Debbie Williams, Computer Science, IT and Creative iMedia Subject Advisor
For our Cambridge National in Creative iMedia you have to choose one optional unit. All the optional units are non-examined assessment (NEA) where students are required to complete a set assignment.
In a series of blogs I hope to give you a flavour of each unit to help you decide which would best meet your learners’ interests and needs.
All the units follow the same process where students plan, make and review a product. The only difficulty you should have is choosing which one to deliver – I would love to teach them all!
Unit R097 requires students to create an interactive digital media product. This could be any of the following:
Students will need to develop an understanding of all of these products so that they are able to choose which one to produce independently in the NEA, based on the client requirements. They will also need knowledge of pre-production documentation in order to plan their product. Time will be needed to teach the technical skills to create each of the interactive digital media product. Finally, students will need to be able to test and review their work and offer improvement and further developments.
In this unit, students need to know the different formats interactive digital media take and how different formats may have different purposes and audiences. They also need to understand how users may access interactive media products and how this would impact on its format. For example, will it be viewed on a mobile phone and why does this matter?
Whichever format the interactive digital media takes the content generally stays the same. Students need to explore all the different interactive digital media products and how content such as images, video, forms, buttons and text are used. They also need to have a good understanding of how the content impacts on the form and structure of the interactive digital media product and how it can be affected by the audience and purpose.
Students need to explore features and conventions of interactive digital media and be familiar with effective graphical user interface (GUI) design. They also need to be able to recognise the importance of accessibility features to assist users. They need to be given the opportunity to review and use products to understand the advantages of each type and how they meet the purpose and audience needs.
All this teaching content is vital to their success in this unit, but students do not need to be able write about the theory of the conventions. As it is a Cambridge National qualification they need to be able to apply their knowledge and show it within the interactive digital product they produce as part of the NEA. They need to have exposure to a wide variety of interactive digital products to inspire and enthuse them to be able to create their own original, creative products which match conventions.
The mandatory examined unit R093 includes synoptic topic areas such as client requirements and audience demographics as well documents used to support ideas generation and planning media products. This needs to be taught before or as part of this unit. Without it, students will struggle do well in the NEA as it forms the basis of task 1.
Much of the content of R093 applies to all media products but then needs to be applied in this unit. For example, the teaching content for topic area 3.2 in R093 covers mind maps and mood boards. Students should have the understanding and skills to create a mind map, for example to identify content ideas for their interactive digital product to meet the client brief. They may choose to use a mood board: for example, they could use one to portray their vision for the look and feel of their product.
When it comes to the pre-production planning for the interactive digital product, the NEA will ask them to use a range of techniques to plan their interface. They should be able to choose from wire frame, storyboards and navigation and hierarchy diagrams. Therefore, in the teaching phase it is important they have had chance to practice these methods. You could give them a simple client brief for a game or website and ask them to produce pre-production documentation using each method. It is important that the designs are detailed enough that a third party would be able to use it to create their product. In the NEA the students will be expected to independently generate pre-production documents for their interactive digital product.
Students should also be taught to source assets and provide details in an assets table. We provide a template for this and students should be taught to complete it and strongly encouraged to use it in their NEA task.
There is no requirement for project management, such as Gantt charts, in this unit. All the planning students need to produce is around showing their creative ideas.
This topic area requires students to demonstrate their skills in using techniques in the software to create or edit assets and then create the interactive digital media product.
You may decide to focus on developing the skills and techniques for some, but not all the interactive digital media products. For example, you may focus your teaching on the software skills to create websites, mobile apps and information points and this then gives your students the opportunity to choose from these interactive digital products in the NEA.
If all the work submitted for moderation from a centre was for the same product using the same software this would indicate that opportunities for effective teaching had been missed.
There are a number of options when it comes to which software application to use, and it will depend on which interactive digital media product students are making.
When creating or repurposing the static images and the images for the interactive assets such as roll over buttons, banners, navigation bars and interactive forms we recommend using image editing software, the same as is used for the mandatory R094 unit. The skills and techniques students need for both units are similar, so whether you teach here or have already completed R094 it will save teaching time. You may consider using:
When creating or repurposing the audio assets, you may consider using:
When repurposing the moving image assets, you may consider using:
When creating the interactive digital media product, the software you choose will depend on the product. Below are suggestions:
There are many other software applications available. If you are thinking of using one and you aren’t sure whether it’s suitable, you could check the specification for the listed techniques and content required and see whether the software can produce what is required. If you are still unsure you could contact our support centre.
You would need to teach students to create and combine the content listed in the specification (page 65) and how to use the software to repurpose assets starting on page 68. It’s a good idea to provide students with a copy of the specification during the NEA so they know which skills they need to evidence through screenshots to get higher mark bands. They don’t need to use them all, but we would expect that they would demonstrate a wide range within their creation of the interactive digital media product.
The way that the tasks and the mark criteria have been designed requires students to edit all their component parts in strand 2a. This means that they should create/edit each of the parts of their content as separate assets (files), including each image, video, audio file and so on before combining them together in the appropriate software to make the final product. Their technical skills for combining and creating a product suitable for the audience is then assessed in strand 2b.
It is not always clear what tools and techniques have been used during the creation of the product. If a student only provides their finished interactive digital media product it would be difficult to award marks above MB1 in strand 2a and 2b. Therefore teaching how to use screenshots to evidence techniques used (but not a step-by-step guide) would be worthwhile skill.
Students will also be required to save and export or publish their finished interactive digital media product in a suitable format to meet the client requirements in the NEA. This again links back to R093 and topic area 2.2 properties of digital graphics, so teaching for this needs to be done early on in the course.
Once the interactive digital media product is complete, the final task for students is to test/check and review it before offering improvements and further developments. The expectation is that students will use our test table template to test both individual elements of the assets and the final product. They need to test things like the navigation, interactivity and user controls.
Students are then required to write a review that assesses the appropriateness for the audience, purpose and client as well as conventions of the product. This shouldn’t be a lengthy document.
The final part of strand 3 is to identify areas for improvement (ways to make the content that is already present more effective) and further developments (what could be added, done differently or reformatted differently in a future product). Students are not expected to correct any areas for improvement or make any developments, just identify and comment on them.
I hope this has given you an idea of what R097 is all about. We also have a scheme of work that could provide further guidance on planning this unit.
We also have blogs for the other optional units, R095, R096, R098 and R099.
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_ICT. You can also sign up to receive subject updates;information about resources and support.
Debbie joined the Computing team in September 2022, bringing her knowledge as a teacher and subject leader for IT, Computing and Creative Media. She has over 20 years’ experience of education working in various settings including state schools, private specialist provision, local authority, and as a marker and moderator for exam boards. She has a degree in Technology Management, a PGCE and a Masters in Teaching and Learning.