Media & Technology Innovation at Commencement 2019

Northwestern hosted its 161st annual Commencement this past weekend. Working with the Commencement Office and TC Furlong, Northwestern IT provided a live stream of this year’s ceremony as well as the WCAS, Kellogg, and McCormick Convocations for our global community to view.

This year’s commencement address was delivered by Lonnie Bunch, the Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Click here for more information and video highlights!


Promotional Videos for Two Northwestern Centers

The video production team has had a very busy spring. It began with our own version of March Madness – creating promotional videos for two Northwester centers, the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute and the new Center for Physical Genomics and Engineering. The Chemistry of Life Processes Institute (CLP), which is located in Silverman Hall, is a group of researchers who investigate the chemistry of biology. They have developed new treatments for cancer, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular disease and addiction. They hosted an event in March and asked us to create a video to launch the festivities:

Another big piece we finished up this spring was an introductory video to the Center for Physical Genomics. Vadim Backman, the Center’s director, has spent the past few years looking to revolutionize cancer treatment, including creating a swab test that would detect cancer in earlier stages. At the Center for Physical Genomics, researchers will look at the structure of the genome (chromatin) and how it can be manipulated to treat diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and even promote plant health to combat climate change. We have been very privileged to work with these amazing scientists and engineers to create videos that convey the impact of their work to the public.


TEACHx’19 – Ruha Benjamin, SingerSavvyApp, and Arabic Manuscripts

The Academic Software Development team presented two digital poster sessions at the TEACHx’19 conference this week. TEACHx is presented by Northwestern Information Technology, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and the Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching.

Ruha Benjamin, delivered a powerful and thought-provoking keynote on “Classrooms as Labs for Social Change: Reimagining the Default Settings of Education”.


Prof Terry Brancaccio, Bienen School of Music and Rodolfo Vieira presented a poster on The Singer Savvy App: A Fitbit for the Voice. Terry received an award from the Provost’s Fellowship for Digital Learning to develop the SingerSavvy app in collaboration with Northwestern IT Academic Software Development. The app uses known behaviors from health tracking apps and applies them to the domain of anyone that uses their voice professionally. The app was built using Amazon Web Services AppSync Serverless stack with Vue front-end.

“…Singers and other professional voice users (actors, teachers, speakers) often manage intense vocal and social workloads which can cause vocal fatigue and lead to injury. These professionals often do not make the connection between their activities and how they impact their voices. See how using digital technology with the Singer Savvy mobile app can help students and professionals better navigate these challenges to find a healthier balance.” – Terry Brancaccio.
Free Download:
Terry Brancaccio and Rodolfo Vieira present SingerSavvy App poster


Prof. Ragy Mikhaeel, Rodolfo Vieira, and Matthew Aron presented presented a digital poster on A Pedagogical Tool for the Teaching of Advanced Arabic Using Lightboard

 Ragy was also an awardee of the Provost’s Fellowship for Digital Learning. Ragy partnered with our team for consultation on producing rich content using the lightboard studio, video production, and web publishing for the project.

“…an online educational tool in which Northwestern University students interact with my audio and video explanations while analyzing an annotated text of the Arabic Manuscripts from the West Africa Northwestern library collection, known as the Herskovits collection, and possibly some other manuscripts representing different Arabic scripts. For detailed information about the Herskovits collection, please read the article at The core of the collection of original manuscripts is from Northern Nigeria, and there are also items from Senegal (such as the Hukka alBukaa used in this project). The link provided above has a description of each sub-collection, as well as a “Historical Context” essay that could be helpful.” – Ragy Mikhaeel.


TEACHx is presented by Northwestern Information Technology, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and the Searle Center for Advancing Learning & Teaching.

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