DMA Archives

What are Digital Media Assignments?

A digital media assignment is an assignment in which students demonstrate their learning of course content through the creation of multimedia learning objects using such formats as video, audio, still images and text. Examples of digital media assignments might involve students creating short video documentaries, digital stories, audio and enhanced podcasts, "digital essays", and other types of multimedia presentations.

Just as a student does when writing traditional papers, digital media assignments require students to present their ideas for peer and/or instructor critique, research and integrate primary and secondary resources, reflect upon and communicate their perspective on what they've learned, and use the appropriate tools to structure their assignments. Instructors develop these assignments with course goals and learning outcomes in mind and explain the criteria for completing the assignment. The instructors can also point to resources and services on campus (Infolabs, equipment pools, library services, Software Training for Students, the Writing Center) that will help students produce a successful assignment.

Why use DMAs

The New Media Consortium's definition of 21st century literacy, "The set of abilities and skills where aural, visual, and digital literacy overlap. These include the ability to understand the power of images and sounds, to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms."

"Just as the emergence of written language changed oral traditions and the emergence of printed text changed our relationship to written language, the emergence of new digital modes of expression change our relationship to printed text.....Youth must expand their required competencies, not push aside old skills to make room for the new." (Jenkins, 2007, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture)

"In the design and development of instructional materials, it is the designer who learns the most, since the process of articulating their domain knowledge compels them to reflect on their own knowledge in a new and meaningful way." (Lee, Chan, McLoughlin, 2006, Students as Producers: Second year student experiences as podcasters of content for first year undergraduates)