One of the busiest times in an academic’s life is the time when teaching and marking are overlapping, however course development opportunities should never be missed and one should spot an opportunity when available! This was the period when we have received an email from EDEU for a pilot project on Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools that can be used to enrich learning and teaching within modules. Luckily ‘flexibility’ was the word and people could be in and out to honour other commitments if needed.

Armed with a smoothie and lots of curiosity, I have attended the first Adobe workshop to get my head sorted around all that Adobe can offer for academics. The first session was information loaded and quite intense as Adobe has a wide range of products on offer. Facilitated by both Adobe and EDEU it came handy as a demonstration of a package called ‘Project Marvel’ designed to fit academic needs. Even if not a stranger to Adobe tools (before entering academia I almost started working for Adobe so I was well-prepared for the interview and knew what they can offer) it still came as a surprise to find out about new tools to explore and think on how they can be applied in a class environment. I realised my knowledge was quite limited…it’s not all about Photoshop and Reader!

The practical part was targeted in my case as I coordinate a module called ‘Digital Economies and Digital Cultures’ – an optional module for third year undergraduate students where, during the course of the term, students have to develop an online portfolio comprising of an active blog and professional social media accounts to make them visible for prospective employers (visual CV’s, LinkedIn, Twitter for business, Behance). The scheduled lectures and workshops introduce students to the proliferation of digital technologies and their interaction, furthermore we discuss and debate on the way people consume experiences and engage with social media.

Having the module in mind and the work I was already doing in class, I knew exactly where it could fit in. So, the next step was a 121 appointment with an Adobe senior to talk about what and how I can achieve it. This is how I have met Michael (btw, very pleasant, knowledgeable and friendly) who went through the ideas and process and shed some light on the way Adobe can be of use in my project and how I can shape it.

Let’s get started! I had a discussion with my students, presenting the possibility of using Adobe and some decided to give it a go! Courageous, I would say, as they are assessed for their online visibility! We have decided to start with Slate as it was the most suitable one in terms of blogs and could be embedded on WordPress (what students are currently using for the module). Slate enables to create a website hybrid by playing with narrative, image and videos in a friendly user way. Also, it can be shared via social media which is an essential part of developing student’s online visibility.

We are exploring, learning and getting creative in weekly workshops!

In the meantime, a new EDEU/Adobe workshop was announced. This time, the format was slightly different – a carousel type of discussion that involved small working groups on different Adobe products (Slate, Voice, Comp). It was a good opportunity to ask unanswered questions related to the products we were already engaged with and to explore new ones.

Packed with a licence and the suite of Adobe products, we have been exploring and creating throughout the term and continue in doing so. Please have a look at student’s statements and some of their work:

Catherine Khor – BSc Events Management –

Jemma Maze – BSc Events Management

‘The module ‘Digital Economies and Digital Cultures’ has been widely projected as a favourite amongst students, which denotes the success of the module despite only being in its second year. It also had interest from Adobe and EDEU, by offering to display the best blogs on corporate websites which provides high visibility, networking opportunities and developing collaborations. The module still has room to grow, with students wishing to expand with extra workshops in website design, Adobe software and basic website coding. This inspires a positive future direction of which the module can adapt to industry modifications and technological enhancements.’ Jemma Maze

Emma Kimpton – BA Int. Tourism Management –

‘In terms of my experience using Adobe Slate, I have found it really easy to figure out and I really enjoy working on it. I’ve been told my blog looks really pretty and I couldn’t have done that without some of the features adobe lets me use. I also love that it is a free service and I don’t miss out on good themes because I have to pay for them.’ Emma Kimpton

Mario Magana Meza – Exchange student from Mexico –

‘I started to use Slate, because our lecturer, Georgiana Ciuchete, recommend me this new platform to start my blog, because it was good option that fitted with the idea of my blog (my experiences as an exchange student in a foreign country). At the beginning I wasn’t sure about how to use it, because I have to be honest, blogs in my country (México) are not very common, but it didn’t matter, I started. After updating my info, I started to take a look to the other blogs that are shown as examples and I find them really interesting. I liked that you can insert photos, videos, links, text and many more stuff, you can search the images from there or import them from your PC. It took some time to finish my first blog, because a very important experience that happened to me when I first arrived to the UK and I wanted to be very specific, I added images, text, links and even a song recommendation, when I finally finished I have to say that I was very satisfied with this final work.’ Mario Magana

By Georgiana Els (Ciuchete)