Studio offers multimedia help for students

Rebecca Moidel

Most students run high on stress toward the middle of the semester, studying for tests and preparing for classroom presentations, but help isn’t far away.

Students who face difficulties preparing presentations can seek guidance in the Student Multimedia Studio (SMS), which specializes in helping students create PowerPoint presentations, Web sites, PDF documents and more.

The studio is located in the Information Commons on the first floor of the Main Library and is open to students throughout the week at various times.

Studio manager Gary Mote works directly with students, staff and faculty to familiarize them with the studio. He said originally the studio was an instructional resource center where students could go if they needed a place to work on processing. Now, it’s much more than a lab – it offers equipment and software students weren’t granted access to before.

In the studio, students can work on eight PC workstations, each offering programs such as Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere, Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop CS2, FrontPage, PowerPoint 2003 and Sound Forge. Students also have access to four PC digital video editing workstations and two PC capture stations. Scanners, removable video drives and USB ports are available at each station.

The staff is made up of a small group of students who function as the studio’s teaching teams. SMS offers two forms of support groups to students: basic and in-depth. Basic on-call support is offered during regular hours and focus on the basics of using the software. For the completely clueless crowd SMS offers, by appointment, hour-long sessions of in-depth training.

“One-on-one support provides not only the equipment but someone there to help you,” Mote said. “Not everyone knows how to do these things. It depends on the school district they came from and if they have a good computer at home.”

Since fall 2003, SMS has kept track of the number of students who use the lab. CourTney Collins, assistant manager of SMS, said the numbers almost double each year and about 100 to 200 students use the studio per week. Mote said he is happy with the progress SMS has been making over the past years.

Senior general studies major Jeremy Martin said many of his communications and business classes require projects such as PowerPoint presentations on personal selling and sales management.

“Students spend too much time trying to figure out what to do for their projects,” Martin said. “I’d be there all day when they could help me figure it out in a few hours.”

Martin said it’s helpful to go to the studio for extra practice, whether students are comfortable with software applications or not.

Collins works with Mote in developing new programs, reaching out to faculty and helping run the studio. She said together they do hands-on demonstrations in classes to introduce current workshops and seminars. These hour-long workshops focus on teaching the basic and advanced use of applications.

“Faculty like these workshops because it helps the students,” Mote said. “The best way to do that is to get out into the classrooms. Our mission is to support students and help them with their projects.”

“There is a lot of stuff involved, and a lot of students freak out,” Collins said. “We’d like to make it known that this is here and this is how you can use it in your classroom.”

Mote said they are trying to connect with the faculty who push the technology. He plans to further develop tutorials with a focus on PowerPoint, Web page construction and digital video production.

In the future, Collins and Mote also plan to reach out to regional campuses and follow through with a program called SMS North. Collins said SMS North will be an outreach program on the other side of campus, particularly getting studio computers into Moulton Hall and in the Satterfield writing center.

“It would be good to have our workstations available in other places,” she said. “That way students can open and look at their projects more easily.”

For additional information on SMS, visit

Contact library reporter Rebecca Moidel at [email protected].