Category Archives: Blog

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DLC staff relocating to McGowan 210 suite during Dec-Jan Remodel

The Digital Learning Commons and Design Space will be closed from December 14 – mid-January and DLC staff (Mark Basse, Evelyn Helminen, Melissa Sorenson, Amy Slay, Bob Cole) will be relocating to the 2nd floor of McGowan Building in suite 210 near our friends in the META Lab and the Center for Social Impact Learning (CSIL).

About the Remodel
Remodel of the upstairs balcony in the DLC open work environment will begin Monday, December 14. As you see in the 3D rendering above, the upstairs balcony rail will be removed and a set of two floor to ceiling 8′ wide storefront style windows will be installed. The upper window portion will be able to open and close allowing us to maintain a degree of flexibility and open-ness between the upstairs open work area and downstairs Design Space. The upstairs will be enclosed with additional floor to ceiling glass and a door located at the top of the internal staircase, just to the right of our red media booth. The remodel should provide improved acoustic separation between the two floors, increase natural light, and offer staff and MIIS community members new possibilities to experiment in collaborative co-working environments.  See additional sketch renderings below.

Remodel Construction Schedule
DLC staff are coordinating with Campus Facilities and the contractor on a construction schedule that we hope will minimize disruption for staff and those who may have plans to use the DLC in January.

  • DLC balcony remodel work will begin Monday, December 14.​
  • Contractors will work over winter break to install new bank of floor to ceiling windows
  • An on-schedule project is expected, though not guaranteed, to be completed by second week of January, 2016 – in time for Spring 2016 classes and community events

How to Contact DLC Staff
During the transition please contact DLC Staff Members via office e-mail or phone. You may also make appointments via our online appointment booking system or send us a query to

Additional 3D renderings:

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All you keep’s the getting there


Time flew.  That must mean I was having fun!  

I started as a graduate assistant at the DLC in my first semester at MIIS.  Now, as I finish up my third semester at MIIS and the DLC, I’m heading off to IPSS in Chile and moving on from my GA role.  

When Evelyn walks me out to make sure I don’t steal anything, here’s what I’m taking with me:

An appreciation for collaboration 

At the DLC, I worked with almost all the other full-time staff and GA’s on workshops, projects, and daily appointments.  I learned and had fun from our teamwork, whereas I used to prefer working alone on projects. 


Evelyn had a weekly check-in where we went over how I was doing (in general and at the DLC), reviewed pending tasks, and planned upcoming work.  It helped a lot in staying productive, feeling accomplished, and balancing work duties. 

Sharing and accepting feedback

I’m generally a private person and work on things on my own (see above about collaboration).  The DLC is the opposite.  We put everything on display (see this blog post).  Thus, I’ve become more comfortable accepting feedback and I usually (sometimes) appreciate it.

Space is important

The DLC is open, flexible, and cheerfully painted/decorated.  I like being there.  It is jarring to me when I go to the drab office spaces upstairs in McGowan, or to the quiet cavernous halls on the first floor of McCone.  I also much preferred class in the DLC to any other classroom at MIIS. 

And somewhere along the way I got better at iMovie, started to use Garage Band and Audacity, learned Camtasia, switched to Keynote, made a WordPress site, and took 200 head shots. 

And so…actually, I’m not going to say goodbye to the DLC just yet, as I’m doing the International Digital Storytelling Project.  Everyone will be seeing more from me in the spring!

Keynote Features Unlocked at DLC Workshop


An audience of students, faculty and staff attended the Keynote workshop at the DLC on Friday, October 2nd.  DLC graduate assistants Tom Stagg and James Slaton introduced the magic move, build animation, and interactive charts features of Keynote.

Those in attendance stated that they had not been using Keynote previously, and were curious about using it for their presentations. There was also interest in exporting Keynote presentations as Quicktime videos, including narrated slideshows.

Want to learn more about Keynote?  Make an appointment at the DLC!

Also, don’t forget that all MIIS students get free access to, which has Keynote tutorials.


