1. Apples at OUCS

Photo of Opening of Mac Teaching Room

1.1. Launch of the Mac Teaching Room

Many creative professionals in the world today use Macs in preference to PCs. With a Mac you can forget that you are in front of a computer and concentrate more fully on your actual creative work. Someone once said it was the best breakthrough for the creative artist since the invention of paper and pencils! In keeping with the growing use of Apple Macs in the University, OUCS is increasing its provision for Macs within it services and also creating new programmes to teach the best and most creative uses of the special features of Macs. In addition, we have created an Apple Mac Teaching Room in our Thames Suite.

The Apple Mac Teaching room was formally opened on Friday, 11 December 2009. Peter Thompson, the Manager of Apple’s UK and Ireland Education Business; and Stuart Lee, Director of OUCS, jointly cut the ribbon to make it official. Brenda Brierley, Apple’s Programme Manager for Authorised Training Centres for Education, then cut a cake to launch a new initiative of creativity in the OUCS IT Learning Programme’s courses.

During the event there were short talks on the design of the room, its involvement with the University’s iTunesU programme, and an update on Mobile Oxford.

The room was designed in collaboration with Apple, Colebrook-Bosson-Saunders (a work space furniture design company) and Merlin Presentation Solutions. Together we feel we have created a teaching space that is flexible, accessible and stimulating for teaching and learning. The room has been in use since May 2009, and has received many compliments both for its look and feel and for the fact that we once again have a dedicated room for Apple Mac based courses.

1.2. We’re an AATCe!

Photo of Opening of Mac Teaching Room

We now have the status of an Apple Authorised Training Centre for Education (AATCe). An AATCe meets Apple’s highest standards in all areas including: facilities, instructors, course delivery and infrastructure. With AATCe status we can offer Apple-certified courses and certification to University members with the following key benefits:

  • Providing the opportunity for staff and students to achieve an internationally recognised Apple certification
  • Access to Apple’s course resources
  • The convenience and cost savings (such as travel and accommodation) of being able to attend an AATCe at Oxford University itself

To run the AATCe we use external trainers who are recognised nationally and internationally as experts in their fields.

In Michaelmas 09 we ran two Apple Certified courses:

  • An Introduction to Final Cut Pro (3 days)
  • An Overview of Aperture (1 day)

We have also run a Documentary Film Making 5-day workshop in conjunction with the Oxford Academy of Documentary Film. Some of the documentaries produced were on view at the launch.

The ITLP has also run a number of its own courses:

  • Test drive a Mac – where members of the University can try out a Mac computer with help at hand Switching from Windows – for University members that are moving from Windows to Mac OSX
  • Security and Maintenance – guidance on setting up a Mac correctly and looking after it
  • Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Indesign

All of the courses have received enthusiastic feedback from attendees, praising both the teaching and the room. They will continue to be available and our course list will be extended even further.

We can now support and train academics and others who would love to embrace new technology and become media-wise and creative in support of their teaching, research and outreach.

1.3. New Creative Courses

make: podcasts advert

At the launch event, Melissa Highton, Head of OUCS’s Learning Technologies Group, described the new creative strand to be embedded within the ITLP teaching programme that will run over the next two terms, culminating in the annual OxTalent Awards ceremony in the summer.

This strand will be called make: and will include within it opportunities to see the creative potential in a number of different areas, currently:

  • make: audio
  • make: images
  • make: music
  • make: open
  • make: posters
  • make: presentations
  • make: together
  • make: videos
  • make: websites

make: open will emphasise the Open Educational Resources initiatives being addressed in the University, whereas make: together will emphasise the synergy that exists between the different creative disciplines.

We will not only provide our own courses, workshops, lunch time sessions, and competitions but we will also tap into some of the creative activities in which academics and students are already involved to get them to come along and share them with the rest of us.

We hope you will spread the word and think about taking advantage of this new opportunity to develop creative skills through modern technology! No longer is the making of videos and podcasts, digital images, posters, and music the realm of an exclusive few willing to toil over technical software and hardware. The tools are now available that can release the creative potential in anyone and these tools are becoming easier and easier to use.

1.4. Want to know more?

If you would like more details of the room, or you are interested in contributing to our make: programme, please contact: Grazyna Cooper (grazyna.cooper@oucs.ox.ac.uk), Head of the IT Learning Programme. Courses information.

1.5. Apple Warranty Repairs

The OUCS Apple Warranty Repair service is up and running well. For details and how to use it see www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/helpcentre/pcsupport/hardware-service.xml.

This service is carried out by the same engineers who also provide hardware repairs and upgrades (described on the same web pages). Please remember that although the Apple Warranty repairs have a somewhat tighter turn-around time, the hardware repairs still generally take 5 to 10 working day to complete and we do not have the resources to provide on-the-spot repairs.

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