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MAC Lab in U90 Moving Forward

                                                                                                                                           by Robbie Miller


 In 2011 the Art Department noticed a pattern of digital media art courses not filling to capacity and often being dropped from the schedule.  We came to the conclusion that the problem was a lack of promotion and outdated technology.  Our lab was not current with what was being used in the industry or even with what students were using in their homes.  To revitalize the program, it was decided to outfit the mac lab in U90 with new iMacs, software, and peripheral media.  This lab holds all of our digital media art courses currently offered.


       In looking at equipment, we were thinking about what is being used in the widest variety of digital media concentrations and what would be the most sustainable in a rapidly progressive field.  With these things in mind we outfitted the lab with:

·         30 - 21.5” iMacs with i7 processors and equipped with OS X Mountain Lion

Apple computers were chosen because they are the most widely used in the field and the 21.5’ model was the best option for fitting as many units into the size of the lab we have.  The i7 is the largest processor currently available which will hopefully be the most sustainable.  We also purchased maintenance on the OS (operating system) for 5 years that will provide us with free upgrades for all our computers whenever they are announced.

·         One Epson V700 scanner and One Epson Photo R2880 printer

These were purchased to allow students to both digitize and to print design materials.  We will also be offering a digital photography course in the Spring 2012 which will require both of these peripherals.

·         70” Sharp LED TV

This has allowed us to demo techniques and present designs with true colors in any lighting situation and is more sustainable than projector bulbs.





       The money that made these purchases possible came from an existing Perkins Grant received by Gustavo Chamorro at the Digital Media Center.  There is a pathways component to this grant where we offer spots in our classes to high school students.  This fall we are offering Art 195: Intro to Digital Media; in the spring we will be offering a digital photography class, and next fall we will offer Art 195 again.  These classes fill with half high school students and half current SCC students.  As part of the grant we have also been able to hire Eva Juarez in counseling to promote our program to the high schools and recruit students.


         We are currently in the process of writing an applications class for both IOS and Microsoft platforms and in the future we would like to focus on interactive design courses to go along with our graphic design and digital imaging.  We are looking to acquire 30 iPads with a teaching/docking station and software to build the applications from both front-end design and back-end programming.  We are also looking to install another LED TV in the lab for better visibility by all students and more stations equipped with tablets.


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