Embedding multimedia into disciplinary based courses

This is an old article (2011) but it gives a number of good examples about the ways that US colleges and Universities are integrating multimedia literacies into a range of other disciplines. At Purdue for example one lecturer integrates both policy writing and multimedia campaign promotion into  a core science course on issues in science and society:

The 80 students in the class divide up in groups of four to write a white paper proposing policy on a scientific issue, such as supporting wind energy. Then they must produce a “persuasive yet accurate” short video to build momentum for their policy, says Mr. Fosmire. The professor says he has been surprised by how much time and energy the students invest in the videos, which have included mock newscasts and send-ups of popular sitcoms.

This is a great approach because it embeds a set of professional skills cohesively into a disciplinary context. It is not just about science nor is it just about multimedia. It teaches a complex set of digital literacies that combines production skills with an understanding of how they might be used in a marketing/ campaign context. It matches this with group work and policy skills development. So it is a perfect complex authentic task

Fosmire’s comments about the focus and energy that this type of task produces in students is very familiar to me and I have written about this in the context of student blogging projects. As Seymour Papert has argued, when we ask students to “construct” something, they often really engage with the artefact in a deep way and this results in a deeper learning experience.

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