Digital Creator Lab opens in Mary Idema Pew Library


GVL / Aida Dennis

Jack Blake, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Knowledge Market has recently expanded. On Jan. 17, the Digital Creator Lab (DCL) opened to the student body. 

Located in the Mary Idema Pew Library in the GVSU Allendale Campus, the DCL offers a variety of services, such as in-person audio and video editing support, equipment checkout and help from Digital Skills Consultants to help with software, programs and technology.

“What we are looking to do is bring digital literacy across the curriculum,” said Justin Melick, a senior instructional designer on GVSU’s eLearning team. 

Melick said some of the main goals of the lab are to educate, instruct and offer equipment to both students and staff. 

Gabrielle Miller, the digital student experience coordinator for GVSU’s libraries, said the lab has been in development for the last 18 months. The services offered at the digital media lab are not new services in the Knowledge Market, but they will be greatly expanded upon now that they have their own branch.

Miller, Melick and Noah Campbell have been the primary faculty members working to launch the lab this year. It’s projected that the lab will be fully active on GVSU’s Pew Campus by next fall. 

Melick said some of the more specific services offered in the lab are study pods, a premier podcasting booth and a reception desk that is staffed 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

To assist students and staff in bettering their understanding of all things tech, equipment in the lab’s catalog can be lent out to students and staff upon request.

“You can rent out a DSLR camera just like you would any library book,” Melick said. 

The DCL acts as a space for people of various majors to access new technologies and learn how to utilize them through assistance offered within the lab and through personal practice.     

“It’s not just for academic projects – if you are working on your own personal project, if you have a podcast you want to work on, you can come and use the space,” Miller said. “We have a podcasting booth with a semi-permanent setup with an audio mixer and two mics. Students can just come in, plug in their laptops and start recording.” 

Melick said there is a faculty learning community with 17 members who teach subjects outside of film, art or video but are using the resources of the lab to better their own knowledge of software and to help improve the quality and opportunities in their respective classrooms. 

Melick said helping students and faculty can remove the fear of a possible gap in tech knowledge. 

On top of aiding faculty and students in person, instructional videos are being developed to be readily available online with on-demand access. Miller said these online tutorials will be able to help remedy common problems on their own without assistants having to come into the lab.   

The creation of the lab was funded by the IT department and the Provost Office.

The Knowledge Market now offers four major services with this new addition, including the speech lab, writing center and library research center. Each area takes walk-ins, however appointments can be scheduled in advance online.