January 30, 2011 — The University of Virginia Library's Digital Media Lab will host an open house Wednesday for faculty interested in learning to create and use digital media for teaching and research.
The event, which starts at 3 p.m. on the third floor of Clemons Library, will feature demonstrations by more than a dozen faculty members from across Grounds who have used Digital Media Lab resources for their projects, said Jama S. Coartney, the head of the lab.
"This open house is really about the knowledge in the room," Coartney said. "The faculty presenters range from relative newcomers to digital media to people with 10 years or more of experience, and they all know what it's like to develop a project."
The Digital Media Lab supports faculty projects that cover a wide range of media types and subjects, Coartney said. They might include managing media collections for teaching or for research purposes.
Some faculty might require students to use high-tech video equipment, while others want to simplify the process of assigning and distributing different media forms to students.
The faculty members scheduled to be on hand for the open house include music professor Joel Rubin of the College of Arts & Sciences, who worked with the lab to create a Web version of a course syllabus that contained embedded copies of all of the listening assignments and videos used in class, as well as homework assignments and links to readings.
"It makes it much easier for the students. They don't have to go hunting for stuff; it's all in one place," Rubin said. "They can comment on the assignments as they are listening to them and react to each other's comments as well.
"It's definitely still in the experimental phase, in my opinion, but I've used it for two classes now and I'm increasingly convinced it's the direction we want to be going."
Even professors who have taught and researched for years without the aid of digital tools often find that the resources available through the lab can simplify and enhance the classroom experience, said Kristy Haney, manager of the Groups (G-Lab), a part of the Digital Media Lab that features open spaces and tools for collaborative projects.
"Recently we began working with a faculty member who has been teaching for 25 years and wants to create something new for the classroom experience," Haney said.
The open house is also a sort of showcase, Coartney said. Though the lab might be working on several independent projects, the faculty members involved typically don't have a lot of lot of overlap. The open house gives them a chance to check out what their colleagues are working on, she said.