Creating Multimedia from the Comfort of your Home

Woman at Mac computer filming herself at desk

FIU Online’s monthly Insider Instructor Webinar series explores relevant instructional strategies and effective ways to use technology in an online classroom. The recent Creating Multimedia from the Comfort of your Home webinar offers a crash course on creating effective multimedia presentations using readily available tools and easy to learn techniques. It includes the benefits of multimedia content to both students and faculty, an explanation of multimedia principles for learning, and a discussion of the optimal tools and methods to use in creating your multimedia presentations. 

Instant Replay: Creating Multi-Media from the Comfort of your Home

Presented by Maikel Alendy, FIU Online’s Learning Design Innovation Manager, and Diego Jacome, FIU Online’s Multimedia Manager, the webinar showcased the best techniques and tools for creating effective multimedia presentations. If you missed this webinar, you can watch the recording. Some key takeaways are below. 

Why Videos Matter

Multimedia is characterized by the presence of text, pictures, sound, animation, and video organized into some coherent program. This kind of content is used in online coursework to address some common issues, including the loss of student connection, lack of content retention, and the recognition that online learning is equal to but different from traditional classroom learning. But how exactly does multimedia help address these issues?

As Alendy explained, using more sensory experience beyond print material makes content more palatable to students. This is because it allows students to see different applications of the concepts  which enables them to grasp concepts quickly.  Identification and recall of facts and concepts are easier when there’s a mix in learning content in a course. Because of this, student knowledge retention improves. Alendy also suggested that the use of multimedia increases digital literacy and communication, helping students recognize how videos influence them and have learning value beyond entertainment. 

But, there are benefits for the instructor as well.  Multimedia helps instructors reduce their role as lecturer. This creates more time for preventative teaching and to reach out to students who need additional guidance. Alendy explained how multimedia creates data-driven teaching practices. Video analytics inform decisions when to intervene or identifying opportunities to increase a student’s success. In addition, multimedia makes course management more fluid and organized, allowing for the easy review of course structure and to make modifications when needed. 

Best Practices

Multimedia @ FIU

What kind of multimedia is available to FIU instructors? What are the best practices for creating video? Beyond the many services available at FIU Online’s Multimedia Service Studios, Jacome emphasized the many resources already available to faculty creating excellent multimedia. In addition, Diego Jacome reviewed some of the ways faculty are currently creating multimedia content from the comfort of home, including: 

  • Welcome Videos 
  • Screen Captures
  • PowerPoints (using the narration feature)
  • Video Interviews
  • Synchronous Lecture
  • Animations.  

For What Purpose

While multimedia is powerful, it should only be used when it’s the best solution.  Alendy provided some guidelines to keep in mind, including:

  • Model behavioral or interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate how to, or how not to do a specific task
  • Emphasize an important concept
  • When you need more emotional appeal than just photos or text can deliver

Alendy suggested that a good starting point is considering the objective of the video, then determining if a multimedia presentation is the appropriate medium to achieve it.   

Multimedia Principles for Learning

Keep in mind these key evidence-based guidelines for maximizing the effectiveness of your multimedia creation.

Research from MIT suggests that the optimal video length is between 2-6 minutes. Beyond 6 minutes, student engagement drops off. If you have multimedia content that is longer than this length; the solution is chunking––or dividing the content into smaller 2-6 minute edits. The rationale is that students are more inclined to watch a longer presentation divided over multiple videos rather than all of the content in one long viewing. 

After that, Alendy and Jacome went on to discuss key presentation principles behind the most effective multimedia content. These include:

  1. Coherence Principle: Any kind of visuals, audio elements, or text not directly related to the content should be excluded from the presentation.
  2. Signaling Principle: Using visual and vocal signaling techniques such as headings, separating items and vocal emphasis on key words help your learners direct their attention to the important elements. 
  3. Redundancy Principle: Visual text information presented simultaneously with verbal information interferes with learning and is unnecessary.
  4. Spatial Contiguity: Essential words placed next to corresponding graphics guides a learner’s cognitive processing.
  5. Temporal Contiguity: Presenting visual and auditory information simultaneously makes it easier for learners to make the connection between visual and auditory input. 

Tips for Creating Content

Lastly, the webinar described the tools and techniques already available to instructors creating outstanding multimedia presentations from the comfort of your home and a few simple tips for setup. 

Capturing Yourself

Jacome addressed two of the most simple and effective software tools for creating your presentation. They are:

  • PowerPoint: PowerPoint is a powerful tool with many options. One of the most effective uses is to capture narration. Combined with the tool’s options for animations and annotations, PowerPoint can be a very effective tool for any multimedia content that does not need to feature the instructor’s image.   
  • Zoom: Jacome highlighted Zoom’s capabilities beyond mere live lectures and office hours. If an instructor records a Zoom session in an empty room, it effectively becomes a recording software for the instructor. Coupled with HD (high definition) video recording, it is an easy and powerful method of capturing pre-recorded lectures and videos for instruction. 

Making It Great

Once you are ready to record, Jacome and Alendy discussed tips and guidelines for best quality videos.   

Recommendations for light while filming
Lighting recommendations for filming
  1. Record with your cell phone’s rear camera, placing it horizontally.
  2. Record audio with your phone’s headset.
  3. Stand in front of a large window, facing it (but not in direct sunlight). 
  4. Place your phone at eye-level and at arm’s length.
  5. Point camera slightly down to avoid unnecessary headroom.
  6. Place the phone on a steady surface.
  7. Use a clean location as your background. 

Creating Multimedia: What’s Next?

Creating quality multimedia presentations is incredibly easy and achievable using tools on hand. What’s most important is using multimedia for intentional purposes and remembering the proven instructional and compositional methods for creating the best presentations possible. 


Charles Roig is an instructional designer with the Learning Design Innovation team at FIU Online. His work includes researching new tools and collaborating with faculty to foster engagement in online learning.

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