The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
Instagram

Norwick Center has grand opening

Digital Specialist Tyeson Seale (left) explains to first year Aaron Cheatham (right) how to use the new computers in the Norwick Center for Digital Services yesterday afternoon.  The center, which hosted an open house yesterday, offers students digital services ranging from video editing suites to PowerPoint software and group project rooms.
John Schreiber
Digital Specialist Tyeson Seale (left) explains to first year Aaron Cheatham (right) how to use the new computers in the Norwick Center for Digital Services yesterday afternoon. The center, which hosted an open house yesterday, offers students digital services ranging from video editing suites to PowerPoint software and group project rooms.

Digital Specialist Tyeson Seale (left) explains to first year Aaron Cheatham (right) how to use the new computers in the Norwick Center for Digital Services yesterday afternoon. The center, which hosted an open house yesterday, offers students digital services ranging from video editing suites to PowerPoint software and group project rooms. (John Schreiber)

The Norwick Center for Digital Media services, tucked away in a corner of Fondren Library, held its grand opening yesterday, offering refreshments, free USB flash drives, free recordable media disks, an iPod Nano raffle and free tours detailing the completely free services of the center itself. The Norwick Center, in planning for just under a year, was borne out of the former Norwick Center for Media and Instructional Technology, where a number of services, such as video conferencing, were typically closed to students and cost money to use. The center, now located in what used to be offices and a computer lab, sports a main computer lab and four group work rooms, all with brand new equipment, including new Macs, furniture, scanners, headphones, video conferencing equipment, projectors and external hard drives.

The Center had what is known as a “soft opening” just after Thanksgiving of last year, where it was open for services, but not widely advertising its availability, allowing it to learn how to better serve the community.

“We’re going to start off slow and make sure everything’s working fine,” said Rob Walker, Manager of the Norwick Center. The Center’s main room features 16 “creation stations,” so named for the creative media applications offered, including Adobe Creative Suite 3, FinalCut, iDVD and many others. The stations all feature built-in webcams as well, which allow video chatting over AOL, and can also be used in conjunction with remote desktop functions to give technical help without the staff member needing to be physically present.

Bill Dworaczyk, Director of Media and Instructional Technologies at the Central University Libraries, appraised the change the Norwick Center is bringing to SMU saying “students seem to be excited about it, but certainly faculty are excited about it as well.”

A favorite anecdote of Walker’s tells of a professor who would “rather watch a nine minute video than read a 40 page paper.” The Center, especially its four new rooms designed specifically for groups, makes it not only possible for students to create multimedia and video presentations, but greatly facilitates the process. Two larger rooms come complete with projectors and cameras to allow students to not only practice their presentations but also to record and edit them. Another function of the group rooms is video conferencing, which is an entirely free service now open to students to allow them to conference anywhere in the world and participate in group projects, lectures and even job interviews.

The funding for the center came from a number of sources, including the former CMIT’s business side; the Central University Libraries; Gillian McCombs, dean and director of the CUL; and Randal Powell from ITS, as well as its annual budget.

The cost of setting up the new center was “phenomenal” according to Walker. He cited the real cost at “easily between $50,000 and $100,000.” The costs came mainly from obtaining the 16 new computers as well as new chairs costing $500.

“A lot of people bought into this from within the organization,” Walker said. “They gave me everything I asked for except for new carpet. Everyone’s believed in us and I hope that students take full advantage of what we offer. Students are, after all, the ultimate customers.”

One staff member, Tyeson Seale, SMU class of 2005, spoke about the advantages the center now gives students that he did not have when he attended SMU as an undergrad, saying, “I like the fact that this is open to students free of charge; it just makes sense.”

“It opens up new avenues of creativity,” he said. “You’re having fun and learning more this way.”

Seale also talked about how skills in video creation and presentation, as well as chatting and video conferencing, create well-rounded members of tomorrow’s workforce. Companies today save on the costs of hiring specialists by staying on the lookout for tech-savvy employees. “I’ve lost jobs to people like that,” Seale said.

The front of the center offers a flat-screen TV, which is also a touch screen, which will soon be upgraded to include all the scheduling functions for the center so that anyone can walk up and view or create a reservation for a room. Scheduling is currently offered in two-hour blocks on a first-come first-served basis.

In following their new motto, “carpe digital,” the Norwick Center offers a full time staff six days a week. It is currently in search of students to add to its staff.

“We welcome any student to come in,” Walker said. “I think this falls directly into the library’s mission: helping the students.”

More to Discover