Spring 2017: New Sequence Assignment type launches

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Columbia University has just released a Spring 2017 semester update for Mediathread, the collaborative multimedia analysis platform used in hundreds of courses at Columbia as well as at other universities.

This release introduces a new assignment type in Mediathread: the sequence assignment. Mediathread now has three distinct assignment types that instructors can use to build and track student assignments: composition assignment, selection assignment, and sequence assignment. CTL designed this new feature in collaboration with Paul Scolieri, Associate Professor in Barnard College's Department of Dance. Professor Scolieri's students will complete a series of sequence assignments in Spring 2017, as part of a Mellon-supported project engaging students with archival dance footage held by the New York Public Library.

A sequence assignment allows students to line up a primary video or audio against multiple secondary selections and/or text annotations. The secondary selections will appear and disappear at designated points while the primary media plays.

A view of the Sequence Assignment workspace

A view of the Sequence Assignment workspace. A student positions text and image annotations next to a primary video. 

This type of assignment is good for assessing how students juxtapose a primary media object against other media selections (ie, visual annotations) or a series of thoughts (ie, textual annotations). In a sequence assignment, students may be asked to display correlations or contrasts in context, or to prepare a set of multimedia annotations that appear at designated points as a primary media selection plays.

Students choose and time the appearance of media selections and text snippets in a sequence workspace. An accompanying reflection workspace allows a student to post an overall characterization or justification of the sequence s/he has created. Instructors can also post feedback on a submitted assignment.

Sequence assignment responses can be shared with the instructor, with other students who have submitted, or to the entire class. Students also have the option of sharing their sequences publicly with the world via a permanent URL.

In addition to the sequence assignment launch, the Spring 2017 release of Mediathread addresses various back-end errors, and updates Flowplayer to version 6. Mediathread code is openly shared; code and documentation are available on GitHub