WOOSTER, Ohio – A new space on campus has College of Wooster students (and faculty) getting their creative juices flowing.
The Wooster Digital Studio, located on the first floor of Andrews Library, offers the opportunity for one – no matter the level of their technological expertise – to produce a podcast, develop an advertisement from start-to-finish for a class assignment, utilize a green screen to enhance graphics, videotape a lecture, or do a voiceover to name a few possibilities.
“The whole area … gives (us) that sense of creativity, a space where you can come experiment with digital platforms, digital media,” said Jacob Heil, the College’s digital scholarship librarian. “What’s been the great surprise is finding out about the (variety of) ways people are using it, sometimes accidentally.”
Conceived by a team of libraries staff members, the space consists of a four-room suite of studios – a sound studio, a “one-button studio” for video creation, a production planning room, and an editing/production area – that opened during the fall semester and was officially dedicated via a campus-wide open house in February.
The sound studio, which includes sound dampening equipment, has three studio-style microphones running through a mixer and monitor that records with Audacity software. In the one-button studio, a user plugs a USB flash drive into a port, the video camera and studio lights turn on, and whenever the recording is complete, an .mp4 file will be saved onto the flash drive.
Then, the user has the option to take the recorded media and edit it in the production area, which consists of five computers, each with top-of-the-line editing software, including Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Knowledgeable, trained student consultants are on hand to help users with any aspect of the studio.
While similar digital studios are popping up across higher education, Wooster’s intentional and collaborative design makes it one-of-a-kind, according to Heil. “There are production spaces tucked away on campuses all around … what I think is unique to us is the concerted effort by academic affairs and the libraries in particular, and with IT and educational technology, to work across those divisions, to fold this space into the curriculum in meaningful ways.”
The space could be utilized for wherever one’s imagination takes them. Consider Dyese Osaze ’17. To support her Independent Study project, which focuses on the experience of African-American female athletes during the early days of Title IX, Osaze conducted on-campus interviews using the one-button studio and Skype interviews with the sound studio, then edited them and will post them on a website she’s creating to display her research.
“The quality of my digital scholarship is much better having this space available. It was perfect for my senior year,” said Osaze, who plans on matriculating to medical school. “I’ve seen major improvements in the facilities that (Wooster) students can use … and definitely recommend it.”
Osaze and current/future Wooster students are indebted to Nancy Rue ’68, who donated the funding for the Wooster Digital Studio and was on-hand for the open house. “This is fantastic. I’m impressed by the digital capabilities that students now have,” she said. “It’s quite heartening to see (what’s been) done will be an integral part of a student’s life.”