Instructional Resources Center

The Instructional Resources Center is committed to providing faculty, staff and students in the Department of Communication with the resources to fulfill their creative potential with technology support related to instruction, projects, research and departmental events. We aim to provide information and ideas based on the latest and most relevant technologies.

The IRC focuses on 5 main goals:

  1. Communicate: Facilitate the communication of ideas through graphic design, web design, audio, video and social media.
  2. Collaborate: Create and participate in an environment that encourages collaborative learning.
  3. Prepare: Prepare future communicators to thrive in a changing industry.
  4. Innovate: Foster 21st-century technology and information literacy among students and faculty and encourage innovative teaching and learning strategies.
  5. Promote: Promote department events and publications.


Facilitate the communication of ideas through graphic design, web design, audio, video and social media.

Web design

The IRC maintains most of the core departmental Web sites and produces one to three new designs per quarter. Please contact us if you are interested in the following:

  • creating an original Web site for research, instruction, or outreach
  • learning more about the Catalyst tools for self-maintained Web sites
  • submitting a news item or revision to the Department of Communication Web site, reporting errors, or updating pertinent information


Some of our videos are available on YouTube.

Social Media

We seek to communicate through social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Join the conversation!

Academic Continuity Toolkit

UW Technology and other units on campus have compiled a toolkit of technology recommendations to help instructors prepare for a possible disruption to campus operations (for example, a pandemic or extended severe weather). The Academic Continuity Toolkit (ACT) will help you to:

  • prepare in advance for a disruption,
  • conduct classes during a large-scale disruption to campus operations, and
  • organize your course materials and communicate with students during normal operations.


  • Please allow 24 hours, M-F for updates to departmental sites.
  • In most cases, we ask that instructors maintain their own course sites, but don’t hesitate to contact us for more information or one-on-one training.
  • Departmental projects take precedent over the projects of individual faculty, staff, and students.
  • We establish turnaround times for individual projects on a rolling, case-by-case basis.

Create and participate in an environment that encourages collaborative learning

Wikis and Google Docs

Wikis and Google Docs allow you to share your content with collaborators who can directly edit your material. Wikipedia was created this way. Usually, the author is able to review what changes were made. Examples of popular wiki platforms include: PBWiki, Wetpaint, Notaland and Google Docs.


ShareSpaces is a UW Catalyst tool allows you to share a document with another UW user. That user can then download the document and submit a revised version if desired. ShareSpaces keeps all versions of the document until they are deleted.

Blogs, podcasts, vodcasts and RSS feeds

Blogs often contain commentary or analysis on a narrow topic with links to sources and pictures when relevant. Blogs are traditionally organized in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry appearing first on the page. Anyone can easily set up and maintain a blog at sites such as,,, and

Blogs are great for collaboration because readers can comment on your posts. This makes it easy to receive feedback on an idea for a paper or to find people with similar research interests and give them feedback. An important part of blogging is tagging. Much like categorizing a post, tagging helps people who are trying to find information about a specific topic.

Another characteristic of blogs is the RSS feed, which allows readers to subscribe to the content using a feed reader such as iGoogle, Newsgator, or Bloglines.

Twitter and microblogs

Twitter is the most popular microblogging service, enabling users to send 140-character posts to a personal feed.

Hashtags, when used with Twitter, allow users to group topics together so anyone can find posts related to the topic even if they are not following that user.

One way to take advantage of hashtags in a classroom setting is to encourage students to tweet their reflections from class on Twitter (using a computer or text-messaging) and assign everything a hashtag with the course number (for example, #com220). Students can set up a public Twitter profile or can set privacy restrictions so only people they allow may follow them.

Twitter is a simple utility with many applications. For more information see Twitter 101 for Educators.


Podcasts are audio recordings on a topic that are distributed via an RSS feed. Some popular podcatchers include iTunes and Juice. These allow you to subscribe to podcasts and have them updated regularly. Video podcasts, or vodcasts, are also gaining in popularity.


ITunesU is available for university communities, such as the Department of Communication, to post podcasts or vodcasts. Visit ITunesU for more information.

Video Sharing

YouTube has become a popular place to share video content, from crazy home videos to research results. YouTube is free and makes it easy to upload video. Commenting is also popular on YouTube. Other places that will host your video for free are or vimeo.


Creative Commons was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. Users of Creative Commons can designate what type of license they would like their creative work to have. Depending on what license you choose, others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

Prepare future communicators to thrive in a changing industry

Workshops and Individual Training

Contact us for in-class presentations, workshops and one-on-one training sessions on a variety of applications and topics including:

  • UW Web publishing infrastructure and Catalyst tools
  • Web site design and Dreamweaver
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Digital imaging (Photoshop and SoundSlides)
  • Audio editing and telling stories with sound (Audacity, Adobe Soundbooth)
  • digital video editing (Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere)

Equipment Orientation

  • If you would like an equipment orientation for CMU 302, 304, 104, 126 or 325 contact us. (For other rooms, please contact Classroom Support Services.)
  • For classroom schedules, available equipment and available software, view the classroom schematics page.
  • Conference room CMU 126 has video recording equipment, which can be controlled from the computer. For more information download the Classroom Media User’s Guide.


  • Workshops and extended training sessions should be scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
  • For in-class presentations, instructors should have a short list of items that they wish their students to understand or achieve.
  • In some cases a short meeting prior to the instructional session may be valuable in establishing objectives and developing a classroom strategy.


