Swinburne is a leader in multimedia education in Australia and was the first university in Victoria to offer technically-oriented multimedia degree courses as well as those with the highest level of communication values. |
Building upon this experience, Swinburne now offers a range of innovative and distinct undergraduate and postgraduate programs which traverse a number of specialist areas including multimedia design, media analysis and applications, and multimedia technology.
The School of Information Technology has a major role in multimedia research in the context of system design and usability. Staff are involved in exciting, innovative work focussing on the development of an effective design methodology to enable developers to create usable multimedia systems. Two such projects are: The research into what extent are formalised design approaches used for educational multimedia; and Multimedia Mate - a multimedia development methodology.
The first study investigated the extent to which Victorian multimedia developers apply formal design approaches when creating educational multimedia titles. The results suggest extreme diversity in the approaches used to design educational multimedia, and a low level of use of any formal methodologies. This can be attributed to a general lack of understanding of formalised design approaches and a reluctance among developers to create design methodologies due to the resource investment required and a concern that use of methodologies could inhibit creativity.
The second study, the Multimedia Mate project, extended the first study with an aim to produce a practical and usable tool to enable multimedia developers to create effective multimedia systems by following a well-principled design methodology. Multimedia Mate is a prototypical system developed in this research. It is an interactive knowledge-based system that provides high-level information, processes, guidelines, templates and samples to guide the system developer to create multimedia systems effectively and efficiently.
Research in the National School of Design is focused upon two areas. The first is interface design. Within this, multimedia provides a challenging range of interface opportunities for the user that is dramatically different to those of the traditional paper-based document design interface. These require a reconsideration of visual language graphic codes and navigational possibilities.
The second is the development of survey methodology that exploits both the interactive and object simulation capabilities of internet-based multimedia. These capabilities set the new electronic media apart from traditional and paper-based questionnaire methods.
The Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing is developing educational virtual reality "exhibits" for use in both its virtual reality theatrette and internet astronomy programs. The 3D-visualisation laboratory is connected to the Swinburne supercomputer with a Gbit link and can play back pre-rendered images in the virtual reality theatre. The system is used to visualise complex 3D structures using shutter glasses which give added depth to the material and allows the users to visit architectural splendours that have been rendered on the supercomputer. The Centre also has a powerful renderfarm which can deliver 70 Gflops of rendering power to produce complex multimedia for use in its online astronomy programs.
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
Swinburne University of Technology