Make virtual learning fun: using ‘break in’ rooms in online teaching

Creating fun, game-like activities as part of your online classes can aid learning, student engagement and collaboration. Here, Shonagh Douglas explains how she has used ‘break-in rooms’ as an effective induction for remote students

Shonagh Douglas's avatar
Robert Gordon University
17 Nov 2020
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Key Details

This video will cover: 

00:10 Introduction to the concept of a “break-in room” for online teaching 

00:50 Uses of a break-in room – introducing students to the university and its student support services  

01:35 Uses of a break-in room – introducing students to the university library 


Hello, my name is Shonagh Douglas and I’m an accounting and finance lecturer and course leader at the Robert Gordon University.  

Today, I’m going to share a virtual break-in room which I developed in response to inductions moving online. This was developed in Storyline and run over Zoom with our students.  

The break-in room aimed to serve two purposes: firstly, as an icebreaker activity. Students worked in small teams, their newly allocated study groups, to complete the various activities and see which  team could break into the university first.   

Secondly, I wanted to find a memorable way to share the important and useful support services at the university, such as those offered by our study skills department and the library. 

So, let’s have a quick look. First of all students are locked into the university. 

Their first challenge is to undertake some quick searches to find out about the university and its history. 

Next requires them to access the study skills virtual campus page and identify different areas which support can be offered. 

Once completed, the students need to enter, into the keyboard, the study skills email contact address to move forward. 

The library features next. After a short presentation on its support for learning, we introduce importance of referencing in academic writing. 

Students then have to search and find the university’s referencing tool, RefWorks. They need to calculate a Scrabble score to continue. 

The different ways in which the library can be contacted are explained. The students then have to find one of these methods, the library’s phone number, and enter this into the phone to continue. 

So, here we have the final interaction, the flying hat. 

Students are given different scenarios where they might need support, and have to fly the hat, using the arrows, to the right person. 

Once completed, students receive a key to unlock and enter the university. 

The students are in.  

And that completes our presentation, thank you for listening. 

This video was produced by Shonagh Douglas, lecturer in finance and accounting at Robert Gordon University.  

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For more resources on this topic, go to our collection Making online learning fun.


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