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Streaming Media

Pedagogical Considerations


What impact does the video have?

  • Is value added?
  • Does video serve the intended purpose?
  • Does video meet the knowledge objectives?

Do the students want digital video?

  • Is video in tune with students learning styles?
  • Do the students have the bandwidth?

Are students visually literate?

  • Is the video being viewed as intended?
  • Interpretive development
  • Aesthetic development

Integration of video with the web.

  • Inline
  • Pop-up Windows

Is the video interactive?


Before beginning to shoot video for a course, whether it is online or face-to-face, several questions should be asked by all instructors. The first of which might be whether or not the multimedia content will add value to the course. Value can be added if the students leave the course with a fuller understanding of a given topic with the multimedia verses without multimedia. Value can also be added if the course reaches a larger audience of learner when the video is added. However, value can be lost if the video is misinterpreted by a student, if the video takes time away from other important aspects of the web site, or if the video turns into a distraction. Initially, there is no way of knowing for sure which will be the case until the course has been taught with and without the video and evaluated, but one can make an educated prediction of the multimedia's value. Below, two principles towards this prediction are given.

Intended purpose - When producing video for educational use, the intended purpose for that video should be well understood before shooting begins. Video should be shot with that purpose in mind so that everything from lighting to choice of shot can be controlled. Even when the purpose is considered, the final video should still be reviewed by multiple individuals to insure that the intended purpose was met and that the intended purpose is decodable by a variety of viewers. When these criteria cannot be met, the video should be recompiled, or an alternative method should be considered.

Knowledge objectives - All multimedia content should be held to the same standards as other methods of instruction. Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives provides one method to question whether the multimedia content serves the intended purpose.

Summed up, only use video if video is right for the part, not because you can and everyone else is doing it.


Bloom, 1956


Student Wants and Needs

When considering multimedia for an online course, it is easy to forget the wants of the students while rushing to meet the forseen needs of the students. Yes, provision of multimedia often seems to be a highly advantageous way to deliver immersive, interactive content to the student, however, it may not always work out this way.

A major group of students often overlooked when considering multimedia are those with disabilities. Adding multimedia may only be adding a handicap to these individuals if alternative content such as transcripts and descriptive texts are not added. Therefore, considering the audience and their needs is important.

Is multimedia in tune with students' learning styles. Some people are visual learners. Others are textual learners. Others learn in various combinations of visual, text, and others. If multimedia content is provided, alternative methods should also be employed. Of course, the counter proposal may also be true. If a text is given, then perhaps a video should be given as well. Basically, the needs of the students should be taken into account so that the material is presented in a way which is in line with most students' needs and wants.



Visual Literacy

Visual literacy refers to a student's ability to perceive a multimedia production's intended message. Furthermore, it refers to a student's ability to reach the intended level of understanding from a visual image. One way to look at visual literacy is to combine the aesthetic levels of Houson (dealing with artistic interpretation) with additions made by Pianfetti (dealing with multimedia) into a single ordered list. As a student reaches a higher literacy level, the student's understanding of the material increases and the student is more capable of integrating the information into their pre-existing memory contexts. When constucting a multimedia parsel of knowledge, one wants to construct video that is clear and concise with clear connections to other materials so that the process of reaching the highest level of interpretation is simplified for the viewer.

The five resultant levels are as follows.

  1. Accountive - The information is concrete and obvious, allowing simple interpretation of the content of the multimedia.
  2. Constructive - The information is integrated somewhat and can be compared to other information.
  3. Classifying - The intention of the multimedia content is easily decodable into its different parts.
  4. Interpretive - The message parlayed by a sequence of decoded parts is understandable and the purpose of the multimedia is understood.
  5. Operational - The knowledge gained from the multimedia can be put into use by the student.


Houson, 1992
Pianfetti E., A taxonomy of video in instruction, 2000, Available Online:




Integration refers to how the multimedia content is organized within the structure of the course materials. The two main types of integration are inline and pop-up windows. An inline presentation allows materials to be presented in the context of the materials around them. The disadvantage is that the page may appear to load slowly as it waits to initialize the viewer of the video or connect to the video source. Pop-up windows are when the user needs to select an option that then causes the video to appear. This item is advantageous in that the user can skip the video if it is deemed unnecessary, but the video may appear outside of the textual content of the web site. Therefore, the type of integration used should correlate with the type of video and its purpose. If the video can stand on its own, or if it is supplemental, a pop-up window should suffice. If the context of the video is important, or if the video is of vital importance to the web page, it should be inline.




Interactivity is not necessarily something that you will want your multimedia to have, but then again, it might. Interactivity refers to the level at which a user of the multimedia can control the flow and aspect of the content. This control can range from none to complete three-dimensional internal interactivity coupled to full video control. To make sense of what is meant by these terms, consider the three levels of interactivity as outlined below.

Functionality within three levels of interactivity

Low -

  • User has limited control of the multimedia.
  • Multimedia can be turned on and off
  • Mutimedia can be selected as an option (note that this would suggest that there is a level below low, but instead the intent is that having the option of whether or not to view the multimedia should be a requirement of even the lowest form of interactivity.)

Medium -

  • Everything listed under low.
  • Allows user to fast forward, rewind, pause, etc.
  • This is the most commonly found form of streaming video use on the web.

High -

  • Everything listed under medium
  • A true integration of media with the rest of the web materials.
  • Added features such as multiple views, view switching, panning, indexing, etc.
  • Integration of hyperlinks into video.

When to employ interactivity

Assuming that multimedia is going to be employed, at what level of interactivity should it be presented? The list above defines the uses of the different levels of interactivity, and each level has benefits in certain situations.

Low -

  • Good for short knowledge acquisition clips.
  • If the clip is small, there is no need to index or provide navigation.

Medium -

  • Typical usage seen on the web today (year 2000).
  • Good for most uses, especially longer clips.
  • Allows users to move past personally unimportant aspects of the video or to quickly review personally important aspects.

High -

  • Especially useful for longer clips (indexing feature)
  • Useful for how-to clips (ability to jump to specific sections)
  • Integrated hyperlinks within video allow multiple learning pathways and doors to added information.
  • VRML aspects such as multiple views, angles, and panning helpful to empower student, to provide more visual appeal to the visual learner, and for presenting materials such as architecture and three-dimensional images.

Basically, for most educational uses, a medium level of interactivity as provided by the most commonly used players will be the one used unless it is a short clip. One aspect to keep in mind when considering a shift to a high level of interactivity is whether the added effort required to produce such a work equals or is offset by added student gains.




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