A new distance learning studio will allow Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences professors a way to record class materials and lectures.

The $250,000 studio, located in building 162 near McCarty Hall C, opened Monday, said Jeanna Mastrodicasa, the associate vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Ron Thomas, coordinator of distance education for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, helps convert in-person classes to an online format. He said renovations on the studio began a year ago.

“This new studio is meant to help IFAS and extension faculty and staff to develop online programs or courses and deliver them to students,” he said.

The old recording studio was located in McCarty Hall D on the ground floor, Thomas said. Due to ongoing renovations in the hall, the studio was moved out and relocated to its own building.

Glen Graham, the senior multimedia specialist in the center of online learning and technology, said the new studio has four rooms, including a one-button studio, sound studio, post-production studio and main studio.

The one-button studio allows a faculty member to come in day or night to record.

The building is sound-proof, has a green screen and better lighting, he said.

“It will allow us to do what we were doing before, but better,” he said.

There will be a light board, which is like a white board except made out of glass, Graham said. When a professor writes an equation, the camera will pick up the writing and computers will reverse it so viewers can read it properly, Graham said.

The studio is also equipped with a wet lab for experiments. A bird's-eye-view camera will give students an overhead view of the experiment, like in a cooking show, Graham said.

Mastrodicasa said the new studio has more modern technology and will be easier to use.

“It’s designed not only for people who are teaching academic classes but it’s also available for anybody in IFAS, including extension agents and our researchers,” Mastrodicasa said.

In the former studio, there is a space to record in a live-class setting, Mastrodicasa said. Due to renovations, the space is currently unavailable but will be available again in January 2018, she said.

“The main goal that we hope to accomplish is to get more people using the technology beyond the traditional uses,” Mastrodicasa said.

Mastrodicasa said she looks forward to working with the staff and members of all 57 IFAS extension agencies and improving their communication.

“I’m interested in seeing what else we can do with it,” Mastrodicasa said.