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Content design and delivery

The stages of content development involve different types of people, with different skills. As much as possible the creators of the content should be kept up-to-date in the development of the project, as many software project fail as the software designers have not received continual feedback from the actual people who have initiated the idea for the project, or how are the users of the product.
A good approach in the development of the multimedia is to setup two design teams. These should be small enough to be efficient (as often the larger the committee, the slower that the work will proceed). These would be:

Instruction design team. The objectives of this team are to analyze, to design, to build and to evaluate the product. Typically this team would be made up of content creators, such as graphics designers, and the idea generators. This the main design team, and will feed ideas to the software design team. Representatives from the software design team should be part of this team, and should give the Instructional team technical sup-port for their ideas. This team will initially ask the software design team to produce pro-totypes which will be presented to the instructional design team, so that the instructional team can generate a design.

Software design team. The objectives of this team are to prototype, to generate new ideas, to construct and code, and to test and evaluate the product. This team will be lead by the instructional design team, and most report back to this team, as technical requirements should never overrule the aims of the product (unless the instruction team were to approve these). After the generation of initial prototypes, the instruction team will give outline designs for the product. These would be turned into a formal de-sign specification by the software design team, which would be presented back to the instructional team, for their acceptance, or not. Once accepted the software design team can start to properly code and integrate the media. After this is complete these can feed differing versions to the instructional team, who would give feedback on their developments. Finally the product would enter the test and evaluate phase.

Figure 4 Content instruction and software teams (©billatnapier)

Any failure in the project is likely to be shared by the two teams, rather than resting on an indidivual. A good approach is to formalize meetings of the two team. For example lets imagine that we have a language tool for Primary School Children. Initially the teams would be defined, and distributed to everyone. For example the instruction team could be:

Ms J.Goodie, French Teacher (Instruction Group Leader).
Mr M.Plode, Teacher, Design Department.
Mr R.Headingly, School Head.
Ms A.Bigwig, Legal Department, Local Authority.
Ms I.S. Techno, Multimedia Developer (Software Group Leader).
Ms A.N. Pupil, Senior Year Pupil.

This team should involve the main content creators (the teachers), and representatives of users of the system (the pupil). It also includes the School Head, who is likely to be able to make discussions on finance, and resources. The representative from the Legal Department will help with copyright issues. Also the technical person (Ms Techno) is there to represent the Software Design team. Initially they would meet and define the main designs for the project, these would be fed to the software team, so that they can work on prototypes and the main design specifications. The Software Design Team could be made up of:

Ms I.S. Techno, Multimedia Developer (Software Group Leader).
Ms J. Goodie, French Teacher (Instruction Group Leader).
Mr C.Plus, Software Developer.
Mr E.Ternet, IT Support.

This team includes someone from the Instruction team, and will meet to discuss the ideas and the requirements from the Instructions team. The number of meets of the teams de-pends on the project, but, in this case we could define:

· Formal Instructional team meets every two weeks, to discuss documents things like design details and content creation. An informal agenda is created for each meeting, and each meeting focuses on a specific aim.
· Software Design team meets every two weeks, and meets to discuss technical develop-ment. An informal agenda is created for each meeting, and each meeting focuses on a specific aim.
· Representatives from both teams meet every four weeks to discuss the progress. This meeting should have a formal agenda with documents and presentations tabled before the meeting, which are open to discussion. This meeting is fully minuted, and actions are put on people. Any major changes in the project are discussed at this meeting.