Audio tools can bring voice to course content; tapping into a different modality that will help the students more fully comprehend course materials. Instructors can record themselves either as an introductory element or for full lecture delivery. Online reading can be challenging and providing auditory support varies the instructional delivery in a way that supports broader learning style preferences of the students.
Lecture captures or support audio stored within the course can be downloaded by the student to their computers, laptops, mobile devices, and smartphones then utilized when, where, and as they need them to support their learning.
Video tools, not unlike audio, can bring life to course materials. Video can offer online students an opportunity to “see” their instructor, giving the instructor not only a name and a face but a realism that can be missing in fully online course delivery. Video can provide opportunities for exploration beyond the classroom by allowing students to be involved with experiences, locations, and individuals beyond the limited instructional setting.
Incorporating audio and video elements can be engaging and motivating for students by increasing their “connection” with the instructor. Feeling connected can have a positive impact on the student’s sense of belonging within the course learning community. Engagement, motivation and sense of community are all key elements in ensuring successful student outcomes.
Audio and video can also be used as common ground for stimulating and extending conversation about course related materials. Supporting course readings with multimedia elements varies the instructional mode and offers students more opportunities to fully explore the topic under study.
Online tools for audio and video capture offer instructors reliable and affordable means to create and mobilize audio and video components.
Animation can be used with our without audio enhancement. Animation, not unlike video brings a sense of reality to course materials. Processes and procedures can be brought to life; they can move and flow in a way that allows the students to become part of the experience. Animation in isolation of the course materials can be distracting to the students but animation that supports learning can increase student comprehension of the materials.
Avatars are a multisensory blend of audio, video and animation. Avatars can be designed to resemble an individual or any number of personas, including cartoon characters and animals. The avatar can be brought into the course to stimulate conversation, provide instructional support or even bring comic relief to the classroom.
Just as with audio and video the World Wide Web offers a wide variety of tools that instructors can uses to design and develop effective animation and avatars for their courses.