After months of anticipation, the “Digital Design Studio” (DDS) is now open in the Tisch Library Media Center. The mission of the DDS is to support course-related multimedia projects and presentations for Arts & Sciences and Engineering (AS&E) students. The DDS was created in response to a need identified by the 2009 Faculty Research and Teaching Study in which 40 A&S and SOE faculty were interviewed by Tisch Library and UIT as to their teaching and research methods and needs. The creation of a centralized digital media production lab was the major teaching need voiced by faculty across disciplines. Faculty from many disciplines are teaching with media and assigning media projects, and they articulated a desire for a central place where they and their students can go for both technological and pedagogical support.

Digital media studios have become a mainstay on campuses throughout the nation, and many academic libraries have designated spaces for students to access these specialized resources, including New England area schools such as Brown, Dartmouth, and Northeastern.

Designed as a collaborative learning space, the DDS differs from a traditional computer lab in a number of ways:

  • The DDS features 6 iMac workstations loaded with advanced media production software and accommodates group seating at each station. Also available is a media in-take station, where analog formats of media (projector slides, video cassettes, vinyl, etc.) can be converted into digital formats for remixing into new media content.
  • The DDS is constructed to encourage creative and experimental media. A special feature of the DDS is an enclosed presentation/recording room with an audio mixer and green screen wall, enabling recording with virtual sets and other special effects. Each iMac workstation also includes a suite of photo editing, illustrating, and web design applications.
  • As a library resource, the DDS provides a discipline-neutral workspace for all AS&E students. While some departments at Tufts possess media creation tools in isolation, the DDS is unique in providing a communal space to accommodate equitable opportunity for all AS&E students to complete multimedia projects.

Bryan Revis, Tisch’s Digital Media Technologist, says that faculty interest has been high from day-one. “Faculty have been keen to incorporate media-creation assignments into their courses, ranging from conflict analysis to art history documentaries. The biggest challenge has been accommodating the large volume of requests.” Revis added that students are encouraged to reserve a DDS workstation in advance by using an online booking system available on the Tisch Library website: http://www.library.tufts.edu/tisch/dds.html.

Last year Colin Orians, Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies, assigned his Environmental Biology students (all 152) to create a digital story on an environmental topic. The project resulted in a collaboration model that has already been adapted by several other professors. “Students, for example, appreciated the input of research/instruction librarians and media staff as they learned to communicate through new media,” commented Orians.

Richard Fleischer, Manager of the Tisch Media Center, reminds students that they can also check-out recording equipment from the Media Center and encourages them to develop original content. ”Many students are utilizing their personal mobile devices to capture live media. In fact, we encourage them to incorporate original content into their projects.”

Technical support is provided in the DDS throughout the week by students workers with digital design talents. These students benefit by refining their own digital production skills while gaining experience as trainers themselves. In addition, Fellows from UIT Educational and Scholarly Technology Services are available in the DDS during weekday business hours to help faculty with Trunk, Spark Tools, e-portfolios, and e-clickers.

The DDS is currently accepting proposals from faculty for Spring ‘12 course projects that involve a multimedia production component and will match selected proposals for instructional design and DDS support. For more information, contact Bryan Revis at bryan.revis@tufts.edu.

Bryan Revis – Digital Media Technologist, Tisch Library

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