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School of Communications starts school year with development sessions

During Planning Week, the School of Communications hosted faculty/staff development sessions, taking a closer look at Google Tools, drones, interactive screens, and film and video lighting. 

To kick off the new academic year, the School of Communications hosted a series of informative faculty/staff development sessions during the university’s Planning Week. The workshops, highlighting a variety of topics such as drones and Google Tools, focused on supporting the faculty and staff’s teaching, creative and research interests.

Senior Lecturer Randy Piland (with controls) leads a flying lesson during a drone training workshop on Aug. 22 outside of Steers Pavilion. 

The workshops began on Aug. 22 with a drone training session led by Senior Lecturer Randy Piland, who recently completed the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial drone certification. The four-hour session discussed the legal, ethical and technical aspects of drone flying and videography, and concluded with flying lessons in open spaces outside the school’s facilities. (That explains the buzzing sound outside Steers Pavilion.)   

Bryan Baker, director of multimedia projects, said he attended the drone workshop for two reasons: his own personal interest and to gain a better understanding of the unmanned aerial vehicle. 

“I wanted to attend because the school has recently purchased two new drones – two DJI Mavic Pro drones – which are small, collapsible and user friendly,” he said. “We have many students interested in drones, and this workshop was an opportunity to learn from Randy Piland, the school’s in-house expert. He’s went through drone certification process and is extremely knowledgeable about them.”

As drones become more popular and available through the school, Baker said faculty, staff and students will need to understand the “high level of responsibility attached to piloting drones,” citing personal safety, property safety and the financial investment of the devices.

With those concerns in mind, Baker plans to one day complete the FAA certification process as well.  

Mike Reilley, a Google News Lab trainer and Journalist’s Toolbox editor, walks communications faculty and staff through the many Google features available to educators.

‚ÄčOver the following three days, the school offered several other workshops, including an “Xpression Graphics and Carbonite Switcher Training” session, led by Katie Bessell of Duke Athletics Xpression. Additionally, Piland oversaw a “Interactive Touch Screen Training” session and Baker and Lecturer Ryan Witt co-led a film and video lighting workshop.

Lastly, the development workshops concluded on Aug. 25 with a nearly four-hour tutorial on Google Tools, led by Mike Reilley, a Google News Lab trainer and Journalist’s Toolbox editor.

“Faculty development is one of the most important things our faculty can do,” said Don Grady, associate dean and associate professor. “Our industries are constantly evolving, and so we must also change and adapt in our disciplines and professions. These sessions are a reflection of the changes we are seeing. I think our faculty and staff development sessions help provide important knowledge we can bring into the classroom.”

Tommy Kopetskie,
8/30/2017 2:35 PM