COVID-19: Moving to Teaching Online – Sway

Dear Colleagues

This is a small explanation of how I have been using and intend to use the Microsoft Office 365 App “Sway”. This is only my experience in my roles within the medical school, and not intended as guidance you must follow.

I have used Sway (examples below) to create documents that act as interactive workbooks, designed as both pre-reading and documents students can visit after a session has run to cement concepts. I have used numerous different functions within Sway but there is more you can do. You can see some Microsoft Office tutorial guidance here and there are further tutorials on Youtube.

My plan within 3D and TLHP is to strip back the content so that important concepts are covered using Sway to create small bitesize pieces of learning, so students can complete one “chapter” of the sway document and link this to videos/documentaries/activities or a 10 minutes narrated presentation. I will likely to do this by embedding a link within Sway directly to the powerpoint via sharepoint to avoid multiple presentations being uploaded to Blackboard.  Students can then pause the Sway and return to the next chapter when they are ready (bearing in mind distance learning is often more effective when “chunked” into manageable sections).

In order to keep the document looking clean when sharing URLs within the Sway document, those that don’t embed, I use websites such as or which reduce the length (and can even be customised). Within Sway you can easily embed youtube videos, images and Microsoft forms (which could function as quiz).

The following are “visual links” to the student facing part of the Sway documents which can be embedded in emails. I am uncertain if the visual link can be embedded in Blackboard but the standard URL can be shared on Blackboard. These are being worked on so excuse typos.

Go to this Sway
Go to this Sway
Go to this Sway

When I have completed examples with links to presentations etc I will try and share these as well. Please note I work directly from the desktop app but you can work online. If your Sways are not visible (occasional glitch) close and refresh the app. Best of luck – although it’s not totally intuitive if you experiment you will get it, and there is always an “undo” button.

Best wishes,

Dr Joseph Hartland,
3D (Disability, Disadvantage and Diversity) Helical Theme and Public and Patient Engagement Lead/TLHP Tutor,
Medical Education,
Bristol Medical School,