Multimedia center still an unknown gem

Ryan Stainbrook

SMS provides students with free lessons from PowerPoint to InDesign

Ashley Spadaro, sophomore nursing major, wished she knew about the Student Multimedia Studio when she was in her modeling algebra class.

“That would have been really helpful to know a year ago,” Spadaro said. “I had to do a multimedia project in modeling algebra, and it took me a while because I really didn’t know how to use the software.”

The SMS is a free service the library provides where students can get help with different aspects of multimedia.

Gary Mote, manager of media services, helps students with programs as simple as PowerPoint or as advanced as InDesign.

“We have a wide variety of people that can help,” Mote said. “No matter what the issue is, we will find a way to fix it.”

Carolanne Tkach, senior fine arts and metals major, has worked in the SMS lab for about one year. Tkach was fortunate enough to be exposed to the lab early in her college career.

“The facility was really nice and always open,” Tkach said. “It was nice because the technology was always up to date, and I didn’t have to compete with a classroom.”

Tkach understands some students come into the lab confused, but she said she thinks they leave feeling better.

“People come in very panicked,” Tkach said. “When they leave here we hope they are a little more comfortable.”

Tkach also stressed when students do come to the lab, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.

“I was pretty shy, so I didn’t ask for much help,” Tkach said. “When I did (ask for help), the people were very nice, helpful and knowledgeable.”

In the SMS lab there are many computers, different editing systems and free audiovisual equipment students have access to.

“All college writing classes require students to use some type of multimedia,” Mote said. “This is the place they can go to edit their projects or get help.”

Students can make an appointment to meet with Mote or any of the staff in person, but Mote recommended going to the lab’s Web site, which offers tutorials of how to fix common problems.

“It is important to know the Web site,” Mote said. “It has tutorials and links to free software that students can use.”

Tkach agreed with Mote that the Web site can be a very helpful tool for students.

“When I came in here all I knew was PowerPoint,” Tkach said. “The online tutorials taught me a lot, and now I’m pretty familiar with most of the programs.”

Mote understands students are busy and come to the lab for efficient help, but if Mote can help the student remotely, he is more than willing to.

“If I can save a student a trip to the lab, I’m more than happy to do so,” Mote said.

The SMS lab offers all of these services, but Mote said he wished more students would take advantage of them sooner.

“The SMS has nearly 5,000 students from over 360 different courses sign-in to use the lab every semester,” Mote said. “I’m still amazed at the number of first-time visitors who tell me they’re seniors who wished they had known about this place their freshman year.”

Mote said he realizes not all students get excited to participate in multimedia projects, but in this day and age, he feels students should realize how important it is.

“The objective of a multimedia project is not to just learn software,” Mote said. “The goal is to write effectively, the multimedia just enhances the writing.”

Gary Mote can be contacted at [email protected] or through the SMS website,

Contact library and information reporter Ryan Stainbrook at [email protected].