To those who see Google’s search engine as a form of magic, Dene Grigar is easily a master magician.
Kicking off a recent technology workshop, the Washington State University associate professor typed the letters “CMDC” into her Apple computer. Workshop participants, many of them small business owners, watched on a video projector as links to WSUV’s Creative Media and Digital Culture program popped into the second and fourth positions on the Google search engine, out of 384,000 possibilities.
“Are you going to show us how to get there?” an astonished older man called out from the back of the darkened room.
Grigar, whose first name is pronounced “dee-nee,” did precisely that over the next hour, stripping away the sense of magic and showing businesses and nonprofits how to make the Internet work for them.
The late November session, the last in a seven-week series called Technology 101, is one element of what Creative Media and Digital Culture director Grigar calls “civic engagement” between her program and the larger community. The free workshops, which will be offered again in the spring, are part of that engagement. So is the project work undertaken by students for businesses and community groups, including the Vancouver Symphony, the Vancouver Downtown Association, and Fort Vancouver. A mobile phone application that includes historical re-enactments at Fort Vancouver’s village, still in a testing phase, already is grabbing attention from the National Park Service.