Newcastle University Special Collections & Archives have recently been exploring the use of H5P to enhance their teaching and learning activities. H5P is a free to use tool which enables easy creation of html5 content to be embedded on websites or learning management systems, or to be shared directly using a link. Where the author allows it, their H5P output can be reused and adapted, making it easy to repurpose content to your own collections.
The website provides lots of sample content types, including interactive timelines, image hotspots, quizzes and tasks. These can be repurposed using your own content, making it quick and easy to create visually appealing interactive content. The content is designed to work in browsers across desktop and mobile devices, and as H5P maintains a record of the accessibility of the different types of content available, it should be easy to ensure that content you create using accessible templates is also accessible.
The first resource created using H5P was designed with the support of a Digital Learning Technologist. The Primary Sources Research Planner was designed to guide students through the process of searching for rare books and archives relevant to their research area. It used a Documentation Tool template to lead the user through the process in stages. At the end a ‘research plan’ can be exported or emailed to a supervisor. The Planner has been embedded on the Special Collections web pages but has also been included in online learning materials delivered through Canvas.
H5P has also been used to create a self-led critical analysis task, which formed part of a specific stage 1 undergraduate module. A Branching Scenario template was populated features pre-recorded videos, PowerPoints and digitised images, to form self-guided tasks. Students are able to choose which resources they want to work with and given the option to access more or less examples depending on how confident they feel. Quick quizzes within the content allow for self-assessment of understanding, as well as keeping the students engaged as they progress through the task.
A Drag and Drop template has been used to provide an interactive activity for use in a webinar conducted via Zoom. This webinar is a basic introduction to Special Collections & Archives, forms part of Newcastle University Library’s Your Skills series. These are open sessions available to all students and staff. The session features a discussion of the main differences between the two types of collections and the material found within them (with the disclaimer that it often depends on context!). A direct link to the activity is shared within the chat and students are given around five minutes to complete the task and asked to share whether any results surprised them, or if they disagree with any of the results. This gives the opportunity to break up the session with a practical task, as well as providing a shared point for discussion, which has been particularly useful with the mixed groups attending these webinars.
Finally, the Image Hotspot template was used to give an example of how to approach critical analysis. A digitised image from our Broadside collection was used as the background image, and hotspot pop-ups added which highlighted where critical information appeared within the document. You can explore this activity below.
H5P has allowed quick creation of engaging, professional content for use on different online platforms and live webinars. While there are some limitations (content can’t be embedded on social media and some content types are not as effective as existing dedicated tools), there is a huge amount of potential to enhance digital and hybrid learning experiences in higher education, and more broadly. We’d love to hear from any other repositories using H5P, to share and perhaps adapt content generated elsewhere.