Authoring Lecture Content with Embedded Discussions

In this 2 minute video, learn how OB3 speeds up the authoring of online lecture content. Within minutes, create a media-rich lecture document using familiar digital skills. Copy directly from Office apps, embed online media, and drag and drop images from your computer to rapidly assemble a document. Create embedded discussions and Q&A prompts to call students to engage. Two case examples illustrate how OB3 has been used to enhance lecture content in asynchronous distance education.

Our clients use OB3 as their primary web application for authoring lecture content that is taught online, asynchronously and at a distance. Reported benefits are that it offers a better authoring experience for busy academics, while building on their existing digital skills.

Case: OB3 used as primary vehicle for introducing technical information, co-created by multiple subject experts

The OB3 authoring features respond to the specific needs of higher degree programmes that use multiple subject experts to deliver each unit of study such as the the Save Sight Insitute (SSI)'s distance education programme. In this postgraduate programme, the Ophthalmology lecture documents are not only developed collegially among the academic team. Documents "... are ‘live’ so users can update a section of their lecture without having to re-record the entire thing which saves academic staff time and effort. " and "can be shared to allow multiple users, including students, to collaborate and create content." (Petsoglou & Stoop, 2020, pp. 38-39).

The figure below is an example of a media-rich lecture. These "... are a vehicle for introducing students to the course content, which involves summary documents of quite technical information on anatomy, physiology or optics." Students are engaged using either audio content or video content to be able to make the concepts clearer. One aim is to get away from a textbook to a much more engaging environment. (see Gomez et al., 2017)

Figure sourced from Gomez et al. 2017. It presents sections of a lecture document on an ophthalmology paper in anatomy. The title is Anatomy of the cornea. The figure is created with screenshots of 6 sections of the documents, highilighting features.

Figure sourced from ASCILITE 2017 Digital Poster (Gomez et al. 2017)

Case: Role of lecturers shifting from passive to interactive creators of content

In a bachelor of midwifery, "... The role of lecturers has shifted from creators of passive content to interactive content... They create content that includes embedded resources (e.g., links to videos or articles) with questions and activities for students to complete. These are placed in the context of the content, rather than being in a separate forum, and students can respond to each other’s posts. Students cannot edit the content put up by the lecturers or by other students." (Daellenbach et al. 2022, p. 341)

The figure below illustrates sections of an OB3 document with curriculum content. The lecturing staff author it, then share it with students for asynchronous discussion in the form of Q&As.

Figure soured from Gomez et al. published in 2017. It illustrates section of a curriculum content document built in ob3. The title is Respiratory challenges in pregnancy.  The section highlighted is the Q&A. The student answers are done using the embedded discussions. Most answers are in text form but one includes a video.
ASCILITE 2017 Digital Poster (Gomez et al., 2017)
Figure sourced from

OB3 has improved student engagement with theoretical content through support for embedded discussions. A 2018 study showed that 3,541 embedded discussions were generated in a 12-day period in one semester. Students and lecturing staff generated 481 posts inside the top 8 curriculum content documents. Each document had 50+ posts.

Table sourced from Gomez et al. published in 2018. The table presents a 12-day snapshot of activity in ob3 in the form of curriculum content with Q&A.
Table sourced from Gomez et al. (2018, p.4) and also included in WILNZ 2023 presentation

Relevant Resources and Publications