Center Creates Interactive Discs with Desktop Video System

By Greenfield, Elizabeth | T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), February 1991 | Go to article overview

Center Creates Interactive Discs with Desktop Video System


Greenfield, Elizabeth, T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)


Center Creates Interactive Discs With Desktop Video System

At the Center for Interactive Multimedia Training at Western Washington University, Mark Velkov creates multimedia courseware. "We make about four courses a year," the design specialist says, "including courses on how to create multimedia courses." As a developer, Velkov helps faculty, graduate and undergraduate students take an idea and transform it into an interactive multimedia laserdisc.

* Two vs. One

In designing and developing a videodisc, Velkov had to choose between two standards: a two-screen setup where primary instruction is viewed on one monitor and videodisc-based materials on another, or the single-screen method in which all video comes in over one Apple monitor. Velkov prefers the single-screen method, particularly because the tools he uses are RadiusTV from Radius, Inc. located in San Jose, Calif., and MacVideo Interactive, a multimedia authoring program from Edudisc, Inc., of Nashville, Tenn.

Velkov first heard about RadiusTV from Edudisc while using that company's authoring software. "I was impressed that Radius had worked with a software company who knew interactive multimedia," he remembers. After working with the hardware during its beta phases, Velkov was convinced that the combination of both companies' products would produce a platform that would, among other things, be much more affordable and perform better than other available systems.

RadiusTV is a Macintosh-based desktop video system that permits access to a variety of video and television sources--cameras, camcorders, VCRs, laserdisc players and broadcast and cable television. Sound and audio can be digitized at the same time on-screen, eliminating the need for a separate audio system. In addition, RadiusTV will display more than one application at a time in different, resizable windows, thus allowing an incoming NTSC signal to run in full-motion while a text file can be up and running as well.

A Macintosh IIcx computer with 4MB of RAM and an 80MB hard drive serves as Velkov's hardware platform. The other piece of hardware used to make interactive courseware is a Pioneer LD-V4200 videodisc player. He uses this combination to create educational discs such as Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse, a disc aimed at public-school educators; Creative Writing for Elementary Students, which incorporates scenes from the movie "Star Wars"; and Keys to Behavior Management, designed for teachers and parents of children with behavior problems.

* The Production Process

When an instructor comes to the Center for Interactive Multimedia Training wishing to make a laserdisc program, Velkov must first screen the request to determine if there is enough money to fund the project or if it is too large in scope. After verifying who the end-user or audience is, Velkov then requires instructors to provide a content specialist who will explicitly describe the instructor's intent. Velkov includes this step to make sure that he understands exactly what the instructor wants in the program.

From there a linear outline is drawn up and then a global visual overview--a narrative piece that describes how Velkov sees the disc's content and organization. This is presented back to the instructor to ensure that both minds are thinking along the same vein. Next he writes the scripts and shoots the visuals that will be merged to produce the final product. …

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