Year One Report now in the iBookstore

This has been a busy year in the Learning Studio. Since opening in 2011, we’ve offered workshops to 287 teachers from ACU and other schools and universities. Our records show that 17,278 total reservations were made to the 10 collaboration rooms in the new facility. And we’ve offered hundreds of tours to thousands of visitors interested in the design of the space and our programs.

As we wrapped up the spring semester, staff in the Learning Studio began work on our Year One Report, an interactive overview of our first year of operation. The report tells the story of many of the students and faculty we’ve worked with in Year One with examples of projects and testimonials from the participants.

As the summer winds down, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to hear a few of the stories and achievements of our students and faculty this first year.


Download Report

(Note: To view embedded video and interactive content, make sure to download the iBook Version. Apple iBooks require an iPad running the iBooks 2 app and are not currently viewable on a Mac, PC or smartphone.)



  • The 35-page report includes interviews and projects from 35 faculty and students
  • Our 8,800 square foot facility is presented from early design sketches to a full virtual tour
  • 7 content galleries and 14 movies—including the Year One feature video—introduce major projects
  • A “by the numbers” section summarizes facility usage, workshops participation and equipment checkout


About the Report

Learning Studio staff produced the Year One Report using iBooks Author for display on iPad, in part to better understand the software and assess its potential in producing next-generation learning content.

On September 19th, we’ll be presenting on the process in an NMC Connect webinar hosted by the New Media Consortium. We’ll post more details when we have them to Twitter and Facebook.


Faculty end semester with Digital Storytelling

Thanks to a great group of faculty, we ended our first year with a great storytelling and media training experience. We welcomed back Mary Ann McNair from the Center for Digital Storytelling to work with ACU faculty Al Haley and Jennifer Shewmaker facilitating the three-day workshop. This is our third workshop this year working with staff from the CDS, and faculty from across campus continue to be challenged by the format to produce original content and reflect on the role of media in the broader curriculum.

Thanks to faculty participants for investing their time and creativity in the workshop. Here’s a glimpse into the experience.


Digital Stories – May 2012

Kent Smith


Tenure and Promotion portfolios on WordPress

Since 2009, over a hundred faculty per semester have built course blogs on WordPress to host discussions, share content and announcements, or have students post projects. ACU Blogs has proven to be a flexible platform for teaching in many disciplines across campus and this fall will be available to faculty going up for tenure or promotion.

Monday in the Adams Center we’ll host the first discussion on producing your portfolio on WordPress. Here are just a few of the topics we’ll cover.

  1. Creating Posts and Pages (Pages–>Add New)
  2. Using Categories and Parent Pages
  3. Linking to content (within the blog or on the web)
  4. Uploading content (Media–>Add New)
  5. Embedding content from YouTube/Vimeo
  6. Customizing the theme (Appearance–>Themes)
  7. Customizing the horizontal menu (Appearance–>Menus)
  8. Customizing the side menu (Appearance–>Widgets)


If you haven’t seen the sample portfolio produced by the University Tenure & Promotion Committee, you’ll find it here.

. (more…)

Faculty Photography Workshops

In our first year, the Learning Studio has enjoyed working with Nil Santana in the department of Art & Design  on a series of workshops for aspiring digital photographers.


Digital Academy in Gruene

Last month we took our fourth group of faculty members to the most photogenic town in Texas and worked to build their confidence in the fundamentals of digital photography. Full-time faculty members interested in more information, please fill out the RSVP form below.

*For more information on the Digital Academy format or to see work produced by our faculty alums, check the Digital Academy blog.

Lightpainting at Fort Phantom on April 19th

Our last photography event of the spring is coming up a week from Thursday when we’re inviting interested faculty and staff to join us for an evening of long-exposure shooting. All you need is a tripod and a camera capable of shutter speeds longer than 3-5 seconds. Novice and advanced shooters welcome for an evening shooting out at Fort Phantom Hill.

*Here is a post on the lightpainting trip last fall to see what you’d be getting into.


Short Documentary projects

In our first year, we’ve had opportunities to work with some extraordinary faculty at ACU. Nil Santana teaches a range of photography and graphic design courses in the department of Art & Design and has led several of our faculty workshops as well.

This week Nil sent us a video he’s been working on that we knew others would want to know more about. From the tradition of the short-subject documentary, Nil’s visuals capture the time-honored process of binding as the interview with Stan Chapman reflects on the future of an industry.



About the Film

This is a project Nil will be giving students in an Advanced Photography class next fall, so he wanted to produce a sample film himself to help them understand the process.

The video was shot on a Canon 5D mkii with all pans and movement captured as video using a tripod. The only significant change he made to the video in post was bringing it into black and white.

One rule of thumb for students new to DSLR filmmaking is to try to keep the shutter speed as close to 2x the frame-rate as possible. Nil shot everything at 1/60 of a second and 30 frames per second (fps), making adjustments as needed to either ISO or f-stop to maintain that shutter speed.

Most of the wide shots were shot with a kit lens he had (28-135mm) but the striking close-ups of machinery used a fast 85mm that gave him the narrow depth of field.

Finally, all audio was captured in the camera with one of our check-out video mics, though he’s still looking for a better solution when recording on-site.

All editing was done in either FinalCut Pro or Soundtrack Pro.

For more information on DSLR filmmaking or check-out equipment for an upcoming project, drop by the Learning Studio.