By Amy Szablak
The MacPhaidin Library isn’t just a space for studying anymore. Starting in October, students will be able to create podcasts, webpages, and more in the new Digital Innovation Lab.
Located in room 106, the Digital Innovation Lab will feature computers, a projector, and recording technology for students to use.
The Global Struggle for Female Education Learning Community and an Honors Learning Community will be using the digital lab throughout the semester for class projects. These classes will work on projects such as creating podcasts.
“I believe that working with the digital lab to design and teach our course makes the integration of digital learning much more effective, for both professors and students,” said Professor Karen Teoh, who is co-teaching the Global Struggle for Female Education Learning Community. “Because we’re working closely with the director of the digital lab on prioritizing which online tools to use, how to structure digital assignments, and to ensure that students have the technological support they need, we have a customized plan that fits the pedagogical needs of our course.”
Professor Scott Cohen, director of the Digital Innovation Lab, said the new lab will help students and faculty learn more about technology.
“It is a great opportunity to bring students behind the curtain of digital projects and give them access to guts of server management and website management,” Cohen said.
The digital lab was created because Stonehill faculty members wanted a space to collaborate on how to integrate technology in the classroom.
“We’re using the term ‘lab’ because we are trying new things and reporting if we want to do them on a larger scale or not,” Cohen said.
The lab is aimed at faculty development, curricular innovations, cross-disciplinary research, and online excellence. The lab is not a service or IT help center. Instead, it is a place for students and faculty to network, collaborate, create projects together, and learn about technology, he said.
“Stonehill offers a very personalized education and that’s one of the important values of the college,” Cohen said. “There are so many different approaches to teaching with classroom and we want to personalize these technologies to make them fit each faculty members’ needs.”
Cohen said the lab will allow students and faculty to experiment with technology and learn together.
“We want to work on demystifying technology,” said Cheryl McGrath, director of the library. “It’s about not giving up and being resilient and realizing that it’s just a matter of play. We want to give students the ability to have a critical eye with technology.”
The lab will also give students the tools to create their own web domain.
“It will be a tremendous advantage for a student to go into the job market having the separate web skills to be able to update a website,” McGrath said.
In addition to the lab’s technological opportunities, Cohen is also in the process of interviewing students for the Digital Fellows portion of the space.
Digital Fellows are students nominated by faculty to work in the digital lab as work-study positions. Cohen hopes to have the fellows be available to help students next semester.
“The fellows are from all different majors and disciplines,” he said. “For example, if a student needs help making a PowerPoint, they could get help from a Digital Fellow that is a Graphic Design major.”
Cohen and McGrath said they hope students will enjoy the digital lab.
“I want people to now that it’s okay to fail in this space, and that we can work with students and learn from our projects in this space,” McGrath said. “That’s the most important thing for faculty. We are here to keep pushing students and be supportive and help with their accomplishments. The lab will let us do this with students’ relationships with technology.”
The lab will be open for students and faculty during library hours, and when classes aren’t using it. The official grand opening will be in January.
More information on the digital lab can be obtained by emailing email@example.com.