UW News

May 25, 2006

Ready for your close-up? Catalyst has three new studios open for business

News and Information

How cool is this?

Catalyst recently opened three studios designed for group collaboration. Located in Suzzallo Library and the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, these studios include a 50-inch plasma display and Tidebreak’s TeamSpot software. Students can use their own laptops or the workstations provided in the room to work on their piece of a project and then collaborate to bring together their collective work, using the plasma display as a shared workspace.

Groups of two to ten students can work in these studios, displaying their shared project on the large plasma screen and archiving versions as they progress. In addition, they can activate a pen that allows them to “draw” on the screen and edit their work.

If that doesn’t fire your enthusiasm, try the Digital Presentation Studio, where students (or faculty or staff) can practice and record presentations. When they are finished, the url of the streaming video of the presentation is immediately emailed to them. It’s as easy as knowing how to press the Record and Stop buttons.

But wait that’s not all! There’s also a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). This studio is filled with professional-level recording hardware and software for the budding musician or DJ. In addition to high-end recording equipment, the room contains most of the features that would be found in professional audio studios, including a 16-channel mixer, DAT recording, digital software that produces all of the effects of a guitar’s amplifier, a sound recording card, electronic composition tools, a synthesizer and full-featured digital audio editing software.

These three facilities, among the best kept secrets in OUGL, were made possible by funds from the Student Technology Fee.

The collaboration space, known as TeamSpot, uses software originally developed as a doctoral dissertation project at Stanford. The UW was one of the first four universities to purchase the commercial product; others include Stanford, MIT and Emory.

“Currently, we’re averaging about 20 teams of students making reservations each week,” says Karalee Woody, director of Catalyst Client Services. “At this point, we’re interested in finding faculty who have made collaborative projects part of their curriculum, the kinds of projects that might effectively utilize a space such as TeamSpot. We’re interested in conducting research on how faculty and students use this facility. Is it a better way to learn? Does it change the quality of projects and deepen student understanding?”

The Digital Presentation Studio is a popular site for faculty, staff and students. It is intended for individual or group practice of presentations, although some have used it to record video greeting cards or to produce audition videos. The resulting files can be downloaded to portable devices.

The Digital Audio Workstation was originally intended for nonmusic majors with an interest in recording and/or producing music. It is also used for creating radio spots, capturing folk stories in a dying language, and podcasts.

For additional information, or to reserve a studio, please refer to the Catalyst website at http://depts.washington.edu/sacg/facilities/advtech/