Wilkinson is leading Wesleyan into a digital world.
Wesleyan’s digitization specialist, Wilkinson support curricular instruction
by converting and creating multimedia instructional materials.
campus wide, technology seems to be contagious.
faculty members what they need, and that gets other people interested in
these types of services,” she says. “It’s just amazing what we can do
nowadays with technology.”
Wilkinson works in her own digitization lab at Information Technology
Services. There, she uses five computers to convert one medium into another.
from a cassette tape can be transferred to a digital audio tape; video from
a High 8 tape can be burned onto DVDs, slides from an art portfolio can be
scanned and put on Web sites; and data from floppy disks can be burned to
now, I’m converting a concert that was shot on mini digital video, to a
DVD,” Wilkinson says, pointing to a computer, processing information. “And
here, I’m scanning a giant map for a geology class. It’s so big, it won’t
fit on the scanner all at once, so I scan it in pieces and put it together
on the computer.”
PhotoShop is Wilkinson’s most-used program for digital image manipulation.
She also uses Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, Adobe Audition and iMovie.
them up, but the computers do most of the work,” she says.
she devotes much of her day to technical processes such as scanning slides,
posters or transferring data, she loves to tackle creative projects that
come by her desk. Wilkinson opens her latest project, a digital photography
slide show, for Jerry Wensinger, a professor emeritus for the German Studies
Department. Wensinger photographed scenes in Munich, Germany, in 1948 and
shot the same scenes in 2004.
Wilkinson morphed the 1948 black and white images with the recent color
photographs to show the before and after. Wensinger will present the slide
show to German classes or public talks.
one of my favorite projects,” Wilkinson says, watching the presentation.
computer is set up to do different tasks. One has a flatbed scanner, another
prints directly onto CDs and DVDs. Another computer is setup to make
mini-movies called videostreams, which are becoming a popular teaching tool
Anthropology Professor Betsy Traube uses Digitization Services to transform
episodes of “The Sopranos” TV show into streaming videos for television
course; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Associate Professor Michael
McAlear records his lectures onto VHS tapes, which Wilkinson transfers to
videostreams for students to view online.
having video streams is a great idea, because it gives students the
opportunity to see classes that they might want to review, or might have
missed due to sickness or other obligations,” McAlear says. “Seeing the
video of the lecture is a much better way to get the information, rather
than copying notes from friends. I've only had good feedback from it."
Wilkinson said professors
and students alike appreciate the convenience of on-demand video. “It saves
class time when students can watch video assignments on their own time and
they can review the material as often as they want,” she says.
Wilkinson’s up and coming projects is to turn videos of a brain dissection
into streaming videos for Psychology Professor Harry Sinnamon’s neuroanatomy
class. He formerly used VHS tapes.
did a fine job converting the tapes to the streaming video format,” Sinnamon
says. “With no significant cost in resolution, we gained the benefits of
convenient access, increased security, and minimized wear and tear on the
tapes. I would recommend this service to any instructor who uses the same
tapes from year to year.”
Wilkinson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Victorian studies, and master’s
degrees in pop culture and library science, acquired much of the technology
on her own time.
She learned to stream videos by recording soap opera clips,
and time-lapse movies of flowers blooming.
“I have all these machines here. If someone brings me
something I’ve never seen, I’ll figure it out,” she says.
She’s had a few cases where professors have brought her
outdated hard drives, audio recorders and
“little silver things,” but she’s always found a way to open, extract and
re-record the material on more up-to-date formats.
always up for learning new things,” she says.
in the lab, she’s attending intellectual property committee meetings and
works as a media digitations specialist for Leaning Objects, which are
graphical simulations, data sets or learning modules that can replace text
or lectures on a subject.
Wilkinson, 44, celebrated her one-year anniversary at Wesleyan in December
2004. Prior to Wesleyan, worked part-time for Brown University, also as a
Wilkinson, who lives in Pawcatuck with her pet parrot and cat
said once she’s home, she resorts to less techy hobbies, such as decorating
her house and gardening.
“I have a
computers at home, but I try hard not to turn them on,” she said.