AIS brings digital lab to LRC

AIS brings digital lab to LRC

Kayla Bell

A new Digital Media Tutoring Center is now open for students to use in the Lydia M. Olson Library with a purpose of assisting students across all majors with media-related projects.

Whether making a video presentation for a class or a promotional video for a student group, the center exists not only to provide the necessary equipment but also the training to use it effectively.

Leslie Warren, the Dean of Academic Information Services highlights that the reason behind this venture is media literacy.

The Art and Design and Communication and Performance Studies departments rent out equipment and have access to editing platforms for students in those specific classes, but as more classes and more organizations move toward media-based content, the need for accessibility and competency has increased.

“Working with multimedia is one of those 21st century literacies—to be able to communicate through multimedia, not just through writing or speaking,” Warren said.

Gear that can be checked out at the library desk includes camcorders, waterproof cameras, go-pros, and different kinds of microphones. There is a total of five computers loaded with the full Adobe creative suite, which includes Premiere, AfterEffects, and Photoshop, among other software.

Two of the computers at the workstation are monitors where students can hook up laptops to display their digital media projects on a larger screen. The equipment and media lab is available to students during normal library hours but there will be tutors present about 25 to 30 hours per week.

The space occupied by the media lab used to be the microfilm room but now the microfilm machines are out on the main floor. Staff members of AIS added additional power, network, and changed the lighting in the room.

The cost of these changes along with student labor costs and the new equipment necessary to start the Digital Media Tutoring Center up totaled nearly $25,000. The money came from donations accrued at the NMU Foundation, Warren said.

Kevin McDonough, associate professor and departmental liaison, said he had been thinking about this project for a year and a half. He has worked with various departments and talked with other universities with these types of centers.

Initially, he sent a message out to professors asking if they assign any projects with a multimedia element and at least a dozen responded with varying levels of multimedia involvement.

“The library is looking to offer more services that are innovative and meet needs,”
McDonough said.