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How to develop a Flexible module

NTU is committed to creating opportunity for all our students through weaving face-to-face and online learning seamlessly across all our courses. This six-stage process has been created to support Module Leaders to develop flexible learning that meets the Quality Matters standards and offer an engaging experience for students.

Before starting on the six steps below, please read NTU’s Learning and Teaching Planning Framework and Online learning principles documents to understand the requirements you will need to work within.

You should meet with your course team to review learning and teaching across the course as a whole and determine those teaching types which will take place on-campus and those that will be delivered online.

The Flex module development process has six steps:

  1. Submit a ‘Module development form’ - The deadline for submitting Module development forms for term one has now passed, please contact if you have an outstanding submission.
  2. Create a ‘Module map’ and ‘Persona documents’
  3. Attend a one-hour module development workshop
  4. Submit exemplar content
  5. Create/reformat your content
  6. Set up your Teams meetings

Once you have completed Step One, your NOW module learning room will be created for you using NTU’s new 2020/21 structure and layout.

Please note:

We are currently processing modules for the autumn term. You should aim to submit your module development form by 3 August 2020 to give you plenty of time to develop module content, however recognising that colleagues have annual leave planned at this time, you may choose to submit by 1 September 2020 instead.

Step One: Submit a 'Module Development Form'

Submit a Module development form with all the key module information - The deadline for submitting Module development forms for term one has now passed, please contact if you have an outstanding submission.

When completing your module development form, you may want to write your answers to longer questions in a separate Module Development form (MS Word Document version). You can then copy and paste your answers to the online form. This will ensure you don't lose any work due to any Office 365 errors.

The following information will be useful to have to hand:

  • Module Specification
  • Curriculum plan / Scheme of work
  • Module Handbook (if available)
  • Module launch date
  • Schedule of on-campus delivery for blended module and delivery details (if applicable)
  • Module Team availability
  • Technology requirements for students
  • Assessment information and assessment briefs

You will also be asked to confirm the following:

We’ll aim to have a Learning Designer contact you within 72 hours.  Please note, this may not be possible during busier periods.

If you struggle to submit via Microsoft Forms, please get in touch with

Step Two: Create a module map

After submitting the Module Development Form, a Microsoft Teams channel will be created for your module. This is your one-stop-shop for the module development process. Here you can communicate with your assigned Learning Designer in the channel and find all the key documentation you’ll need to complete this process.

This step requires you to create a module map: a comprehensive plan of each week of teaching, broken down into activities. This will be your evidence of planning for the new online environment and will help you to see where your Learning Designer can provide support. You may already have a document that serves this purpose (e.g. curriculum plan or scheme of work). In this case there is no need to produce a module map but please ensure your documentation provides a detailed itemisation of each activity you plan to utilise and the format this may take.

Guidance on how to do this is available on the Module design guidance page. On this page you’ll also find instructions for creating personas. We recommend completing the personas task at a course level. Creating personas before you start designing your module will help you to identify your students’ unique needs and create content that helps them achieve their goals. Our personas template includes some example profiles for inspiration.

Your Learning Designer will schedule a one-hour development workshop.

Once your Teams channel has been created and a Learning Designer has been in touch, you’ll need to Open the Module map (Excel document) template within the channel (click the document linked in the Teams channel conversation, or find it in the Files area). If you’d like to get started, you can download the module map template. Please be sure to share it with your Learning Designer a few days before your workshop. The template includes three examples of completed module maps so take a look at these before you begin.  If you are instead using an existing document (e.g. curriculum plan or scheme of work) simply upload this to the Files area. We would still recommend checking the module map template to ensure your documentation is completed with the necessary level of detail.

Once you’ve completed your module map, post a message in the Teams channel to let your Learning Designer know. Ensure you’ve completed this in good time before the one-hour workshop, otherwise we may need to reschedule.

Step Three: Attend a one-hour development workshop

Attend a one-hour workshop with your Learning Designer to review your module map and the approaches you'll take in the development and setup of your module. Your assigned Learning Designer will make suggestions, answer questions, and point you to additional online guidance.

Step Four: Submit exemplar content

Before you start creating the bulk of your content, submit exemplar content most relevant to your module - see the guidance in the next step for content-creation instructions. Upload this to the Teams channel as soon as possible after the workshop and let your Learning Designer know when this is done. We’ll check it and provide feedback to help you in the next stage.

Step Five: Create/reformat your content

After your Learning Room has been set up, and you have received feedback on your exemplar content, it's time for you to begin creating your learning resources. You might consider the following:

1) Create narrated PowerPoint mini-lecture videos

Refer to our PowerPoint template to help ensure your slides are accessible. Keep text to a minimum and ensure you have permission to publish any images you use ( is a great resource for free-to-use images). You can record videos in Panopto or PowerPoint - see links to detailed guidance below.

Upload videos to the Video (Panopto) folder (formerly Lecture Capture) and use the 'Share > embed link' option to add these to your web pages. Aim to keep videos to 6-10 minutes; split your presentations up into smaller parts to help with this.

2) Create activities and add text

Your Learning Room will include web pages with placeholder text. To add or edit text, go to the web page, click ‘Edit HTML’ in the bottom left, make any changes you’d like, and save.

