Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena CA New Media Consulting, A-1070 Vienna, Lerchenfelderstr 63 firstname.lastname@example.org Taught Dynamic Media course in Spring 1995.John F. Buford
Dept. of Comp. Sci., UMass. Lowell, Lowell, MA 01854 email@example.com Taught a graduate level multimedia class and edited a book used as a text at a number of locations.Joseph A. Konstan
Dept. of Comp. Sci., U. of Minnesota firstname.lastname@example.org Developed lab for students to edit multimedia presentations.P. Venkat Rangan
Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, UCSD email@example.com Developed Multimedia Laboratory.Brian Smith
Dept. of Comp. Sci., Upson Hall, Cornell U., Ithaca NY firstname.lastname@example.org Taught Multimedia Systems (CS 610) in Fall 1994.
Some things we have tried with the web include:
For computer-literate students, these facilities are an enhancement of the existing process. Students have found the availability of on-line materials and references to be helpful and convenient. We are now collaborating with a political science faculty member to try these tools with non-CS students.
Some educators have reported presenting lecture materials to classes via HTML projected from the computer screen. The conclusion at this point is that the formatting and layout limitations of HTML are an impediment when compared to using presentation programs. However this is probably a short-term issue, and lecture delivery via the web has a number of potential uses, including integrated live demonstrations, immediate archival access for students, and distance learning.
Four years ago we offered our first multimedia systems course in the computer science curriculum. Last year we split this course into two, multimedia information systems and multimedia communication systems, because of the growth in the topics that could be discussed. The MIS course includes a significant component on hypermedia technology. Over time, some of the material in these courses will be assimiliated in to related courses. For example, an OS course might add a section on system support for multimedia. However such courses provide an integrative view of multimedia technology which would be more difficult to achieve if the content were partitioned among related areas.
Multimedia concepts are an interdiscplinary matter and we try to provide some introduction to the interdiscplinary issues while keeping the courses focused on the computer science topics. Video tapes of systems and products and tool demonstrations provide a quick way to expose students to the basic ideas.
Our graduates are reporting that familiarity with web and multimedia technology is helping them in locating positions. Courses aimed at this area are currently electives in our curriculum and will probably remain so.
Second, and more important, there is a need for educational infrastructure. Multimedia systems cannot be introduced as a senior-level elective without support in the rest of the curriculum. At the very minimum, students need to be familiar with using information systems and working in groups on sizable projects. Too many computer science programs never ask students to use the World Wide Web or other information systems (and we find out that, as seniors, the students cannot even use our libraries). In our focus on individually measurable performance, we too often "protect" students from group projects, particularly with heterogeneous groups drawn from different disciplines. Yet, multimedia is an area where we know we must work in heterogeneous teams to bring together the skills we need for significant projects.
Fortunately, the infrastructure needed for multimedia education is beneficial in many areas. It is good for students to learn about information systems, since they will increasingly benefit from using them. Group work and large projects enhance learning in a wide range of areas. And, the laboratory facilities that may be critical for multimedia will be used by a wide range of courses that view multimedia as a tool, and not as an end to itself. The multimedia community, and SIGMM in particular, should aggressively push for this infrastructure and we can help sell it by showing how effectively it can promote education in general.
We plan to teach this course again this fall, and to develop an undergraduate version of the course as a set of core results emerges for multimedia, but what those results are remains an open question.