Digital Creator Lab opens in Mary Idema Pew Library

A photo of the Digital Creator Lab. Two students stand and talk, while others utilize other aspects of the space in the background.

The Digital Creator Lab has opened on the second floor of the Mary Idema Pew Library, with the intention to build digital literacy in students. 

The space, a collaboration between University Libraries and Information Technology, is furnished with a podcasting booth that contains two professional microphones and an audio mixer, four study pods, and dual monitors (Macs and PCs) that are equipped with a variety of software that students can use for academic and personal media projects. 

Students can also check out hardware needed for these projects, including cameras, microphones, lighting, gimbals, Wacom pen tablets and more. 

Student employees called digital skills consultants staff the space and are trained to teach students how to use all the hardware and software available, as well as other programs like Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Adobe Suite, social media platforms and more. The consultants are also trained to help students with media projects assigned in their classes. 

“The digital skills consultants’ role is to help students improve their digital literacy,” explained Gabrielle Miller, DCL manager/Digital Student Experience Coordinator. “Digital skills consultants can help students with project approach, editing and revising their projects, answering questions about ethics and data privacy, or even just showing students how to save a file on their computer.”

In-person and online appointments with consultants can be scheduled on the Digital Creator Lab website, and in-person and digital drop-in appointments are also available as consultants are available. 

Two students sit in a podcast recording booth at the Digital Creator Lab.
A photo of a podcasting booth and a study booth at the Digital Creator Lab, with two students in each.
Two female students sit and utilize the dual monitor setups in the Digital Creator Lab.

Making the knowledge and resources available to students means more than just helping students with class projects, it means building digital literacy and preparing students for the digital world. 

With a focus on equitable access, the Digital Creator Lab also has a variety of online asynchronous tutorials that teach users how to use all of the software and hardware available.

“The lab is an equity project,” said Justin Melick, senior instructional designer.

The focus is just as much on faculty as it is on students. Melick notes that many faculty members want to assign media projects to their students, but fear becoming "tech support" as students navigate these projects. The Digital Creator Lab exists to serve as the tech support, as well as help professors understand how to best implement media projects into their classrooms.

Students are encouraged to utilize the space for both academic and personal projects. The space is staffed from noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, but is open for use during the library’s hours.