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Blog opens avenues to new digital media

The rate at which technology improves makes it difficult to stay current. What is cutting-edge today will be obsolete tomorrow. However, there is a new resource on campus geared toward helping students adapt to the constantly rolling technological tide.

The Digital Union has created a blog that informs students, faculty and staff of the latest technological trends and techniques. Most of the information provided on the site details how electronic devices can help improve with the overall university experience.

“The mission of the blog is for us to share the excitement of how technology can advance higher education,” said Victoria Getis, Digital Union director.

Students accessing the blog will be introduced to three main areas of information. Some of the posts discuss the interesting and unusual aspects of technology, such as new iPhone applications and items that can be helpful in the classroom. One of the blog entries talked about a pen that records audio during class. A student that is frantically scribbling notes on a page can simultaneously record the professor’s words with the same device.

Getis said pen recorders are helpful in lectures and are widely available, but most people do not even know they exist.

Another theme the Web site focuses on is upcoming events and details. For instance, the Digital Union is hosting an event May 20 intended to kick off an entire year’s worth of activities known as the “Year of eLearning.” It will be open to the entire campus and will feature various vendors displaying new technologies.

Finally, the blog provides tips and tricks about new technology, which has proven to be a popular feature on the site. A post about the recently introduced Microsoft Windows 7 operating system attracted about 2,900 readers, the most of any entry.

Another goal of the blog is to bring the student body together. “Building community is very important at a place like this; this is not a small campus,” Getis said.

She said it could link multiple fields at OSU that have shared interests and give them an opportunity to collaborate.

Eleven full-time staff members write the entries, which are usually posted about once a week. Occasionally, students or other guests contribute, but Getis said she is looking for more non-staff workers to write.

The Digital Union also offers students and faculty up-to-date technological devices. The lab, located on the third floor of the Science and Engineering Library, features both Macs and PCs and has laptops, scanners, microphones, cameras and headphones available for loan.

The lab is busy. Getis said it supports approximately 1,400 people every month and usually holds one or two workshops a week. It has a video conference room that connects people on campus with individuals all over the country.

Members of the OSU community are also welcome to use the state-of-the-art Learning Collaboration Studio, located in the library’s basement. The studio gives instructors and student groups a chance to learn and experiment with new technology and even receive feedback from Digital Union workers about making their experiences run more smoothly.

The Digital Union blog can be found at registration.it.ohio-state.edu/blog/digitalunion/.

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