Mediathread was conceived and developed by Columbia University’s Center for New Media for Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL). It incorporates elements of CCNMTL media annotation projects over the span of 15 years, including Project Vietnam (funded by IMLS), Video Interactions for Teaching and Learning (funded by NSF), and the Image Annotation Tool.

Launched at Columbia in 2010, Mediathread has now been used in over 300 courses across a wide range of subject domains, including Social Work, Journalism, East Asian Studies, Art History, Film Studies, History, Public Health, Education, and English.

Teacher Education at Columbia University

Example: Analyzing student teaching at Teachers College
Course: The Development of Mathematical Thinking
Department: Human Development, Teachers College
Instructor: Herbert Ginsburg, Sarantoula Sandra Pappas Schattman, Azadeh Jamalian, and Samantha Creighan

Background: Professor Ginsburg and his co-instructors use Mediathread throughout his course on early childhood mathematics education, a course that focuses on theories of developmental psychology as well as teaching and assessment practices derived from research. A series of assignments integrating readings with video footage prepares students to discuss and debate interpretations of learning behavior.

Implementation: For the first ten weeks of the course, students are required to post short essays about clinical interviewing techniques. They also post a weekly reflection on what they learned during in-class instruction. The final project for the course is a comprehensive essay in Mediathread. For this project, students first videotape themselves teaching and interviewing a child to assess the child's mathematical skills development. Then, in Mediathread, students write an analysis of their interaction with the child, using video to provide supporting evidence of class concepts. Professor Ginsburg and his co-instructors then assesses his students' mastery of theory, teaching and interviewing skills, and interpretation of the video.

Social Work at Columbia University

Example: Clinical training for Social Work students
Course: Foundations of Social Work, Social Work Practice II
Department: School of Social Work
Instructor: Various

Background: At the Columbia University School of Social Work, first-year students take a core course entitled "Foundations of Social Work" in their first semester, followed by "Social Work Practice II" in their second semester. The curriculum emphasizes assessment, intervention, and evaluation; clinical applications of risk and resiliency theories to at-risk populations; and clinical issues with specific client populations. In both courses students use Mediathread to connect class readings to videos of clinical sessions and role-play assignments.

Implementation: Students watch videos of clinical sessions and role-play assignments, clip segments, and make annotations. They then add the video annotations to essays in which they analyze theoretical models and clinical techniques and reflect on their own intervention methods. These multimedia essays encourage closer readings of clinician/patient interactions and improve students' evidence-based reasoning. Sharing completed multimedia essays with other social work students fosters group discussion and learning from peers.

Film, Television, and Cultural Studies at Barnard College

Course: Projecting the American Empire on Film
Department: History, Barnard College
Instructor: Seth Fein

Background: "Projecting the American Empire on Film" is a course at Barnard College for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in the History department. The course explores the connection of audiovisual mass culture to the rise of the United States as a world power. Class readings and more than twenty films from the 1920's through the 1950's portray varying ideologies and help students deepen their understanding of historical contexts. Mediathread is used for a series of close reading exercises of film footage.

Implementation: Students undertake close, careful inspection of assigned films through weekly, short-form "bullet-memos" of no more than 175 words. They are required to make at least two annotated selections per film and embed the selections into their essays to support their claims. Classmates share completed multimedia essays with each other, driving group discussion and learning from peers. Mediathread also allows the instructor gives multimedia feedback and individualized critique of student postings.