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Keynote Workshop

Keynote Workshop

Friday, October 2, 2015

11:00-11:50 AM

Digital Learning Commons

The legend of Keynote is that it was created specifically for Steve Jobs, who needed a program that he could use for presenting his annual keynote speeches to developers.  Jobs was not happy with PowerPoint.  He liked a program called Concurrence that he used in 1998, but it didn’t do everything he wanted.  Because none of the available programs did what he wanted, he had a team work on a presentation program just for him.  The software that became Keynote was used to present the iPod to the world in 2001. “Keynote was not originally designed to be a public software release, but the team built something so magical and so complete, Steve was convinced he would release the software to compete with PowerPoint.”

PowerPoint dominates the presentation field, although Prezi and Google Slides are becoming more commonly seen.  Keynote, however, is a great program that is unused by many Mac owners (sorry, PC fans!), and those who do use it might not know everything you can do with it.

Come to this DLC workshop to learn how to build charts within Keynote, and how to use the advanced feature of Magic Charts which can animate your data, as well as Magic Move which allows creative, but elegant transitions.  As with many features, a little goes a long way, so we will also talk about presentation design and how to avoid distracting your audience with too many of these tools.

Bring your laptop if you have Keynote, and try these tools during the workshop!

But I have Windows!  or I want to use PowerPoint.  While this workshop is focused on using the features within Keynote, the content will generally apply to creating presentations in other platforms as well.  To explore similar features in Powerpoint, make an appointment at the DLC.  If you want to try Keynote without switching to a Mac or buying the software, there are computers with Keynote installed that are available for student use at the DLC.  There are options available for exporting Keynote slideshows to other platforms for presenting on Windows PCs and other computers that do not have Keynote.




Dear Prospective DLC GA

I’m going to keep this brief.

Writing to you now on the last day of work in the DLC, I can honestly say that I loved working here. The draw was immediate, the fit just clicked, and the whole experience was a long and vibrant joy ride of working hard and loving the outcomes. To catalog it all is difficult so I made a short video to share some the highlights. You can check it out below.

If you don’t feel like watching the video, just know that I got involved in the DLC by crashing team meetings. I wouldn’t suggest you do the same, but every DLC GA has their story. From crashing meetings to the first open mic night some friends and I put on in the D-Space, the match was made. On the first day of the Spring of 2015, I walked into the office and told the permanent staff members I was interested in working for them. I was told, “Your persistence will be rewarded.” Within a week I was being interviewed for the position, during which time I was asked, “What is it that you want to do here?” To which I replied, “I want to run MIIS Radio.”

Within a few weeks I was interviewing professors and students, recording audio in weird places and reproducing it online in the Radio Forum. I soon nabbed the position of host of TEDxMonterey 2014, for which I will always be thankful of the DLC and the folks who put me in contact (that means you too Katie Brown!) After TEDx things slowed down and I continued working as a GA into the summer. But we didn’t pick computers and passwords at first. We picked up hammers and paint and heavy objects that we either moved around the space, up and down the stairs, or out of the space entirely. It was prototype time while the students were away – we installed colorful dry erase boards downstairs, sound proofing in the booths, and even built the campfire table in the center of the upstairs space. The Spring 2014 semester and the summer working in the DLC marked two periods which I care to call the experimenting and bonding phases. This is where I really got to know my supervisors and myself. (You’re going to want to click that link!)

In the Fall of 2014 I became a more reliable senior of the space. People had come and gone and the space was transitioning into a service sector. We got the new appointment system and people were coming to us with specific requests – not just on a whim because the DLC was the place to be. For a little while it became very un-fun, but at the same time, the campus came to depend on us for a very niche service for the first time since the office had moved across campus. I was grateful to be there nonetheless. And just because something is un-fun doesn’t mean it isn’t important, for which I am also grateful.

I really started to appreciate being a GA at the DLC in my final semester – of course, as there had been nearly a million other things to do and prepare for. This last semester was marked by the sentiment of trying to exit gracefully. I became well studied and well versed in the motions of customer support and in particular for audio and video editing, which became my specialty alongside web design. I executed some elaborate needs assessments, some funky workshops, countless appointments, and even a great addition to the first ever MIIS Happening, which all in all made me feel really good about my time here. The new GAs had no reason to look up to me, but it felt good to share with them where the DLC had been before and how special their positions were, always offering a helping hand whenever possible.

