Founded in 1998 by the University of Southern California's Dean of the School of Cinematic Arts Elizabeth Daley in conversation with filmmaker George Lucas, the Institute for Multimedia Literacy is an organized research unit dedicated to developing educational programs and conducting research on the changing nature of literacy in a networked culture.

The IML began with a few dedicated faculty and several groups of students, exploring ways to incorporate multimedia skills, authorship and critical analysis in courses that might not otherwise incorporate such avenues of expression. Since then, the IML has worked with dozens of faculty members and thousands of students, successfully integrating multimedia literacy into courses from across the academic spectrum, while also inspiring new forms of research and new teaching practices of participating faculty members.

By 2003, the IML was ready to found its first program, Honors in Multimedia Scholarship, a cross-campus undergraduate program with equal emphases on critical thinking, research and multimedia production; the program culminates in an Honors Thesis Capstone Project in the student's major.

In 2006, the IML, in collaboration with USC's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, created the Multimedia in the Core Program, which united General Education courses with multimedia labs offering all USC students the opportunity to explore new forms of scholarly expression. The following year, the Multimedia Across the College Program was created; here, upper division courses were paired with multimedia instruction, allowing students to investigate media-based forms of scholarly research and production. These efforts evolved into the now popular 2-unit course, IML 140: Workshop in Multimedia Authoring.

In 2009, the Minor in Digital Studies was launched, creating an opportunity for students to investigate a full range of multimedia authoring platforms, with new courses centering on the scholarly uses of tangible computing and information visualization.

The IML's mission is to empower people in the interpretation and design of media to be more engaged, active and critical citizens for the 21st century. Our educational programs promote effective and expressive communication and scholarly production through the use of multiple media applications and tools, and our faculty-directed research seeks to transform the nature of scholarship within the disciplines.