Foster 21st-century technology and information literacy among students and faculty and encourage innovative teaching and learning strategies.

VHS/DVD transfer station

Videos can be an excellent teaching tool. Before using the VHS/DVD transfer station to digitize video clips for your class, check to see if the Libraries Media Center has the video you are looking for.

Instructors, staff and students using the transfer station should read and abide by the university’s Fair Use Guidelines.

Course website

Creating a course website is a great way to post an updated syllabus, course assignments and notes, while saving on paper and copying costs. Catalyst’s CommonView allows you to create a workspace without any HTML skills. Dreamweaver is also available in the grad lab and in Communication Department media labs.

What to put on a course website: Syllabus, PDFs of readings you would otherwise print out (be aware of copyright protections), links to articles (UW library proxy server), instructions for class assignments, powerpoint presentations, YouTube videos, supplemental course material, announcements, links to e-reserves.

  • Syllabus – Only one page (front and back) should be used for a printed syllabus. The rest should go on the course web site.
  • Electronic files and scanning – Electronic files can be posted directly to course web sites. PDFs can be created using scanners in the grad lab. To scan: Place document(s) in the automatic document feeder. From the Start Programs menu click Scan Tools, ScanSoft PaperPort, Scan Direct. Make sure Adobe Acrobat icon (fourth button) is selected so scanned image will be created as a PDF. Click left button (Scan a document) to open Scan Manager. Click Scan. Save resulting PDF. Be aware of copyright protections and restrict access so only your current students have access.
  • Supplemental course accounts – You may request a supplemental course account. This is especially helpful if there is more than one instructor.

Course packs

The University Copy Center will copy course packs and obtain necessary permissions for copyrighted material. If permissions are needed, the Copy Center requests course packs be delivered, either in hard copy or electronically, two weeks before the quarter begins. If permissions are not required for your course pack, less time is necessary. Contact the Copy Center if you have a course pack that needs to be done more quickly. If unsure whether permissions are necessary for your course pack, go to the Copyright Permissions Center. There is a Copy Center location in the Communication Building in room B042 (


EReserves are handled through the UW library. Materials such as articles, audio files and chapters may be made available through EReserve, which requires students to enter their UWNetID before accessing the material. Reserve lists are processed in the order received and may require up to two weeks for availability at the beginning of the quarter when demand is highest.


Catalyst offers a variety of tools to enhance collaboration and manage files for classes. Among them:

  • Collect It – Online homework turn-in system
  • CommonView – This Catalyst tool is great if you use other Catalyst tools in your classes. It allows you to combine all your tools for a class or project group into one workspace. Can also be used for class web sites.
  • Go Post – Discussion boards
  • GradeBook – Record student scores online, track student progress, calculate grades, and publish them online for students to view. Catalyst recently improved functionality so instructors can export a grade sheet to Excel in order to analyze, print, or archive the gradebook. In addition, GradeBook received performance improvements to make viewing, entering, or publishing student scores speedy regardless of the number of students in a class.
  • Group Manager – Create a group by selecting the class you are teaching or create your own group using UWNetIDs. Use this tool in conjunction with other Catalyst tools to make it easy to provide your students with access to the Catalyst tools you are using for your course. The group updates nightly with current information from the registrar.
  • ShareSpaces – Allows groups to share files online.
  • UMail – Allows students to send anonymous feedback to instructors.
  • WebQ – Online quizzes can help assess students’ understanding of concepts or get feedback throughout the quarter.

UW Technology’s “Tools for Safe and Secure Computing”

All the tools in UW Technology’s “Tools for Safe and Secure Computing” can be downloaded for free with a UWNetID and are available for use on your UW or personal computer. The kit includes:

  • Sophos anti-virus software
  • Secure File Transfer products (FTP) to transfer files to your UW space on Dante or Homer.
  • Secure Terminals for certain kinds of web site work, such as installing SQL or PHP.

Adobe Acrobat Pro and Word Reviewing Tool

Whether you’re taking notes on assigned reading, grading papers, or sending a draft to a colleague, just about all documents can be marked digitally like you would on physical paper.

  • In Adobe Acrobat Pro: Tools > Comment and Markup
  • In Microsoft Word 2007: Review tab > turn on track changes or click “new comment.”

If you would like to discuss incorporating other technologies or social media applications into your class, contact us.

“In the cloud” with UW Windows Live, UW Google Apps

The UW is now offering e-mail, calendaring, and other collaborative tools “in the cloud” through UW Windows Live and UW Google Apps.

Finding images and media for educational use:

Promote department events and publications

Graphic Design

  • layout and design for posters, brochures, newsletters, reports and other print materials
  • coordination with local print shops
  • original graphics and illustrations
  • logos, branding and visual identities
  • original charts, graphs and other data representations
  • Power Point templates
  • scanning and digital imaging

Some classrooms are equipped for video recording and/or streaming. If you are interested in recording an event please contact us for details.


  • Departmental projects take precedent over the projects of individual faculty, staff and students.
  • Turnaround times for individual projects are determined on a rolling, case-by-case basis.
  • Budget 3-6 extra work days for projects that require outside printing.


The IRC does not offer a full range of professional-level photographic services, but we are available to take digital images of faculty, staff, students and departmental events, as well as scan and edit existing images. For important events, film services, or printing, consider using UW Photography Resources.


Photography assignments should be scheduled at least one week in advance and staff availability is contingent upon existing requests.