New eLearning services up and running

Portable tablet cart and multi-media production studio now available through eLearning.

The proverbial saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” could explain two innovative solutions dreamed up by Centralia College’s creative eLearning team. Responding to specific needs of students and faculty, eLearning recently launched two new services for Centralia College students and faculty: a portable tablet cart and a multimedia production studio.

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The portable tablet cart can be reserved through eLearning.

The portable tablet cart houses nine Microsoft Surface 2 tablets with Windows 8. Faculty members can check out the cart to use in their classrooms, enabling more students to have access to computers.

“Our mission is to serve as many faculty, students, and staff as possible,” said Educational Technologist Erin Baker. “We noticed there weren’t enough computers in the lab and there was a real need for teachers to have access to more computers (for their classrooms).”

Brainstorming solutions to meet that need prompted the idea of a mobile unit that could transport extra computers anywhere on campus. Thus the idea of the portable tablet cart was born!

The college librarians have already taken advantage of the portable cart, utilizing the tablets when different classes come to the library for instruction on on-line research. Assistant Professor Kelly Erickson has also used the cart for her English classes, enabling students who don’t bring their own devices to take Erickson’s quizzes on the tablets. In addition, eLearning plans to use the cart to provide on-location training.

Although the portable cart has been up and running for the past few weeks, the unit is still a work in progress. Ultimately, eLearning plans to add keyboards, one for each tablet, making the devices more user-friendly.

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Multimedia production studio now open

eLearning’s new multimedia production studio just opened its doors in January, providing a quiet spot on campus for students to record video and audio material for class projects. Equipped with a web cam, video camera, voice audio microphone, and solid color backdrops, the studio not only allows students to record, but it also provides a computer and free editing software for production. The software includes Audacity, Gimp, Paint, Windows Movie Maker and Panopto.

Over the past few quarters, the eLearning team noticed instructors were asking students to do more and more media presentations, but students were having a hard time finding a suitable space and/or tools to create their projects. It didn’t take long for the team to fix that problem. Converting a small room in their office into the studio, eLearning can now offer the space, equipment, and, if needed, training for students to complete their media projects. In addition, international students have found the space valuable for taking their IBT speaking and listening tests, as well as recording discussion forum posts.

The studio is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students or faculty can contact eLearning at x672 or email elearning@centralia.edu to sign up for ½-hour to 1-hour slots. Once people contact eLearning, they can then schedule their own slots in Canvas where their appointment and reminders show up as well.

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