Multimedia Assignments in Humanities Classes

I propose a conversation about incorporating multimedia assignments into humanities courses. As director of the University of Alabama Libraries’ Sanford Media Center, I’ve helped design and support a number of assignments in areas such as English, art, dance, and multiple modern languages classes. Although these assignments are across many divisions, the assignments have a common thread no matter the type of class or technological tool used; they are either asking students to make an argument (defining argument as a composition intended to convince or persuade) or demonstrate a skill outside the classroom.

Some examples of successful integration of multimedia assignments in humanities classes include an instructor in the art department who has dropped paper summaries of projects in favor of digital slideshows that exhibit the creation process, including planning, construction, and completion of a sculptural object, accompanied by comprehensive evaluation of the project. Instructors in English have students making websites to distribute their research and writing instead of traditional papers and instructors in modern languages have students filming themselves speaking in the assigned language for self-evaluation and instructor feedback.

In addition to using multimedia as a way to delivery the primary learning objective, students are also learning a valuable communication skill that is becoming more necessary as they enter the professional world–the ability to communicate beyond writing. As technology progresses and affects the workplace, the ability to successfully engage in multi-model communication will continue to increase inn value. These multimedia and communication skills are most clearly evident in the assignments that require students to present an argument of some type.

Possible suggested discussion topics include why even bother with media assignments, different types of assignments (e.g. video, audio, web, etc.), creating achievable assignments by determining useful expectations, rubric elements for assignment evaluation, and discussing some of the many tools that can be used for multimedia projects.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Mobile, Session Proposals, Session: Talk, Teaching | Tags: |
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About Lindley Shedd

Lindley C. Shedd is the Media Services Coordinator at The University of Alabama Libraries’ Sanford Media Center (SMC). The SMC is dedicated to supporting student multimedia production and serves more than 14,000 students each year with approximately 60 pieces of circulating equipment, 11 computer workstations and 1 recording studio. Lindley is responsible for the leadership and management of the SMC. These responsibilities include hiring, supervising and evaluating three professional staff and approximately 10 student staff, selecting innovative equipment and software, project and event planning, and maintaining unit guidelines and policies. She provides assistance to faculty who are designing multimedia projects by offering reviews concerning elements such as grading rubrics and parameters. Lindley also provides multimedia software instruction sessions for any college or department on campus and currently teaches 15-18 classes a semester, reaching 600-700 students. Lindley received her MIS in Information Science from Indiana University School of Library and Information Science in 2008.

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