university of north carolina teaching and learning with technology collaborative
Monday May 19 
instructional technology retreat

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Birds of a Feather: Multimedia Session

The discussion began with a demonstration of a multimedia presentation created by Dr. Houghton at

Dr. Houghton indicated that the site used seven different multimedia techniques: virtual reality, animation (gif or flash), still images (video), text, audio (music), electronic sensors/remote control, and graphics.

He commented that this site is just one example of what is currently possible in the presentation of course material, but that the next generation will quite possibly be SMILE (synchronized multi integration language?) which is currently endorsed by the WWW consortium.

Dr. Houghton suggested that the participants of this session collaborate with one another and others on their respective campuses to work together to develop and share our knowledge about multimedia and its use in teaching and learning. It was suggested that the Collaborative should take an active role in providing opportunities to enhance the knowledge of and proficiency in the use of multimedia. A request was made to explore how this might be accomplished.

Comments and suggestions from the various members of the session included:

* Involving Hal Meeks, a multimedial expert at NCSU, in the consortium. . It was suggested that the TLT Collaborative build a community of like-minded individuals that would impact faculty and staff through collaboration that could sponsor conferences. This group could share information through emails and if the group expands, we would have an umbrella organization that could support our efforts;

* It was observed that although this conference provided an opportunity to gather data about what is going on and to express issues of concern, the next conference should focus on multimedia. It was suggested that everyone attending bring one example of his/her use of multimedia in course work and present it to the group;

* An additional observation was made that we are all trying to learn the same thing and finding the same pitfalls. An on-line discussion of what was learned, what works, and what doesn*t would be very helpful. It was recommended that he Collaborative set minimal standards and/or boundaries for the inclusion of multimedia in course presentations;

* A concern was expressed for the need to have a clear understanding of what is expected from each of us in the way of examples of multimedia being used in course design so that participants can be prepared prior to attending a conference. Dr. Houghton offered to make a list of appropriate hardware and software that people should have access to to use multimedia tools effectively;

* A suggestion was made that space on the TLT portal where people can share what they have done should be made available. Dr. Houghton suggested using a peer-reviewed site such as the one which he has petitioned for at WCU;

* A suggestion was made to begin an e-Journal which could be peer reviewed by an Editorial Board. One member of the session currently serves on the Board of an e-Journal and commented that the concept works quite well. . A concern was stated that if this concept was pursued, there could be a hard drive storage issue so that we would need to have Michael O*Kane advocate for space on a server which would support our efforts;

* Concerns were expressed about copyright issues involved in an e-Journal. It was recommended that all should agree to give copyright clearance to other members of the Collaborative. The e-Journal will also introduce licensing issues, but these issues need to be resolved in such a way that commercial options for publication are preserved. Several participants gave enthusiastic support for the pursuit of an e-Journal.

* Emphasis was placed on the need for establishing standards, archiving media pieces such as information, reusable instructional objects, etc.;

* A suggestion was made to establish a support group which has multimedia as its focus and involves individuals with various levels of expertise;

* The question was raised as to whether or not Dr. Houghton was setting up a design standard as evidenced by the URL demonstrated. Dr. Houghton indicated that his design is just one way for a multimedia presentation to be done, and that his hope is that faculty will define new and better ways to present materials and information. Dr. Houghton expressed a desire to get beyond the text to using the different multimedia tools and change the nature of composition as much as the Greeks did in 700B.C. to a more comprehensive composition or "web processing". Using this concept, faculty/authors can also incorporate the diversity issue which recognizes the various learning styles of our students (see Dr. Houghton*s recent book, Circuit Sense; which focuses on electronic composition);

* An observation was made that it is important to identify key people on campus to involve in this process. It was emphasized that the role of collaboration is paramount and it was suggested that each of us survey our campuses to identify those people who know multimedia and instructional technology and invite them to be a part of the process;

* CISCO was thought to be an important resource for the UNC system. It was suggested that we need someone in this group who can identify our needs in multimedia to feed information back to CISCO;

* Two great resources on the campus of ECU are David Edwards and Dr. Pantedelis (sp?) in the School of Education;

* A retreat at WCU in multimedia will occur on June 26-30, 2000. Contact Dr. Houghton for information;

* The importance of aesthetics was emphasized. "Just because we can do something, does not mean that we ought to do it".

Future Considerations and Action Steps:

Those interested in exploring and being involved further in issues involving multimedia should send an email to [email protected] Individuals who learn of resources, send information concerning them to Dr. Houghton and he will have Michael O*Kane set up a web page and we will post information to that page. In addition, a e-mailing list will be established for communication.

An observation was made that we are remiss not to tap into other university systems and see what others have accomplished in the area of multimedia in coursework. For example, University College at the University of Maryland has a peer review process that is required for everyone developing a web course. Once approved, the course gets an icon placed on its web page as a "stamp of approval" or sign of quality. Another example is San Francisco State that has between 70-100 multimedia courses. It was recommended that Michael O*Kane secure some money to send a group of people to San Francisco State to learn about their efforts in multimedia. It was also recommended that we explore the possibility of having a team from San Francisco State come to North Carolina to share their information with us. Further, it is believed that there are universities worldwide who are more advanced that we are and that we should develop a major resource list that helps us identify those resources.

A suggestion was made as part of the e-Journal to feature a "Make over of the Month" course which would show a before and after version of the course on the site. This would be accompanied by some "do"s and "don*t"s and could be very instructional and informative to those designing web courses.

In the next 2-3 months a web site will be established and email list begun. Bob Orr at WCU will be asked to assist with this in getting this organized.

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