Conspiracy Theory Link

During my teaching years, my principal consistently directed me to not ‘re-invent the wheel’ with my instruction.  This meant that she encouraged me to find resources online that would suite my instructional needs.  This seems like good advice…if there were instructional materials readily available online that matched my teaching philosophy, content needs, and context.  Occasionally, after lengthy online searches, I would be able to find materials that were suitable, but more often than not, I found little to nothing online that helped me.  This process was…frustrating.  Eventually I realized that it was usually easier and more efficient to develop my own materials.

In fact, I found the design and development portion of my job to be very gratifying.  I ended up with something tangible…a product that my students would use and learn from.  Additionally, I did want to re-invent the wheel!  Or at least improve it’s design, because many of the materials that existed online re-enforced traditional pedagogies in which students were spoonfed knowledge that they would eventually be asked to regurgitate…not my style.

Now, as an instructional designer for Project Engage (an introduction to computer science course), I once again have to make choices about what to design and develop independently and what to find online and re-purpose.  For the first unit/problem of the course, I wanted students to participate in digital forensics, which would require a complete narrative occurring in authentic online spaces that students could investigage independently.  This did not exist already online…I would have to create it myself.

I’m very happy to say that the result is ‘Conspiracy Theory – a Classic Whodunit for the Digital Age.’  I hope that this mystery will engage students in their first problem of the course and help them begin to think about computing in new ways.  So, without further ado, I challenge you to solve the mystery yourself!  I also hope that this might be of use to other teachers, so feel free to forward the link to whomever you think might want to use it in their classroom.

Conspiracy Theory


  • Leandro’s online identity has been stolen and used to cyberbully Chris.  As a result, Leandro has been expelled from school.  As Leandro’s friend, you must help convince the principal that Leandro is innocent.”

Digital evidence:

  • Explore the website below, which includes multiple different digital resources that mimic digital tools that we all use on a regular basis.  Remember, this is a complete narrative/mystery.  There are more clues than I can count, and it’s your job to exonerate Leandro and prove whodunit.  Can you solve the Conspiracy Theory?

Conspiracy Theory Link