The Digital Commons computer lab in the BCC Library is ready for the semester! The library officially opened last week and ever since students have been trickling in to use our resources. It’s not the normal volume of students by any means, and there are many new safety measures in place to make sure everyone stays safe. Here are some of the changes and additions you will see in the Digital Commons.
Look at that bucket of wipes!
Everyone coming to campus must wear a mask and follow all COVID-19 policies — NO EXCEPTIONS!
Every other computer, or computers within 6 feet of another, are closed down to enable social distancing
Plexiglas barrier at the Lab Assistant desk
Tons of wipes and hand sanitizer, literally buckets!
Antibacterial/antiviral spray and paper towels
Stickers on the floor in high traffic areas to encourage social distancing.
A maximum of 15 people at any one time are allowed within the Digital Commons
Facilities will be through to clean and sanitize surfaces twice a day with a fogging machine used every evening after closing
And also very important — we ask that all students wipe down desks, keyboards, and mice after using them.
The Library was also fortunate enough to be able to purchase a Book Sanitizer machine which uses UV light and is capable of cleaning up to 6 books at a time. We also plan on using it to sanitize some electronic devices, such as headphones and laptops. Check out this video below using it to sterilize a used textbook from the Bookstore!
There will also be several ways for students to get technology help from the Digital Commons. There will be a staff of Lab Assistants working at the desk, but it will be fewer than usual and their shifts will not overlap as much. There will also be Remote Lab Assistants, available by Zoom on a set schedule to meet with you about your technology questions. Students looking to schedule a 15 minute remote help appointment with me can still do so by using this link here.
One of the very best parts of my job is getting to explore new ways to use technology. Recently BCC’s Marketing group and I teamed up with STEM to help create a Virtual Tour of campus that can be experienced in 360 video or VR. That project should be completed very soon and the final editing is underway.
For some time now there has been discussion of creating a web tour of the BCC Nature Trail. Now that we have some new equipment, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out using that equipment for a different project. Last week a small team of us got together and hit all 16 stops on the Nature Trail, put down the 360/VR camera and took some video — or at least that was our plan! It turns out that nature has it’s own plans (as always) and some of the stops we couldn’t locate because the maker posts were gone. Stage two of this project is to replace the missing and worn posts, but if we can afford it we would like to replace every post.
Here’s the first test made from the video we captured. It’s 4 of the stops just edited together to see how it looks. In the first part don’t mind us creeping around in the back. One of the challenges with VR is once you start the camera, where do you go if you don’t want to be in the frame? We found ourselves hiding behind trees and staying quiet, which I found to be rather therapeutic and meditative.
There is one thing I will be changing next time I do this, and that is to use a smaller tripod. This tripod is so large it seems to show up in most of the shots. There is also a spot near the end where the trees are too close to the camera, causing some less than perfect stitching. All things to improve for next time. One of our eventual ideas is to capture video of all four seasons in the same locations on the trail. The audio is also quite loud, so I will be adjusting that before the final editing.
BCC Orchard from 200 feet
After capturing all the VR video, the weather was gorgeous and it was time for some drone flying. First up was some video of the Nature Trail itself and the buildings on campus.
Next, I turned my attention once again to the newly planted BCC Orchard. Some overhead top down shots were requested for the donors so they could better see the organization. Here’s what one of those looks like, click the image to see a larger view.
I’m always excited to have an opportunity to fly on campus, especially when the weather is so good as it was this day. I shared the video files with our Marketing team so who knows, they might very well end up in another BCC commercial.
The summer and the COVID have been keeping me busy, to say the least, and I finally have something interesting worth posting about. Today with some help from some other folks at BCC we began a project to take some videos, 360/VR videos, and pictures to document the BCC Nature Trail.
It was a rainy start to the day so the trail itself was a little damp. When we first met for lunch it was still raining, but after some Teo’s and some patient waiting the showers disappeared and the sun came out to dry things up a bit. We decided to do just the drone portion of the mission, the sky is not wet after all, and wait for a dryer time to do the 360/VR video.
Here’s a video from the first part of our drone mission, to capture some closeup video of some of the cliff swallow nests on the side of Hawthorne. I don’t know much about these birds, other than BCC used to be a popular nesting spot however lately their numbers have been declining. These nests are to attempt to encourage them to return.
After that we walked the BCC nature trail and while taking video, measured the height of the radio tower (80 feet) and some key trees in the area. We took some low to the ground video of some interesting plants, although I’m not sure how well those will come out.
To wrap up our tasks today, the BCC Alumni Association recently planted a new orchard on campus, a collection of apple trees near the North Parking Lot. Here’s some of the video.
We will reschedule the 360/VR video shoot to another day soon, perhaps next week.