Creating a Digital Media Assignment

Assignment Design

1. Set Goals

Like any assignment design process, developing the goals and objectives is a solid place to start.  Here are some questions to ask yourself for a digital media assignment:

  • Goals/Objectives - What is the overall goal you have for the students, and what learning objectives for your course does this assignment work to meet?  
  • Audience - Who will be the audience for this assignment (peers, instructor, community, other)?
  • Requirements - What will be my requirements and expectations of the students during the process and in the completed assignment product?  How will the use of digital media enhance or alter the assignment?
    • In other words, what will they learn as they complete each part of the assignment and what will they be able to do once the assignment is complete?

 

2. Choose a Medium 

Once you have thought about what the students will learn and how this fits into your course, then you can think about how the impact of the medium of the assignment's product.  Why select a video, an audio recording, a blog, or any other of the many different possibilities?  Here are two key questions to ask yourself as you make this decision:

  1. What opportunities does this medium create?
  2. What challenges does this medium present?
All digital media formats will have benefits and weaknesses.  Coming to a full understanding of those will allow you to better choose.

Requirements and Expectations

Once you have selected the medium of the assignment product, you should consider what requirements and expectations this medium may add or change.  What do you want the students' videos to look like?  How complex do you want their infographics to be?  In what ways do you want them to incorporate outside research and/or other media?  

Example Assignments

Learn more about visual literacy.

Assignment Prompt Templates

Support for you and your students 

Important Note on Copyright 

Copyright and licensing are vastly different for most online multimedia.

Here is more information about some of the issues.

As you select the medium for the assignment, also consider what support is available from the University or from other sources.  Here are several important University sources:

 


3. Decide how to assess

A digital media assignment is often more complex and less familiar to most students (and faculty).  In addition, the process for creating most digital media products is similar, but not the same, as the creative process for writing or other academic works.  These differences matter in how you assess your students' work and how you facilitate the creation process.

 

4. DIY: Do It Yourself

This may be the most important part of the planning process.  By completing the assignment yourself, you will learn about new opportunities for learning, unforeseen pitfalls, and the general feeling of the creation process.  For you to experience the difficulty of using a new piece of software, the time involved in creating the product, or just the emotions and thoughts involved will benefit you as you present this process to your students.

   

 

Additional Resources

Contact for more assistance

Jason Zahrndt, Digital Media Consultant
e:   p:502.852.3787

Resources from other institutions

How to design digital media assignments - University of Notre Dame

Designing multimedia assignments - Mike Heller, Harvard University

So you want to assign a multimedia project? - Graduate Multimedia Fellows, Harvard University