AV Staff Participate in Two Las Vegas Conferences

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

AV Services Director, Gary Swanson, and AV Instructional Media Technician, Andrew Borts, attended two conferences on one trip recently. Tech Oasis, a Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC) conference from October 3-7, 2012 where the two led a roundtable discussion on Westminster's Titan Digital Signage project, and the National Media Market, a selective showcase of the top educational media distributors, held near the same location on October 3rd. Tech Oasis took place at the Tropicana Las Vegas and was hosted by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

"AV is an ever-changing, complex industry, requiring special training and intricate expertise in a number of specialized areas," Swanson shared. Borts concurred. "Attendance allowed us to track important educational technology trends, build relationships with vendors, collect materials on the latest products and streaming technology offerings, as well as strengthen skills and gain further knowledge of the AV industry in ways to benefit our department as well as our institution."   

CCUMC consists of many representatives from other institutions-big and small-from North and South America.  The National Media Market (NMM) convention showcased 55 of the top educational media vendors, each providing detailed information on their latest educational offerings and new distribution methods.

Swanson and Borts led two "Quicktakes" roundtable sessions for the CCUMC conference, entitled "Doing digital signage when you can't afford to do digital signage," detailing Westminster's "Titan Digital Signage" project.  The duo received lots of positive feedback on Westminster's TDS, and gathered some suggestions for making it better. Over the five-day period, both participated in sessions ranging from copyright and fair use to building planning and architectural strategies.  They also participated in both virtual and real tours of newly opened facilities at UNLV and other colleges and universities.

Borts noted that another of the highlights of their experience was a CCUMC interest group meeting for smaller institutions. The topic of work study programs and their effectiveness allowed the Westminster team to share their department's strategies for hiring, training, and offering something that students find as an added value to their undergraduate education. "This led to a long discussion on our strategies, marketing, team managing styles, and the volume of work that our students regularly perform, and has led to our department being featured in a future CCUMC publication."

Swanson agreed that both took a lot away from the trip. "Regardless of the size of the institution or student body, the issues faced by the attendees are the same. All are facing budget, time, legal, technology and staff constraints, and all are focused on providing solid technology services for tech that truly transforms teaching and learning within those constraints. We anticipated a consortium-wide need for a lot of the topics that were covered, but the knowledge we walked away with was incredible.  In some ways, we came away feeling pretty good about many of the decisions we have made at Westminster." Swanson added that there are no doubt other areas that Westminster has room for growth in, and that they now have further evidence to support this, with ideas that they can apply immediately with the data and assessment to back it up.

"AV professionals excel at bridging technologies, trades, people and specializations, having worked with them all for decades," Swanson concluded. "The message I took away from each of these conferences is that building those relationships has never been more important than right now, and AV is really the hub to make it happen most efficiently and effectively."
For more information contact Gary Swanson or Andy Borts at (724) 946-7188 or avstaff@westminster.edu.

Click image to enlarge.
Westminster College Instructional Media Technician Andy Borts

Click image to enlarge.
Westminster College Director of Audio Visual Services Gary Swanson