Think – April 2017

If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.  

Jessie Potter

Many of us in higher ed lean heavily on papers and exams when assigning student work. And while a well-written final paper is capable of efficiently addressing a number of assessment objectives, it’s possible that we’re doing our students a disservice if these are the only types of assessment assigned. Moreover, when we talk about multimedia in the classroom the discussion trends towards strategies for instructors to incorporate existing media or develop their own. It could also be helpful, however, to consider the value that student created multimedia content can contribute to learning.

Thumbnail for Video. Click to Open Video.

Graduate Multimedia Fellows: So You Want to Assign a Multimedia Project? from The Derek Bok Center.


Three reasons student created multimedia might be a good idea:

Diverse Assessments for a Diverse Classroom:

Inclusive teaching requires a diversity of methods. In addition to thinking about ways one might diversify content and process, it is also important to consider ways in which one might diversify learning products. Papers, exams, and presentations each require different skills, but all three are capable of providing evidence of learning. So, too, are podcasts, games, graphics, videos, and websites.

Valuable Learning Products:

Lightbulb icon, RedA common challenge in teaching and learning is designing quality assessment for students – especially assessments that address some of the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Multimedia projects open up several new avenues to get students creating, and to do so in a way that requires them to adapt, collaborate, remix, design, and devise. Marion Engin provides one example as it relates to second language learning in her article, “Extending the flipped classroom model.”

The Multimedia World:

While audio-visual media are not the only way to engage in the world around us, it is indeed becoming increasingly naive to think that they are not a significant way to do so. When we fail to participate in this enormous part of our world, we miss the opportunity to help shape the discourse within it. Likely all of our students will need to develop competence in one or more types of media…and working to build students’ technology palates technology palates is about more than just developing competencies in tools. It’s also about learning to think critically about digital work and to understand that technology is not always a neutral thing, i.e.:

  1. What are we giving up when we get something for “free?”
  2. What are we actually getting when we purchase a software or service?
  3. Is it worth sacrificing autonomy and creativity for a simpler user experience?
  4. What kind of time, knowledge, and money will it take to successfully implement a given tool or technology…and am I willing and/or able to give these resources?

There’s a lot of thinking needed to critically engage new media – let’s help our students to engage in this process.


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