Be the first to like this
Academic assignments must be enhanced by the use of technology, rather than dominated by it. Student generated digital media assignments are able to heighten learner engagement by taking advantage of new accessible technologies such as phone memo tools, MP3 recorders, and pocket-sized video cameras as well as simple audio, screencasting and video software. These technologies allow the academic pioneer to extend the learning environment and the methods available to them in supporting deeper learning. At the same time they can help to address the needs and expectations of students preparing for a world that values digitally fluent graduates.
This paper compares the experience of four modules which have each taken innovative approaches to running such digital media assignments. In each case the learners' capacity to respond in an academically meaningful way will be considered and the academic's capacity to devise, support and deliver the assignments will be reviewed. The presenters will report on the practicalities, risks and benefits of setting innovative digital media assignments and identify common emerging themes from setting, marking and offering feedback on the student work. The four case studies that inform this paper involve a digital storytelling assignment in Computer Science, an assignment that requires the student production of supplementary digital media to a written report on Virtual Reality Applications, a narrative machinima assignment for Game Design students, and a digital poster assignment for a Business module on emerging markets.
Initial findings in this ongoing work indicate that a lack of precedent necessitates a further layer of academic resourcefulness, risk and commitment, especially in relation to working with existing technical infrastructure and support. A well articulated assignment brief, tutor modelling, and proactive and reactive guidance are some features that need to be in place. The assignments allow some students to flourish, whilst others are less ambitious. These findings, and others, will be discussed in more depth.
In conclusion, these small studies show how emerging digital media technologies extend the range of methods available to staff and students in the sector's blended learning environments; however, infrastructural development is required before such innovation can be expected to scale.