Zak Mensah on Thursday 06 September 2012 Tweet this!
Photos by Andy Brown, used with permission from Dr Christine Sexton.
There seems to be growing interest in providing dedicated "creative media" computer suites.
The continued popularity of digital media in education has affected both staff and students. Traditionally digital media use and consumption was curated by the teacher who purchased third party materials. Today there is a high volume of usage AND creation by both staff and students.
In addition to finding and purchasing other peoples materials, now it is common for teaching staff to create and publish their own custom teaching activities for student usage that make use of digital media. For example popular teacher uses include recording talking heads (the teachers head talking to the viewer on-screen), screencasts (recording on-screen activity), and session recordings (e.g. lecture capture) for a wide variety of uses in face to face and online spaces. In addition to students consuming teacher materials, they too are finding uses such as photo documentation during a course project lifecycle, recording group presentations, and submitting digital media course work.
In order to meet these demands, we have started to notice a rise in the number of departments providing "creative media suites" outside of traditional creative departments. These departments typically offer bookable recording equipment for both use in the suite and to take away, specialist editing software and on-site support. Our service helpdesk is regularly asked to provide suggestions for kit that staff should purchase.
For example at The University of Sheffield Dr Christine Sexton recently wrote about their implementation of a media suite which aims to provide effective support for both staff and student. I have written before that one of the key factors for the strong interest in using digital media is its "flexibility". We can make images, video and audio work for communication, teaching, learning, assessment and delivery. Where the context of use is appropriate many now think "why not?".
Creating your own digital media has never been more accessible to start experimenting with, particularly with the growth of staff and students bringing and using their own devices (BYOD). This curiosity with peoples own devices has in part led to expectations that institutions should be able to give us the tools we need to take it to the next level.
It is encouraging to see that many institutions take the creation and use of digital media seriously enough to provide centrally supported suites.
As far as I am aware there haven't been any survey results from the sector documenting demand and usage figures for these type of suites, but this would be fascinating to read.
Do you have a supported media suite? Is it well used and what is it being used for? What kit have you provided? Let us know in the comments!