Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Making the Most of Multimedia. (Tech Talk)

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Making the Most of Multimedia. (Tech Talk)

Article excerpt

With a click of the computer mouse, the Web site for the "Black in the Arts" survey course began playing a segment from the all-Black cast film "Stormy Weather." The film clip, being projected onto a large screen in a high technology classroom at Howard University in Washington, featured a depiction of the highly regarded all-Black World War I Army regiment, the 369th Infantry with whom acclaimed bandleader and jazz composer James Reese Europe was affiliated.

"We used to have this kind of presentation in classes with a video projection system. With the Internet, students can go back to their computers and view the movie clip as many times as they want to. The old system limited students to seeing such presentations just once," says Joe Selmon, associate professor of theater technology at Howard and a co-professor of the Black in the Arts course.

As American colleges and universities continue the push to enhance academic courses with Web courseware sites and Internet-based presentations in the classroom, multimedia components in the form of video and audio clips are increasingly becoming a highly visible part of Web-based education content, according to higher education experts.

The integration of multimedia content and the Internet signals one of the newest chapters in the evolution of information technology in higher education. For instructional purposes, the presence of video and audio files that can be viewed and heard while accessing a course Web site by computer has the potential to dramatically heighten the appeal of that particular site.

"There's the saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Well, it's possible to say that a video may be worth a million words," says Dr. Charles Moore, the chief information officer of Howard University.

According to Moore, the historically Black campus has some 28 "smart classrooms," which can facilitate large screen displays of an Internet Web site and any multimedia component a site may have attached to it. The campus will eventually have a total of 34 such classrooms, he adds.

At Howard and hundreds of campuses that have been wiring their dormitories, faculty offices and classrooms for high-speed Internet connectivity, students, faculty and staff have a quality of Internet access that makes multimedia content an integral and expected part of that access.

"It's highly valuable for faculty to have options to present academic material in different ways to the student," says Dr. Brian Nielsen, manager of learning support systems at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. …

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