Produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications
New ‘One Button Studios’ Enable Quality Presentations, Add to Innovative Campus Learning Spaces
Photo by John T. Consoli
Wheeled desks that transform classrooms in a flash, lecture halls that work just as well for small-group learning activities, round tables for team projects—when it comes to instructional spaces, the University of Maryland knows one size doesn’t fit all. But when COVID-19 hit and teaching and learning suddenly became an on-screen experience, the educational innovation had to flip the script.
Last year, the university introduced One Button Studios, simplified recording studios where users can create high-quality video or audio recordings—no experience required.
Say goodbye to blurry laptop cameras and laundry-littered backdrops. In the spaces, available free of charge at eight locations across campus, students, faculty and staff can simply plug a USB drive into the available dock and push the record button, activating the high-definition camera, microphone and lighting.
“(Users) walk in and they have all the tools that they need at the push of a button without having to have any kind of post-production support,” said Hilary Gossett, assistant director of academic facilities. “It makes (the process) so much more accessible.”
As classes shifted online amid the pandemic, the studios provided a place to record professional-looking virtual lectures and demonstrations. But even as in-person learning resumed, Gossett said, students, faculty and staff can still utilize the quiet, equipped spaces to record or practice presentations, prep for meetings and more.
The lack of disruption from outside noise is a plus for freshman anthropology major Nathan Cavaliere, who uses the studios for recording podcasts and audio books. “What the One Button Studios do is they’re one of the few places on campus that can effectively cancel out outside sound,” he said.
The studios are especially beneficial for Terps expressing themselves through performance or oral communication, said Nancy Forsythe, senior faculty specialist for disability inclusion in the University Career Center. For example, students she works with in TerpsEXCEED, a UMD program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, were able to practice their end-of-the-semester presentations.
“It’s just so different from a person recording on a phone. The quality is much higher,” Forsythe said. “The more I use (the studios), the more I think of ways I can use them.”
The studios complement UMD’s four existing types of TERP (Teach, Engage, Respond and Participate) Classrooms, technology-enhanced, student-centered spaces that cater to a variety of teaching and learning styles. The university has 55 TERP Classrooms, representing 16% of its classroom inventory. And although seat spacing in the rooms had to be adjusted temporarily amid COVID-19, the goal is to have 70 such spaces by the end of next year.
“We have a responsibility to embrace this momentum and kind of blaze that trail in a way that makes sense for our campus,” Gossett said. “There’s constant innovation happening.”
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