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November 5-9 is Media Literacy Week!  Students can learn a lot by creating multi-layered videos, websites, podcasts, and audio projects, but you need to provide them with the right tools for success.  

When it comes to creating course assignments, we all want to design something that students can truly engage with. In many cases, multimedia assignments can make subjects come alive for students, providing them with new ways to understand, see, and process information.

Here are five accessible and easy-to-use tools to share with your students so they feel confident and inspired when they start creating their masterpieces.

#1 : iMovie

Whether your students want to create the next big blockbuster or just ace your course, this entry-level video editing software is a great resource for any project combining video, still images, music, narration, and text. Students can use iMovie—freely available on Macs—to produce engaging and critical videos using original footage or Creative Commons-licensed content through the software’s easy-to-use interface.

Bonus: A mobile version of the software is available for creating videos on iPads and iPhones.

#2 : Audacity

Capitalize on the podcast trend! When you create a podcast (or any audio) assignment, students can use this open-source audio software to record themselves, perform minor editing and mix in music for a polished final piece. Available for PCs and Macs, students can access Audacity on any computer in the Student Multimedia Design Center in Morris Library or download it for free onto their own laptop.

#3 : Timeline JS

When you ask your students to create a website, introduce them to this web-based, open-source tool that allows them to build visual and interactive timelines with nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Free and easy to use, Timeline JS lets users embed all sorts of multimedia into each slide, including images, YouTube videos, Google Maps, sound clips, Wikipedia excerpts, and more. Not only does this tool let students get creative with their presentation, but it provides them the opportunity to engage with digital humanities scholarship.

#4 : Free Music Archive

Incorporating music into an audio or video project adds another layer to the story. The right music enhances the quality of a project, but students will need to make critical decisions when selecting what music supports the tone and message of their work. Make sure they have plenty of options to choose from with this website, which offers thousands of Creative Commons-licensed songs.

#5 : PolicyMap

Students can shed new light on their research with this data-rich geographic information system (GIS) tool. By visualizing their data with PolicyMap, they can uncover spatial patterns, data relationships, and social and economic issues they may not have otherwise noticed. With this tool—available through UD—students can easily add their own data points or use the repository of curated data within the platform to bring their research to life. Once students create their data maps, tables, or charts, they can easily export high-quality images to illustrate the data and use as evidence to support their arguments.

Need further assistance incorporating multimedia into your class? The UD Library, Museums and Press is here to help.

If you want to make sure your multimedia assignment is set up for success, librarians in the SMDC can help you design the assignment and accompanying rubric during a one-on-one appointment. You can also ensure your class is comfortable working with multimedia by bringing them into the SMDC for a multimedia literacy session, which can include a tour of the SMDC, an overview of Creative Commons, or a hands-on editing software workshop.

Which tools do you like to use for multimedia assignments?

Leave your comments and suggestions below!

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