Creative Technology in the Classroom

Integrating creative technology into your course can increase student engagement, introduce professional skills in addition to the core subject expertise, and give you and your students a new perspective on course content. It can also be daunting to integrate into your curriculum, particularly if you have little experience doing so.

The Multimedia Lab services help reduce this burden by providing comprehensive support for a variety of creative technologies including video and audio production, animation, large-format printing, 3D printing and virtual reality. MML support includes:

  • Consultations on creative technology assignments for faculty
  • Workshops for students and teaching assistants
  • Equipment for checkout
  • Space for production and editing within our labs and studio.
    The case study below provides a detailed description of this process.

One possible area for future collaboration with MMLs is ‘conference poster design and production’. Students can work on a research project throughout the semester that concludes into a final assignment to be submitted as a poster. The Multimedia Labs can provide training on professional design software and printing on the lab’s large-format printer.

Case study: Video Assignment with Prof Matthew Guterl

Course: Global Macho: Race, Gender, and Action Movies, AMST1600A

Class Size: Approximately 100 students. Normally we work with classes between 15 and 25 students. To accommodate the large class for Professor Guterl’s course we created a plan that included recruiting his TA’s as trainers/ editors and developing a team based model for shooting.
Assignment Goals: Encourage students to think critically about how to make a film, and how to embody representations and images, so they can better assess how visual media shapes our perceptions of the world.
Emphasize project-based learning, new technologies, and work “outside” of the formal classroom.
Assignment: Each section was tasked to reshoot a scene from Quentin Tarrantino’s Kill Bill, Vol. 1 & 2. The class was tasked to collectively reshoot the entire film. The resulting ensemble performance was stitched together and shown at the Providence Public Library as the capstone of our film series on women in action movies.
MML Support:
Consultation. We worked with Prof Guterl to develop realistic goals and timelines for the video-based assignments. This included giving him the sense of what to expect from novice filmmakers, and how much class time and resources to devote to the project.
Workshops. Held one in-class workshop (50 mins) on the considerations for creating a short film that included introduction to storyboarding/shot list, framing scenes, considering audio and lighting quality; basic orientation to equipment; information about resources on campus, i.e. Multimedia Lab access, where to edit on campus, who to talk to for troubleshooting.
Offered multiple technical workshops throughout the semester (max. 18 students per session) to orient students on video editing software.
Trained Grad TAs on video editing, audio processing, and troubleshooting

Throughout the semester Multimedia Lab professionals and student staff were available for one-on-one training and troubleshooting.
Note: These sessions work best when they are held in conjunction with the assignment so students have a strong impetus to learn the technology and less time to forget material. For video assignments we generally dedicate one workshop to recording and one to editing.

Equipment. Around the time of the workshops we also provided camera equipment for checkout from the CIS Service Desk in the CIT. While the service desk provides other equipment for general checkout project specific equipment is loaned on a long term basis to assure students can complete the assignment.
Note: For some assignments use of our video studio in the Grad Center can be a better fit than the equipment available for checkout.

This comprehensive technique can be applied to other technologies as well. We have carried out similar projects for audio, 3D printing, virtual reality and animation.

The labs’ services are not limited to the technologies listed above. Our staff is always exploring new options and is eager to try out new ideas suggested by faculty. Also, students and faculty who participate in our services can continue to use the labs even after the assignment or course is over and become part of the larger Multimedia Lab community.

— Kelly Egan