Most everything we do in today’s world has some form of multimedia involved. We consistently access them 24/7, 365. In an online learning environment such as Walden U where classes are asynchronous, it is imperative to use multimedia in oder to transfer knowledge to the students. Much of what is learned is through videos, reading, blogging, writing posts, pictures, animations, music, etc. We learn from the world around us in a highly technological age.
One of the most important considerations an online instructor should make before implementing a new technology is ease of use. Are the instructor and the institution familiar with the tool? Can the instructor give basic direction or troubleshoot an issue regarding the technology? If not, is the IT department capable of doing so? Some of the more well known tools we use are texting and instant messaging, Facebook, Twitter, email, wikis, blogs, and YouTube. For many, these are “basic” tools and can navigate them with relative ease. All of these tools require some level of being able to use a keyboard to type and interact with a computer. Having the ability to use these “basics” will help a student in an online learning environment with posting to discussion boards and posting the homework.
The most appealing technolgy tools for online learning are those that are “user friendly”. I would not want my students to be frustrated at having to learn a new technology if I were not familiar with it also. I like blogs as they can be accessed by groups and individual students. Wikis are great for collaboration and storing the information. Texting and Instant Messaging are great if one needs an answer ASAP.
One of the things that I learned was that there does not need to be a lot of different technologies presented for each course. USe one to three and keep it simple to avoind frustrtions. After all, in an online environement, it is quite possible, highly probable, that there will be non-English speakers as students. If I, as the instructor, cannot explain or guide a student regarding a particular technology or multimedia tool in my native English, how will I be able to do so for a non-English speaker? (Boettcher, 2010).
Without the technologies and multimedia tools available today, our online learning environments would be more like the old correspondence courses with limited to no interaction. If that were the case, it would be better to be back in a brick and mortar environment where there would be human interaction and an exchange of ideas and learning.
Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.