Engagement Opportunities Through Multimedia

Using Multimedia for Online Course Engagement

Introduction

This article includes recommended resources and practices to help navigate your teaching online and help improve student engagement through Multimedia. Most of these resources are available at no cost and/or promote free or open source solutions already available to faculty and students. Additionally, although not all resources are cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, etc.), priority is given, or qualified when hardware or software platforms are prevalent to the use of the resource.

Table of Contents

Metrics and Analytics    Using Small Teaching    Multimedia Projects and Resources    Project Examples

Metrics and Analytics  

Integrating multimedia resources into your courses can offer a wide range of metrics and information to help analyze the effectiveness of the student engagement process. Many offer the frequency of participation and the level of engagement within specific units of the resource. This article will reference when applicable, opportunities to quantify how a multimedia process metric can be used and how to critique the effectiveness of your student engagement through the respective multimedia resource.

Some generic examples of utilizing these metrics are listed below:

  Moodle Analytics Creating Interactive modules like polls and quizzes or reviewing Analytics like frequency of visits, and more.  
  Mediaspace Analytics Each media entry offers Analytics for Views, duration of viewing, and frequency of plays. Creating a channel offers opportunities for collaboration and sharing, as well as additional metrics including geo-location information.  
  Google Docs, Slides, Sheets and Sites Creating a template Presentation, Document or Spreadsheet and sharing those with students all you to access the history of views, user participation, and duration of visits and edit changes. The Sites resource allows website creation for even more detailed Analytics information.  
  Youtube, Soundcloud, & 3rd-Party Services Each of these resources is designed for public use, and although your student's content may not be designed for a larger audience, these 3rd party resources include vast amounts of data for analyzing user engagement... plus Students may invest more effort if they know their content is intended for public sharing and display.  

Using Small Teaching Practices 

 

Many of the principles advanced by the Teaching and Learning Center and by the author James M. Lang from his book Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning book can easily translate to applications towards multimedia projects into your curriculum.

Additionally, including projects that involve multimedia often carry the adaptability to emphasize work-flows which can prioritize brevity and conciseness or long term development and in-depth research. Because multimedia projects are often multiphase, you can append block or component learning, critical thinking, creative expressions, and peer review to these phases along with frequent critiques and check-ins.

A short snapshot of multimedia correlations from the Small Teaching principles include:

  • Retrieving Techniques
    • 1-minute Audio / Video Response recordings
    • Low-stakes Video Quizzes
  • Predicting Techniques
    • Short audio predictions about course materials
    • Predictive online docs / modeling
  • Interleaving Techniques
    • weekly mini Podcasts discussing older content
    • staggered deadlines for digital poster presentations
  • Connecting Techniques
    • 1-minute call to action videos / thesis / introductions
    • Mindmapping / Concept Maps / Infographics
  • Self-Explaining Techniques
    •  Student created Explainer-type videos
    • Recording peer discussions
    • Scheduled Asynchronous Collaborative White-boarding
 

Multimedia Projects and Resources 

Below are several recommended resources and multimedia engagement opportunities, including program suggestions, techniques and/or specific applications that may be translated or applied to an assignment or course project.

Video Projects 

 

1 min. Call-to-Action Videos

 

Featured Resources
Video Editing: Adobe Spark (web-based), Adobe Premiere Rush (mobile and desktop), iMovie (iOS and Mac), 

Online Media Resources

Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons  |  Unsplash  |  Pixabay  |  Archive.org  |  Library of Congress

Creating videos is an excellent way to encourage student engagement. The process behind creating videos used to be very hardware and software intense, however now with the availability of programs like Adobe Spark, Adobe Premiere Rush, and iMovie video editors are far more accessible. Many modern smartphones have incredible capabilities to record and create media content. Additionally students can utilize a number of online resources including finding images and videos from Creative Commons media, using Storyblocks for images, videos and music, and screen-capturing content from permitted resources like news outlets.

Video projects can be assigned individually or in groups, and longer projects can include combining multiple assignment components such as writing scripts, creating pitches ( think: 1-minute thesis), storyboarding and researching difficult resources like video, audio and imagery.

