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Choosing media: graphics, photos, video, multimedia

Media can be extremely effective in engaging students, and the online environment is a natural one for presentation of many types of static and interactive media. However, there is a golden rule when deciding upon both the amount and types of media: only use what is absolutely necessary. Compared to text, there is much more effort required to produce any type of media, and a wrong choice can mean hours, or even days of a professional’s time has been wasted. In fact, sometimes a well-presented case study, using only text, can be more effective than a dazzling display of multimedia that does not engage the learner deeply.

Depending upon what was decided as necessary when you and the IDC created the blueprint for the course, you may be using graphics, photos, video, or multimedia in your course, and will be working with professionals from those areas.

Creating videos and multimedia can take months of planning and production; therefore, when a decision has been made to go ahead with either, the sooner work can start on them the better. It is important to focus on your educational objectives, and not get sidetracked on enticing tangents. Tightly focused video and multimedia will mean a successful educational experience for your students; poorly planned, unfocussed efforts will mystify them and waste their time.

Graphics and photos can also take an intensive effort to produce. As with videos and multimedia, these do not need to be produced in lock-step with the text they will accompany online. In fact, it is much more efficient if any identified graphics and photos can be worked on early in the development cycle. This will not only mean that they will be finished in time, but also will help the graphic artists and media producers plan their workload, as they almost always work on more than one project simultaneously.

An increasingly good option for media and graphics is to use Creative Commons (CC) licensed media that can be located through a variety of search methods. This is media that is reusable and copyright free, and in some cases, can be modified to suit your needs.  Your IDC and the librarian can help you with a search, and if you are successful, it eliminates some of the time and resources need to develop media from scratch.

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