Building Escape Rooms with Microsoft OneNote

By Kerrie Stephenson, Learning Technologist, Teaching Excellence Academy

I’m sure most people have heard of an ‘Escape Room’ - an adventure, searching through rooms and solving puzzles to progress and make a successful escape. This experience is usually applied in a physical space but have you ever thought about building a room online?

Well now you can! Teams has the functionality to do this - all you need to do is create a OneNote Notebook using rooms with questions and answers, for formative or even summative assessment!!

I created an Escape Room for the University’s Learning and Teaching Conference in 2021 which was well received by attendees. I used questions and answers about the University and the city of Hull to showcase how great we are, providing an interactive learning experience. Even those living in the city learned something. A link was given to all attending the conference and if they wanted to, they could make it their mission to escape.

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Overview screenshot of Learning & Teaching Conference Escape Room

The first thing I did was think of an idea which could fit in with the conference and what better way was there than to introduce them to the University and just some of what Hull has to offer. Although the conference was online, I thought it would help put Hull on the map by highlighting some of the best bits. Although it was difficult to decide what to include, I kept things to a minimum to prevent colleagues from getting bored. If you do decide to use an Escape Room, you will want to retain the students’ attention so don’t use lots of difficult questions but instead use some ‘easier’ questions, to keep students interested. Think of creating an enjoyable experience, perhaps include pictures which may provide hints.

I also created another room based on the conference poster exhibition – if attendees had looked at the different posters, did they take the information in? Both Escape Rooms brought something different to the conference.

When I had my idea and my questions, I started building my Escape Room using a OneNote Notebook. It was easy to do; the most difficult part was to think of my set of questions. My first attempt was to use questions which needed a written answer but I found this didn’t work very well as the full answer has to be typed correctly.

For example: my question - What is PET?
Well, not a lot of people would know the answer and those who did might have had trouble with the spelling of ‘Positron Emission Tomography’. Not being able to move on could cause frustration, leading to students giving up at the first hurdle. The better option was to use multiple choice questions with A, B or C for the answer.

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Example of OneNote room description

Perhaps, your Escape Room could test and enforce understanding of your subject or maybe use it as an ice-breaker. Why not even ask your students to create one to test their peers?

See an Escape Room in action and try to Escape from Hull.


Image by Patrick Fischer on Unsplash.

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