The videos created by students can be hosted privately using Bucknell's Mediaspace or Moodle resources, or shared publicly with sites like Youtube or Vimeo. Mediaspace offers opportunities to both share and collect content with students via channels or modules in Moodle can be created to collect media assignments. Additionally, these hosting platforms offer metrics to help gauge the effectiveness of the student engagement as well as its popularity and outreach beyond just the course assignment. 

 
 

Converting your existent Powerpoints, Keynotes or other presentations into videos is another easy way of transitioning engagement opportunities through multimedia. These programs include options for narrating presentations, which can be exported and shared into short videos. If you are accustomed to presenting traditional lectures in a classroom with these programs, then converting them into an online format is just a few simply clicks. You lose the opportunity for Q&A and feedback throughout the session, but these videos can serve as as a platform for a flipped classroom model. Maintaining your traditional lecture length is not advised, but by condensing these recordings, you can lead your students into extrapolation or prediction opportunities for a later discussion or multimedia outlet. Creating these narrations directly within the presentation software is easy, or you can use a phone to record the video / audio and insert the slides thereafter using the Full Deck feature in Mediaspace.

Narrated presentation videos carry the advantage of working with a familiar tool and converting them into videos allows users a way to access that content asynchronously to be watched ahead of meeting times or scheduled assignments, then students can utilize forums, video conferencing tools or collaborative assignments and whiteboards to engage in the lecture content thereafter.

Hosting this content can be done through Mediaspace or Moodle, but know that videos can be large in file size, and finding a video hosting service that can handle large file sizes is recommended. You'll also be able to see Analytics based on viewing percentage, and logged in users as well.

Presentation Videos

 

Featured Resources

Presentation Software:
PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, LibreOffice 

Online Media Resources
Mediaspace  |  Moodle
 
 

Digital Profiles / Essays

 

Featured Resources

Video Editing: Adobe Spark (web-based), Adobe Premiere Rush (mobile and desktop), iMovie (iOS and Mac), 

Online Content Resources
Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons   Unsplash  |  Pixabay     Archive.org  |  Library of Congress
Online Collaboration Resources
Google Slides / Docs / Drive / Jamboard

 

Digital Profiles or Digital Essays can be a substitute for research papers with regards to rigor, length and research. They are not meant to be short assignments, but still offer a way of presenting in-depth information more concisely than a more traditional research papers.

Stages of development can allow for frequent check-in opportunities and assignments can be blocked into modules to both engage and assess your students' progress. Outlining, Scripting, Storyboarding and Production phases are all fundamentals of video creation and can be measured and broken down into individual assignments. The tools for collaborating on projects like these are already accessible to students using templates and online resources like GApps which can be referenced from Medialab+.

Profiles and Essays can be an opportunity to conduct research using non-traditional sources and to allow students creative expressions to express concepts, content and questions.

 

Audio Projects 

 
Podcasts

 

Featured Resources

Audio Editing:

Audacity  |  Garageband  |  Audition  |   

Online Content Resources
Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons  |  Soundcloud  |  Freesound.org  |  Freemusicarchive  |  Library of Congress

If the thought of doing videos is a bit technically overwhelming, channel your inner Terry Gross and consider a Podcast! Podcasts are a great multimedia format to explore. All of the principles and methods of storytelling and media production are all still there, but the technical requirements can be significantly easier. Recording quality audio can be done with a smartphone, laptop, desktop and you can conduct and record interviews using video conferencing software like Zoom or Google Meet.

Structuring your course like a Podcast is also an opportunity to promote engagement with your students. Consider hosting an episodic Podcast on your course topic, and assigning students to be the "experts" or "guests" each week or on a scheduled meeting. Individuals or groups can be assigned research topics, and you can "interview" them about a related topic each episode. These interviews can then be supplemented with music and sound effects to create a more involved and media-rich engagement.

