Free access to training website available to University community

University Communications

She’s not a professor, but she offers more than 5,000 courses to take at your convenience and without being graded. You also can access her library with just a cNet ID and password. Lynda.com, an online, on-demand training website, is now free to all University faculty, students and staff.

Cole Camplese, associate vice president and chief information officer, said having access to Lynda.uchicago.edu supports three important paths for the community.

“Faculty members can supplement their coursework. For example, a professor may want their students to create a short documentary film on a subject,” said Camplese. “Lynda allows the professor to focus on the content of the project and not have to worry about teaching technical skills.”

For students, he said, it’s about providing a resource to help them build strong, digital literacy skills. Staff members could benefit from professional development courses or those to enhance existing skills.

“This is how Lynda.com has historically been consumed on college campuses,” said Camplese, who helped secure the University’s multiyear license.

The Lynda courses and tutorials teach via instructional, streaming videos. Courses can be grouped together in playlists to master a particular technique or method.

Camplese said he’s curating courses to customize playlists for his IT Services staff members. “In ITS, every new staff member will complete a common set of courses to bring them up to speed on software, improving productivity on projects.”

Christopher Higgins, executive director for academic and scholarly technology services, said Lynda.com “has a good pedagogical base, a better instructional design and is interactive and engaging. It’s the best online training available today,” he said, pointing out the value in the interactive exercises that reinforce ideas. “It’s a good learning experience in a self-paced form.”

IT Services is partnering with the Chicago Center for Teaching and the Chicago Language Center to promote the academic uses for Lynda.com online classes. Higgins said he and his team also hope to work directly with groups of faculty members.

He also expects both undergraduate and graduate students to benefit from using the site. “Faculty may ask their students to build a website as part of a project, or there might be a need for students in the new Master’s Program in Digital Humanities to create a graphic,” said Higgins. “Others might learn programming applications such as Java Script,” he said. “We have a hugely motivated student body.”

David Wolf, associate director of arts technology and digital media at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts’ Media Center, agrees that students are excited about the possibilities in learning meaningful skills to develop their academic and co-curricular projects. “There’s a hunger for learning and an ever-growing population who wants to use Lynda.com,” Wolf said.

Wolf recommends courses that will provide practical instruction for novices and enhance the skills of those who already have used Lynda.com. “Most of our users are coming in without any training,” said Wolf, but “students who have used Lynda.com before are excited about the free access to courses, and their interest in exploring that more encourages other students.”

Wolf works with students who frequently are creating video, film and audio projects and want to know how to set up lighting, use microphones and cameras, for example. “One thing that’s great is you can always go back to it,” said Wolf, noting the site’s self-paced courses.

Camplese said he uses the site’s mobile app to return to a course he’s working through, but beyond Lynda’s convenience, he likes the sheer volume of courses that have been added to the site’s diverse library. “I’m just floored,” said Camplese about the number of courses offered. “There’s always something to learn.”

Log in to Lynda.uchicago.edu and sign in with your cNet ID and password for free access.