Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Center for Research in Distance Education

in co-operation with

University of Maryland University College
Graduate School of Management and Technology

Learning and Training with Multimedia

OMDE 620

Olaf Zawacki-Richter with Jill Fresen

(The Syllabus is subject to change)


This course focuses on the design and evaluation of multimedia learning and teaching environments in higher education settings as well as corporate training contexts. Multimedia is broadly defined as learning from verbal and visual material. Students are introduced to principles of multimedia design based on cognitive theories and constructivist approaches to learning. As well, pedagogical aspects of technological innovations in distance education, promises and pitfalls of multimedia learning, media selection, and computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW) will be adressed. Students in OMDE 620 explore the characteristics, possibilities and limits of various multimedia products that are provided online. Based on this hands-on experience approaches, methods, and criteria for the evaluation of multimedia environments are introduced and will be applied to the examples. In the last part of the course, students are exposed to further case studies and develop their own concept for a multimedia project.


At the end of this course, students should be able to:



In general, journal articles, papers, and chapters referenced in this Syllabus will be supplied online.

    American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: APA.
ISBN: 1-55798-791-2

As noted below, the ability to write to APA standards is a Graduate School requirement.

CD-ROMs for evaluation of multimedia learning products. Examples from the University of Pretoria (South Africa):

Example #1: Music in South Africa
(Subject matter expert: Dr Hetta Potgieter, Departement of Music; Instructional Designer: Irene le Roux, Telematic Learning and Education Innovation; Graphic Artist: Kim Zimmerman, Telematic Learning and Education Innovation)

Example #2: Stress and Psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI)
(Subject matter expert: Prof. Retha Viljoen, Department of Physiology; Project manager: Anne Strehler; Instructional Designers: Henriette Wolmarans, Gaby Pretorius; Graphic Artist: Sigi Dannheimer; Graphic Assistant: Hannalie van Blerk; Sound Production: André du Plessis)

The CDs can be ordered from the Missouri Bookshop.



This course is only offered in the online mode. Students must be prepared to:

The 150 hours workload during the course consists of:



The course will be completed by three individual assignments:

Online participation contributes 20 % to the final grade.



According to the Graduate School's grading policy, the following symbols are used: A -- excellent; B -- good; C -- passing; and F-- failure.

The following scale will be used for the purposes of this course:
A = 90 to 100
B = 80 to 89
C = 70 to 79
F = below 70.

The grade of "B" represents the benchmark for the Graduate School. It indicates that the student has demonstrated competency in the subject matter of the course, i.e., has fulfilled all course requirements on time, has a clear grasp of the full range of course materials and concepts, and is able to present and apply these materials and concepts in clear, reasoned, well-organized and grammatically correct responses, whether written or oral.

Only students who fully meet this standard and, additionally demonstrate exceptional comprehension and application of the course subject matter, merit an "A".

Students who do not meet the benchmark standard of competency fall within the "C" range or lower. They, in effect, have not met graduate level standards. Where this failure is substantial, they earn an "F".

The Grade Of "I" (Incomplete): The grade of "I" is exceptional and given only to students whose completed coursework has been qualitatively satisfactory but who have been unable to complete all course requirements because of illness or other extenuating circumstances beyond their control. The grade of "I" may be considered only for students who have completed at least fifty percent (50%) of the total coursework requirements and who have received a passing grade on all the coursework which they have completed. The instructor retains the right to make the final decision on granting a student's request for an "I", even though the student may meet the eligibility requirements for this grade.


Effective managers, leaders, and teachers are also effective communicators. Written communication is an important element of the total communication process. The Graduate School recognizes and expects exemplary writing to be the norm for course work. To this end, all papers, individual and group, must demonstrate graduate level writing and comply with the format requirements of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition. Careful attention should be given to spelling, punctuation, source citations, references, and the presentation of tables and figures. It is expected that all course work will be presented on time and error free. Work submitted online should follow standard procedures for formatting and citations.


Academic integrity is central to the learning and teaching process. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will contribute to the maintenance of academic integrity by making all reasonable efforts to prevent the occurrence of academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, obtaining or giving aid on an examination, having unauthorized prior knowledge of an examination, doing work for another student, and plagiarism of all types.

Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional presentation of another person's idea or product as one's own. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the following: copying verbatim all or part of another's written work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source; and using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator. Students can avoid unintentional plagiarism by following carefully accepted scholarly practices. Notes taken for papers and research projects should accurately record sources to material to be cited, quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, and papers should acknowledge these sources. The penalties for plagiarism include a zero or a grade of "F" on the work in question, a grade of "F" in the course, suspension with a file letter, suspension with a transcript notation, or expulsion.


Students with disabilities who want to request and register for services should contact UMUC's technical director for veteran and disabled student services at least four to six weeks in advance of registration each semester. Please call 301-985-7930 or 301-985-7466 (TTY).


Feedback on each graduate course and instructor is important to the university, your professor, and to all students. UMUC has the responsibility to assess the effectiveness of classroom instruction, and each student has the responsibility to provide accurate and timely feedback through completion of the course evaluation form. This is a shared obligation for us all. It is therefore important that you complete the evaluation form for each course. This should be viewed as an additional course and program requirement.


Understanding and navigating through WebTycho is critical to successfully completing this course. All students are encouraged to complete UMUC's Orientation to Distance Education and WebTycho Tour at

The online WebTycho Help Desk is accessible directly in the classroom. In addition, WebTycho Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-807-4862 or


Each Master's student will work towards the development of a personal portfolio. The portfolio contains required and voluntary documents. Required documents are mandatory assignments and other mandatory contributions to the final grades in each course. Voluntary documents may show any other kind of active participation in the courses of the Master's program. These voluntary contributions allow students to show their proficiency and skills as a professional distance educator. This portfolio is a requirement for successful completion of the final Distance Education Project course.


Unit 1: Introduction and Overview (Week 1-3)

What is Multimedia Learning? Generations of Technological Innovations in Distance Education



Required readings

    Collis, B. (2002). Information Technologies for Education and Training. In H. H. Adelsberger & B. Collis & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on Information Technologies for Education and Training (pp. 1-20). Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer.   

    Daniel, J. (1998). Can you get my hard nose in focus? Universities, mass education and appropriate technology. In M. Eisenstadt & T. Vincent (Eds.), The Knowledge Web - Learning and Collaborating on the Net (pp. 21-29). London: Kogan Page.

    Garrison, G. R. (1985). Three generations of technological innovation in distance education. Distance Education, 6(2), 235-241.

    Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multimedia learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 1-2, pp. 1-40)

    Taylor, J. C. (2001). Fifth generation distance education. Paper presented at the 20th ICDE World Conference on Open Learning and Distance Education, Düsseldorf, Germany.

    Tolhurst, D. (1995). Hypertext, hypermedia, multimedia defined? Educational Technology, 35(2), 21-26.


Study groups will present agreed upon working definition of multimedia learning, with rationale.


Unit 2: Media and Learning (Week 4-6)



Required readings

    Carter, V. (1996). Do media influence learning? Revisiting the debate in the context of distance education. Open Learning(February), 31-40.

    Hasebrook, J. (1999). Searching the web without losing the mind - traveling the knowledge space. WebNet Journal, 1(2), 24-32.

    Jonassen, D., Davidson, M., Collins, M., Campbell, J., & Haag, B. B. (1995). Constructivism and computer-mediated communication in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 9(2), 7-25.

    McLoughlin, C. (2002). Learner support in distance and networked learning environments: ten dimensions for successful design. Distance Education, 23(2), 149-162.

     Mayer, R. E. (2001). Multimedia learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 3, pp. 41-62; Chapter 11, pp. 183-194)

    Naidu, S. (2003). Designing instruction for e-learning environments. In M. G. Moore & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of distance education (pp. 349-365). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Optional reading

    Clark, R. E. (1983). Reconsidering research on learning from media. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 445-459.

    Kozma, R. B. (1991). Learning with media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179-211

    Liao, Y.-K. C. (1999). Effects of hypermedia on students' achievement: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 8(3), 255-277.

    Naidu, S., Anderson, J., & Riddle, M. (2000). The virtual print exhibition: a case of learning by designing. In R. Sims & M. O’Reilly & S. Sawkins (Eds.), Learning to choose - choosing to learn; Proceedings of the 17th annual Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2000 Conference (pp. 109-114). Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, Australia.

