Latest service and space updates: VCU Libraries COVID-19 response

Innovative Media's new The Workshop can help faculty teach and present scholarship

January 23, 2016
Image through the glass on the lower level, Cabell Library


Have you considered offering a multimedia assignment in your syllabus but don’t feel familiar enough with the tools or tricks of the trade to support your students or evaluate their work? Are you interested in emerging technologies like 3D printing and laser cutters? Are you interested in exploring new ways ot sharing your scholarship and research? Do you know any students who want to develop a smartphone app but they’re not sure where to turn for help?

One of the new service areas made possible by the library expansion on the Monroe Park Campus is The Workshop in Cabell Library run by the Innovative Media department. In this new space on the lower level of Cabell Library, faculty and your students will find equipment and expert staff support for all kinds of multimedia and three-dimensional projects and an opportunity to explore new technologies. The department's staff is also available to consult with faculty and students on the MCV Campus by appointment. 

Members of the VCU community can come to The Workshop to checkout multimedia production equipment for use on campus or at home. Equipment available for circulation includes: still cameras (including DSLRs with individual lenses), a range of camcorders, GoPro cameras and various GoPro mounts, digital projectors, a portable green screen and lights, a telescope, a microscope, sound effects CDs and much more. 

Users will also find workstations with hardware and software to manage a range of multimedia production. Systems support capturing and editing video and sound files, scanning of flat images and slides, the creation of 3D animation and 3D objects, and support for website and app building. Coming soon: GIS and related mapping technologies.

Inside The Workshop visitors will also find a “makerspace,” a room dedicated to hands-on creativity. The makerspace offers 3D printers, a laser cutter, a styrofoam cutter, a computerized tabletop router and a paper/vinyl cutter, equipment with which users can create models and objects of all kinds. Visitors will also find handicraft supplies, programmable electronics and emerging technologies to explore.

The Workshop also offers a video gaming and small group viewing room to support those researching virtual reality and virtual worlds, and the department soon will be opening a video recording studio (with 4K cameras, good for shooting video for the 98” Ultra HD multitouch screen found in the main room) and an audio recording studio.

Just as important as the equipment is the full-time staff that will help you navigate the technology. The Workshop isn’t only a production space. It is envisioned as space for a growing community of supportive teachers and learners from across the university helping one another in discovery. The space is staffed by faculty and professional staff as well as students with expertise in technologies to provide peer-to-peer instruction to fellow students.

Faculty are invited to visit or make an appointment. If you are interested in integrating materials, equipment and approaches into your classes or personal projects, contact: Innovative Media Department Head Eric Johnson, at or (804) 828-2802.

Hours and more information about the equipment and services  

Innovative Media staff can  

  • Help faculty create multimedia assignments and understand equivalent work. Is a five-minute video the same work as a 10-page paper? 
  • Find examples of student projects to serve as prompts or models in class.
  • Develop course-specific online guides with resources and tutorials customized to your assignments.
  • Consult with the classes, groups or individuals on specific aspects of the production process such as storyboarding, software, or particular techniques.
  • Coach faculty through the evaluation of student projects with sensitivity to the differences between content mastery and technical capability.
  • Teach your class, develop a workshop or series, or point you to online tutorials.
  • Introduce classes to the makerspace and other creative work spaces.
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