Teaching Digital Multimedia as a Component of Business Education

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Ronald E. Pitt is no longer at Bryant.

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The growth of the Internet and the explosion of digital communication technologies in the 1990s have given rise to the importance of digital multimedia in the American economy. We define multimedia as the transmission of content through a combination of text, graphics, pictures, sound, animation, video, and hyperlinks, resulting in communication that is multisensory and potentially interactive. Multimedia has had an impact on Internet marketing, the music and motion picture industries, the education industry, and healthcare. It is therefore relevant to marketing and information systems and would seem to have a place in business curricula. The purpose of this paper is to describe the potential role for digital multimedia in a business curriculum. A review of multimedia offerings in higher education indicates that the concepts, technical aspects, and creation of digital multimedia are taught variously in computer science, the creative arts, communication, or psychology but are largely absent from the domain of business disciplines. We report on our experiences teaching a three-credit, 15-week, junior/senior-level Digital Multimedia course under the Computer Information Systems heading. Topics associated with the course include conceptual understanding of digital multimedia, business and legal issues surrounding digital multimedia, and technical underpinnings and skills in the creation of multimedia. A key component of the course is a semester-long team project on a topic selected by each group of students. Challenges in teaching the course include cost of hardware, software, and facilities; containment of the scope of topics; differing expectations of students entering the course; and availability of support materials.

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