Bendis shares multimedia expertise—for free—in CaseLearns workshops

Jared Bendis knows his way around computers. And as the creative director of new media at the Freedman Center, he wants you to feel just as comfortable with them as he does. That’s why he leads free multimedia workshops as part of CaseLearns, which are open to faculty, staff, students and alumni.

For Bendis, it’s hard to remember a time before CWRU: He came to campus in 1988 as a programmer for the psychology department while still in high school; in 1989, he started working toward his undergraduate degree and was hired on as a staff member in 1994. He now serves as the creative director of new media and is an adjunct instructor in art education and the art studio, where he teaches multimedia and a SAGES seminar on New Media Literacy.

He got started teaching as a substitute instructor for CaseLearns workshops, but he quickly found that he loves teaching. “Not only do I think it’s a lot of fun but it probably makes the biggest impact of anything I do at work,” Bendis said.

Bendis teaches a five-part series on digital imaging, a two-part series on digital video, a two-part series on desktop publishing, PowerPoint, multimedia authoring, comic book authoring, audio, screencasting and other workshops as necessary, such as courses on Adobe Illustrator.

His favorite courses to teach? PowerPoint and Digital Images. “If I am having a bad day and I look on my calendar and see Digital Images, I always smile because it puts me into a good groove,” he said. But PowerPoint is the “most transformative,” he said. “The first half of it is my PowerPoint on PowerPoint, which is really about how you create and design effective presentations,” he explained. “Faculty have me come to their class and give this one the most often.”

Bendis’ classroom style is hands-on, with background, vocabulary, discussion and plenty of interaction. “Most workshops are very ‘click-along with the instructor’ and I try to let people take the exercises in their own ways,” he explained. “I don’t have student work on their projects in the workshop. I want you to play; work comes after.”

But beyond his own courses, Bendis is extremely proud of the services offered at Kelvin Smith Library and, specifically, Freedman Center.

As part of CaseLearns, the library and ITS offer courses on topics such as databases, copyright, Web2.0 and Blackboard support, and the university community also can use for online training. “People really need to check it out,” Bendis said. “It is perfect both for deep dives as well as a quick ‘just in time’ solution for things we teach—and things we don’t.”

At Freedman Center, a partnership between Kelvin Smith Library and the College of Arts and Sciences, individuals can borrow video cameras, rent projectors, use computers and get glossy prints, but they can also get in-depth training through the workshops.

“One of the joys of working at the Freedman Center is that … we don’t limit ourselves to students in certain courses or staff with certain projects,” Bendis said. “If you want to convert your home movies to DVDs, great. If you want to learn to make better images for your department’s website or for your own personal Facebook page, it doesn’t matter. Just come and enjoy yourself.”

Classes are not in session, but be on the lookout for workshops this fall. For more information on services from Freedman Center, visit