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Bard College Creates New Digital Media Studio Supported by Gift From Cornelia and Michael Bessie Foundation

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College has created a new digital media studio made possible by a $40,000 gift from the Cornelia and Michael Bessie Foundation. The gift allowed Bard to renovate and equip a classroom in the Henderson Computer Resources Center, converting it into a new media studio. The driving design questions for this innovative space asked: How do we create responsive spaces that can be quickly and easily reconfigured to accommodate different uses, learning tasks, and audiences; easily accommodate changes in technology and pedagogy; anticipate greatly expanded use of video conferencing technologies for creating a truly connected classroom; and anticipate the expanded use of tablets and other mobile devices?
“Our goal has been to create an environment in which trial and error is encouraged, but that doesn’t require mastery of any sort, rather experiment and instructional problem solving,” says Dean of Information Services and Director of Libraries Jeff Katz. “Rather than undertaking the complicated installation of permanent smart classrooms, we have identified equipment that can be easily deployed to create a particular instructional space in any available classroom.”
In this new digital media studio, instructors and students can see and use reconfigurable furniture. They can experiment with new products like room­darkening shades or hand­held projectors, cameras and other technology that can be made available and adopted in their classrooms. The studio has already been used for video conferencing meetings, connecting to Bard College Berlin, Al-Quds Bard College for Arts and Science, Bard-Smolny Program in St. Petersburg, and Cairo. Other courses have conducted interviews with remote subjects, had three-way debates with Berlin and St. Petersburg, set up pop-up workshops with a dozen laptops in a portable cart, held demonstrations of new software such as presentation software Omeka, or GIS, or podcast, or field recording production, and had guest speakers joining classes in Annandale from Vilnius, Lithuania.

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This event was last updated on 10-23-2017