By Travis Reynolds

It’s Monday morning. You spent all weekend cramming for your 8 a.m. midterm exam. The professor has been fiddling with the classroom’s new projector for 20 minutes, trying to get the Blackboard-based test on screen. Every passing second slices into the class time you need to write two critical essays and answer 15 short-answer questions in complete sentences.Wouldn’t you feel comforted to know this scenario could be prevented?

Eastern’s Technology Studio for Professional Development, which was created to combat problems like the one described above, opened Thursday.

The grand opening saw trays of fruit and snacks, technology displays and visits from Eastern President Doug Whitlock and Provost Rodney Piercey.

The studio hopes to keep faculty and staff abreast of the new tools available to them by offering workshops in a number of developing technologies.

“We wanted to create a comfortable environment so people can learn in a more intimate setting,” Jean Marlow, assistant director of Instructional Technology (IT), said at the studio’s grand opening.

The studio’s furnishings include the same Hewlett Packard laptops Eastern’s faculty employs, as well as a conference room-style set up with rolling chairs and carpeting.

During the last year, IT equipped more than 100 classrooms with projectors and laptop docking stations, Marlow said.

And the studio has the same setup.

“We teach a lot of workshops in here,” Marlow said, “which include Blackboard, Office 2007, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and web accessibility to name a few.”

During the opening, Marlow and others demonstrated some of the tools available to Eastern faculty, including operating the studio’s SMART Board, a touch-sensitive projection screen and viewing Blackboard via projector.

Though Thursday marked the grand opening of the studio, it has been in limited operation for a few months.

“It’s already been very successful,” Marlow said. “We’ve received good feedback. The atmosphere is reactive and conducive to learning. We’ve already held classes here for the last three months or so.”

Any of IT’s technology workshops will be offered through the new studio. Since the beginning of the fall semester, 38 such courses have been taught over eight topics including Photoshop and Office 2007. Now, further courses such as video conferencing will be available in Case Annex as well.

Students and faculty can access a list of current and future IT workshops at under the Training Center link.

Though the studio caters to faculty at the moment, Marlow suggested that it might offer training to students in the future.