WCCC Fosters Creativity with Digital Multimedia Studio

September 22, 2015
The Riverview Production team is ready and willing to guide the students and instructors of WCCC and the greater Calais community to new creative heights with its top-of-the-line digital multimedia equipment.

The Riverview Production team is ready and willing to guide the students and instructors of WCCC and the greater Calais community to new creative heights with its top-of-the-line digital multimedia equipment.

The creative potential of the students and faculty of Washington County Community College as well as the extended community of Calais has gotten a significant upgrade thanks to a new technological initiative now underway in the college library. Several pieces of top-end equipment have been purchased including a green screen, three cameras, lights, and the newest iMac model, along with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud software package. The result is the Riverview Production studio: a fully-equipped digital multimedia studio ready to produce almost any form of digital art its users can envision.

“Libraries are becoming learning commons,” Library Director Elizabeth Phillips said. “It’s a place not just to research, but to create and share knowledge and information.”
Phillips spearheaded the initiative to upgrade the library earlier this year. Noting that libraries around the country were increasingly offering “MakerSpaces” to their patrons, she began looking into what WCCC’s library could do to integrate students and the community with the creative movements launching all over the nation.
Initially, Phillips considered requesting the purchase of a 3D printer. However, a highly advanced 3D printer was just purchased by the college for use by its technical programs. Phillips thus decided to explore the avenue of digital multimedia, and discussed her ideas with Academic Dean Alexander Clifford. Phillips’s suggestions resounded well with Clifford, who saw it as a way for the college to offer new opportunities to students, faculty, and the community.

“The ability for our instructors to use this technology to facilitate their classes is extremely advantageous,” Clifford said.

The benefits are numerous and multifaceted. As an example, Clifford said that Riverview Production studio will enable Speech students to record their speeches and e-mail the video to themselves and their instructors for enhanced constructive feedback. Incoming out-of-state students that are unable to attend Admitted Student Day or Orientation will be able to watch a video providing a tour of the campus as well as the welcoming speeches of faculty and staff. “This will enable us to begin the process of campus integration for these students,” Clifford said. Hybrid classes, which involve participation in both physical and online classes, will become more interactive in both environments. Putting relevant videos together and making them available to students online creates a seamless transition between both the physical and virtual classrooms.

“Based on our research, students are much more likely to be interested in videos that have their own instructors in them rather than strangers,” Phillips explained.
While the students and instructors of WCCC will be the primary beneficiaries of the new studio, Clifford emphasizes its significance as a community resource. “One of the most exciting applications of the studio is for our CTE [Career Technical Education] program,” Clifford said. The college anticipates offering low-cost industry training videos to local businesses that may not be able to afford the steep cost of virtual training from other sources but that are still required to provide the training to their employees. “There are tons of companies that do this, and they do a great job—but our local businesses can’t always afford it.”

Making the production studio available to students, staff, and the community is certainly an important step in achieving its potential. However, making the equipment and the thirty programs of the Adobe Creative Cloud accessible and navigable is equally important—a task that is being met with enthusiasm by the Riverview Production team. Elizabeth is joined in her efforts by Instructional Technologist Tatiana Osmond, who offers significant experience in the application of technology, and librarian John Leavitt, who brings a considerable understanding of the visual arts to the fold. Clifford said that the three working in unison serves as a catalyst for each of their respective skills.

Thus far, the trio has created an introduction video for the studio titled “WCCC Presents” (viewable on YouTube on their Riverview Productions channel) along with a few online instructional videos at the behest of instructors. “We’d like instructors to learn how to utilize the software and edit it themselves, but if they need assistance, we’ll do our best to help out if we have the time,” Phillips said.

“The studio represents a portal to a vast amount of creative potential. We’re still learning all the things you can do with the studio,” Leavitt said, describing the software with which he is rapidly gaining familiarity. The Adobe Creative Cloud includes software development kits so students can build their own apps and games, Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects for visual editing, and Audition for audio mixing. “There’s still a lot more than we even realize that can be done with these programs,” Leavitt said.

The bold technological initiatives taking place at WCCC represent the college’s commitment to helping its student body and greater community meet the future—steps that will continue to be taken as demand requires.

“If it proves to be popular, we know we can justify expanding,” Phillips said.