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The Supernatural in Early-Modern Britain Digital Showcase


As part of the second-year undergraduate module, The Supernatural in Early-Modern Britain, Dr Martha McGill requires students to work together in groups to create a digital showcase, exploring a specific aspect of the module. The digital showcases consist of a set of webpages that explore a theme chosen by the students using source material selected from the wider module content. While the students were expected to work together on the overall structure and coherence of the webpages, they also contributed their own individual analyses of historical sources. The digital showcases were pitched to a general audience and the students used SiteBuilder to put them together. Following the completion of the task, students came together for a workshop in which they reflected on their own showcases and gave feedback to their peers. Although the assessed digital showcases were not made public, students were also offered the option of contributing to a public resource.

In using digital showcases as an assessment tool, Dr McGill hopes to vary the students’ experience of the module and encourage them to think about communicating complex ideas to a wider non-academic audience. It also gives students practical experience of putting together an online resource. For example, students were encouraged to think about accessibility, image copyright and user experience.

Lesson plan

  1. Dr McGill provided information on the assessment, as well as basic instructions for using SiteBuilder. The students were also provided with examples of online exhibitions and a sample site for them to explore.
  2. The students attended a seminar, which covered more general topics around communicating to the public. This also provided an opportunity for students to ask questions about using the software.
  3. The students chose their themes in their groups.
  4. Once the digital showcases were complete, they submitted them via Tabula by providing a link to a password-protected page.
  5. Dr McGill hosted a workshop with the students in which they looked at each other’s digital showcases, reflected on the task and provided feedback.
  6. As a non-compulsory option, students were offered the opportunity to contribute to a public resource, which required undergoing a more rigorous editing process.

Tutor's observations

I think [online showcases] could be really easily translated into any discipline, anything in which you can do a group project where everyone can take a little branch and put together some sort of resource that could be of interest to the public. You could put together a set of resources explaining mathematical concepts for teenagers using SiteBuilder for example…I think it could be adapted to just about anything.

The main thing that was holding me back was that I thought it would be too complicated and the students would have all kinds of worries about using the technology…but I found it much easier than I expected and it meant that they came out with something professional-looking and easily shared. The main thing I would communicate is that SiteBuilder is actually a very easy tool to use for this.


Punishers and Protectors: Angels in Seventeenth-Century EnglandLink opens in a new window. Written by Georgia Cirillo, Tamyla Jawahir, Jenna Meakin, Hana Noor-Khan and Anna Sharp. Collated by Dr Martha McGill.

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HI2E5-15: The Supernatural in Early-Modern Britain