Multimedia Development Tools



Increasingly, educational technologists and instructional designers are expected to be able to design and develop or manage the development of computer-based and Web-based multimedia training products. This requires familiarity with multimedia development tools. You don't need to be an expert in everything -- indeed, it would hardly be possible in these days of proliferating tools and versions of tools -- but a hands-on acquaintance with a representative set of tools will help you understand the design constraints, manage those who actually do the development, and even occasionally whip out your own prototype.

The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to at least brush elbows with a couple multimedia development tools of your choice. You won't be able to do all of these, or even want to. Sorry, no extra credit for doing more than two.

Choose two that interest you, and with which you are as yet unfamiliar. Complete the tutorials, and post the end product to your web site and send the URL to the course listserv to receive credit for the assignment. You may discover a tool or two that will serve you well throughout the program and your career.

Here is a list of some of the acceptable tools from which to choose, with a brief description of each, notes on where to find the software and the tutorial, and the specified deliverable. These are chosen both because they are mainstream multimedia development tools and because they have reasonably good tutorials. If you would like to explore a tool you don't see here, please approve it with the instructor before you begin.

For example, Adobe offers a series of on line seminars for many of their products. Check their current schedule.

Adobe Photoshop

A must for graphic artists, and a very useful tool for practically anyone doing anything with graphics. Comes in several flavors, including Photoshop Elements packaged with many scanners and digital cameras.


Completed tutorial project, saved for Web, posted to site and linked to your assignment page. Send URL to course listserv.

Video editing software: Apple iMovie or Final Cut Pro, Microsoft MovieMaker, Adobe Premiere or After Effects

Apple's, Microsoft's, Adobe's or other video editing software, in which you can capture, edit, add special effects and transitions, and do just about anything you can imagine. iMovie and MovieMaker are the consumer versions, but quite powerful enough for what most of us will want or need to do. All these are wonderful tools.


Send brief report to the course listserv, with URL to movie posted on Web, if appropriate.

Apple iDVD or DVD Studio Pro

These are DVD authoring/burning packages from Apple, and there are equivalent applications for Windows. iDVD is a very accessible application for simple authoring and burning, and works in tandem with Apple's iMovie software. Edit your video in iMovie, burn it to a DVD in iDVD. DVD Studio Pro is a high end, full-featured authoring environment in which you can build custom menus and submenus, and configure multiple video, slideshow, and audio tracks--just like the DVDs you get at Blockbuster!.


Email brief description to the course listserv.

Adobe Flash

Vector drawing and interactive multimedia program especially good for Web development. Endless possibilities. 30-day trail version available from Adobe's Flash Developer Center provides tutorials. Use the the tutorial built into the help system of any version, or any of the numerous on line tutorials. A few favorite tutorials from past students:


A finished file from any tutorial. Save as Flash Movie and post on you web site. Email the URL to the course listserv.

Adobe Flash Learning Interactions

A companion package to Flash, specifically for building online courses. Available as a free extension to Flash, downloadable from the Macromedia Web site.

Find information and tutorials at the Adobe Flash Support Center.


A finished product from the tutorial. Email the course listserv with the URL.

Adobe Dreamweaver:

Industry standard web page editor, easy-to-use interface for cascading style sheets, database applications, javascript, and much, much more. You'll only be able to do a little piece of it, but it has a lot to offer.
The tutorial built into the help system of the 30-day trial version, or on the Adobe's Dreamweaver Developer Center.


A finished page or small web site from any tutorial. Email the course listserv with the URL.

Adobe Captivate (Win only at present)

A very useful tool for teaching software, but can also be used to build almost any kind of tutorial, complete with learning interactions to be delivered in Flash and several other formats.

See the Help menu within the application, on the Captivate Developer Center.


A finished product from a tutorial. Email the course listserv with the URL.

Adobe Director

The most widely-used (and formidable) representative of the class of tools used for CBT development, particularly for delivery on CD/DVD-ROM, but also for delivery on the web using Shockwave. Some tutorials on Adobe's Director Developer Center. This is not a light-weight—you'll need to just put your toe in if you're new to Director, but that'll give you some idea of what it—and you—can do.


Completed tutorial project or part thereof, if possible "Shock" and post to your assignment page and send URL to the course listserv. If not possible to "Shock" just send description of what you did.

Photo panorama stitching software

Google "free panorama software" and find something that works for you. Make 360-degree panoramas, manipulable objects, and links to other nodes or media. You'll need a digital camera (some digital cameras come with stitching software).


A finished panorama scene or object. Email the course listserv with the URL to your posted panorama.

Google Sketchup, Carrara or other 3D modeling and animation application

3D modeling and animation authoring can come in very handy for educational multimedia products. There are dozens of software applications available, ranging from free products, like Google's Sketchup, to applications costing thousands of dollars. Find something appropriate to your needs and pocketbook, or use a trial version, such as Carrara demos.


A finished 3D image or short animation. Post to your Web site and email the course listserv with the URL.

Get the idea?

If you'd like to do a tutorial or experiment with some software of your own choice, please email the instructor and state the name of the software, a one-sentence description of what it is supposed to do (in case I've never heard of it), how you're going to learn it (tutorial, personal project, friend, etc.), and the deliverable that will evidence that you actually learned something.