3) Create quizzes/assessments

Microsoft Forms is recommended for adding formative quizzes to NOW. You can also use the Self-Assessment and Assessment tools.

4) Add additional instructions and scaffolding

After you’ve finished creating all your learning content, read through everything and put yourself in your students’ shoes. Are the requirements for engagement clear? Make sure students know how to use the Learning Room and what they’re expected to do next.

5) Add News items

Clear and consistent communication is essential for student engagement. Schedule News items in advance, so you don’t have to do it later. We recommend an intro post at the start of each week and a summary post at the end of the week. See the guide to Adding News items.

6) Offer online booking for tutorial appointments (see MS Bookings guide)

  • Set up a Bookings calendar, based on your own availability
  • Publish your calendar, enabling students to book online

7) Prepare to track student engagement

If you require any specific applications to be added to the Learning Room (e.g. PebblePad, Yammer or Twitter), let your Learning Designer know as soon as possible.

Step Six: Set up your Teams meetings

From 14th September 2020, Microsoft Teams will be integrated as part of the NOW Digital Ecosystem. The integration provides Module Leaders with the ability to generate a Team relative to the Module Learning Room it is created from, where they are required.

During the creation process all users currently enrolled in the Learning Room will be added to the Team and dynamically managed from that point onward. This means any staff or students added to the Learning Room Classlist will be automatically added (there is a one-hour delay) and any staff or students withdrawn will be automatically removed. In the Teams site, module staff become owners and module students become members.

A further advantage of the integration is that it provides a direct link to the Team from the Learning Room.

Using Teams

  • Teams can be used for group tutorials, seminars and live lectures.
  • Channels need to be created manually – see Microsoft’s guidance on creating channels.
  • Events/meetings need to be created manually – see Microsoft’s guidance on scheduling meetings. CADQ, Digital Technologies and Academic Registry are looking to simplify the meetings creation process.
  • The ability to create breakout groups is currently in BETA but will soon be rolled out more widely. At the moment, only the person who set up the meeting can enable the breakout function.
  • Training sessions are available from Organisational Development – see the General channel of the Organisational Development WFH help Team for an updated schedule of sessions.
  • Teams sites will be available for one year, with archiving set to take place on 1st September each year (unless still required past this date).

In our ‘Detailed guidance on content creation’ section below, you can find further guidance on using Teams.

Detailed guidance on content creation

You may find it useful to review some existing Exemplar Learning Rooms using the NOW Reviewer Mode feature, this Exemplar Learning Rooms and Reviewer mode guide will step you through this.

Creating videos

Quizzing and online assessment

Online marking and feedback

Using NOW

Microsoft Teams

SCALE-UP online

Writing online content

Supporting students

Is there a guide you would like us to offer? Get in touch at with the subject and requirements.

Publishing lecture/seminar content online is different from sharing it in a live class. Make sure you’ve read the Library’s copyright guide for materials being added to NOW.

Key points to consider:

  • Source and permission: before using or sharing content, ask yourself “Source? Permission?” Where did the content come from? Do you have permission to use it?
  • Link to readings in the Library, don’t upload readings: even if NTU has a subscription to a database, this doesn’t mean staff have permission to publish content from it. Instead, provide a link to the resource through the Library’s website or a link to the database’s home page with instructions.
  • Images: avoid copying images unless you have confirmed that their copyright status permits this. Publishing images without authorisation is one of the easiest ways to get caught out so delete any images if you’re unsure about permission or source. is a great source of free to use images; also look for images with Creative Commons licenses which permit reuse.
  • Attribution: for any third-party materials, ensure the source is attributed fully and clearly. But also remember that attribution doesn’t mean you can copy anything you’d like. Contact the Library if in doubt.
  • CLA licence: for print-based materials, a CLA-licenced digital copy may be possible. Contact the Library for further info on this.


It’s important that we strive to be as inclusive as possible. As well as being of ethical importance, UK laws have become stricter in recent years, so we need to ensure, for example, that:

  • Documents include alt-text for images and diagrams;
  • Document headings are used appropriately;
  • Text is not presented in an image format (e.g. scanned pages as images in pdf documents);
  • Link text reflects the link’s destination (avoiding ‘click here’ style links);
  • Videos should have captions - sharing pre-recorded videos should in most cases be done via the Video (Panopto) area of the Learning Room to add captions automatically.

The Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and PDF accessibility checking tools are useful when reviewing documents before sharing.

Further guidance on these can be found in Accessibility Considerations.

Quality Assurance

Following Step 5, the Flex Team will support you by conducting a Quality Assurance (QA) review to help you meet Quality Matters standards. To prepare for this, it’s important for you to read through everything, checking grammar, spelling, copyright, accessibility, clarity of instructions, working links and a logical order of topics and activities.

Please see this QA Infographic for an overview of the main steps in the process. QA could begin shortly after you begin teaching but you’ll receive feedback to support the rest of your module development. The Module Development QA Checklist and Report document is used during the review and also to provide feedback.

Help and Support

For general questions about this process contact the Flex Team at

For tech support queries (e.g. questions about software, installation and access issues), contact Digital Technologies at and for copyright/IP queries, contact the Library at

Still need help?

Flexible Learning