Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a flashy webpage? How about editing your own movie or learning how to draw neat pictures on the computer?

These are some of the taglines associated with the free RCADE workshop classes at Fairfield that offer introductory lessons on using powerful digital equipment such as camcorders and powerful software like the popular Adobe Photoshop.

Yet, the attendance to these classes can be counted with your fingers.

“Well I usually hear about it and forget about it since they’re not really well publicized,” said Meredith Darts ’07. “The signs around campus do catch the corner of my eye but I don’t think twice about it.”

Since the workshop classes are held in the Media Center, located in the basement of Xavier Hall, the distance may be too great for many students, especially for quad students during the winter.

“We can’t just pick up the building and move it,” said Jon Thomas, a workshop instructor who teaches Final Cut Pro and iMovie, two potent and expensive movie editing programs.

“The computer lab in the basement is far more advanced than anywhere else in the entire university and it would be a disservice to move the workshops to an inferior computer lab,” he said.

The workshops are held in G-14, a classroom in the Xavier Hall basement equipped with powerful Macintosh computers which specialize in multimedia creativity.

The RCADE has been offering free workshop classes as introductions to a variety of digital disciplines including photography, film editing, graphic and web design since September of 2001. It would cost hundreds of dollars to attend one workshop course similar to those offered for free through the RCADE.

According to John Ur, the RCADE coordinator who specializes in graphic design, there were a total of 72 attendees spread through 15 workshops this semester. The Spring 2004 semester garnered 53 attendees for 10 workshops. In comparison, there were about 192 attendees through 24 workshops in 2001-02, the program’s debut year.

Much of the software used in the workshops retails for a pretty penny. For example, a legitimate copy of Adobe Photoshop, a suite of graphical editing tools that is commonly pirated, can be purchased for $649.95 according to Staples.com, the giant office-supply chain.

In the English department, students are required in both EN11 and EN12 attend two library tutorial sessions in place of class. What if it was required to attend at least one workshop as part of another CORE class?

“They don’t want to turn it into something mandatory that kids are going to despise,” Thomas added. “We’re not going to force it down your throat and we’re not going to make you pay either.”

Before restrictions on advertising university events were put into place two years ago, catchy and memorable RCADE specific e-mails helped produce good turnouts.

Nowadays, RCADE information is buried in cumbersome “Today at Fairfield” e-mails .

“Our marketing hasn’t been as effective as it was in the past,” said Ur. “I would hope that people at least know what these classes are and what they can get from it.”

Unless required, some students are simply apathetic about the potential of digital interactivity available for free use.

“I don’t think I would go unless there are times when I knew I had to go learn something for a presentation,” says Danielle Corciullo ’07. “But I wouldn’t go just for the knowledge itself because it doesn’t matter much to me.”

Other students felt differently.

“I was surprised at the level of expertise with the people who teach these classes,” said Julie Briggs ’07, a graphic design major who frequents the workshops. “It’s a shame that more people or students don’t know or take advantage of it.”

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