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Research Guides

Develop Multimodal Assignments: a Faculty Guide

Resources and guidance to assist faculty in assigning and assessing multimodal/multimedia projects.

Evaluation starts with the assignment

Multimedia Assignments - a post from the Johns Hopkins University's "The Innovative Instructor Blog." This post pulls together a number of resources helpful to developing multimedia assignments (and therefore the bases on which they are evaluated), including this point:

Mike Heller, Departmental Teaching Fellow (Music) at Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, has created a two minute video on the five key considerations for designing multimedia assignments. These are:

1. Why create a multimedia assignment? What is the value added?

2. Be aware of the myth of the digital native. Not all students are technical wizards. Their experience and expertise will vary. It’s a good idea to start with lower stakes assignments to get students familiar with multimedia technologies before introducing a major project.

3. Don’t just teach the tools, teach the critical thinking. Try folding a traditional assignment into the multimedia project, perhaps by having students write an essay before adapting it into a video presentation.

4. Set clear goals by creating a concrete rubric. Without this you may find it difficult to assign grades once you receive the work.  Having a clear vision of your primary learning objectives will make it much easier when it comes to grading and providing feedback.

5. Communicate your teaching goals to your students. Distributing your rubric when you make the assignment is a good way to achieve this. By offering specific guidelines about the skills you want them to learn you insure that students are clear about the assignment.

One important question related to teaching goals (#5 above) is the question of whether students will be assessed on content mastery or tool mastery (or both)--and therefore how you will evaluate on each.

Related advice is found in Elizabeth Kleinfeld and Amy Braziller's "Creating Multimodal Assignments to Develop 21st Century Literacies."

Evaluating student multimodal work

Some very important advice:


  • "Assessment" - from EdTechTeacher, a collection of rubrics for assessing student blogging, wikis, websites, social media, video, podcasts, and more.