USC has obtained a campus-wide license that grants free access for all current university students, faculty and staff to Lynda.com, a website that offers more than 900 training videos on a broad range of web programs and computing topics.
Some of the instructional videos on Lynda.com include programs for web development, social media sites, video and audio production, Google applications and Microsoft Office.
Among the offerings, Lynda.com offers a tutorial on Microsoft Word 2010 that teaches one how to mail merge documents to save time.
The courses are divided into five to 15 minute tutorials, and topics can be searched by subject or software on the website. Students who use Avid to edit film footage can utilize these tutorials to learn the essentials on importing and exporting footage along with many other shortcuts.
Kevin Durkin, the director of communications for ITS, said the idea came from an advisory group called the Strategic Technology Forum, which is composed of IT leaders from the university.
“In this forum, the discussion came up from a desire to have something to do with self-training,” Durkin said. “A subcommittee was formed in partnership with STF, and the university eventually got a campus-wide license.”
Tiffany Lee, a junior majoring in communication, sais this website will be a useful tool, especially for students in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
“Annenberg students often have to familiarize themselves with up-and-coming types of technology and media, so it will be very beneficial for students to learn how to use these various technologies extensively,” Lee said.
Professors at the university have also expressed interest in using Lynda.com to further hone their technological skills, according to Durkin.
“Industry standards change so quickly in our field that an instructor who isn’t actively practicing can easily fall behind,” said Haven Lin-Kirk, area head of design at the Roski School of Fine Arts. “With everyone’s busy schedules, it’s much more convenient to update your skills in your free time.”
Lin-Kirk also said she plans to integrate the program into Roski’s curriculum.
“The FA203 Digital Tools for Design Course will use Lynda.com as a supplement to the curriculum that is already in place,” Lin-Kirk said. “Though it will not replace any of the existing lectures or in-class materials, there is also quite a bit that is available through the service that is not covered in our courses.”
Lexie Cook, a senior majoring in broadcast journalism, said she thinks having access to this site could help give students an edge in the job search, as well.
“Companies look for college graduates who are proficient in many different computer programs, so the more programs students can learn while they’re in school, the better their resume will be,” Cook said.
ITS plans to provide free access to Lynda.com for six months, and then the Strategic Technology Forum will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and popularity with the campus community to see if it will be continued.
The website can be accessed at any time, and students or faculty need only to log in at http://www.usc.edu/its/lynda by using their USC e-mail account.