Internet resources

    Kearsley, G. (2002). Explorations in learning & instruction: The theory into practice database. Retrieved May, 2005:

    Funderstanding. (2001). About learning. Retrieved May, 2005:

Assignment #1

At the end of Unit 2 students are to submit an essay on multimedia in DE / the impact of multimedia learning on DE (25 % of course grade).


Unit 3: Evaluation of Multimedia Applications (Week 7-10)



Required Readings

    Baumgartner, P., & Payr, S. (1997). Methods and practice of software evaluation: The case of the European Academic Software Award (EASA). Paper presented at the ED-MEDIA 97, Charlottesville.

    Hasebrook, J. (1999). Exploring electronic media and the human mind: A Web-based training. Paper presented at the World Conference on Internet, Intranet and World Wide Web (WebNet), Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Heller, R. S., Martin, D., Haneef, N., & Gievska-Krliu, S. (2001). Using a theoretical multimedia taxonomy framework. Journal of Educational Resources in Computing, 1(1), 1-22.

    Kennedy, G., Petrovic, T., & Keppell, M. (1998). The development of multimedia evaluation criteria and a program of evaluation for computer aided learning. Paper presented at ASCILITE'98.

    Lee, S. H. (1999). Usability testing for developing effective interactive multimedia software: concepts, dimensions, and procedures. Educational Technology & Society, 2(2).

    Reeves, T. C., & Harmon, S. W. (1994). Systematic evaluation procedures for interactive multimedia for education and training. In S. Reisman (Ed.), Multimedia computing: Preparing for the 21st century (pp. 472-505). Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing.

    Oppermann, R. (2002). User-interface Design. In H. H. Adelsberger & B. Collis & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on Information Technologies for Education and Training (pp. 234-248). Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer.

Multimedia Applications / Online Resources

A selection of multimedia applications as well as further online resources on usability testing, webusability and pedagogical evaluation will be provided in WebTycho.

Assignment #2

As members of a jury in a multimedia award, students are expected to write a review about one of the software examples. The evaluation is carried out based on criteria established in this unit. In the review the detailed results of the evaluation concerning the usability and the pedagogical design are discussed and justified.
Due at the end of Unit 3 (25 % of course grade).


Unit 4: Developing a proposal for a multimedia project (Week 11-14)

Visiting Expert

Dr. Jill Fresen (Project Manager)
University of Pretoria (South Africa),
Department of Telematic Learning and Education Innovation



Required readings

    Brigham, D. (2001). Converting student support services to online delivery. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 1(2), 1-16.

    Brindley, J. E., Zawacki, O., & Roberts, J. (2003). Support services for online faculty: The provider's and the users' perspectives. In U. Bernath & E. Rubin (Eds.), Reflections on teaching and learning in an online master program - A case study (pp. 137-165). Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universität Oldenburg.

    CHEA. (2002). Accreditation and assuring quality in distance learning. Washington: Council for Higher Education Accreditation.   

    Dunlap, J. C. (1999). Developing web-based performance support systems to encourage lifelong learning in the workplace. WebNet Journal, 1(2), 40-48.

    IHEP. (2000). Quality on the Line - Benchmarks for Success in Internet-Based Distance Education. Washington: Institute for Higher Education Policy.

    Moonen, J. (2002). Design Methodology. In H. H. Adelsberger & B. Collis & J. M. Pawlowski (Eds.), Handbook on Information Technologies for Education and Training (pp. 154-180). Berlin, Heidelberg, New York: Springer.

    Schreiber, D. A. (1998). Instructional design of distance training. In D. A. Schreiber & Z. L. Berge (Eds.), Distance training - how innovative organizations are using technology to maximize learnign and meet business objectives (pp. 37-65). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Zawacki-Richter, O. (2005). Online Faculty Support and Education Innovation - A Case Study. European Journal of Open and Distance Learning (EURODL), Volume 1.

Plus: Review chapters and articles previously assigned.

Assignment #3

At the end of Unit 4 students are to submit an individual project proposal for the introduction of multimedia learning in a corporate or academic setting. The proposal has to cover at least the following topics:

The final assignmet contributes 30 % to course grade.


Feedback (Week 15)