Studio merges technology with writing

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    A new media studio in the Rickel Academic Wing will serve as a resource for students and faculty who seek ways to incorporate technology into class assignments.The New Media Writing Studio, which will officially open Sept. 4, will focus on helping students use new media tools to write and create class projects.

    Michael Browning, NMWS student intern, said the studio will allow students to use new media programs, such as Flash, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and other Macromedia and Adobe products to make presentations or other school projects.

    “It’s a one-stop shop for anything and everything that has to do with media,” said Browning, a senior political science major.

    Carrie Leverenz, co-director of the studio, describes new media writing as “new forms of writing made possible by new technologies.”

    The faculty of the NMWS said they hope the presence of the studio will evoke faculty to incorporate new media projects into their curriculums.

    Brad Lucas, co-director of the NMWS and assistant professor of English, said a few faculty members already have. Two weeks ago, 10 faculty members attended a week-long summer workshop on new media and writing applications, Lucas said.

    The workshop, led by Jeff Grabill, Michigan State University professor of rhetoric and professional writing, taught the faculty members about new media software programs and how they can be related to writing.

    Ann George, associate professor of English who attended the workshop, said that it focused on teaching students how to manipulate photos among other lessons.

    George said she will be introducing some of her classes to the NMWS and some of its programs this semester and hopes that students will take advantage of all the studio has to offer.

    Other English classes that have more of a new media focus, such as introduction to composition and writing, and intermediate composition, may also be using the NMWS this semester, Lucas said.

    “What we’re wanting to have is a place where people can work on their projects together,” he said.

    The studio, which was created out of an empty classroom in the University Recreation Center basement, is now full of computers, tables and workspace.

    “This truly is a brand new lab,” Lucas said. “All the furniture had to be installed, new power lines, new network cables, new computers. We’ve got some really fine equipment in here.”

    When the studio opens in early September, there will be an instructor on-hand at all times to help with projects and questions. Appointments will not be required, and students from any major are welcome.

    Billie Hara, instructor for the Writing Center and the NMWS, said he hopes the studio encourages students about writing.

    “Too many students have been beat down by writing,” Hara said.