When Rachel McCoog, ’19, learned about the newly-installed, One-Button Studio in E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library last year, she was immediately inspired to use it to film her own video project.
The finished video, called “wecanbebetter,” features 13 students from across Lehigh’s campus writing about negative social interactions with people who they think could be or do better.
“I was introduced to the studio through the TRAC program, and I immediately started to think of ways that I could use it myself,” McCoog said. “The idea just came to me really quickly, so then I just looked for students who wanted to share stories that come to mind when they hear ‘we can be better.’”
While students normally use FML to sit down and quietly study or work on assignments, some, like McCoog, take advantage of the spaces for creativity and innovation.
Over the past couple of years, Library and Technology Services has added a One-Button Studio, several classrooms equipped with high-tech interactive machinery, collaborative learning suites and smart boards in a plan to transform the library into a hub for advanced technology and collaboration. A visualization lab is also under construction in the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning area.
Bruce Taggart, the vice provost of LTS, said the One-Button Studio is easy to use for students at any videography skill level. The lighting, video and audio settings are all pre-set, so the student or faculty member using the studio must only press one button to begin and end recording their video.
Taggart said in addition to students utilizing the studio space for their own personal projects, faculty can also use the technology to better explain concepts to their students.
The Digital Media Studio, located just outside of the FML main building, has a variety of creative spaces the Lehigh community can use for academic or personal use.
One side of the studio houses 19 Mac desktops with basic and advanced video and graphic editing software. The other side has resources for a professional-quality production of photography, video and audio recording, video editing and teleconference recording, among other tools.
Videos such as Lehigh’s “Reading from Rate My Professors,” in which Lehigh faculty members read comments about their teaching posted on the website Rate My Professors, have also been recorded in the studio and shared on outlets such as Youtube.
Tristan Heffler, ’18, uses the Digital Media Studio computers for her graphic design classes. The Adobe tools on the computer allow her to complete projects such as overlaying textures in nature found on Lehigh’s campus on top of decorative engraved doorknobs.
“I have since purchased the Adobe packages for my personal computer, because I’m a graphic design minor, but I still use the studio sometimes because the screens are so large,” Heffler said. “It’s nicer to do complete layouts on those computers instead of my laptop.”
The studio also lends out media production equipment upon request.
In addition to the creativity-focused studios, the classrooms in FML are equipped with interactive teleconference technology.
Mark Orrs, the director of the sustainable development program, teaches his Foundations of Sustainable Development Practice class in room 625. The class is part of an international web of classes broadcasted live from schools in places such as Beijing, Botswana, Nigeria, Ireland, India and Madagascar.
“That’s the reason we are in the room,” Orrs said. “It is fully equipped to handle that kind of interactive teleconference and broadcast. So it’s equipped with cameras, including audio tracking cameras, which means they can identify where the sound is coming from in the room, so they know who is speaking and they focus on that person.”
Orrs said the room has two large screens. One screen displays the featured speaker from wherever they are in the world, and the other displays all of the classrooms watching the class live.
Taggart said LTS is transforming one of the classrooms within the CITL into a visualization lab to be used for immersive learning. The room will have three large panels, each four feet tall and 18 feet wide. Once the lab is ready, Taggart said LTS will need to find a faculty member willing to test of room for one of his or her classes.
In addition to a focus on removing low-use books from the stacks to increase seating in the library, Taggart said the renovations are also focusing on introducing new innovative and creative technology.
“So that’s where I feel that the library — our library and every library — is going,” Taggart said. “It’s kind of a student center, because there’s socialization here. There’s definitely studying here, there’s definitely creativity and innovation, and producing new things. So it’s exciting to think about what you can do.”