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  First Fleet Design Team

"First Fleet Online Role Play"


S Wills
A Ip
A Bunnett
Design Team
  Team: Sandra Wills, Albert Ip and Adair Bunnett


  Focus: Role-Play
  Discipline: Arts & Humanities
  Target: Undergraduate and Postgraduate
  ICT used: Web plus special software (Fablusi role-play simulator)
  Scope: One learning session or over several learning sessions

Designer's Summary


This is a simulation where players adopt the roles of either convicts or officials of Australia’s first settlement in an attempt to solve the problems of theft and starvation. It engages students in understanding the lives of others and the events of past history by having them:

  • research a real historical person;
  • act in character as that person;
  • collaborate with others to propose a solution to a social issue.

A web site and convict database are provided as online resources as well as:

  • a set of real historical characters and descriptions of those characters;
  • a scenario close to historical fact at a point in time;
  • an issue that has to be collaboratively negotiated;
  • a series of compounding events that moderators can choose to activate depending on how the negotiations are proceeding.

Learners are supported by moderator(s), other team members and the Fablusi role-play platform which provides:

  • a registration process that keeps the identity of the characters anonymous (except from the moderators);
  • an online moderator or group of moderators depending on the size of the class;
  • a communications system for group discussion as well as private email and chat using character names and with privileges for moderators;
  • facility for characters to be played by individuals or by teams of students depending on size and structure of the class.

Rationale for Inclusion


This exemplar has been selected for inclusion for the following reasons:

  • It illustrates the use of a particular web-based role-play software tool (Fablusi).
  • The content is based on a historical context (unlike other role-plays that are based on current world events).
  • The role-play environment is supplemented with a searchable database to assist students in researching their roles and the events that occurred.
  • It has been designed specifically to be reusable. It is a learning environment that others can use and/or modify.

A comprehensive Designer Template, plus a number of checklists and associated documentation is provided to guide the design and implementation of such an online role-play model. (See the "cross-links" below, or access the "Guides" section of this web site).

Please Cite As:

  Wills, S., Ip, A. & Bunnett, A. (2002). Description of Use of First Fleet Online Role Play. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
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