Multimedia expression in the 21st century.
Boston University prepares students to become digitally literate communicators using Adobe Creative Cloud.
Support the teaching and learning of core 21st century skills
Enhance multimedia communication and digital literacy
Deliver consistent technical support for thousands of students and teachers
Helps learners engage in lessons using dynamic media and video
Easy-to-learn tools for all levels of learners, from beginners to experts
Teaches students to communicate in a digital world by incorporating multiple forms of media
Provides strong support for faculty and students by standardizing on a single tool
“By using Adobe Creative Cloud apps to teach digital literacy and collaboration in the classroom, we are preparing students to become effective communicators in their professional, civic, and personal lives.”
Learning Experience Designer, Center for Teaching & Learning, Boston University
Skills for today’s interconnected world
Toward the start of the 21st century, teachers, education experts, and business leaders joined forces as part of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning to define the Framework for 21st Century Skills that students would need to succeed in work and life. One important component of this framework was the 4Cs: Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.
When Boston University (BU) decided to rethink how the University taught and defined core skills, it looked to this 21st century framework for inspiration. The University is highly diverse, with over 34,000 students in more than 300 programs of study. But there are certain skills that all students need to succeed in their careers. The BU Hub is a University-wide general education program that emphasizes working across disciplines and developing six essential capacities: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation; Scientific and Social Inquiry; Quantitative Reasoning; Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship; Communication; and Intellectual Toolkit.
“Each capacity in the BU Hub covers different areas of skills and knowledge that reflect the realities and needs of life in the 21st century,” says Sarah Madsen Hardy, Interim Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning at BU. “The capacity of Communication, for example, moves beyond just writing. It recognizes that in today’s world, students need to communicate effectively through oral, digital, and visual forms of communication as well as, or in combination with the written word. We want to make sure that students aren’t just consumers of digital media, but also effective creators who can tailor their messages to different audiences.”
“Standardizing on Adobe Creative Cloud allows BU to provide more focused support for both teachers and students through tutorials, workshops, and shared inspiration.”
Learning Experience Designer, Center for Teaching & Learning, Boston University
To help support the development of Digital/Multimedia Expression courses, the Center for Teaching & Learning created development workshops that help faculty understand how to bring visual design, visual literacy, video, and podcasting into their classrooms. As more faculty entered the workshops, it became clear that BU needed a standard set of creative and digital tools to encourage multimedia expression. Faculty wanted to work on the same tools as their students to reduce classroom time spent handling technical questions. Students would need to share projects with teachers and classmates and build on skills across their classes.
BU decided to provide Adobe Creative Cloud for enterprise licenses to all undergraduates and faculty. While BU is just starting its journey with Adobe Creative Cloud, faculty are already excited about the possibilities available in the classroom with access to industry-standard creative apps.
“Standardizing on Adobe Creative Cloud allows BU to provide more focused support for both teachers and students through tutorials, workshops, and shared inspiration,” says Brad Wheeler, a Learning Experience Designer at the Center for Teaching & Learning, who has spearheaded efforts to support teaching with Adobe. “By using Adobe Creative Cloud apps to teach digital literacy and collaboration in the classroom, we are preparing students to become effective communicators in their professional, civic, and personal lives.”
“With Adobe Premiere Pro, we can create video that emphasizes the human nature of our work and helps create a sense of empathy in our teaching and outreach.”
Clinical Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development, Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, Boston University
Emphasizing humanity in counseling
Few fields are more human-focused than psychology. That’s why Michelle Porche, Clinical Associate Professor for Counseling Psychology and Applied Human Development in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, likes using photographs and video in outreach, workshops, and curriculum. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a favorite for quickly editing photographs used to promote work that Porche and her students are doing in the community. With Adobe Spark, she quickly combined photographs and video clips into a short video used to promote one of her student’s work around coaching and positive youth development. Because Adobe Spark is so easy to use, she can create polished videos suitable for sharing without spending a lot of time.
For more professional video results, Porche turns to Adobe Premiere Pro. Working with the Massachusetts State Department of Mental Health, Porche and her doctoral students are creating web-based curriculum[AH1] for healthcare providers around care and treatment of youths with autism spectrum disorder. In addition to the interactive websites and presentations, the team filmed short video clips of physicians and researchers sharing stories and explaining topics in detail.