Hosting the content in Moodle or Mediaspace can be a familiar platform because audio files are generally smaller in file size, so you aren't as likely to run into as many complications with storage or upload times and optimizations. That said, if you're interested in sharing these episodes with a larger audience, you might opt to host these episodes on services like Soundcloud or Mediaspace where others can subscribe to the content and be notified when new "episodes" come out. This can up the anti for both you and your students to put a more professional effort towards your productions.

 
 

If you have access to a Google Chrome browser you can use the Read and Write add-on in your browser that enables audio commentary to your Google Apps suite docs. Audio comments are an easy and more personable way to offer students feedback and invite others to engage in additional feedback with contributing commentary as well.

Students who might need to peer-evaluate papers, slideshow presentations or address articles in reference to online material may have a easier opportunity to both articulate and extrapolate on their ideas and expressions using audio comments in place of written ones. These options can help bridge the void of missing dialogue from person-to-person interactions, but they can also a new and unique way of presenting their thoughts.

Students authoring content might also try a Soundcite, which allows the embedding of audio within text of an online article or HTML web page that students create. Soundcites allow an audience to hear as they read the author's citation, reference or emphasis. 

Each of these resources remains dedicated to a text based continuity, but by adding audio as a multimedia resource, the ambiguity and separation of being remote and online as a contributor may feel less distant.

Audio Commentaries / Soundcite

 

Featured Resources

Audio Recording:

Google Docs / Slides |   Read and Write for Chrome  |  Soundcite   

 
         

Graphics/Image Projects 

 
Graphic Essays / Web Comics

 

Featured Resources

Presentation Software:

PowerPoint  |  Keynote  |  Google Slides   

Online Content Resources
Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons  |  Soundcloud  |  Freesound.org  |  Freemusicarchive  |  Library of Congress

Embarking on graphic essays is an opportunity for creativity and design. If you have struggled to articulate content (particularly dramatic or difficult) content to an audience, a graphic essay is an excellent option to ease that formality of traditional academic content. Neither you nor your students have to be artists to create graphic essays, and you don't need any downloaded programs or software to create them. You do have to be open to a challenge of expressing lots of information or a narrative in almost an exclusively visual manner.

The unique opportunity of Graphic essays is that a personal narrative will shape the information being presented, and whether that's a profile of someone researched or your own students' experiences, the design and presentation of graphic essays or web comics open up the potential for a more invested and involved engagement with material. This can also be an exercise on refining your storytelling skills and enhancing visual identities and presentations.

Any presentation software like PowerPoint, Keynote or Google slides can be used to create Graphic Essays, and the content can be created by students or found using imagery and media online. Researching, compiling and organizing these resources may seem pretty straight-forward, but students will be challenged and benefit from the focusing their attention to how they present those resources and how that comes together without much written or shared beyond the visuals. 

Google Slides makes creating these easy and accessible, and offers the easiest way of presenting them in  either a webpage or embedded within a module in Moodle.

 
 

Poster sessions are long overdue for an upgrade and most students are familiar with the process of creating both a traditional poster AND using Google Slides / PowerPoint. Creating an interactive or Digital poster is technically easy and requires little additional knowledge beyond creating some custom sizes in your presentation software and designing content that users can interact with, but perfecting those posters into digital content that audiences will be able to interact with, and comprehend is a new engagement challenge. 

Google Slides is the online equivalent of Microsoft's PowerPoint or Apple's Keynote but has the added benefit of being able to publish content easily to the web. By doing so, students have the ability to create poster sessions that audiences can engage with interactively online through a url or embedded into a website. The process of publishing content is not the challenge, but the real trick becomes transforming long passages of text or data into slides that viewers can review and analyze and even possibly manipulate.

Transforming content into online interactive media presents an engagement opportunity for both students and faculty, because the showcase of these presentations can be curated and hosted by the instructor which also leads to conversations about how these presentations extend beyond the classroom.

