trailmix: Curating Rich Media for Online Education
trailmix is a tool for curating and consuming rich media for online higher education. This highly functional prototype allows instructors to easily create educational narratives: collections of online resources — videos, images, and text — arranged in a way that allows students to explore topics in a logically ordered way rather than from a list of links. The tool guides instructors through the process of creating logical, cohesive, and attractive lessons that can replace or supplement existing course reading and lectures. Students can access the lessons online (even on an iPad), and experience a guided, unified learning experience.
trailmix addresses many common concerns of instructors and students in online learning environments: lack of student engagement, lack of guidance, and lack of interaction between instructors and students. trailmix leverages the recent abundance of compelling online educational media such as videos and images in order to maintain student interest. At the same time, trailmix provides order and structure to this online content. Rather than wandering through links, students are guided through material embedded in an ordered lesson. In addition, instructors are encouraged to provide context for each piece of media using guiding text snippets. To give students and instructors a way to interact within the tool, there is a place for asking and answering questions alongside the content.
We named this project trailmix to emphasize the key elements of our system: the “trail” that connects learning materials to each other and guides students through the material and the “mix” of different media.