Posted by: Ellie Kutz | December 16, 2011

Multimedia Resources at UMass Boston

If you’re interested in incorporating different forms of multimedia in your teaching, where might you begin?
Your first stop could be the Digital Learning Studio on the third floor of Healey Library, where media specialists Jessica Downa and John Mazzarella provide consultations and support. And you can check the schedule of IT workshops at to find workshops on using various multimedia tools, including Photoshop for editing and creating images.The several university-supported content platforms that faculty use in their teaching (Blackboard, Wikispaces, and the Blog Network) all support the uploading of media files, including audio and video (and the new Blackboard 9 will make this easier). Wikispaces, on which students can create pages and upload media files to them, has proved particularly versatile for supporting students’ multimedia projects and faculty who have been creating videorecordings of class activities or Voicethreads often post them to a course wiki.Here is some additional information you might find useful.
Video recording

1.Consider when and how video recording might be used effectively in your teaching. Are there lessons for which you would want to make a video recording of yourself available to your students after a class–as you offer a science demo for example? Are there student performances or student presentations or other student exchanges that you want to capture or have your students capture and review and respond to later?  Might your students use video-recording for self-evaluation of classroom discussions or presentations?  Might they use them to create documentaries, conduct interviews, create marketing materials?

Here are some more ways in which UMass and other faculty have used videorecordings:

  • to record students’ presentations and performances (skits they’ve written for Chinese 101, presentations about current science issues in the Science Gateway Seminar) for later review
  • to have students record a scene and read a poem as a voice-over to that scene
  • to have students create narrated movie trailers about significant historical events such as the Dred Scott case
  • to have students keep video blogs (vlogs in courses such as marketing and social media)
  • to have students create documentaries on social issues
  • to have students create videos with images of places they’ve visited (or would like to visit), with narration in a language they’re studying

2. For most classroom and student projects, you and your students can easily record your own video. Most smart phones have video-recording capability and there are flip video cameras available in the Media Centers in each of the academic buildings (where you can reserve up to 15 units for use at one time). For larger events, such as a whole-class dramatic performance where it would be difficult for you to both record and guide the students, Jessica Downa provides a video-recording service where she’ll bring her equipment to your classroom or event and make a recording for you. She will also do a demo or workshop for your class.

3.Visit the Digital Literacy Wiki that Jessica maintains to provide video information for educators. There you will find technical instructions (e.g. how to work with a flip video camera); guides, templates and screencast videos to aid in planning and writing (storyboards), production (recording, editing), and exporting your videos, along with information about copyright, royalty-free resources, and free sources of video editing tools.

4. Visit the Digital Learning Studio (Healey 3) where computers have been set up with full video-editing software and you can arrange a tutorial with Jessica or John.


1. Plan (and teach your students) to use images that will be immediately relevant to the content being presented.
2. Use the Digital Literacy wiki to find sources of royalty-free images. Capture screen shots using Jing
(a free tool and a personal favorite that I use to capture most of the images for this newsletter). Have your students take their own photos with their digital phone cameras. Or draw new images in Photoshop (part of Adobe Creative Suite CS5, available for download by Umass Boston faculty.
3. Attend a Photoshop workshop or arrange further support from Jessica or John in the Digital Learning Studio.


1. Plan ways in which audio might augment the work of your course–having students record and listen to their conversations in another language or capture snippets of conversation that show the ways in which people talk in other settings, or record students reading their poems, essays, short stories.
2. Borrow mp3 recorders from the Media Centers or use cell phone voice memo recorders.
3. Download the Audacity free audio editor and use it to edit audio files.
4. Get further support from Jessica or John in the Digital Learning Studio

1. Plan ways in which you might use this multimedia tool, considering how others have used this tool and exploring new possibilities by browsing examples at VoiceThread or finding examples from other universities (see the VoiceThread Pages from the Center for Instructional and Innovative Technology at the University of Florida for resources and examples for using VoiceThread in higher education.
2. Download a free version of VoiceThread to try it out. VoiceThread apps also allow it to be used from iPhones or iPads, and students can submit their audio responses by phone.
3. Contact Mary Simone in the Digital Learning Studio to learn more about the current UMass Boston VoiceThread pilot project and future possibilities.

Camtasia is usually considered a classroom capture tool rather than a multimedia tool. But, as you can see from David Pruett’s examples, Camtasia can capture all of the media projected and heard in the classroom and create a new recording of the entire classroom event. A newer version of Camtasia with a webcam to capture video will soon be available at the university. To learn more about Camtasia and to join with others who have been participating in Camtasia working groups, contact Mary Simone.


  1. Ellie,

    I really enjoyed your series on multimedia. I thought–particularly relating to this post–you (and maybe your readers) might like to see the top 50 references to multimedia resources UMassOnline found in our assessment of 3rd party tools within the LMS, 40,000 courses over three years (resource, number of references/links): 21392 19053 13661 13755 3176 2650 2295 2111 2090 1892 1837 1698 1693 1558 1363 1342 1316 1143 1086 841 839 796 770 713 701 689 638 575 554 543 534 509 487 477 460 429 422 408 399 389 387 383 372 370 369 346 330 315 206 196

    Take care and thanks for sharing,

  2. Thanks for this information, Patrick! Quite a significant list!

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