Media Fundamentals for Interpreters

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This course provides the necessary grounding for field interpreters to develop in-house products and work directly with professional media planners and designers in developing media services.

Please note:

This course is currently being revised with the National Association for Interpretation. The revised version will be released in November 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Project Manager Nona Henderson at or 812-855-0864.





Interpretive media products connect the visitor to the significance and relevance of the site through a variety of formats, including publications, wayside exhibits, websites, audio/visual products, and other interactive materials. Media products endure longer than other forms of interpretation and can reach broad audiences by addressing diverse learning styles.

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The content in this course is divided into sections corresponding to the media development process, with the intention that you can come back to the different sections as guidelines or checklists whenever you're working on a product.

Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed. This course includes the following elements.

Elements of the course:

  • Informational text
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Engaging videos
  • Learn More opportunities
  • Supplemental reference materials

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • Meaningful Media
  • Foundation Planning
  • Project Strategy
  • Content Development
  • Interpretive Design
  • Analyzing Interpretive Effectiveness
  • Production and Maintenance

Be able to:

  • Describe how principles of interpretation are used to develop media products that enable visitors to form their own intellectual and emotional connections to the meanings, significance, and relevance of the site.
  • Identify appropriate media products for specific interpretive purposes and audiences.
  • Articulate the elements of interpretive effectiveness in a media product.
  • Provide suggestions for enhancing access to resource meanings.
  • Evaluate the interpretive potential of text, graphics, audio/visual artifacts, and other media elements.
  • Identify the basic steps in the planning, research, and development processes of interpretive media.
  • Describe basic principles of design and composition and how these principles can enhance access to resource meanings.
  • Define media planning team positions.
  • Recognize your appropriate team role for projects of varying sizes.
  • Seek and incorporate feedback from a variety of sources, including peers, stakeholders, and media specialists.
  • Recognize your current level of media skill.
  • Understand the importance of collaboration to produce the most effective and professional media products.
  • Describe the importance and relevance of accessibility laws, Universal Design concepts, NPS standards/policies, and intellectual property rights.

Recommended Background

Successfully completing the free Foundations of Interpretation e-course provides essential background information for this course.


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