Video and Multimedia in Education

Back in 2008 the NMC/Educause Horizon Report stated “video is everywhere”1 in recognition of the transformative effects that the availability of relatively cheap and easy to use tools to edit and create video were having on teaching and learning. Fast forward seven years and we are continuing to witness the rapid growth of video and interactive multimedia in higher education as the success of platforms such as iTunes U, Khan Academy, and TEDx demonstrates. Our students—labelled by some the “Netflix generation” 2—are coming to Langara with heightened expectations of the role that multimedia should play in the learning lifecycle, from recruitment and course design to content delivery, assessment and feedback. They are equally aware that to succeed in the digital economy they need to demonstrate competence in using multimedia to communicate and collaborate effectively. Being digitally literate requires much more than simply being able to use a word processor or a spreadsheet programme.

This presents new challenges to instructors who perhaps are not always as comfortable as students are working with digital media. They may be understandably sceptical of the idea that binge-watching Netflix translates particularly well to the higher education environment where academic rigor, critical thinking and deep learning are prerequisites for student success. Even if instructors are convinced of the potential of video to enhance student engagement they may have questions about what makes for a compelling video, what the optimum length of a video should be, or how best to distribute it to their students.

In my role as Educational Technology Advisor (Multimedia Specialist) I work with instructors to help answer these questions and assist them in developing the confidence to use, create and share multimedia in their teaching. Using multimedia effectively requires careful planning, an understanding of the importance of accessibility and an awareness of the myriad ways that it can support academic innovation. My job is to help instructors navigate through the potentially bewildering array of applications of multimedia to learning, whether that be screencasting, podcasting, video editing, audio feedback, digital storytelling or flipped learning. Our common aim is to stimulate the appetite of our students for engaging and meaningful learning by harnessing the potential of multimedia to improve learning outcomes.

Julian Prior

Educational Technology


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