What is it about?

The notion of students as co-creators of content in higher education is gaining popularity, with an ever-increasing emphasis on the development of digital media assignments. In a separate paper, the authors introduced the Digital Media Literacies Framework, which is composed of three interrelated domains: (1) conceptual, (2) functional, and (3) audiovisual, each of which defines a set of prosumer principles used to create digital artefacts. This framework fills a gap in the literature and is the first step towards the provision of a systematic approach to designing digital media assignments. This paper expands on the Digital Media Literacies Framework through the incorporation of Technological Proxies and proposes a taxonomy of digital media types to help educators and students to visualise the skills needed to complete Learner-Generated Digital Media assignments. A taxonomy of digital media types is presented considering the conceptual, functional, and audiovisual domains of the Digital Media Literacies Framework. The taxonomy spans a range of Learner-Generated Digital Media assignments, from the creation of an audio podcast to the complexity of blended media or game development. Implications of the taxonomy for teaching and learning in higher education are discussed.

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Why is it important?

From the educator’s perspective, the proposed taxonomy will help them to understand the different media types and the skills involved in its production. This knowledge is essential when designing LGDM assignments; educators need to decide how to embed these digital media types in the curricula for first-, second-, and third-year cohorts. In our faculty, first-year students engage in the production of audio podcast and blog postings. Second-year students create brochures and digital stories while third-year cohorts produce video and blended media. This strategy ensures educators can identify the need for training for the students and allows the scaffolding of digital media literacies across the curricula. For this approach to happen, educators require an understanding of the taxonomy proposed. Furthermore, an understanding of the nature of digital media production workflow will help educators to weight the task, whether the assignment is individual or group work according to digital media type. At the Faculty of Science, LGDM assignments for first-year students (podcast and blogging) are designed for individual work and contributes to 15% of the marks. For second-year (brochure and digital story), the assignments are designed for group work and contribute to 20% of the marks. Finally, third-year students (video and blended media) weights 30% of the marks, and it is also a group work. The proposed taxonomy could also help educators to develop marking rubrics that assess conceptual, functional, and audiovisual domains. The conceptual domain is linked with graduate attributes such as ‘An inquiry-oriented approach’ and ‘Professional skills and its appropriated application’. The functional domain is linked to ‘Initiative and innovative ability’, and the audiovisual domain (digital media principles) as part of ‘Communication skills’.


Additionally, from the faculty/institutional perspective, the taxonomy of digital media types for LGDM assignments can help to design the curricula and to ensure students will be exposed to the creation of these different digital media types. It will also prevent students being enrolled in several subjects that require complex digital media production during the same semester. As we know, students have competing schedules studying, working, and family commitments. We hope the taxonomy could be a good theoretical foundation to design and implement LGDM as an assessment tool and develop student digital media literacies.

Mr Jorge Reyna
University of Technology Sydney

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This page is a summary of: A taxonomy of digital media types for Learner-Generated Digital Media assignments, E-Learning and Digital Media, November 2017, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/2042753017752973.
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