Have you considered an educational program in multimedia communications? Here you can check out considerations for choosing an online school as well as some examples of specific programs offered at three institutions.
How to Select an Online Multimedia Communications School
Students should consider career goals and expectations when choosing program levels and online schools. They should also weigh potential internship opportunities.
It's important for students to decide which certificate or degree level will lead them toward their desired career goal before selecting an online school. Online degree programs in multimedia communications can lead to awards such as associate's degrees in multimedia communications, bachelor's degrees in visual media or visual communications and master's degrees in visual media or interactive communications. Some schools also offer multimedia-related certificates in digital photography, web design or digital imaging.
Multimedia content developers, Web graphic designers and digital illustrators often have formal educational backgrounds in multimedia communications. Individuals contemplating online multimedia communications schools first need to select which program level accesses their ideal careers. Associate's degree programs can lead to careers involving Web design or digital illustration. Bachelor's and master's degree programs prepare individuals to seek careers in broadcast production and interactive multimedia development. Certificate programs are suitable for professionals looking to sharpen existing skills or add new skills to their multimedia repertoire.
Another consideration for students choosing online multimedia communications schools is content delivery method. Is the program delivered completely online or is it a hybrid, offering both virtual and on-campus components? Hybrid programs often deliver lectures online, but require students to utilize on-campus computer labs or multimedia production studios. Students may also be required to attend on-site orientations or departmental programs. Online course management systems, such as Blackboard, allow students to upload assignments and communicate with each other as well as instructors. Students frequently use discussion boards, chats, instant messaging and e-mail to stay in touch with instructors and fellow students.
Most distance learning multimedia communications programs require students to complete internships with Web-focused broadcasters or video publications. It's important to know whether the online school secures placement for these opportunities or if it's the student's responsibility.
Common Online Multimedia Communications Programs
Certificate in Multimedia Communications
Many programs award certificates in specific media specialties, such as digital layout and design, digital illustration, Web authoring or contemporary communications. Credits for such certificate programs can often be applied to associate's degree programs in multimedia arts. Many are offered entirely online and require only several courses for completion. Coursework includes:
- Multimedia graphics
- Graphic design introduction
- Photographic imaging
- E-commerce and the web
Associate's Degree in Multimedia Communications
Online multimedia communications associate's degree programs can be pursued entirely online or in hybrid format. These programs often emphasize visual literacy and offer hands-on experience with multimedia and graphic design software. Many programs require practical internships or capstone projects with external companies, organizations or publications prior to graduation. Coursework may include:
- Flash animation
- Web authoring
- Digital photography
- Technology in music
Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Communications
Distance learning multimedia communications bachelor's degree programs are offered entirely online or in hybrid format. Most teach students about short-form production and emphasize media specialties, such as fashion journalism, music for video content, sportscasting or interactive multimedia development. Programs also emphasize individual artistic ability, traditional graphic design principles and state-of-the-art communications technologies.
Students gain advanced multimedia and Web-based technical skills that teach them how to blend text, sound, graphics and animated images in various computerized environments. Hybrid programs often offer general education courses online but expect students to complete major-related courses on campus. Both online and hybrid programs offer access to online libraries and technical support. Coursework includes:
- Video communication fundamentals
- 3D design
- Desktop publishing
- Electronic publishing
Master's Degree in Multimedia Communications
Online multimedia communications master's degree programs often emphasize media specialties such as game development, music for video integration, multimedia broadcast production or interactive communications. They also prepare students to take traditional, linear media forms and transform them into interactive, multimedia outlets. Students in these programs study traditional drawing, storytelling and painting. Other coursework can include:
- Non-linear editing for multimedia storytelling
- Multimedia writing
- Digital tools for new media
- Telephone to transmedia storytelling
- Radio and podcasting
Schools with Online Programs in Multimedia Communications
The Academy of Art University houses a few options for online programs in communications and media technologies. Students are able to select from a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts, and all online students receive the same curriculum and course requirements as those who would attend in person.
Waldorf University contains an Associate of Arts in Communications. Offered on campus as well as online, this program can be completed by full-time students in two years. Students will be required to obtain a Mac computer that meets the technical specifications to operate the Adobe Creative Cloud. Topics covered in classes include digital production and social media, graphic design, journalism, and critical thinking for visual media.
The University of Massachusetts in Lowell offers an online Certificate Program in Multimedia Applications. This 18-credit program provides almost all of its classes each semester, making it a very convenient option for students regardless of which courses they need to choose to complete the program.
Online degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels are offered in the field of multimedia communications. Your career goals, interest in internships, and ability to attend any on-campus experiences are all factors to consider when applying to an online degree program in this field.