Krannert Memorial Library awarded $4,000 PALNI Innovation Grant

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The University of Indianapolis was awarded a $4,000 Private Academic Library Network of Indiana Innovation Grant last July, according to the PALNI news consortium. The grant is awarded to schools in order to fund projects that support collaboration, according to PALNI.

University of Indianapolis Assistant Professor of Practice of Religion and Senior Faculty Academy Fellow James Willis said that the grant will be used to create a recording studio in the library. This studio will allow for faculty to create quality lecture style videos for their classes, according to Willis.

“The library received a $4,000 grant from PALNI for equipment to help build a more robust recording studio for faculty and perhaps students later down the road. But immediately [it is] for faculty to help build micro lecture style videos to incorporate into their classes.” Willis said.

According to Willis, the idea of a recording studio was ready to begin before the grant was awarded. However, the grant is allowing a recording studio to be fully implemented with better hardware.

“We actually had the beginnings of a studio in the library that was being built during the pandemic and it was partially equipped, so it could produce some basic videos, but it needed some additional equipment. We found out about this PALNI grant that was being awarded for these types of projects, and we thought it would actually be a really good thing for our group to [apply for] this grant to ask for money for the equipment to help basically finish off the studio to get it up and running,” Willis said. “PALNI generously awarded this grant in order for us to be able to buy more hardware, to finish the studio and make it something where faculty can go in and record high impact videos.”

According to University of Indianapolis Associate Professor of English Leah Milne, working with organizations such as PALNI can help broaden UIndy’s accessibility and available resources for students. Milne said that UIndy professors are always looking for ways to create better coursework for students.

“It is a challenge of time, funding and all the obligations that we have. And so anything that helps is going to be helpful for the students,” Milne said. “The thing about PALNI is that they are specifically [based in] Indiana, and it is a good chance for us as the school named after the city to really kind of leverage this collaboration.”

Milne said the opportunities presented by PALNI are signs that the school should work with the organization and others like it. According to Willis, this grant can give faculty the opportunity to create more fleshed-out video lectures.

“It [gives flexibility] for faculty to have options about content delivery. Whether synchronous or asynchronous so students can go back and view them,” Willis said. “But instead of faculty operating with a basic microphone and the recorder on their computer, this will include editing software. It will include the use of a whiteboard to help [make] those videos and make them very high quality as opposed to the normal standard that would be on a computer.”

The fall semester will see a few faculty members use the studio, while the spring semester will see the studio open to everyone, Willis said. With projects like the library studio, a preliminary evaluation is necessary according to Willis because it allows early adopters to understand and figure out how the project will function as well as how to use it.

“We envision somewhere between maybe five or 10 faculty who [will] work with the equipment, and we develop training materials and things like that over the fall,” Willis said. “Our hope is that in the springtime we will have [the studio] much more readily open and  available for faculty use.”

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