Your AUBG MAC Lab’s Know-How Guide

Adobe Illustrator was just one of the many software additions installed on the new iMAC computers; Photo Courtesy of Svetlozar Apostolov

Balkanski Academic Center, Blagoevgrad — Left hand on the dusty black keyboard, right one on a rather dysfunctional mouse. The fluorescent computer lab lights in BAC 101 zoom in on a third-year journalism student from the JMC411a Design and Layout class. A couple of minutes in continuous settings loading after the log-in and he’s already hanging on a slim emotional thread. Deadline: 11:00pm. Project requirement: Use of Photoshop. The desktop visualizes followed by an unnerving look-through in the Adobe programs folder. A second look-through. And a third… Back at the entrance door, the night duty guard notes in his report book hearing an echo of an angered student shout. The time column reads 10:35pm.

Until recently, aging equipment in all computer labs in the BAC building at AUBG have resulted, at best, in illegal Adobe Software downloads and at worst — missed project deadlines due to the software’s unavailability. AUBG students have voiced their concerns on the issue during the last academic year with arguable success.

The first tangible step toward meeting the students’ demand for access to innovative software systems and Adobe applications has been this semester’s installation of 25 iMac computers in Balkanski Academic Center’s room 101.

MAC vs PC

Despite some overly distinctive personality tests based on the two computer systems, sizable differences have significantly diminished. Yet PC is more functional, while the MAC is more elegance-tailored. One has a better performance, stability and cloud services. The other — a touchscreen, Cortana and an easy window management. MACs are profitable for Apple. PCs are still everywhere.

Orthodox comparisons continue to persist; Credits: Flickr

What is New?

The acquisition of the iMac computers was completed in the summer, months before the start of the Fall 2017 semester. Wireless mice, Bluetooth keyboards, and the 27-inch monitors are just some of the computer commodities that the MAC Lab currently houses. A much needed addition is the Adobe Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, After Effects, Lighthouse, InDesign, and other software applications whose use is a pre-requisite for enrolling in classes such as the JMC411a Design and Layout, JMC 200a Visual Communication Theory and Practice and the JMC 321a Digital Photojournalism class.

Wireless mice, Bluetooth keyboards and 27-inch screens; Photo Courtesy of Svetlozar Apostolov

Who could use the MAC Lab?

The Mac Lab will be prioritized to first serve the needs of JMC classes. Despite the selective access, students from the Computer Science and Information Systems departments as well as all other course degrees could also make use of the specialized software upon obtaining a permission request from Dr. Lynnette Leonard.

Project Funding

A result of the university’s recent realization of the American School and Hospitals Abroad(ASHA) organization’s $300,000 grant. According to Professor Robert White, Dean of Students, the MAC Lab’s investment is only a marginal fraction of the full ASHA grant.

“About 19%[$57,000] of the budget from the ASHA grant was allocated for the installation of the Mac Lab,” said White. “The rest is planned to pay for the purchase of 3D Printers, DSLR cameras, live video drones and Node desk chairs.

Idea Contributors and Timeframe

AUBG’s ASHA grant application for iMac equipment dates back to the spring semester of 2015. Nadezhda Boboshevska, the Development Office Coordinator, and the main project communicator behind the approval of the purchase, shared the steps and the continuous desire of the JMC department to obtain the computers.

“The initial idea behind the Mac Lab is not a new one,” said Boboshevska. “Two-and-a-half years ago Lynnette [Leonard] and I applied for another ASHA grant, named ‘Digital Campus Initiative’. We included in the commodity list the purchasing of 32 iMacs with software and tech support. The idea was further developed in a bigger project, namely the iHub,” explained Boboshevska, referring to the joint working space of Aspire Hub and the Mac Lab.

Both multi-departmental professors, such as Professor Mark Leonard, Professor John Galletly, Professor Volin Karagiozov and Professor Alec Campbell, as well as the JMC department have part-taken in the faculty decision committees’ final enlisting in favor of the iMac computers.

Accreditation

The Mac Lab in BAC 101 room is soon set to include USAID identity banners as well as quotations such as “From the American people” or “Made possible by the generous support of the American people” on all materials and communications channels promotional of the Mac Lab. Complimentary metal plaques with the USAID logo and tagline, a description of the facility, and roll-up banners will also be placed on the exterior wall or near the entrance of the lab.

According to Associate Professor Giles Timms the installation of the iMac computers is a successful step in advancing a more contemporary and topical Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC). His support for the project compliments the approval of the rest of the department.