The Digital Media Lab provides a number of resources for the BGC community, all of which are aimed at increasing the integration and implementation of new media tools within the curricular and research goals of the institution.
* The Lab provides a well-equipped space for students and faculty to work on media projects that require significant computing resources. Early projects have included audio and video editing, rendering of three-dimensional virtual spaces, and the development of multimedia online virtual exhibitions.
* The Lab manages and supports online tools and resources, such as blogs, wikis, and content management systems. These tools offer platforms for investigation and experimentation and are used by faculty and students for a variety of projects, from classes to theses to long-term research projects.
* The Lab is an important hub for collaborative projects conducted with institutions that share similar digital media goals to the BGC. These collaborative projects allow work done in the Lab to reach a larger audience, and they encourage the BGC community to participate in a wide range of examples of new media work.
Together, these three aspects are central to a philosophy that digital media tools are increasingly a part of the process of scholarship and knowledge production, and that the thoughtful implementation of these tools is central to building a successful curriculum in the 21st century.
In order to ensure that the institution’s digital ambitions can be consistently realized, one of the most important services the Digital Media Lab provides is instruction in the different software used across the BGC. In its first year of operation, the Lab has offered workshops in the following areas:
- Social Media Tools (blogs and wikis)
- 3D Digital Rendering (SketchUp)
- Virtual Exhibition Design (Omeka)
- Database Construction (FileMaker Pro)
- Bibliography and Annotation (Zotero)
- Using Digital Feeds for Research (Twitter/RSS)
These workshops are usually taught to support the use of these tools in specific classes. During the Lab’s first semester the range of projects included:
- group projects from a course on American Material Culture Studies in which students used non-linear digital video editing, wikis, and presentation visualization software to interrogate the role media can play in studying material culture
- online collections of objects from nineteenth century New York City made using Omeka that explored methods of displaying exhibitions digitally
- experimentations with the design and interpretation of exhibitions in which students used SketchUp to create virtual exhibitions within 3D reconstructions of the BGC gallery spaces .
- a wiki used to organize and make connections between the objects to be displayed in our first Focus Gallery exhibition, Objects of Exchange
Along with workshops and coursework support, the Digital Media Lab works to promote interest in these tools and resources by holding faculty colloquia to discuss best practices for the implementation of these tools in the classroom. The Lab also hosts semi-annual salons that showcase the work done by students and faculty. By putting exemplary work on display, these salons expose people inside and outside of the BGC to the type of work that can and is being done using digital media tools.
Lastly, the Digital Media Lab plays an important role in the BGC’s investigation into new models of scholarship and knowledge production. In particular, the Lab is centrally situated in the middle of conversations at the BGC as to how exhibitions, journal articles, and monographs can be reconfigured to take into consideration the new possibilities that digital media tools offer contemporary academia. Through experiments in multimedia content management and alternative methods of digital publishing, the Lab provides students and faculty with a place to examine the best ways of organizing and disseminating their research using the new tools now available to them.