DU CourseMedia™ Released!

The University of Denver Center for Teaching & Learning has (finally) released the DU CourseMedia™ Course Media Management System. This has been a focus of my work for the past 5 months or so and is one of the major CTL projects for 2009. Some may recall the mention of the DUVAGA system from time-to-time. CourseMedia™ is DUVAGA reborn.

DU CourseMedia(tm)

DU CourseMedia™ was developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver as a course-based media presentation tool for organizing and presenting high quality images and videos to system participants. Although it was initially built with the needs of faculty in the school of art and art history in mind, DU CourseMedia™ is now used by faculty in many other disciplines in approximately 250 courses each term.

Through DU CourseMedia™, instructors have access to over 50,000 art and world history images and over 2000 library reserve videos. DU Course Media™ allows instructors to create online galleries that can include streaming video, images, text slides, discussion boards, quizzes, and voice narrations.

Some of the highlights of the new release are as follows:

  • Complete overhaul of how media objects are accessed
  • Entire media galleries can now be shared across permitted websites
  • Gallery object functionality is raised one level to become more accessible for users
  • The new Media Viewer is written from scratch with the input of DU faculty, staff and students
  • The Media Viewer is a Flash application written upon the Flex framework
  • The VPS Projection System, an application which runs upon the Adobe AIR runtime has also recieved a number of updates

I’ll be presenting on DU CourseMedia™ at the Adobe Education Leader Institute this summer.

To see an overview of the new features, you can check out a screencast produced by Alex Martinez, ColdFusion developer for the CTL.

A screencast specific to the Media Viewer was also authored by Jenn Light.

SoDA 2009 Digital Marketing Outlook

“As the dark clouds of the economy envelope the marketing world, many wonder if digital marketing may be a ray of sunshine in the gloom. To find out, the Society of Digital Agencies conducted a broad survey of traditional and digital agencies as well as brands, digital vendors and even freelance digital experts.”

Most interesting for me is page 20 of the report:
SoDA Report

Go, Flash!

…why is Java grouped together with JavaScript? Eh?

Grab the full report or visit SoDA.

Student Introductions to Real World Clients

Two to three times a year, I teach a class for the Digital Media Studies (DMS) program at the University of Denver called “Web Building and Site Management”. In this class, undergraduates are introduced to the concepts of building (mostly) static websites with a strict, standards-based approach. The IDE used is Dreamweaver CS4 with “Design View” forbidden from use. There is a full introduction to pre-production planning using Fireworks and final design work is done through Photoshop. We also touch upon the Flash Platform and the integration of audio and video within a website. This probably does not differ much from most introductory website creation and management classes offered at universities across the world.

One aspect of the class that I find to be unique (and the point of this article), is that these students are assigned actual clients in groups of two or three and are tasked with providing them a completed website as a final project. I work with an organization on campus called the Digital Media Outreach Center (DMOC) to get this all together. The mission of DMOC is to provide digital media services such as website creation to “Colorado-based non-profit and not-for-profit organizations in a manner that also gives students and faculty opportunities to apply and extend curriculum-based learning to community-based projects”. For my class, they find clients and manage the student-client relationship as I teach the skills and concepts necessary to fulfill those requirements through the course.

In general, this approach is both beneficial for the students and for the clients. Students receive a hands-on educational experience in both the subject matter and client relations. Clients receive a simple- yet fully functional, standards-based website to promote themselves and interact with their members and clients. A few problems do occur, from time-to-time, but most are easily resolved and the students come away from the class with a greater level of experience than they otherwise would have.