Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsPETER RAINGER: Peter Rainger, Lead Instructional Designer. In the work that I do designing online courses, the use of multimedia materials is both advantageous for engaging and relating to all students, but also provides, say, a rich variety of resources and mediums which all students with different strengths and different characteristics can respond to. And therefore, it gives them the option to learn by different mediums. And it gives them different ways in which they can engage. Different students get different things from different content. So multimedia is one of the key uses of inclusive materials within a curriculum. I was involved in some work in the development of virtual laboratories-- a traditional, practical environment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 secondsAnd to support that, I developed a range of online learning activities which engaged students in scenarios and activities which emulated the laboratory environment. This was useful for all students because it gave them an opportunity to practise in a safe space. But students with additional needs also found this particularly useful, because it allowed them to revisit the topics, and engage in the concept in a meaningful, supported way. And it allowed them to practise and go wrong. And share and collaborate with other students that they might not have been able to do in the real, practical environment.

Using multimedia for complex subjects

“Technologies are merely tools that can be used in a variety of ways. What matters more is how technologies are applied. The same technology can be applied in different ways, even or especially in education.” Bates (2015)

In this video, Peter Rainger talks about the positive aspects of using multimedia and goes on to describe the way he has used a virtual lab. Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have gone one stage further developing ‘an imaging technique called Interactive Dynamic Video (IDV) that lets you reach in and ‘touch’ objects in videos.’

There has been a considerable amount of research to back Peter’s comments. However, there are aspects of these types of resources that need advanced planning to overcome possible issues arising such as:

  • Attitudinal – adding images, audio and videos etc may be considered too costly due to the additional needs for accessibility options.
  • Practical – expertise and time needed to add video captions, audio transcriptions and alternative text attributes for images.
  • Establishing responsibility for accessibility - need for policies and procedures
  • Technical – require support to add captions, audio descriptions and transcripts. David Sloan et al (2006).

You may also be interested in other related resources which can be accessed from the ‘See also’ section at the bottom of this page.

What are your thoughts about how the guidance, links and technologies about the use of multimedia (mentioned previously in the course) could be used to encourage inclusive learning opportunities?


© This work is created by the University of Southampton and licensed under CC-BY 4.0 International Licence. Erasmus + MOOCs for Accessibility Partnership.

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This video is from the free online course:

Inclusive Learning and Teaching Environments

University of Southampton