“Having video from experts makes serious topics far more engaging and persuasive for learners,” says Porche. “With Adobe Premiere Pro, we can create video that emphasizes the human nature of our work and helps create a sense of empathy in our teaching and outreach.”
Sharing observations through video
Tom Anastasi, Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Questrom School of Business, believes in the power of visual communication. With Adobe Creative Cloud apps now available to all students, Anastasi can finally bring video into the classroom and help students recognize the power of video to build connections and promote greater communication in business.
In a Company Analysis project for the Organizational Behavior course, students are asked to interview employees of a company, analyze the corporate environment, and determine whether the organizational behavior theories presented in the classroom proved to be true in a real-life environment. Rather than just creating a slide-based presentation, Anastasi asked students to video the interviews and create short clips using Adobe Premiere Pro. Video allows students to share interviewees’ opinions in their own words. Students listening to the presentation become more involved in the presentations by using the video to make their own observations.
“Adobe Premiere Pro was not only easy for students to use, but it also provided functionality for all levels of learners,” says Anastasi. “Beginners could do a simple edit, but those who want to take their video to the next level can use some of the more advanced features to create a polished and professional look. There are so many online tutorials available through the Adobe community that students can quickly learn to do more.”
“Even if students never need to work on designs personally, having experience with Adobe Creative Cloud allows them to collaborate with graphic designers because they share a common creative language.”
Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Questrom School of Business, Boston University
Animating classroom activities
Anastasi was also interested in incorporating video into his Introduction to Business course, offered as part of the Summer Challenge Program for high school students. He challenged students to design a product and then create their very own animated commercial. Students created a simple graphic avatar using Adobe Illustrator, then used Adobe Animate to add simple motion to help their avatar “act out” the commercial script. Students not only had lots of fun creating their own animations, but they learned how to experiment with a new technology.
“We live in a digital world, and understanding how to work with design programs gives students from any field a leg up over their coworkers,” says Anastasi. “Even if students never need to work on designs personally, having experience with Adobe Creative Cloud allows them to collaborate with graphic designers because they share a common creative language.”
Flipping the educational paradigm
The English as a Second Language (ESL) courses offered by the College of Arts & Sciences Writing Program are critical to helping BU’s diverse international student population prepare for the rigors of university education. With new Center for Teaching & Learning-sponsored initiatives, the ESL faculty were able to incorporate elements of a “flipped” classroom into the curriculum. This method allows teachers to spend classroom time much more productively since students are walking into the class with a basic understanding of a topic. However, the faculty wanted to create online modules for students to study before class.
With access to Adobe Creative Cloud, the ESL faculty modernized the curriculum. Through a digital learning and innovation grant, the ESL department started creating focused online modules with Adobe Creative Cloud apps, including videos edited using Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition. By making online modules available to students, teachers can spend classroom time digging deeper into topics, filling gaps in knowledge, and working with hands-on activities.
“Adobe Creative Cloud is great because it includes tools such as Adobe Spark and Adobe Premiere Rush that are very easy to pick up, even for beginners. Students can focus on communication rather than technical details.”
Lecturer, CAS Writing Program, Boston University
Support digital expression in the classroom
BU faculty are excited about opportunities to bring Adobe Creative Cloud into the classroom. “One of the most important BU Hub mandates is exposing students to different modes of communication,” says Pary Fassihi, a Lecturer with the Writing Program. “Multimodal writing projects, where we ask students to rework written assignments as video essays, podcasts, or posters, helps expose students to a wide variety of communication methods used in modern life. Adobe Creative Cloud is great because it includes tools such as Adobe Spark and Adobe Premiere Rush that are very easy to pick up, even for beginners. Students can focus on communication rather than technical details.”
BU continues to support both teachers and students with workshops, peer resources, and events such as the Adobe Creative Jam to encourage adoption of Adobe Creative Cloud.
“By providing Adobe Creative Cloud licenses to all BU undergraduates and their faculty, we’re finding that faculty are beginning to integrate digital and multimedia expression into the classroom in meaningful ways,” says Wheeler. “We’re giving our students important opportunities to develop innovation skills that will help them succeed in the workforce.”