Learning Designs - Products of the AUTC project on ICT-based learning designs
Home | Exemplars (selected) | Guides | Tools | The Project | Search
  Snapshot (selected) Designer's Voice Cross-links
  Environmental Decision-Making Design Team

"Round Table Exercise: Environmental Decision-Making about Water Resources in Physical Geography"


Design Team
  Team: Gary Brierley, Mick Hillman, Elizabeth Devonshire and Leigh-Anne Funnell


  Focus: Role-Play
  Discipline: Science & Geography
  Target: Undergraduate (late)
  ICT used: Web plus LMS (Learning Management System)
  Scope: Over several learning sessions

Designer's Summary


Students learn about a particular environmental issue from multiple perspectives by interacting both online and face-to-face with their peers about a topic in assigned “stakeholder” roles. Students gain an appreciation about the complexity of the issue being examined as they are exposed to different viewpoints about the topic other than their own.

The round-table exercise (implemented over 4-weeks) involves four main activities:

  1. Each student conducts their own research about the topic in general and from the particular perspective of the stakeholder role they are assigned. A “stakeholder position paper” is submitted by each student.
  2. Students examine the other stakeholder position papers and post one question from their own stakeholder position to each of the other stakeholders.
  3. Students meet face-to-face to present their position paper and then try to reach consensus on an issue raised by the facilitator (who has selected one of the contentious issues/questions presented in the online discussion).
  4. The exercise is concluded by students reflecting on their learning experience.

Students are given access to a broad range of online and hard copy reading materials. They are also encouraged to find their own resources.

The teacher serves as a facilitator of the discussion and negotiation process. He/she briefs the students of the task, allocates the roles to each student, serves as a moderator in the online discussion, and chairs the final face-to-face meeting and debrief session.

Rationale for Inclusion


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

  • It illustrates an online role-play implemented in WebCT.
  • It has been implemented a number of times, has undergone evaluation and will continue to be implemented.
  • The learning design can be reused in other disciplines and contexts.

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:

  Brierley, G., Hillman, M., Devonshire, E. & Funnell, L. (2002). Description of Round Table Exercise: Environmental Decision-Making about Water Resources in Physical Geography. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
  Top of Page Home