Expanding Technology's reach beyond campus

Created on: May 16, 2013

With technology advancing by the minute, today’s student demands more than ever before. And that means professors need to be able to use technology to keep the attention of students in the classroom, as well as meet their expectations of educational availability from anywhere.

Enter Carlos Morales, a professor of computer graphics technology, who leads distance-learning initiatives in the College of Technology. Morales’s charge from the dean is to create an environment where distance learning can thrive and expand.

“My goal is to encourage distance learning, primarily by taking the work off the professors,” he said. “That way, professors can focus on teaching their subject matter, and we can concentrate on the technology.”

Although Morales and his team have the ability to record a simple lecture, he says his group would like to do much more for professors.

“Done correctly, we can portray materials that are hard to show in a classroom, therefore adding value to the teaching,” he said.

Morales and a group of about a dozen students in CGT 49000 (Distance Learning Video) staff the Digital Interactive Multimedia Laboratory in Knoy 326. The group has created several videos that highlight their technical expertise, including a turbine engine animation and a helmet visualization that was featured on the Big Ten Network.

The studio lab includes a variety of computers that enable Morales or students to virtually control the movement of the cameras. The lab also features high-definition cameras and has the ability to store uncompressed video and manipulate it in real time. In addition, the studio has a green screen that allows the background to be changed.

Morales said the lab’s main focus is on working with professors who need a distance-learning component for their classes. The lab also can develop its own technology, such as smartphone apps or specialized animations or visualizations.

Morales’s primary mission is to assist the College of Technology, but because their advanced equipment and expertise is rare on campus, he’s open to working with other academic units.

“A lot of other colleges approach us, and as long as we have time and space, and the project is strategic, we are open to working with them,” he said.

Check out examples of some of the instructional videos created by Morales and his team.

The lab was made possible by a gift form John and Terri Dickey.

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