Now, in the last few days of my on-campus MIIS career, I only have left to say that I loved it it here and if I could do it all over again I would. Not really, but you’ll get what I mean as your time goes on here.

Peace to the place and the people and the grace

that never ceases to amaze or continually elevate.


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Website Audit – Take 2!

GPayne checkin’ in! Amidst the rush of returning to school last week I made it a priority to check back in with Evelyn Helminen about my website. To get up to date on how this whole website audit thing started, click the link to my previous post. In my previous post I detail how Evelyn audited my website’s purpose, vision, content, and navigation, and in the end, I decided to start over! I bought a new domain name ( for 2 years, switched my host from WordPress to Weebly, and created an all new outlook for my e-portfolio. How is it different?

  1. Weebly
    • WordPress was a great host and platform to learn how to manage a website, but Weebly has an ease of use and polished look that I like more. Weebly uses a drag-and-drop interface similar to iMovie and Garageband, but for website design it’s great! There aren’t too many choices and the mobility of those options can make each page very unique. For the purpose of my website, which is to function as a polished and easy to navigate e-portfolio Weebly was just what I was looking for, even though there are a few options I don’t have access to without a premium account.
  2. E-portfolio
    • I only need my e-portfolio to do a few things, but I need it to do them very well. First, I need it to make me look good. Weebly has a very polished look to it and has a lot of nice themes to choose from. Large pictures display perfectly both in the background and the foreground, and some of the page formats are specifically designed to showcase those large photos.
  3. Pages
    • Because it’s so easy on the eyes, it makes me as the subject of the website easy to understand. Instead of overloading my audience with everything that might be important, my new website pushed me to be as streamlined about my delivery as it is about displaying my information. Thus, I limited myself to 5 menu items, only 2 of which have drop down menu items, streamlining my navigation.
  4. Links
    • To make navigation even clearer however, I embedded links in the text on each page so that as my audience finishes reading each page, context-specific links to other parts of my website are clearly displayed in a light turquoise color. It’s obvious now that I misunderstood “link theory” in my old website, which frustrated everyone from my mom to my supervisor, so I started over there, too. Now, it’s easier for people to navigate to relevant content.
  5. Impact
    • I think the most significant difference in my new website is the impact it has. It conveys purpose, vision, and content much better now, which makes me proud to share it. I no longer hesitate to share my URL with potential employers. I’m simply confident that it tells my story appropriately and effectively when I’m not telling it out loud.
  6. Possibilities
    • Lastly, I think the most exciting thing about my new website are the possibilities. There are quite a few options I want to try out in the future, but most notably is embedding video. Instead of forcing people to read about me, I’m going to upload a video introduction, as well as a short video to replace the content on the Looking Ahead page. So if and when potential employers land on my website, they can hear and see who I am, what I’m good at, and what I intend to do in my future career.

Take a look at my new website to see what I’m talking about! And if you get a chance check out an article about WordPress vs. Weebly that is circulating around the DLC now.

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Infographics with Piktochart Workshop

Have you ever thought of creative ways to present your information, especially the important kind such as your resume? Have you ever tried to craft an attention-grabbing poster or handout? Unless you are a born artist, it could be challenging to make your information stand out. Fear not, this workshop will introduce you to the basics of using Pikotchart to create infographics, a visual presentation to present information.

When: 1:30-2:30pm Friday, April 24th

Where: DLC Design Space

What will be covered:

  • Sign up for Piktochart
  • Templates available for free and paid versions
  • Modify an existing template
  • Create from a blank template
  • Share and present the Piktochart

Please bring your laptop so you can try it out!

