iLab offers students and faculty workshops, new opportunities

USC Annenberg recently opened multimedia workshops at its new iLab to all students and faculty, which allows them to learn topics and programs such as Photoshop, HTML, Soundslides, iMovie and others.

The iLab, located in room 229, opened this semester and features 21 21.5-inch iMac computer workstations complete with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Suite 4 and other software designed to give both communication and journalism students the opportunity for extra learning outside the classroom. The workshops, usually offered twice a week, are open to the first 20 students who show up to the iLab. The next offerings are a Photoshop session on March 22 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and a Soundslides session on March 24 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. This computer lab and workshops complement USC Annenberg's Digital Lab, which houses 26 Avid video editing machines in room G40.

"Seven years ago, we said convergence was the key to the future of communication and journalism," said James Vasquez, USC Annenberg assistant dean of operations. "The industry standard was Avid machines, but today there is more and more demand for Macs, Final Cut Pro and iMovie. Our efforts in the iLab are supplementing the vast amount of technology that already exists here."

The normal lab hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — except during workshop sessions — and Friday from 12 to 5 p.m. The workshops have averaged about 10 students per session.

Director of Web Technologies Wendy Chapman, who teaches workshops along with new media specialist Journalism professor Andrew Lih instructs a student during an Online Journalism Seminar class.Matt Frank, said the small workshop sizes are ideal because students and faculty receive more help, support and time to practice.

"We've certainly entered a world of convergence," Chapman said. "Multimedia skills are useful across the board for both communication and journalism students. We're able to integrate the training workshops with classes, so students have the opportunity to increase their digital skill set on multiple levels. Having time to answer one-on-one questions is crucial."

Attendees are asked to fill out an evaluation form after each workshop, and both Chapman and Frank said the feedback has been positive. They said the attendees' recommendations for future classes have already resulted in more advanced Photoshop and HTML classes this semester.

"The Photoshop workshop I went to was really helpful for my public relations media class (JOUR 351B)," said Arianna Gomez (B.A. Public Relations '11). "I'm working on designing a newsletter, and the skills I learned are directly applicable. We can directly apply what we learn in the workshops to our classes."

Frank is an additional resource to students outside of workshop hours because he is available to work with them during his posted office hours, which this semester are Monday 12-1:30 p.m., Tuesday 2-3 p.m. and Thursday 2:30-4:30 p.m. During those office hours students can  work with him in the iLab and ask specific questions about  projects they are working on.

“The best thing about the iLab workshops is that all Annenberg students can get training in multimedia resources, which will be important to them as they move into the job market," Frank said.

For more information on iLab hours and workshops, please send an e-mail to