Thursday, August 16, 2012

New digital mecca opens its doors at UAB College of Arts and Sciences

Today’s students are less likely to express themselves using a pen and paper and more apt to plot out their thoughts using an iPhone, media applications or video camera says Rosie O’Beirne, director of digital media and interactive learning in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences.

For that reason, UAB is giving students (and faculty and staff, too) the tools they need to do so.

Media Studies recently opened the doors to its new Digital Media Commons, an interdisciplinary multi-media mecca where students, faculty and staff can engage in learning using state-of-the-art technology and software.

The brightly-lit rooms designed for collaborative learning are decked with splashes of bright green (Go Blazers!), sleek, ergonomically appealing desks and chairs, and large-face monitors with hard drives stocked to the gills with everything a user needs to make learning leap from the screen – literally.

Students from all disciplines across the College of Arts and Sciences can come to the third floor – rooms 342 and 334– to transform their class projects into something dynamic, O’Beirne says.

The new media classroom is nothing like the rigid teacher-student classrooms of old. Student desks are now laptop stations that foster digital collaboration. Users can plug in their laptops (or the ones provided) and share a collective screen for group discussion.

The open resource lab next door offers 20 multi-media stations stocked with the latest in cutting-edge software such as Avid media composer, iMovie, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro 7, Final Cut Pro 1, Adobe 6 Suite, InDesign, etc.
There are also breakout rooms. One is designed for videoconferencing, collecting oral histories and Skyping. Another enables students and faculty to check out audio/visual equipment and also get technical assistance.

So far, faculty across disciplines – from history to theater – have already booked the space, O’Beirne says. She plans to work with instructors across the college to help them integrate digital media into their curriculum.

“That’s our hope,” she says. “We want this to be a publishing center and somewhere people can do cool stuff for their classes.”

For more information, go to www.uab.edu/mediacommons or email O’Beirne at robeirne@uab.edu.

About the blogger: Marie Sutton, masutton@uab.edu, is a media specialist in the UAB Office of Media Relations. Her beat includes humanities, social sciences, the School of Education and student life.  

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