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Website Audit Advice

Hey yall,

GPayne checkin’ in. Recently I met with Evelyn Helminen, Web & Social Media Co-Manager of the DLC, and guru to all things web design. We sat down to chat about my WordPress website, which I began as a course assignment for my IEM degree back in the fall of 2013. It had however, evolved into something much larger over time. In fact, it had evolved so much that it no longer even conveyed the most important messages clearly and effectively. During my internal website audit, Evelyn pointed out some key areas of improvement, so now it’s my turn to share what I’ve learned:

  1. Define your purpose:
    • Website design begins with purpose. If it’s an e-portfolio, make it showcase your talent. If it’s a blog, make it consistently expressive. If it’s built for a business, make it sell. Multipurpose websites are difficult to identify with and tend to turn off the target user, so when you define your purpose, make it clear.
  2. Hone your message:
    • Website design helps to bring your message to the forefront of people’s attention. Think about it, people sit on average 1-2 feet away from their screen. When your message is displayed on the screen in front of the user, be sure that it’s comprehensible. We found that my style of writing in my e-portfolio is a bit too conversational. It works great for this blog post, but for a potential employer, wordiness won’t grant me an interview. So take it from me, be clear!
  3. Design your landing page to be comfortable:
    • Website design is about capturing your audience for as many seconds as possible. If you’ve ever visited a website that didn’t welcome you appropriately, you likely didn’t stay for long. Even spending 4-5 seconds on a page you don’t intend on reading is unlikely, so don’t expect it from anyone else on the internet. Your target user should be welcomed and encouraged to stay on the pages you designate, so make your pages leave lasting impressions.
  4. Make it navigable:
    • Another major turn off to the average user of your website is navigation confusion. Design your links and drop down menus to be easily located, easily read, and linked to the right place. Try displaying less items on your drop down menus for ease of use, or try making your most important links (to PDFs and videos) open up in separate tabs.
  5. Use images and videos to break the canvas:
    • Your website is flat. Get used to it. Flat surfaces are good for skateboarding, but on the internet, generally everyone’s surfaces are flat. Break the surface of your space, and separate yourself from the crowd, with well-placed pictures and videos. Maybe a video tutorial of your website or a talking head is what you need. Just be sure not to overlook the power of colors when breaking the canvas. They’re subtle, but they still help to liven things up.

Of course, there are plenty of other things I learned during my internal audit, but they’re a bit more specific to my needs. I’d be happy to share them with you, but you’re going to have to drop-in or make an appointment ( See you soon!


An Analog DLC Needs Assessment

The Digital Learning Commons (DLC) prototyped a new way to assess the needs of our clientele! In line with DLC tradition, which marries creativity and analog imagination with digital innovation, we tried out a fun and simple method to assess the needs of our clientele based on four basic knowledge areas: Presentation & Graphic Design, Audio & Video, Blogging & Web Tools, and Instructional Technology. We created the needs assessment tool around these four basic categories to find out if what we currently offer is still in demand, and if there is a demand for something that we do not currently offer.

How we did it

tabling blog post pic 1Using a large interactive sheet of paper sectioned off into 4 knowledge skills areas (depicted as different landscapes) students and faculty placed dot stickers over software programs, or knowledge areas, that they would like to learn more about and/or attend a workshop on. They were also encouraged to write in anything they did not see listed but would like to have a workshop on. This occurred in the Samson Center Courtyard from 12-2pm on Tuesday, February 3rd.

What we found

tabling blog post pic 2Out of the four categories, Presentation & Graphic Design got the most “hits” (dot stickers), with Blogging & Web Tools having the second most. Audio & Video came in third and Instructional Technology was in 4th place. Excel had the highest workshop demand, but Photoshop and LinkedIn were close behind. Overall, we found that the DLC is in the right position to offer services to the MIIS community in different knowledge areas, particularly Excel, PhotoShop, LinkedIn, Camtasia, and iMovie.

What this means

Services offered by the DLC are in high demand, but disproportionately so. We have a working workshop offering and schedule based on need, but we need to connect and advertise more deliberately for our clientele to receive the training they demand. More than 90% of the hits were labeled by program, so we will be using teachers in specific programs as gatekeepers to targeted workshops.


What is next?

More targeted emails regarding upcoming workshops, more service offerings gleaned from your feedback, more needs assessments, and more delivery! We at the DLC pride ourselves on customer service, and this was just a simple step on the way to delivering better services to you, our clientele.

Keep an eye on your email for announcements on upcoming workshops!