Images, infographics, illustrations, animations, videos, websites, and mobile apps offer powerful ways to communicate. When you teach your students how to create these types of media projects, you prepare them to be flexible and effective digital communicators. These projects also make powerful visual additions to student portfolios and give students an opportunity to demonstrate valued skills.
To incorporate these projects into your class, start by swapping out one of your standard assignments for a digital communication project.
Consider: What might be the goal of digital communication in assessment in your course?
To begin, identify an instructional goal from the list below, or create one of your own. Here are some goals students can accomplish with digital communications:
- Present analysis or research
- Make an argument
- Explain a concept
- Pitch an idea
- Persuade, advocate or defend a position
- Tell a compelling story
- Collaborate with others and participate in the broader professional dialogue
What types of communication skills are core to your discipline, to your field, or to the work students will do once they graduate? What content-area knowledge do you want students to explore this semester or for this particular course? Combine your digital communications goal with your content-area knowledge to write an objective for this project.
By creating this digital communications project, students will be able to (CHOOSE A VERB: summarize, explain, pitch, advocate for, tell the story of, collaborate to...) in order to demonstrate (WRITE OUR CONTENT-AREA GOAL HERE).
Choose a project.
Consider your syllabus. Are there assignments you've included that would lend themselves to a digital communication project? Or would it make sense to add an additional project to the course? You might choose to start small; for example, assign a visual social media post to serve as the first slide in a research presentation. Or you might decide to redesign your final assignment as a web page, video or infographic instead of a term paper. Then, update your objective to include the type of project you're assigning.
By creating [CHOOSE: a social media post, a video, a web page, etc...], students will be able to demonstrate (YOUR CONTENT-AREA GOAL HERE).
Once you've decided on a goal and a project type, find examples of both strong and weak digital communications in this genre. As you explore, save helpful examples and make a note of your analysis. Your notes will help you understand what you're looking for in the final student work, and you can analyze these examples with students when you assign the project.
Select a technology or let students choose their own.
Depending on your students’ skill levels, you might allow them to choose which software or tools are best for the job. Your Adobe Creative Cloud membership provides many options for creating top-notch digital communications, and if your students are familiar with the tools, they can likely get started on their own without guidance from you. But if your students are new to digital communication, it often helps to suggest an easy-to-use tool that will allow them to create powerful communications without having to learn the nuances of professional-level software. Here are some options:
- Adobe Spark allows students to create social media posts, videos, and web pages quickly and with great impact.
- Adobe Premiere Clip is a great video-editing tool for slightly more advanced or collaborative projects.
- Adobe Muse CC allows anyone to create websites without writing code.
Design the project materials.
Depending on how you usually assign projects in your courses, you will want to articulate your expectations and guidelines for the project. Review an example below, or get creative and make your own video, website or graphic to provide the project instructions.
Facilitate the project to support student success.
Introduce the project, and show students the examples you've found. Discuss: what makes a strong, compelling digital communication for our purposes? What are some things to avoid?
You don't have to be the expert in the software or in communication. You can play the role of a coach and facilitator. The more you can empower students to create and communicate on their own, the better you're preparing them for life after graduation.
Ready to get started?
Explore these additional resources that can help you implement the best practices shared in this article:
- Digital Media Projects with Adobe Spark
- Create an Image for Social Media
- Quickly Add Handwritten Text to Instagram Photos
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