Northeastern University

Partnering Around an Urgent Mission



An ever-growing amount of misinformation has contributed to widespread confusion and panic regarding the COVID-19 health crisis. 

The Global Resilience Institute (GRI) at Northeastern University recognized the need for a single, accurate, reliable resource. Through a coordinated, interdisciplinary collaboration with Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, GRI created a public-facing website comprising science-based factual information, articles and data, gathered from trustworthy sources. 

As the release date for a COVID-19 vaccine neared, educating with fact to dispel fiction became critical for the public’s safety and resiliency.

Northeastern University’s Digital Learning Team enlisted the help of O’Donnell Learn to quickly develop an interactive educational module specifically about the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. How quickly? Less than two weeks, start to finish – in both English and Spanish.


COVID-19: Vaccines 101 was delivered in just ten days, despite the amount of critical detail and information that needed to be included. Eight comprehensive modules provide accurate science and facts around vaccine development and testing, the specifics of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, the current distribution plan, how vaccines prevent disease and much more. This valuable public asset is freely accessible to anyone desiring to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and to make the best decision for their own and their surrounding community’s protection.


I want to take a minute to say thanks and let you know what a terrific job the O’Donnell Learn team did on the Covid Vaccine Rise course. The turnaround for the project was extremely fast, and there was a great deal of critical detail and information that had to be included. And the O’Donnell team literally covered the globe in time zones – sharing the urgency of the mission.

- Polly Searles, Senior Production Manager, Northeastern University | Digital Learning


When Northeastern University’s Digital Learning team contacted O’Donnell Learn to develop several educational modules about COVID-19 vaccines, two vaccines were days away from being approved for distribution in the US. The first shipments to medical facilities were soon to follow.

It was critical to quickly provide the public with science-based facts about these new vaccines. Accurate information is key to personal empowerment and resiliency. Myths and half-science had been propagating as truth through social media, news and other media outlets. Public distrust and resistance to COVID-19 vaccination was growing.

Northeastern’s Digital Learning team looked to O’Donnell Learn to develop these modules in a short timeframe. Additionally, these needed to be created within Rise®, an authoring application known for its highly interactive and media-rich capabilities. While many learning designers are familiar with Rise, most do not possess the level of experience required to develop eight in-depth, detailed modules in two languages within a dramatically shortened time frame.

Even for single stakeholder initiatives, significantly compressed schedules can be daunting to accomplish. This initiative would require incorporating input from several stakeholders as well as tracking content and revisions across multiple versions.

Anchoring the success of this project were the in-depth skills and experience our design team brought to the table. Well-seasoned at authoring in Rise, they were also especially adept at managing tight deadlines; understanding what could and could not be completed within the short development time available. Seamless content handoffs between designers and effective communication across global time zones were essential to delivering this module in just ten days.

We had great collaboration with Northeastern’s Digital Learning team in a very short time frame. This was a valuable project that is timely and important for all of us. It was a privilege to be a part of it.

Elaine Monohan
Senior Learning Designer


We’ve always believed education can change the world and truly value how technology can improve the way learning happens. However, technology can also be used to quickly spread misinformation, steering beliefs and decisions. We understood the urgency of making fact- and science-based information available to empower public awareness about COVID-19 vaccines prior to the vaccine rollout. We were thrilled to rise to the challenge for a project so critical to the health, well-being and safety of individuals and their communities during this global health crisis.