Digital Social Impact Course Configurator

In this section of our configurator, we highlight activities and digital tools which you and other HEI educators can use to start designing and planning digital social impact learning courses and activities for your students.

Key considerations in Digital Social Impact Course Design

Our Digital Social Impact Best Practice Audit is the theoretical and empirical backbone of our Digital Configurator. The content of the audit report was derived from academics in European HEIs with insights and experience in digital teaching formats which aim to create societal impact. Click below to uncover some of the best practices and barriers to digital social impact course design.

  • adequately prepared and interactive course content (Deshpande & Chukhlomin, 2017) leads to project success and high course quality, including appropriate outputs and easily understandable content (Albebisi & Yusop, 2019)
  • for content taught online, Polasek and Javorcik (2019) suggest processing teaching material in small separate units of five to seven minutes due to the retentiveness of the students
  • the teaching style has a high impact on the project’s success
  • getting the main stakeholders involved is deemed to be necessary.
  • Imperial et al. (2007) found out that regular feedback loops from the instructor and the community partner influence the overall success because the stakeholders can thus contribute to and shape the project.
  • including the partner in the co-design can ensure that the deliverables match the partner’s needs (Mattson & Wood, 2014)
  • the service-learning experience should enhance the students’ learning (Pawlowski, 2018); otherwise, it may not provide the desired learning experience
  • the importance of regular support and feedback for students is underlined by a study by Albebisi and Yusop (2019)
  • the instructor should ensure that the students can create a noticeable impact in the community and see how the community partner benefits from their work (Imperial et al., 2007). Seeing the impact of their work can motivate the students to engage in such projects more often and thereby increase their civic responsibility (Imperial et al., 2007)
  • the topic of the digital social impact project should help build the respective skills for their career interests because students additionally decide their enrolment based on their interests (Deshpande & Chukhlomin, 2017)
  • insufficient prior knowledge poses a barrier for students to participate in the project properly (Alariqi et al., 2019) and can endanger the project’s success. One way to address this is to be flexible enough in the course design so that different knowledge levels can participate
  • the instructor needs to start searching for a suitable partner well before the semester because the partner should be involved in the project directly from the beginning (Pawlowski, 2018). Petkus (2000)
  • Saud (2021) found out that the distance to the partner has a noticeable impact on the students’ motivation.
  • lack of funding can impede certain types of project concepts
  • technological constraints can represent barriers to students’ engagement and collaboration and thus to the eventual success of the course (Naveed et al., 2020)
  • infrastructure, is especially relevant for digital settings, which heavily rely on suitable IT equipment covering the “requirements (software and hardware) of student, faculty, and community” (Musa et al., 2017, p. 103)
  • lack of educator expertise can pose a barrier to the success of service-learning implementations (Alariqi et al., 2019). However, Xiangling and Zheng (2019) state that non-academics lacking the necessary knowledge can guide projects as efficiently as academics after being taught on the subject. Hence, it can be assumed that the service projects are not implemented successfully without proper guidance from the instructor.

Insights from other educators and students

There was a lot of staff involved – some for design, some for construction, some for marketing etc. Different people gained different things but one common thing was that the project opened up new ways to teach and engage students in outreach work outside of the university.

Vilnius Tech educators and students played a key role in the pOrtal project


Activities, Lessons, Resources and Topics

Below you can find some tried and tested activities, lessons, resources and topics to assist you in designing your first or next Digital Social Impact course. Use the fiters to find the ones you are most interested in. Click to learn more and choose to add your favourites to your Digital Social Impact Course Configurator tool. 


Digital Tools

Below you can find some of digital tools that can assist you with this stage of your digital social impact course design. As before, you can click to learn more about the tool and can add your favourites to your digital social impact course blueprint. There are many tools available: these are just some of the tools you can use and you should try as many as you can. There is no advertising affiliation between our project and any of the services and products listed.

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  • Design Tools
  • Organising Tools
  • Planning Tools
  • Storage Tools