Asee peer logo

A New Course In Multimedia Systems For Non Technical Majors

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.75.1 - 7.75.10

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Santhosh Thampuran

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 2793

A New Course in Multimedia Systems for Non-technical Majors

Wayne Burleson, Stephen Kelley, Santhosh Thampuran

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Massachusetts, Amherst


This paper describes a project which has developed, piloted, evaluated, and is currently disseminating, a novel course in Multimedia Systems for non-majors. The course forms part of the new Information Technology minor program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The primary objective of the course is to expose students from non-technical majors to the technical aspects of Multimedia Systems. The paper discusses a number of pedagogical challenges that we attempted to meet through a wide range of teaching innovations, and also discusses approaches to assess the students. Finally, we discuss the production of a complete CD/DVD set of all course materials with synchronized and searchable video lectures and samples of student work to facilitate future offerings of the course.

1. Introduction

The primary objective of the course was to expose students from non-technical majors to the technical aspects of Multimedia Systems. This included basic representations of media in computers, algorithms for image, video and audio coding, me dia architectures, media hardware and media authoring and delivery tools.

The course made extensive use of multimedia technologies to teach about multimedia systems 1, an idea that was founded in a larger NSF grant. This course was specifically focused to a student audience without a technical background. Figure 1 shows a lecture being delivered by Prof. Burleson to the class about the NSF funded WebDVD project, which concentrates on novel video-based instructional technologies. These technologies were use d as subject matter for this course.

The fact that students had a non-technical background presented numerous challenges, the most significant of which was the technical diversity of the students in the course. We intentionally kept the course pre-requisites to a minimum, namely basic Web literacy, in order to attract a wide variety of students. In retrospect, this may have been too ambitious as it caused numerous challenges in dealing with students with widely varying backgrounds and objectives. Howeve r, it also led to an extremely dynamic course with many pleasant surprises and synergies across disciplines rarely found in a typical engineering course.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

Main Menu

Thampuran, S. (2002, June), A New Course In Multimedia Systems For Non Technical Majors Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015