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The Wide-Spread Use of Multimedia in Online Courses
The integration of multimedia content into online courses has become a well-established pedagogical practice in recent years. Audio and video files are created to reproduce the instructor’s classroom roles in the virtual environment. Lectures and presentations are taped to distribute course content; instructions are recorded to help with projects, assignments, and activities; procedures are explained and discussions introduced using multimedia; even feedback and evaluation of student projects are provided via movie clips. This article will discuss the benefits of using video files in distance education in general and the positive impact of the “video syllabus” in particular.

The Positive Impact of Video
The scholarly support for the incorporation of video files into distributed learning environments usually includes an often-cited pedagogical-psychological principle that calls for the accommodation of multiple learning styles (Rief and Heimburge 1996). Students retain a higher percentage of the course material if it is accessible through multiple sensory channels, such as reading, seeing, and hearing (VideoPerception.com). As the results of Hee Jun Choi and Scott D. Johnson’s study indicate, “videos in online courses have the potential to enhance learners’ retention and motivation” (215). Learners report that “video-based instruction [is] more memorable than […] traditional text-based instruction” (215). Delivering information in multiple forms is promoted by NCTE’s guidelines, which assert that “integration of multiple modes of communication and expression can enhance or transform the meaning of the work beyond illustration or decoration” (http://www.ncte.org/about/over/ positions/category/ media/123213.htm).