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Helpful Strategies and Tips: Multimedia

Submitted by on August 24, 2012 – 9:49 pmOne Comment

This post is part of the series Helpful Strategies and Tips: Designing an Online Course, which provides guidance through common challenges instructors face during online course development.

Microlectures are 3-5 minute video lectures or presentations that enhance and extend existing instructional activities. The following two examples demonstrate well-developed microlectures:





General Multimedia

  • The use of multimedia provides technology tools to create a variety of learning strategies that helps to accommodate specific learning styles.
  • All multimedia (content that includes audio, video, podcasts, images, illustrations, charts and graphs, simulations, and games) should contribute to the achievement of the course/module learning objectives. As stated in QM 6.1: The tools and media support the course learning objectives.
  • When selecting multimedia, the student should be able to easily determine the purpose of the content and how it will help them achieve the stated learning objectives. As stated in QM 4.2: The purpose of instructional materials and how the materials are to be used for learning activities are clearly explained.
  • Always include the source of the multimedia content by identifying the creator/source and any applicable credentials. Use proper citations where applicable.

Video and Audio

  • The use of audio and video adds a personal touch, provides a custom, real-world experience for students, and builds in redundancy to clarify difficult concepts.
  • When linking to or embedding video or audio clips, it is important to provide students with a link to the media player such as flash, real media, or quick time. Video clips on YouTube do not require a player since YouTube is its own player.
  • Keep audio and video segments short (2-5 minutes) in length. Lengthy videos can be tiresome and should not appear as another task for students to complete.
  • Include a text transcript with audio to make the audio information accessible to people with hearing impairments.
  • Close caption video/audio should adhere to Section 508: ADA Compliance.


  • Images should always include alternative text or descriptions to make images accessible for people with visual impairments and for screen reader users.
  • Common image formats accepted by most learning management systems include JPEG, GIF, and PNG files. Make sure your images are saved in one of these formats.


  • Check hyperlinks to make sure they are working and correct.
  • Links to external websites should indicate the purpose of the links or the links should be completely self-evident. Whenever possible, it is best to add the readings to the courses files. This reduces the risk of having to update broken links or materials that are no longer accessible.
  • When linking to multimedia content outside of the Learning Management System, hyperlink text should be self-describing to accommodate Section 508: ADA Compliance. Self-describing links do not include linking the words “Click on” or “Click here.” The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Webpage provides more detail information on self-describing links.

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