Communicating in an online environment, especially within the confines of an institution’s learning management system (LMS) and an academic budget, often poses a challenge to even the most well-intentioned instructors. Many times we find ourselves constrained not by our imaginations or abilities but by the technological tools we have at our disposal. Given the systems in which we work, how do we select the best technological tool—the best medium—to communicate a message? One framework for answering these questions is through the lens of Media Richness Theory (MRT).
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PowerPoint is versatile in allowing us to add multimedia (graphics, sound, audio, video, text, animation, etc.) to our presentations for keeping online students’ rapt attention. But how much multimedia should you add? In answering this question, I find that taking into consideration students’ learning styles and cultural/international backgrounds can help to lessen the risk of using too much or too little multimedia in your online PPTs.
Sometimes content delivered in a traditional classroom setting can fall flat in an online course where your students don’t get to benefit of your voice inflections, gestures, etc. If you have material that you like to deliver face-to-face, but are concerned about presenting it in the online arena you can be creative when you include the material in your course and be assured that the content is delivered in a manner that you are comfortable with.
If you are thinking of adding streamed audio and/or video presentations to your blended or online course, here are some things to consider.
“If you do it right, digital media can really enhance a course and provide meaningful student-teacher connections,” said Kevin Reeve, head of Marketing and Communications for Information Technology at Utah State University. “When not implemented properly, it becomes a frustrating experience for everyone – students, instructors, IT and administration.”