The small yellow house across the street from Spurlock Center isn’t just another building on campus. Soon, it will be offering opportunities for students to expand their creativity in the technological world.
Since the start of his position in early February, Director of Digital Fluency Andrew Rosner has made it a goal along with other staff to create chances for students to embrace their creativity with technology and have a space to do so.
In Rosner’s words, digital fluency is taking technological tools and skills and using them to create something new, which creates a number of different opportunities for students.
The new Center for Tech Innovations is working to have a podcast and recording studio, video content studio, video game and a VR space for students to be able to play and create their own work all located in the Annex, across the street from Surplock Center and Faught Stadium.
There, students will be able to work with equipment such as laptops, microphones, lights, backdrops and different lenses that provide multiple different options for students to be creative.
Rosner has been working with digital media for about eight years. He said he’s happy to be able to bring these new opportunities to Franklin College students.
“The college recognizes the importance of training students with these digital tools and skills,” Rosner said. “For the workplace and for the workforce not only now, but of the future, the goal being we’re creating leaders.”
Posters on campus and posts on social media have been shared to let students know that the podcast studio is officially open for anyone to stop by, and to highlight the future equipment that is yet to come.
“I’m really excited about the work we’re doing,” Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College Kristin Flora said. “I think it’s a really exciting time as we look to help our students go into the workforce equipped with technical skills that are valuable to employers.”
The inside of the building isn’t the only thing that will have a new look. The outside of the building will also be getting a fresh new design starting this summer. The final exterior touches should be finished just in time for student return to campus in the fall.
But this isn’t the first time a designated center has been created to help students gain access to technology. The Hive was originally located in a building in downtown Franklin and was set to offer many of the same opportunities as the CTI. The college decided they wanted to bring The Hive closer to campus and decided to place it in the Annex.
But Jeremy VanAndel, director of professional development and a lecturer of business, said the timing wasn’t right, so The Hive never quite found the footing it needed.
VanAndel was originally titled as the founding director of The Hive, but has since had to shift his job duties.
President Kerry Prather said the administration realized that the new CTI would be a more practical resource for students. With permission from the original donors who helped fund The Hive, their money was shifted to help fund the new program.
“Obviously I was very personally invested in it, and sad to see it go,” VanAndel said. “But, all of the outcomes we intended to get around inspiring creativity, problem solving, inspiring entrepreneurships, those things are still carrying on in different ways.”
Despite the closing of The Hive, Rosner and VanAndel are still pushing for new opportunities for students. The CTI is working towards making Franklin College an Adobe Creative campus, which means all students would have access to Adobe Creative programs like Photoshop, Indesign and more.
“The agreement isn’t fully set in stone,” Rosner said. “But with this, we would be one of 50 schools in the world that have this distinction. Students, faculty and staff would have access to the creative cloud suite, along with dedicated training to implement these tools into the curriculum.”
Another idea in the works would be industry partnerships to help provide internships, workshops, boot camps and more. One in particular is with ElevenFifty Academy, located in downtown Indianapolis, where they aim to help students with workshops and boot camps in cyber security, web development and more.
“A lot of things are still in the works, a lot of ideas,” Rosner said. “And we’re working to make those come to life.”