Student videos give campus how-tos

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EClips help drive students, staff and faculty toward success.

By V.G. Garlisi

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

EClips, an online repository of student-created tutorials, now has 172 videos in its arsenal after four years of production.

The short videos describe how to effectively use systems and procedures at this college such as accessing financial aid or the new GoPrint program.

“It’s information at your fingertips,” said Usha Venkat, director of information and communication technologies, who got the idea for the online tutorial videos after visiting Indiana University’s website and discovering their “Hot Topics” webpage.

“I constantly look at colleges and universities out there to see the best practices for our campus,” she said.

One can access these online tutorials by visiting www.alamo.edu/sac/OTS/eClipsOld/ and clicking either the student, employee or faculty sections.

EClips had its genesis in July 2011 when Venkat came up with the name and proposed the idea of online tutorials to one of her student workers, Nickolaus “Nicki” Lucio.

Having little experience with multimedia, Lucio took the idea of online tutorial videos and ran with it.

Lucio said he was one of the last students to graduate with an animation degree from this college.

The following year, 2012-13, the college combined its animation track with other specializations into a general communication associate of applied science degree.

At the time, Lucio was also taking an illustration class and heard that Moody Learning Center was hiring.

Several days and an interview later, he scored the position as student employee.

Lucio is still employed with technology services and is Venkat’s right-hand associate for the eClips.

Lucio says he got his chops working for news stations such as KENS 5 and News 9 San Antonio.

“I have a strong technical background,” Lucio said. “Working for a newsroom helped me to learn the software and constantly keep researching the best alternatives for media platforms.”

The ideas for the eClips come from a multitude of sources, Venkat said.

For example, the office of technology services hosts regular focus groups with students and faculty on daily problems they face or technological needs that are not being met.

“We also have a technology advisory department that provides us feedback as well as user input about recurring problems,” Venkat said. “If we have hundreds of calls to our help desk about the same issue, then it’s time to make an eClip.”

Lucio recently experienced the usefulness of his videos when his younger brother was applying to this college.

“He didn’t know how to set up a payment plan and he didn’t know how to get his ACES login password,” Lucio said. “Well, good thing I created those eClips videos.”

Each year Lucio and Venkat try to come up with at least 10-20 eClips on their own and outsource talent by acquiring student volunteers, such as the speech team and the radio-television-broadcasting program.

“The speech team’s diction increases the videos by tenfold just by utilizing their voice,” Venkat said.

“Yeah, student volunteers make the videos that much more special,” Lucio added. “We are always looking for volunteers and open to all suggestions.”

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