to consider the alignment between your outcomes and the design of the task and the choice of tools that will support the activity. Section 4.1 of the York TEL Handbook offers an introduction on how to define your learning objectives and to think about the design of student-led tasks.

Guidance on the instructional responsibilities in supporting students in the performance of user-led activities is also available in Section 4.2 of the York TEL Handbook.

On the whole both Sections 4 and 5 of the Handbook provide large amounts of guidance on embedding and facilitating online activities.


Bruns, A., Cobcroft, R., Smith, J. and Towers, S. (2007). Mobile Learning Technologies and the Move towards ‘User-Led Education’. In Proceedings Mobile Media, Sydney.

Click to access 6625.pdf

Robinson, J. (2015). The York Pedagogy: What and why, how and why. Forum. University of York. https://www.york.ac.uk/media/staffhome/learningandteaching/documents/propel/28280-Forum%20issue%20supplement%20LR%20final.pdf

Walker, R. & Baets, W. (2008). Instructional design for class-based and computer-mediated learning: Creating the right blend for student-centred learning. In R. Donnelly & F. McSweeney (Eds.), Applied E-Learning and E-Teaching in Higher Education (pp. 241-261). New York: Information Science Reference.

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