Interactive Digital / Multimedia Posters

 

Featured Resources

Presentation Software:

PowerPoint  |  Keynote  |  Google Slides   

Online Content Resources
Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons  |  Soundcloud  |  Freesound.org  |  Freemusicarchive  |  Library of Congress
 
 
Infographics
CONTENT COMING SOON  
 

Website Projects 

 
 
Research Websites

 

Featured Resources

Website Creation Software:

Google Sites   |   Wordpress   |   Omeka

Online Content Resources
Storyblocks  |  Creative Commons  |  Soundcloud  |  Freesound.org  |  Freemusicarchive  |  Library of Congress

Research websites offer the students the opportunity to self publish research with rich-media and interactive components to create a dedicated resource of accessible content that can be shared with a global audience. Research combine the importance of writing and research, but include design accessibility and composition in a web media format.
 
     

Project Examples 

  Below are several examples from courses where students created projects utilizing aforementioned resources to create content that expanded the course objectives both creatively and digitally through multimedia.  
1 Minute Call-to-Action Videos 

Course: CEEG 422: River Dynamics
Faculty: Jessica Newlin
Date: Spring 2020

In Professor Newlin's course, students created 1-minute Call-to-Action style videos using the online software Adobe Spark. The goal was to produce a short informational video addressing issues facing different river systems throughout the world, and students were grouped in pairs to develop an outline, write a short script, and then find media online to assemble through the online video editor Adobe Spark. 

Adobe Spark is a simple application to use, works online through a web-browser so there's no program to install, and allows multiple users to collaborate online. Although the customization options are limited, the program allows video-editing beginners a very easy and approachable resource to begin creating multimedia.

Additionally, creating videos with a constrained duration forces students to critically determine what content is most important, and how to present information in both concise and comprehensive manners. 

Thumbnail preview of the Columbia River River Dynamics video

The Columbia River 

created by students Daniel Hallowell and Adam Pauciello using Adobe Spark

 

animated gif of students interviewing faculty on Zoom for podcast

Coffee and Politics Podcast

created by students John Davidian and Michael Drabich, with special guest Prof. Erica Delsandro

EDUCATION PODCASTS
Multimedia Resources: Audacity, Zoom, Mediaspace

Google Docs | Script writing | Audio recording | Interviews | Audio production | Audacity | Soundcloud | Mediaspace

Course: EDUC 232: Globalization
Faculty: Janet VanLone  |   Date: Spring 2020

COMING SOON 

 
GLOBALIZATION GRAPHIC ESSAYS
Multimedia Resources:

Comic Life | Script writing | Google Slides 

Course: IREL 350: Globalization
Faculty: Ilona Moore  |  Date: Fall 2016

In Professor Moore’s Globalization course, students created graphic essays using Comic Life to show the impact of globalization on a specific population. The creative exercise allowed them to explain complex issues of globalization specifically, time-space expansion and/or time-space compression to a broader audience.

The essay was completed in stages: students learned to tell stories and present complex concepts through images, then they articulated an audience and objective for the essay and researched that topic. After developing a script that included character back-story, the students gathered images, identified a specific visual style, and produced the final graphic essay using Comic Life software. Comic Life is software specifically designed to make populating a comic layout easy, and it's available in the Digital Video Editing Lab on campus, although Google Slides is a free and online alternative.

While most students found the software easy to learn, some struggled with shifting the focus from the written to visual medium. Despite this, many saw the benefit of producing a research project that utilized creative storytelling in order to help a specific audience understand a complex issue.

Example of Graphic Essay from Globalization course

Website Preview of student's American Rebels course site.

1811 GERMAN COAST UPRISING WEBSITE

HISTORICAL RESEARCH WEBSITES

Course: HIST 310: American Rebels
Faculty: Paul Barba  |   Date: Fall 2019

In Professor Barba's American Rebel's course, students were tasked with creating an historical research website focusing on a topic of their choosing, and including primary and secondary resources with interactive content and then compiling that information and designing a user experience using Google Sites and 3rd party code snippets.

Google Sites offered a simply and easy to collaborate web-creation tool that is already available within our Google domain, so no new users accounts or sign-ups were required. Additionally, students learned about creating and designing layouts and navigation practices for content that a larger audience might engage with.

Multimedia Resources:

Google Sites | Timeline JS | Tableau public