Daniel White thinks courses at Temple should be accessible to all students, regardless of where they live.
At a ribbon-cutting event on Feb. 1, Provost JoAnne Epps unveiled two new digital production studios on the fourth floor of the Bell Building. Professors can use the studios to film online lessons and other digital content for their courses.
White is the director of the Office of Digital Education, which was created in 2014 to increase the number of online courses available at the university and online course enrollment.
The office spent two years creating digital production rooms so professors could create content easy to upload for their online classes.
White said some professors use the rooms for the entire development of some online courses. Others just want to reserve a studio to record short digital content for their classes. In the past, professors would have to use their own webcams or laptop computers to record videos, White added.
The main digital production studio includes a wall-to-wall green screen background, several cameras, teleprompters, LED lights, sound-proof walls, an overhead document camera and a mixing board.
Lance Holbert, the strategic communication department chair, is working to create an online version of the master’s in communication management program for Fall 2017.
“Our transfer of the existing M.S. in communication management program to be fully online does allow for a global audience,” Holbert said. “No longer do students have to come to Philadelphia to complete the degree.”
When the online program is complete, Holbert will teach the required organizational communication course for the program. The seven-week course will consist of multiple 10- to 12-minute video presentations each week, which Holbert will record in the digital production studios.
Professors like Holbert who want to develop full online courses will spend a few weeks conceptualizing and planning the course with staff from the Office of Digital Education. The digital lesson plans can then be recorded in the studio for $56 per hour. White said professors usually get funding to cover this cost from the deans of their respective colleges.
“Our primary charge is to help the university develop high-quality, accessible online degree programs and help the university itself move forward with the quality assurance of interesting courses as well,” White said.
“I have seen the studios at various construction phases,” Holbert said. “It has been amazing to see the development of this campus resource.”
White said the overhead demonstration camera could help professors get creative with their teaching approaches.
“The art history group has thousand-year-old books that they want to bring in here and show people how the paper is made or the different illustrations,” White said. “The athletic training group, should they want to show the beauties of a perfect ankle wrap, they could do that right here with this demonstration camera.”
Meg Sova, the office’s online learning video specialist, can also add special effects to the videos in post-production, White added.
There is also a smaller studio that professors can reserve if they want to quickly create content for free.
The second studio has a green screen background, sound-proof walls, one camera, a microphone and a teleprompting option. A student employee will oversee the production and help guide the professor through a small orientation. If the professor has extra time during their reservation block, they can edit their content in the studio as well.
White says there has been a lot of interest in the studio from different schools, especially from the School of Media and Communication, the College of Education, the Tyler School of Art and the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry.
“The studios are leading-edge spaces from which quality online education products can be produced,” Holbert said. “It is nice to see this type of high-end investment by the university.”
Taylor Horn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.