Spring 2016 Report
The Media Commons had an excellent Spring semester and happily assisted 7,445 people. As usual we worked with a large number of colleges on projects (21 of which belonged to the college of Liberal Arts, our biggest partner). This semester saw the exciting launch of our newest service, the Maker Commons as well as the expansion of existing resources and services, most notably, the One Button Studio.
The Maker Commons officially launched on March 24, 2016 but had already started working with classes and students as early as February. 3D printing was the first aspect of the Maker Commons to be made available. The excitement surrounding the launch is evident in the high demand we received 3D printing 2,366 objects. Students, faculty, and staff are now able to submit a print online that will be printed in our 3D printing room and made available for pickup. Thanks to a key partnership with the library, users will be able to pick up their print at any campus library across the commonwealth. The second aspect of the Maker Commons is our new Invention Studio. The Invention Studio is located in the Pattee Media Commons at UP and offers users a space for rapid prototyping and currently features a product called LittleBits. LittleBits is designed to quickly and easily allow users to create simple electronic inventions without the need to solder parts together. Instead functionality is divided into modules which can by snapped together using magnets.
Across the Commonwealth, 34 projects, the opening of 3 One Button Studios and 3 special events saw consultants traveling quite frequently. Between January and May, traveling Media Commons staff logged over 8,200 miles behind the wheel on 62 trips to campuses. Some notable projects supported during this term included Michael Sturm’s HDFS 495B at Brandywine (highlighted in the TLT News) which asked students to create elevator pitch-style videos using the OBS that highlighted their community internship experiences. These videos were then shown to the next cohort of interns to help them choose where they would like to spend their own time practicing in the field. At Beaver, Dr. Cassandra Miller-Butterworth again engaged her BIOL 220W students in issues of sustainability by having teams create researched documentaries that were used as classroom conversation starters. Media Commons provided extensive in-class and remote support for the projects and Cassandra’s remarks on the improvement can be found in her updated case study which covers four years of the assignment’s evolution.
University Park saw 33 projects including a hand full using the Maker Commons. The “Up in the Air” project for METEO 482 had students creating videos designed to bridge the gap between climate science, weather enterprise, and the business community. Students in AGCOM 462 used the Media Commons to create a“Agriculture in Action” podcast with the goal of informing a general public audience about the people, processes, and/or purposes of agriculture today. ME340 was the first class to use the Maker Commons on an assignment. The class was given a challenge, redesign a 3D printed boat and have it hold more pennies than the original design. 75 boats were redesigned and printed with the winning boat holding 84 pennies before sinking which was an increase from the initial design which held 8. LittleBits and the Invention Studio were using in a assignment for ENGL 202. Students of this technically writing course were asked to create an invention and write a set of instructions for anyone to recreate what they had invented.
From a single One Button Studio location to 14 at University Park and across Commonwealth campuses, this unique resource has grown with demand from faculty and students. In Spring 2016, over 11,000 videos were recorded for class projects, faculty course modules, research presentations and more – a 19% increase on the previous year. In total, 1,200 clients recorded in a full 13 days worth of video content using the easy-to-use tool (saving countless hours of set up and tear down in the process). A full third of the videos were recorded at eight active campus installations, with Berks, Behrend, Mont Alto and Abington surpassing some smaller UP locations for the first time. The Spring term also brought with it the completion of three new studio spaces at Altoona, Beaver and Schuylkill as well as tune ups for two studios, readying all of them for even more quality recording moving into the Summer.